'Rainbow Formation'

5x7   oil on canvas panel    SOLD

Here is one of my personal favorites.. a small oil I had completed in the last few months. It was sold a few days ago... I wanted to post it anyway as an example of meeting a painting challenge I had set for myself. While driving on one of the lonely highways across the Painted Desert region of northern Arizona... a storm was quickly approaching [weather can change quickly on the high desert].. and I almost didn't see this scene unfolding in front of me.. a rainbow just starting to form.. the subtle veil of colors coalescing against the dark backdrop of the stormy sky. My goal was to translate this great subject to canvas.. the electric light of the last rays of the setting sun.. the rainbow.. a sense of impending manifestation. How did I do?


Back to Work

Okay... after procrastinating and generally goofing off... I am back in front of the easel. The above image is of a large 30x40 canvas I have been working on seemingly forever... on and off for a couple years anyway.. an intimate view just below the rim of the Grand Canyon. I will try to finish it so I can start another big beautiful painting.. this time of one of my favorite places in the Southwest.. Lake Powell. I am focusing on large work now...small paintings are good to practice a technique or try out an aspect of color theory.. but the real thrill is in painting big.



5x7      oil on canvas panel      SOLD

This is my effort at painting a green apple.. green being a color I use rarely on my palette.. and if I do.. they are always mixed from yellows, oranges and blues. In this particular piece.. I used cerulean blue and cadmium yellow light with a touch of orange to imply the ripeness of this big green apple. Oh.. and the title of this painting inspired me to paint an impression of the famous New York City skyline.. the Big Apple.


'Summer Peach'

5x7     oil on canvas panel     SOLD

Who doesn't like a fresh summer peach just off the tree? Alas for most of us.. we have to settle for the store-bought variety... still juicy good. I usually paint landscapes but decided to brush up on my still life skills.. requires quite a bit more concentration and intense eye power to see all the nuances.. a good change.. a good challenge.


'Courthouse Wash'

8x10      oil on canvas panel     SOLD

Not so long ago... all the roads into Arches National Park were gravel.. dusty and rutted. But the park became popular as people discovered this magnificent rock garden.. so the government paved the roads and even more people came. Today.. it is very crowded two thirds of the year. I will leave it to you to discover the other third when it can make all the difference in your experience of this sublime landscape.



8x10     on canvas panel      SOLD

These impressive stone formations are found in Arches National Park in Utah.. an example of just one of the wonderful mammoth natural sculptures dotting this popular park. This piece is a close-up without the distraction of distance or other shapes in the composItion... an intimate view. The forms have an other-worldly feel to them.. as if an important conversation had suddenly turned to stone.


'Wheeler Peak' - Great Basin National Park

8x10     oil on canvas panel

Purchase info

Wheeler Peak is the second highest mountain in Nevada.. surpassed only by Boundary Peak on the Nevada/California border. Here [where my studio is for the summer].. on the Utah/Nevada stateline.. is Great Basin National Park with wonderful old-time campgrounds and plenty of water [for now]. There used to be large glaciers on Wheeler... but as this painting shows.. there are just a few patches left from it's former glorious white mantle. This piece depicts a scene from the Alpine Lakes Loop Trail.. all above 10,000' in the high thin air and intense sunlight.


'Moonrise' - somewhere in my desert imagination

8x10     oil on canvas panel     SOLD

Moonrise over the West.. an experience of the mystic as the full moon majestically rises over the silent desert.. an experience that I have always found to be one of the best reasons to be alive. This piece is a study in contrasts.. the intense saturated orange of a mesa at last light with the cooler darker violet colors of the foreground already in shadow... the simple moon in a pearly sky contrasted with the earth's wonderful complexity and texture. Purple and orange.. a favorite pair.


