Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Crazy chair final pics

Here's a couple of photos of the finished chair project.  You'll note that one photo is of the back, which was fun to try and make look like it was the backside of the snake and frog, etc.  You'll note there are a couple of added bugs both front and back.  My ultimate goal was to create a chair that was uncomfortable to sit in...did I succeed? 

Half Dome in .....

Started a new painting today.  The chair project was completed last week, and I'll post photos of the finished product.  That was a fun project - I painted with acrylics which I never do, and it was fun to kind of make it up as I went along. 

Now, it's good to get back to my small brushes, and small paints.  I'm doing my second Yosemite painting and from the picture below you know that it is Half Dome.   What you don't know is...what season do you think this painting is of?  Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring?  I'm not going to update the photo until I'm about done, so give me a couple of weeks.  Thanks for coming by....Mark

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Altogether different...

I volunteered to paint a chair...The Woman's Club of Palo Alto is doing a fund raiser titled, The Painted Chairs Project.  They were looking for artists to paint their 1930's folding chairs, then they will be auctioning them off in March 2014.  I thought this would be fun so I'm just about finished with mine.  I've been working on it for over a week now.  My idea was to be a little edgy and create a chair that would actually make a person uneasy about sitting in it...is that even possible?  You tell me.  So my ideas...make the seat look like it is broken wood and have someone looking up at you from underneath.  I had a goofy photo of my son - it was perfect.  Then for the back I wanted things you might not want to lean up against...how about a snake, some bugs, and maybe a frog that looks like lunch for the snake.  Also I decided the back should look a little weak so I tried to make it look like the back is just a few slats of wood screwed into place.  here is my progress so far...
I still need to paint the reverse side of the back, as well as paint some breaks in the wood along the legs and sides.  What do you think?  Too creepy?  Should I have painted flowers and rainbows instead?  Thanks for coming by... should be done with the chair in a few days.  Mark

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Yosemite completed

This was a challenge.  A very good challenge.  The fun and satisfaction I get from spending a month working on a painting always starts with an interesting photo.  It was well worth an overnight trip to Yosemite last month to shoot a bunch of morning and evening photos in the valley.  So it's been fun to interpret one of these photos and enjoy the memory of being there with my wonderful wife.  Here you go...

Not sure what's next - please come by next week.  Thanks, Mark

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Yosemite in autumn

Last week Elke and I took a quick trip to Yosemite to take some photos of fall colors in the valley.  We weren't disappointed.  So, up next is a painting from that trip.  El Capitan from the Merced river.  I've been working on this for a few days, so not much to see....if you return in a week should see some yellows and golds...

thanks for coming by...and get to Yosemite if you can...it's always beautiful.  Mark

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Hey...just 5 more minutes

Never did get the elk to look straight ahead again.  So....a slightly unfinished work.  Here it is.
Up next is Yosemite in autumn.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Answering a question...

I'm often asked, do you paint outside from live settings?  The fancy term is: Plein Air.  From the french impressionists of the 19th century who painted outdoors or in the "open air".  But I digress.  My answer is always the same...no, I do not paint plein air, but instead I paint from photos I take or clients take from live settings.  The reason is, as you might be able to guess, is my style and technique is to pay a lot of attention to details.  And these details take me on average 3-4 weeks to put on "the canvas".  So for my next painting I am doing something a little different...I'm creating a painting from 3 different photos I took in Yellowstone earlier this summer.  This painting has the purpose of expressing the difficulty I would have if I were to try to paint from a live setting....that being trying to keep things relatively still for a good amount of time.  I will be titling this painting something like, "hey just 5 more minutes".
As you can see this is early stage development.  The canvas on the right will be the profile of the elk that I am attempting to paint - almost completed.  Keeping the elk looking straight ahead is the chore!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

La Noche - Cuenca, Ecuador

La Noche....night in Cuenca, Ecuador.  This painting brings back many fond memories....for me, my purpose for painting.  What fond memories do you have that should be memorialized in paint?
I have laid out my next painting...if I don't mess it up it will be kind of a humorous take on painting outdoors.  Please return in a few days to see where this is going.  Thanks for checking in....Mark

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Cuenca New Cathedral

Cuenca , Ecuador is a city that Elke and I have taken a major liking to.  On one of our trips there I photographed what's known as the "New Cathedral".  Started in 1885 this beautiful cathedral who's real name is Cathedral of the Immaculate Reception was built to replace the "old Cathedral" which was started in 1567 and had become too small for the growing city.  These two cathedrals face each other standing opposite at either end of Parque Calderon.  Parque Calderon is the center of Cuenca in the historic district.  What excites me about this painting is the variety of colors that exist even though it is a night photograph.  On this particular trip we were there a couple of weeks before Christmas, so the parque was full of food booths which added additional light and colors.  It's great to do a painting that brings back fond memories...I've been working on it for about 10 days, and have another 10 or so to go...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Just received the email with my photographer's digital image of the 3 pelicans.  Maybe I hadn't mentioned before, but every time I complete a painting prior to taking it in to get framed I have it photographed.  My photographer is also the person who does my Giclee prints.  So, anyhow, the photos of my work when they are completed are better then the ones I take with my cell and upload here while I am creating.  I'm having a hard time naming this finished painting, if you have a recommendation please pass it on...here you go...

