'the Deacon - Cathedral Valley'

Another painting on a wood panel .. has a more uniform surface when painted than on canvas.  Neither good or bad .. just different.  I do like the stiffness of the wood tho.

This studio piece was inspired from one of my many expeditions into the northern area of Capitol Reef .. Cathedral Valley.  A massive imposing formation is found along the dusty road .. high on a crest about a third of the way to the Temples.  Holding court over the vast rocky landscape .. the Deacon.

16x16   oil on wood     $925 
pale gold floater frame

Here are a couple earlier versions:


'Hite Overlook'

First time painting on a cradled wood panel .. gessoed white .. then a layer of magenta acrylic.  I like the wood surface .. not as slick as I thought it might be.

From an overlook along the highway  .. northern end of Lake Powell in Utah ..
The focus of this piece is on the abstract patterns made by the rock formations that used to be covered by the lake.  Hite was a busy marina for houseboats and fisherman .. no more.  This scene is from when there was still some lake water .. but because of persistent droughts in the Southwest .. only the ancient Colorado River flows by now.

16x16   oil on wood panel     $925

maple floater frame

I might paint a pink glaze over the finished piece like this earlier version .. I like it :)


'Reef Savanna'

Drive down the Notom Road on the east side of Capitol Reef NP and you will come upon a wonderland of towering walls of colored earth .. sparsely dotted with Utah junipers and blue-green sage .. great area for an afternoon jaunt across high desert savannas.

 20x20   oil on canvas
framed in carved gold wood      $1500

And a couple of early versions and a blurry closeup of the ancient tree ..


'Living Rock'

Rock portrait .. from along the Burr Trail in Utah .. a wonderland of stone .. alive and magnificent.

8x10      oil on canvas panel      $550

framed in antique pewter wood


'Rock Springs Ranch Road'

Tweaked this plein-air piece a little .. painted on top of a mesa near Escalante while at the art competition last Fall.  Always loved road images .. to me it equals adventure :)

9x12   oil on canvas panel


'Straight Cliffs Morning'

Painted from my base camp near the Straight Cliffs just out of Escalante .. this piece was one of the several paintings I did for the Plein-air competition .. could only choose one to enter .. it was not this one.  However I kinda like it .. mainly because it reminds me of what was happening that morning .. cliffs were golden from the rising sun and the sky growing darker by the minute .. luckily the storm retreated and I was left high and dry :)

9x12    oil on canvas panel     $625

creamy white carved wood frame


'Moab - Sunday Morning'

My first urban painting .. was intimidated by all the cars so I left them out .. put in a couple dog-like shapes instead.  It was actually a lazy late afternoon when this plein-air paint-out event was happening .. I was competing with almost 100 artists .. early Fall and still warm.  I will have to try more 'city' pieces .. fun.

9x12    oil on canvas panel


'Sand Flats' - Moab

Getting back to into the studio swing after traveling this Fall.  From that trip .. here is another award winner .. took 2nd Place in the Moab Red Rocks Plein-air Competition! .. the main event with over 100 artists participating.

Super surprised  .. I thought this was kind of a weird painting for an entry .. but since the snow ruined a couple previous efforts [left outside to dry .. never expected snow while camping .. oops] .. I was running out of time .. so I set up with the atv and bike rider crowd just outside of Moab to try to capture that slickrock glow.  You never know .. just do it ;)

11x14    oil on canvas panel

And here is my late afternoon setup ..


'Dead Horse'

Just got back from camping for 12 days in Moab ..  great place to have outdoor adventures .. so many people everywhere having fun.  Attended the Moab Red Rocks Plein-air Competition .. won two awards here too!

Here is one winner .. painted from the rim at Deadhorse State Park .. we had only an afternoon to paint .. then frame .. then turn it in for judging.  The canyons were very smoke-filled from the fires in California .. but I managed to record some muted colors and just a small slice of the vastness.  Received 2nd place in the Deadhorse Paint-out  .. a great honor as there was some really good artwork in this show.  Want to go back and paint again .. love the area.

Here it is on the judge's wall ..


