“Drawn By Fire”
From time to time my inner critic screams at me “Where is your focus Man? Don’t you know that a jack of all trade is a master of none?”. He has a point. I do have a tendency to be overly eclectic in my pursuits and I agree that in some ways life might be easier had I narrowed the field. The thing is that over and over again the words “WHAT IF” pop into my brain and I must drop what I’m doing and listen to the words that follow. What if I leave behind the safety of that solid career to try to build a new business from the ground up? That was a big one! What if I create videos that showcase the beauty of nature? What if those videos can promote tourism and the arts or sell real estate? What if I follow my childhood dream of being a photographer? What if I pick up a brush and move some paint around to see what happens? What if I use this time that I’m coping with illness to paint full moon winter scenes with cabins and skiers and full moons? WHAT IF? WHAT IF? WHAT IF?
The truth is that listening to the “what if’s” can and will result in spinning wheels. You may be led down a few dead end paths and at times you may feel completely stranded but if you just keep the wheels moving eventually you will find traction. If you keep the wheels moving you will find yourself on a path to completeness that never would have been found had you played it safe. Don’t ever forget that “Every Brilliant Idea begins with ‘What If’”
“Two Steps Forward”
My Wall In The Denver Art District at Grace Gallery
Alpenglow Winter Adventure #8 (24 x 12) Acrylic on Board
The repetition of painting in a series is an effective way to experiment with subtle variations in technique and color. Capturing the essence of alpenglow has not been easy but slowly I feel that I’m getting closer. The bad thing about moving so quickly is that the similar compositions make it a challenge to come up with a meaningful title for each piece.
I have big news to share! Much of the work that I completed this winter has now been dispersed to two gallery spaces and is beginning to sell. I can’t explain how good it feels to have successfully made something positive out of my illness. I do believe they call it making lemonade out of lemons.
On the health front things are looking up as well. My energy level continues to improve and I’ve been successfully weaning myself off of the steroids. At the current rate of improvement, I’m hoping to be in remission by the end of the summer. (Polymyalgia Rheumatica)
Have a great Weekend!
Small Paintings to take to this weeks “First Friday” at the Denver Art District
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As promised in my last post I completed this piece this week and I’m sharing.
Something about finishing a job just feels so good, even euphoric. You have arrived at the point where everything feels right and good enough. You sign the painting, hang it on the wall and direct a light toward it at just the right angle. You Love it!
Enjoy those moments of accomplishment because a sobering reality will follow. It’s likely that it won’t be long before you see it with fresh eyes and wonder what in the hell you were thinking. Perhaps it goes back on the easel for modifications, perhaps not. In any event you soon realize that you aren’t finished at all. A healthy dose of varnish will be needed to protect the piece from handling and UV light. What about a name or title? High quality photographs of the work will be needed for potential reproduction and marketing. The tedious task of getting the work to market has only begun.
As if the whole process isn’t overwhelming enough life keeps throwing all sorts of curve balls at us. Shit Happens, right? Take my first ever Colonoscopy this past week for instance. People kept telling me it really wasn’t that bad and now that I’m experienced I have to tell you that I disagree. No person should have to gulp down a gallon of stool softener as if it were beer at a college kegger and no male should have to discover what it is to have water break…over and over again. Anyway, you get the picture!
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My third piece in a new series is underway and the deviation from rising super moon values has been a challenge. I’m trying to capture the essence of alpenglow which in my mind is the time of day that the last direct light from the sun is hitting the clouds and perhaps the mountain tops. In my minds eye there is a magic that occurs in the valleys below where the snow almost glows. Do the shadows disappear or is there just a slight contrast indicating the position of the setting or rising sun? So many new riddles to solve. I’ll post the finished piece soon.