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Mountain Pelicans

Well, it's been about a month since I last posted an update.  In that time I have torn up one painting and started another.  I was working on a painting from a photo I took at Stanford University, and after about a week I just wasn't getting the results I wanted...the painting was much better in my head.  So, I've changed course and am working on a painting from the photos I took in Yellowstone last month.  During my week in Yellowstone I took a hike one afternoon and discovered a lake outside the park that was very interesting.  Due to a huge earthquake in 1959 a lake was formed where a river was dammed up due to a huge landslide caused by the quake.  Over the years this lake has had hundreds of trees die along the shores.  Prior to the earthquake these trees were thriving along the banks of a river.  After the quake these trees found them selves in 5, 10, 15 feet of water.  Thus they died.  But the good news...because of all the sangs and hidden logs nobody fishes in this area, and the wildlife is fantastic.  I returned to this spot 2 more times while I was there just to sit and watch nature...a spiritual experience.  Each time I was there there were 3 white pelicans paddling in the water on the far side of this narrow lake.  This painting is these three pelicans.  The beauty of this painting is not just the pelicans, but the reflections of the numerous trees in the dead still waters.  This painting is very detailed, as I am wanting to depict each tree, each branch, and then each reflection.  I've been at this painting for almost 2 weeks, and as you can see it's a ways from completion.  I've been working my way across the top of this painting from left to right.  I should finish this top portion in 2-3 days, then the reflected water should be less tedious and hopefully finished in about 10 days....here you go.
By the way, I will get back to the Stanford painting.  My previous painting on this blog, the flamingos was a similar situation.  About a year ago I attempted that painting and couldn't get it right.  A year later better results.  Thanks for coming by, Mark

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Stand of Flamingos

Here you go, painting completed.  Next up...an interesting photo I took of some pelicans in the distance on a wooded pond.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


I love painting birds.  A couple of years ago I was at the San Francisco Zoo with my camera.  There was a group of flamingos all huddled together trying to ignore me.  Well, that didn't matter, and in fact with all their heads down except for one, that made for some interesting photos.  Just started this painting two days ago.  Long way to go on this one.  There is some very dramatic and colorful feathering on a couple of these birds...so please return in a week or so to see the changes.  By the way what do you call a "bunch of flamingos"?
A bunch of flamingos is called a "stand"....here's an updated photo...one more week to completion.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Vintage Touring

Just completed the vintage tour bus and landscape.  This was a very fun painting to take on.  In fact I just couldn't put down my brushes yesterday...it turned into 12:30 this morning.  I wasn't done at the hour or should I say the painting wasn't done, but I was.  Anyhow I just really enjoyed the precision of the bus, combined with the looser mountains and landscape.  Not sure if I mentioned in previous post, but this painting is a combination of 2 photos I took.  The bus, and the mountain landscape.
Here you go....

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Bus slightly moved, almost complete

Well I'm almost done with the bus.  I moved it up and to the right by a couple of inches - made a big difference in the balance of what will be painted next....mainly the middle background and trees on the left.  I really enjoy the details in painting this vintage auto.  The chrome, the headlights, the grill....lots of fun.  Alright I'm off to finish this bus and move on to background.  Have a great day!  Mark

Friday, June 28, 2013

Yellowstone Yellow Bus

While on my photography excursion to Yellowstone a couple of weeks ago, I crossed paths with a vintage yellow tour bus - so I snapped a couple of photos.  These buses, 8 of them, have been restored.  They originally ran in the park from the 1930's to the 1950's.  The White Motor Company created these buses originally modeled after their 1936 convertible limousine.  Yes, the buses are convertible. 

Anyhow, because I think these are very cool looking, and are such a great contrast to the beauty that surrounds them, they have to be painted.  So, here you go....some of the background is complete, and you'll notice I have penciled in the bus.  I don't like where I have located the bus, so check back in a few days to see where I slightly move it....
Thanks for checking in...Mark

Monday, June 17, 2013

Yellowstone National Park

Who out there has been to Yellowstone Park?  I hadn't been since I was about 8 years old...I remembered nothing.  So last week I flew to Montana to spend the week taking photos in both Yellowstone and also down to Grand Teton National Park.  My hope was to get some painting worthy photos.  Yellowstone is one of those places where if you trip and trigger your camera you'll still get a great photo.