'Flat Iron Mesa' - Utah canyonlands

8x10    oil on canvas panel    SOLD

The rich saturated colors of last light in canyon country .. a perfect subject for oils.. and a good reason why oil paints have been used for centuries as the preferred medium for artistic expression.. no other materials come close to the luminous intensity that can be conveyed. This piece is offered for sale with a digital image to represent it.. but the digital image cannot match the lushness of the actual paint colors or how beautiful it is when viewed framed in a personal space... this is where Art comes alive.


'Reservation Blues' - north of Holbrook - Arizona

8x10      oil on canvas panel      SOLD

Navajo Highway 6 runs north from Holbrook - Arizona .. one of the many paved trails on the Reservation.. trails because hardly anyone travels these great old roads.. you might see Native Americans in U.S.-made pickups and a few intrepid [or lost] tourists. Love cruising these lonely beautiful highways.. nostalgia for the late great days of Arizona.


'Mill Creek Canyon' - Utah

8x10    oil on canvas panel    SOLD

The redrock landscapes arouind Moab - Utah are some of my favorites in the entire West.. an artist's dream of form and color. This is a study of warm pottery -colored earth contrasted with the wonderful cool silvery blue-green sage lining an impromptu trail ... hiking in the beautiful Mill Creek Canyon area.. just one of many spectacular pockets in this part of the country.. best visited in late October or November after the crowds.


'Kaibab Trail' - Grand Canyon

5x7    oil on a canvas panel   SOLD

Not for the faint of heart or the badly out-of-shape.. the Kaibab Trail descends into the depths of the Grand Canyon.. a major Stairmaster workout. at high elevation and in an unforgiving dry climate. This small oil study is from a small portion of that trail... the O'Neil Butte region not too far from the Rim.. the Butte being one of the landmarks on this famous trail.  Relatively easy to descend.. tourists are lulled into the chase of a new experience forgetting about the brutal climb that awaits them.  People die on this trail .. be prepared!


'Desert Islands' - Sonoran sunset

8x10    oil on canvas panel

Purchase Info

A typical slice of a desert landscape.. an intimate perspective.. creosote bushes and trees surrounded by luminous golden grasses.. garden islands in a swirling sea of gravel and sand.. lavender silvery light falling from the sky.. the last light of the setting sun.


'Sienna Light' - Grand Canyon NP

8x10    oil on canvas panel

Gallery 24 - Torrey - Utah

The Grand Canyon is so vast .. it's size is not really experienced from the Rim. Living at the Canyon for three years allowed me to experience it in all weather conditions and different lighting conditions. In this painting.. only a very small piece of the Canyon is visible.. increasing the intimacy and detail of one of it's numerous monumental formations. This particular terraced temple-like structure.. shining in the last light of sunset.. is found just below Mather Point and is one of my favorite subjects.. surely to be painted again and again.

*Updated painting .. the original older piece was painted over and re-posted here in it's current 2016 version.


'Pole Canyon Road' - Great Basin National Park

8x10     oil on canvas panel     SOLD

This plein-air oil painting is from a dayhike into a lesser-known area of Great Basin National Park.. one of the most remote regions of the West. Mining was a large part of the old economy before the turn of the century.. and this road was made and used by those long gone gold miners. Just up the road is a dugout.. not the baseball kind.. but a dwelling built into the hillside as shelter from the cold bitter winds of Nevada. But on this bright June day.. the past melted into the present.. perfect.


'Racing the Sun'

8x10      oil on canvas panel

This is the second painting in a series of oils featuring majestic clouds.. clouds silently composing wonderful landscapes in the Space known as the Sky.. the sky we take for granted and rarely contemplate. When clouds are present.. there is a dance of forms appearing and dissolving... constantly changing shape and color.. sometimes bright white... sometime sombre gray... or reflecting the rainbow colors of a sunset.

In this painting... the colors are subdued and subtle.. the soft undersides of the low clouds take on the reflected colors from the earth and pavement below.. the lavender shadow of a passing cloud on a rarely-travelled road.. fun racing the sun.