Physically I had a difficult week. Polymyalgia Rheumatica is a roller coaster ride and finding the correct dosage of prednisone to keep the inflammation in check without increasing the side effects of the medication can be the real trick. Finally this past week I felt myself finding some balance on that front when a serious chest cold took me hostage. Once again, having my studio and a passion to paint has been great therapy.
Now for show and tell before signing off. One of my photographs made the front cover of Open Fences Magazine. It was uplifting to see how great it looks and on the other hand it saddens me to think that I may not be in condition to do serious shooting this Summer.
We had a huge spring weather event in Colorado this week. Two feet of very wet, very heavy snow blanketed the area for 36 hours straight. How could any of the early season color survive? About halfway through the storm I attempted to knock the weight off of our sagging trees and bushes, a exercise in futility. Somehow, some way within a few days most of the flora will pick up right where it was when the snowfall began.
As an artist I can really relate to this scenario. So often I tell myself that I’m just not quite ready to put myself out there. If I wait a little longer, develop my craft a little more…then I’ll be ready. Last night, we celebrated the end of the storm by ordering Chinese food. You probably know about me and my fortune cookies..I take them very seriously. Here’s what I got.
The universe seems to be saying loud and clear “It’s never too early to give it your best shot. Last week, I launched my first ETSY store and I’ve been quite busy stocking the shelves with my art. I’d love it if you would click on the link below, check it out and give me some feedback. While you are there, if you would throw me a “favorite” or two it will really help with my SEO.
Have a great week!
“From Here To There” ~ Thanksgiving in Southern Colorado
We live in a dynamic, ever-changing world. We can pretend that it doesn’t change all that much and that we can bring back the “good old days”, but we are just fooling ourselves. I shot this photo last Friday morning as I trudged through a foot and a half of fresh powder snow at daybreak. This is the moment that I experience each year where I accept that Summer will not be coming back for a very long time. This is the moment that I accept the cleansing power of the frozen landscape. This is the moment when I look through the storm and the lifting fog and I can see new possibilities. This is how it should be.
"Midnight Crossing" oil on canvas 18x24
It started snowing yesterday, which made it a perfect day for painting winter scenery. I have been working on a series of full moon winter adventure paintings since January and I don’t want to stop. The foot of very wet snow that fell overnight is a blessing for two reasons, we have had an extremely dry winter in the mountains of southern Colorado and I’m not sure how I can justify painting the cool tones of winter once the forest comes to life in an explosion of green and yellow. These spring storms are helping me delay a shift in focus.
Mid May Snow Brings June Flowers
I so much want to share the entire series right now but as you can see, I have not even signed them yet. Most likely I’ll release images of them one by one as they are completed. This painting is called midnight crossing. The mountain the West Spanish Peak, a near “fourteener” that literally is my back yard. The rest of the props come from my imagination and memories of backcountry skiing with friends around Gunnison and Crested Butte, back in the early 80’s.
"Stairway to Heaven" oil on canvas 18x24
I have been discovering that my skiing memories are one of my great sources of inspiration for artistic expression. As a kid growing up in Vail, Colorado, my skiing counterparts and I lived for adventure on the mountain. Each significant snowfall was like a permission slip from heaven to jump off the school bus at the village and spend the day seeking and jumping off of cornices and cliffs. For me, it wasn’t like what you see in the Warren Miller Movies, some fearless (or insane) soul cascading down avalanche prone slopes and catching “big air” at break neck speed. No, I was more cautious. Each drop was carefully looked over and calculated as I understood that once I took flight, there was no turning back. In the end I always overcame my fears and took that “leap of faith”.
Thirty years and a couple of surgeries have passed since those days of adventure but I continue to live much as I did back then. Today, I find myself ready to take another leap of faith as I am about to click the publish button, sending this first blog post into the abyss. There is a lot that I have yet to learn about what is on the other side of this cliff. Yea, I’m a bit scared and uncertain and I know that there is no turning back. But hey, that is what life is all about. I hope to see you on the other side. So here goes nothing…and….PUBLISH.