For me, since I'm not a big fan of crowds, I got up real early each day and drove to my photography locations arriving before sunrise.  The idea being to give myself the best chance at seeing wildlife at the breakfast hour.  It worked.  When I arrived home a few days ago and uploaded my photos one of the first photos I took was in the Hayden Valley in Yellowstone at about 5am.  The sun was about a half hour from showing up, but the light was fantastic, and everything was in silhouette.  So, it's my first painting from the trip.  This painting is about as simple as a painting gets for me.  Again because the landscape and trees were in silhouette there is very little minute detail.  Basically the sky was the tricky part.  So, here you go....

Up next...another Yellowstone / Teton subject.  Thanks for checking in....if you have the time - go see Yellowstone!  Mark

Friday, May 31, 2013

Curious Cows complete

This was a very fun painting to do.  To me the cows have personality, and it was fun to try and bring that out.  This painting also brought back great memories - that's my reward for spending the time in my studio.

So, here you go...9 young cows very curious about who was walking in their meadow...
not sure what's up next...I can't be trusted to do what I say I'm going to do :)  Thanks for dropping by, Mark

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


The curiosity of these cows is fabulous.  Their stances are very dog-like...

Friday, May 24, 2013

Welcome committee

A few days ago I was preparing to start the painting I described in my last post.  Then, just prior to laying out the painting I saw a photo from a trip my wife and I took with some friends a few years back.  It's funny how certain subject matter doesn't inspire, then one day...it does!  That's what happened here.

The trip we took was a long walk in England.  Almost every day we walked through pastures and in most there were cows.  One day as we walked through this particular pasture a bunch of young cows lined up to welcome us to their meadow...or so it seemed. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Gulls and Bay

This painting was a big "who knows" all the way through.  I just wasn't sure there was a painting here.  Maybe I still don't....anyhow it's different.  What do you think?

Next up is a very tricky sunset.  You may or may not see it - I'm not sure I have the skills to do what I have in mind.  Anyhow, it's a firey sky over the Mediterranean.  If I get it right you may get a view of it in a week or so.  Thanks for coming by.  m

Friday, May 10, 2013

San Francisco Bay

Last week I wanted to take some photos of the San Francisco waterfront from the water - so I took the Red and White Bay cruise.  The weather was great, maybe too great, the city skyline was all a bit gray we needed a good breeze to clear out some of the haze.  Anyhow, the Golden Gate bridge was still there, and the water was blue, so for my next painting I am combining elements from a couple of photos I took.  When we were out around Alcatraz a bunch of seagulls were flying along side our boat.  As I snapped away at the city skyline and Golden Gate bridge many of the photos had seagulls at various distances.  So, let's see if there's an interesting composition to be had.  Let me know if this works - when I'm done!  Thanks, Mark

Monday, May 6, 2013

Western Blue Bird

I was up in the Stanford Foothills last week and snapped a photo of a beautiful little bird sitting on a fence post.  I didn't know the species, but got some help, and learned it's the Western Blue Bird.  So, here you go, a quick little painting, (quick by my standards - 2 days).

Not sure what's next - will figure that out by tomorrow.  Mark

Friday, May 3, 2013

New Mini Painting

It's fun to occasionally paint what I call a mini painting.  It  takes half the time, and it's all detail.  This one measures 8.25"x 13.5.  This little painting has lots of neat colors - those that are easily seen and others hiding in the shadows.

 Up next is likely a landscape from the Stanford dish walk.  Thanks for coming by.  Mark

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Point Lobos, The Slot completed

It was fun to do a painting with an ocean subject.  I really enjoyed the color palette.  The different blues, greens, and even crimson that was needed to solve the various water colors was a good challenge.  Not to mention all the different colors needed for the the rocks, and the vegetation both above and below the water line.  The composition also is pretty cool -  the direction of the rocks, the flow of the water, the calm of the tide pool.

FYI - when I complete a painting I have the painting professionally photographed so that I have good quality images for my blog, website, and when needed - exhibition entries.  My photographer is on vacation for a couple of weeks so this photo of mine will be replaced with a higher quality image when he returns.