'Cloud Concerto' - Grand Canyon National Park

8x10      oil on canvas panel     SOLD

Nowhere is Nature's music more dramatic than in the beautiful landscapes formed by clouds... the ever-changing forms in the colored light of sunrise or sunset... a painter's inspiration. I remember spending many mesmerized summer hours as a child laying stretched out on the grass watching the clouds turn into fairytales come to life. This painting is the first in a series of the abstract beauty of skies.. skies as majestic music.

Here is the underpainting for this piece .. the design ..


'Blue Highways' - somewhere in the American West

8x10     oil on canvas panel     SOLD

The beginning of a new series of highway/road oil paintings gleaned from my extensive travels.. based on one of the hundreds of road photos in my collection. The title of this piece is from a famous book detailing impressions of the less-travelled regions of the U.S.. written by William Least Heat-Moon. And the asphalt really is blue in the mid-day sun. I love the open highways in the Outback regions of the West.. no traffic.. just light and space.. plenty of time to soak-in the countryside.. cruising .. the good life.


'Burnt Orange' - Southwest desert painting

5x7  oil on canvas panel  SOLD

Many artists fear using orange.. but it is an useful color on my palette.. maybe because much of the land in the Southwest deserts is naked... barren of the cover of plants... beautifully designed... baked by the intense unrelenting sun.... burnt orange.


'Canyon Bliss' - Drawing

This is a page from one of my sketch books.. an idea for a large oil painting of water as it hits the submerged rocks in the Colorado River.. the force and beauty of the spray as it catches the light.. the backdrop a stylized version of the desert along the river. The main design to work out is the pattern of the spray and also to try to capture the translucent nature and weight of the water as it rolls by.   And all this action is lit by the late morning light.. refracting.. a feeling of diamonds throw in the air.. liquid magic.


'Capturing Sunrise' - Great Basin National Park

4x4     oil on canvas     nfs

Another view of the famed Wheeler Peak ... first to receive the morning light. I felt duty-bound to paint at least a couple studies of one of Great Basin's landmarks. Right now.. I am focused on completing two road pieces.. stark asphalt and clouds. Back to the easel.. these will be posted soon.


'Wheeler Peak' - Great Basin NP - Nevada

4x4      oil on canvas      nfs

Here is the first piece of a popular vista here at Great Basin NP... a view of Wheeler Peak Basin featuring the highest mountain in the area.. Wheeler Peak.. over 13,000'. The trail to the top is all high elevation... t starts at 10,000' from a little parking area along the drive to the end-of-the-road Wheeler campground. Once known for it's glacier.. now there is just a smidgeon of snow. The creeks formed by the melting glacier and seasonal snowpack provides a lush well-watered oasis in the dry high desert of Nevada. Better come visit before it becomes a shadow of it's former self.

The mountain mahogany [usually just a large bush] are tree sized here.. and the mormon tea [usually just a small shrub] are the largest I have ever seen.. mammoth. The feeling here is like witnessing the remnants of an once-lush bygone era.. still strong and magnificent.


Back to Work - Grand Canyon skies draft

8x10 oil on canvas panel

After getting settled in our new camp and taking a few weeks off exploring the high elevations of Great Basin National Park.. it is time to get back to work! To warm up.. a few quick pieces. Here is the underpainting for a sky study from a photo I took last summer over the Grand Canyon from Mather Point. I also completed two small oils of Wheeler Peak... he highest mountain close to our camp.. will post them later.

My current goal is to be much faster painting these small oils.. more impressionistic with the objective of getting an juicy expressive stroke with just the right color and value in one go.. whew!  This kind of work demands concentration and letting go at the same time.. like a dance.. a spicy tango.


SpaceCamp - Great Basin NP

A few photos of our new environs in Great Basin National Park...  will post better images of this beautiful Park in the near future.. but for now.. a taste of this high elevation desert camp.

.. of the fishing creeks behind camp.. lots of water here.. unusual for Nevada

.. my temporary painting studio this summer... one of our smaller canvas wall tents.. will be laying out the oils very soon!

.. the early morning view of one of the roads from our front door.. huge ponderosas with a dusting of snow ... 7600'


'El Tovar Chamisa' - Grand Canyon

5x7      oil on canvas/panel      SOLD

Here is another small colorful oil of one of my favorite plants... the ubiquitous chamisa of the West. These large bushes [also known as rabbitbush] are commonly found in the higher elevations of the desert... usually above 4000'... especially along the backroads where they are allowed to grow. The flowers of this plant in early September are worth a trip just to see them. Also at this time of year in the high desert... the cottonwoods turn golden and the skies are a crisp deep blue... so beautiful. If you haven't travelled to the Southwest at this time of year.. do try and visit... you will love it!


Arrival - Chamisa study

Just a quick note to let everyone know we made it to Great Basin National Park. middle of nowhere Nevada. SpaceCamp is located 7800' above sea-level next to a fast trout stream fed by glaciers. Hopefully my tent studio will be set up soon.. plus I also plan to paint on location.. small 5x7 and 8x10 color studies focusing on the beautiful shrubs and trees.. especially the awe-inspiring bristlecone pines. I will post photos of this park in the next few weeks.. have just started to explore our new home. Since this blog is mainly about my paintings.. here is a study of a young chamisa I did last fall. These beauties are found throughout the West and are one of my favorite plants.


SpaceCamp - Winter Desert Camp

As promised in my last post.. here are a few photos of SpaceCamp in the southern Arizona outback. We plan to spend next winter in the same spot.. peace and quiet and lots of desert wildlife.

.. the view from my studio as the rays of the setting sun turn the world golden

.. the last light on desert formations... the magic of the Southwest

.. a view of SpaceCamp as I was walking back to camp.. my studio is the tent on the left

.. the purples and violets of the afterglow... lots of iridescent colors

SpaceCamp from the 'back'.. completely self-sufficent off-the-grid.. solar powers everything.. wind power generator for non-sunny days... hose tripods and dishes are for the satellite internet and satellite tv.. all the comforts. my studio is on the right.. buckled up for the night in case a windstorm kicks up. Quite a nomadic setup.


Artist Tent Studio - Photos

We are in the process of moving SpaceCamp to the high elevations of Great Basin National Park. Since I am not painting these past couple weeks.. I will post a few photos of a more personal note.. interior shots of my canvas tent studio when it was set up near the rim of the Grand Canyon for three years. Fellow artists would be interested to peruse my working space.. always good to see other art studios.. I know it always gives me energy to continue. So here they are...

.. working on 'Nankoweap Noon' .. a 30x40.. still working on the comp

.. how I organize my paints [spectrum layout... warm to cool of each color group.. and always way more colors than I need just in case I decide to try a different color than my usual palette..  I own over 250 oils [not all displayed here].. always room for a new color

.. my computer work area and one of my small desert studies .. sold already

.. working at night ... those are 5000k daylight fluorescents above the easel and halogen spotlights clamped to the tent frame to check my colors for gallery lighting

.. my buddy... the 50's Korean woodstove.. works great even in the coldest weather.. 7000' here at the Canyon. Never cold in this studio even in winter .. amazing for canvas walls.



6x6      oil on canvas     SOLD

This little study is painted in an old fashioned style.. strong frontal light the subject.. lots of color. This intense lighting was one of the trademarks that made the impressionist movement so different from the preceding art styles.. and also what angered the critics. It was considered too raw.. too ugly.. and in the high years of this movement.. was best seen in Monet. Soon this type of lighting  foreshadowed the post-impressionism of Gauguin and Cezanne.. the flat colors and the strong influence of eastern design leading the way to 'modern art'.  When I teach I encourage all my students to study art history.. the past masters have influence to this day. Closely surveying their work will reveal how each art period evolved into the next. One wonders what.. from this ancient spectrum..  we are in the process of manifesting.