Next up is a mini painting - 8"x12".  Another Venice canal scene.  Thanks for stopping by!  Mark

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Slot

Thought I would follow up my Point Lobos tree painting with a Point Lobos water painting.  I didn't do justice in my previous painting to the fact that PL is on the Pacific.  So, my conscience will now be clearer when I complete this painting with a reference to the ocean....
BTW, this view of the Pacific is from a photo I took at "The Slot".  The Slot at Point Lobos is an inlet of water that faces south, so you get the California coast line in the background.  Thanks for checking in...Mark

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Point Lobos completed

Ok, it's a wrap!  This painting was a workout.  I enjoyed the trees, the view, the colors, the small stuff.  It was a test to paint this.  Overlapping branches, tree trunk reflections, shadows - and their nice cool colors, just a lot going on.  At times tedious.  But each day rewarding when something got solved. 

Not sure what is next - possibly another painting from my trip to Point Lobos, possibly a painting from a trip I just returned from to Zion, and Bryce Canyon, Utah.  Happy Easter everyone - HE has Risen Indeed!  Mark

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Point Lobos Update

This painting is a bit more challenging than I expected.  Lots of overlapping tree limbs, shadows, etc.  Anyhow, I'm not as far along as I had hoped.  Here's an updated photo of my progress...
I'm going to be away from my studio for the next 5 days - taking canyon land photos in Utah!  Hopefully some good painting subject material...so it's going to be 10 days or so before this painting looks much different.  Thanks for coming by - have a great week.  Mark

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Point Lobos

Next up is a painting from a walk I took a few weeks ago down at Point Lobos.  For those of you not familiar with this place, PL is a national park on the coast a couple of miles south of Carmel.  I snapped a bunch of photos that day, and today the one that appeals to me for painting is a photo I took looking through some trees toward the ocean.  This picture of my painting is the earliest stage I can get and still have paint on the board....
Please check back in a week from this post, and I should be well along.  Have a great day!  Mark

Monday, February 18, 2013

Mitchell is a wrap...

I worked furiously over the weekend and progressed much more quickly than I anticipated.  This was a very enjoyable painting.  The photo was interesting to me...I liked the pose, the setting...the memory!
Not sure what is next...hopefully I'll have something up and going in a few days.  Thanks again for dropping by.  Mark

Friday, February 15, 2013

Something different...a Human being

You haven't seen a portrait or any thing close to one so far on this blog.  Well, here you go...my son Mitchell.  I'm in the early stages of this work.  Our family was in Ecuador last summer, and one day we were hiking in the Cajas National Park, just 20 minutes northwest of Cuenca.  It was a cold windy day and we were at about 13,000 feet elevation.  I snapped this picture of Mitch as he was contemplating the beauty of this place.  I'll hopefully have this completed in about a week.  Thanks for checking in....Mark

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Banner Peak complete

This is my 3rd painting of this mountain and lake.  Probably my last for awhile.  1000 Island Lake and Ritter and Banner Peaks are my favorite spot in the Sierra's.  So, I had one more photo from my last hike there and I just had to commit it to paint.  Here you go...  I'm now working on a protrait...I'll post my progress in a few days...thanks for stopping by!  m

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Banner Peak...again

My favorite high sierra lake is 1000 Island Lake.  Located on the eastern side of the sierra's at the base of Banner Peak, and Mt. Ritter to its south.  This is my 3rd landscape painting of this area.  This painting is different from my previous two in that the photo I took was taken one afternoon when clouds were gathering and rain was going to fall.  Even though what you see in this early stage of the painting is pretty monochromatic, there is going to be more color as I get to the center of the scene where there is green and gold grasses, and some blue sky reflection at the bottom.  This painting is progressing slowly- lots of tiny brush strokes, so maybe a week from now you'll see an almost complete painting - for sure more color.  Thanks for checking in...Mark
Made some progress today, thought I'd post some color.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Fox & Hounds

If you take the walk across England up near the border with Scotland, the trail walks right past this Tavern.  You'll be glad you stopped here.  The sign on the front of the tavern is a real piece of art.  It was fun to try and recreate this great art in my painting.
I've just started a painting of my favorite peak and lake in the Sierra's.  1000 Island Lake with Mt Ritter in the background.  This painting will be more mountain than lake.  This will be my 3rd painting with the lake and mountain.  Every year or so I need to do a mountain / lake landscape...I happen to have some quality photos from hikes up there so here we go again.... Mark 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

B&B Tavern

Well, revisiting subject material from England.  A few years back on our walk across England we stayed at this quintessential rural B&B / Tavern.  Nothing like the convenience of relaxing and dining, then walking upstairs to retire for the day.  This place was as cool on the inside as it appears from the outside.
Should be done with this painting next week.  Not sure what's up next...any suggestions?  Mark

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Gondola Parking Only

Came across this photo in our travel archives, and decided this might be interesting to paint in miniature.  So this painting is 61/2 inches high and 11 inches wide.  This was fun and I think I'll be doing more miniatures.