'Canyon Colors' - Grand Canyon South Rim

6x6      oil on canvas     SOLD

Sunset brings out the saturated colors at the Grand Canyon.. this view is not far from the famous El Tovar hotel along the Rim Trail. Capturing this with a digital camera is a challenge.. the colors of golden green of the pinyon trees and red violet of the canyon's shadowed walls seem to be too much for the digital lens... opposites on the Munsell color wheel.. they are a very vibrant pair.


'Cobalt Rising' - Grand Canyon NP

5x7      oil on canvas panel      SOLD

A different reality.. the night world rises and orange merges into the blue.. opposites of the color spectrum. How is this possible? We take this kind of ordinary magic for granted.. but it is really incredible when contemplated.  As an observer... what does the boundary of these two worlds look like.. feel like... and what color is it? How can this magic realm be translated into paint?

A common art principle explanation is that the half-tone [color change area] is a darker and redder shade of the color in the light and the leading edge of the shadowed area is a tad darker shade of itself. But I feel there is more to this.. there must be a rainbow of colors represented between day and night.. the warm to cool transition. Perhaps a micro view of this limbo land would be very beautiful in a larger painting.. and would certainly be a real challenge.


'Watchman Chasm' - Grand Canyon - Colorado River

5x7   oil on canvas panel   my stash

One of my more imaginative paintings.. the personification of the canyon formations.. the swirling colors of the Colorado River... mid-morning light. These small oils have a monumental quality that can translate well to a larger canvas... a fairytale come to life.


'Calico Canyon' - Flaming Gorge-Utah

24x30      oil on canvas in a gold carved frame     $2500   
email me for purchase info

I wish you could see this in person... the last light on the mesa tops with the subtle reflected colors far below... very difficult to get a good digital image of the nuances. Poetry of the quiet time of day. The incessant winds in this part of the country are finally quiet... the sun driven energy softens to the solace of dusk.

This large piece is cradled in a nouveau-modern heavy wood antiqued gold frame with carved vine patterns.


'Aerial' - Lake Powell

5x7     oil on canvas panel     SOLD

High in the sky.... looking down on the spectacular sandstone formations at the northern end of Lake Powell. I needed to paint something different... a new perspective.. some breathing space.. some air... more abstract. This little study was like painting a puzzle... all the parts had to fit together.   I will probably do several pieces of this subject as a series.. investigate the structures further.    I have found the patterns you see here to be present in all aspects of our universe... from the swirls of stellar clouds to the barely discernible same designs in the dirt... the organic flow of this fractal pattern is part of the structure of our perceived reality... just look closely.


'Opposites' - Grand Canyon Sunset

5x7    oil on canvas panel.   SOLD

Blue and orange are opposites on the standard color wheel... but on the artist's color wheel.. the Munsell version... the opposite of blue is yellow and the opposite of red-orange is turquoise. Nothing says the high desert like the use of these colors. If you like art history [my minor in college]... check out the succinct work of the late great Maynard Dixon.. a master of color oppositions you can see emulated by many famous landscape painters today.


'Dawn' - Grand Canyon Rim

5x7 oil on canvas panel

I know this looks a bit strange... almost abstract... an impression of the bright yellow color of the morning sun on the rock formations.. far above the Tonto platform of the Grand Canyon. Maybe a bird flying around would have clarified things.. it is what it is... a small study of light.


'the Gathering' - Arches National Park

5x7     oil on canvas panel     my stash   

An example of another view of the 'Three Sisters' in Arches NP which was the focus of 'Stone Sisters' and 'Procession'. This oil study is a close-up of this famous formation and is more detailed.. lots of fun to do. I love rocks and stones so I guess I am living in a good place among them here in the West :)


'Stone Sisters' - Arches National Park

5x7      oil on canvas panel     SOLD

Here is the revised version of 'Procession' posted last week. I changed the name.. a cheerier title. These magnificent sandstone formations can be found in Arches National Park.. .wonderful... like a huge sculpture garden. I did not change the composition that much from the original.. a few rocks here and there... and the colors of the background were made more atmospheric. Compare for yourself... like those newspaper image puzzles where you have to find 8 things that are different .. only my changes won't be so hard to find!