'Chamisa' .. won TWO awards :)

Just got back from camping near Escalante - Utah while participating in their Plein-air Competition for the week.  I wasn't having much luck painting rocky landscapes .. so I thought I would try my hand at the lush rabbitbrush lining the roads .. a subject that I had only attempted once before.  Tricky to get the weight of the flowers just right .. a fun challenge.

To my surprise .. this small oil won two awards .. the Award of Merit [one step below Best of Show] .. and the Artist's Choice .. an award which I will certainly treasure.  It sold before I could take a better photo .. but this image gives you an idea of the painting in it's rustic frame.

Right now I am re-supplying and packing up to head out to Moab .. another big Plein-air Competition .. hope I can find a decent camping spot during their busiest time of year .. will report back in a couple weeks.

8x10    oil on canvas panel    SOLD

..  and another photo ..


'Cedar Mesa' - near Notom - Utah

Another piece from the six series .. framed in satin white .. painted from one of my favorite places in the West .. the Cedar Mesa campground on the east side of Capitol Reef .. glorious landscapes are to be found there in a region of superlatives.

8x8 oil on canvas panel
framed in modern satin white wood 

- available at the Burr Trail Outpost Gallery - Boulder - Utah

'Caineville Fields' - east of Capitol Reef

I just finished a series of six 8x8 oils .. inspired by the landscapes found near where I live in Torrey .. framed in satin white wood for a contemporary look.   I debated whether to paint the frames another color .. but then they look 'painted' and not professional .. so it was either black or white in this type frame .. white it is.

8x8   framed in satin white wood  
oil on canvas panel


From the winter studio ..

Here is one of the paintings I was working on this past winter .. a 24x24 .. from my imagination and recall of the desert mountains found near Death Valley .. big alluvial fans with Persian patterns .. still working out the design and color.  By comparison .. plein air is much easier :)

* Edit update:  This painting project no longer exists .. I wasn't able to take it where I wanted it to go .. headed for the burn pile.  You have to be able to let go and not get too attached even if you worked hours and hours on it [like this one].  I haven't given up on the concept tho .. always loved the patterns made by water .. even in the deep desert.

And another imaginary piece that I may try to finish someday .. 



Focusing on transitional light and land forms .. that magic time as dusk starts to fall .. the last colors are darkly saturated.  Tricky to paint the subtle bands of ascending color .. someday I would like to be able to paint that pellucid atmosphere .. where your pupils are open because of the dimness .. but you are able to perceive 'more'.

6x6     oil on canvas panel     SOLD

Here is a previous version .. I thought I was finished .. but it kept nagging me to go further :)

And an even earlier version .. it has improved quite a bit :)


'Erosional Beauty'

On the east side of Capitol Reef you will find a myriad of beautiful clay formations .. sculptures made from the ancient sea beds that once covered this region.  These small studies are very satisfying to do .. a sense of accomplishment because they are not as stressful to finish like a large complex piece.

6x6    oil on canvas panel    $175


'Storm Light' - Grand Canyon

A small painting inspired from a small crop of a photo I took while living at the South Rim  .. out for a hike while a storm quickly blew in .. and then blew out. Lucky I had my camera with me to record the fast-moving event.  Of course.. this looks nothing like the photo .. it is an impression of the just one of the Canyon's moods.

6x6       oil on canvas panel      $175


'Spring Snow'

Another small snow painting .. early melting here in the high desert.  Love working with the subtlety of whites .. just a microscopic touch of color changes it's mood .. it is luminous and wonderful.

6x6      oil on canvas panel



Winter is still in full swing here... almost zero.. brrr.  Here is another small snow painting that was fun to do.. lots of turquoise.

6x6       oil on canvas panel       SOLD

And here are a few process pics:

I thought this was the finished painting .. I had to break up the diagonal snow and rocks .. too strong and leads you right out of the composition.  I also made the snow not as blue and added more light to it.  Snow is very reflective.

The layin:


'Winter Chamisa'

Another in the small series .. was out on a photo shoot last week .. not much snow .. been warmer here than usual.  So to allay cabin fever .. nothing better than drive around in my Jeep with a trusty camera.   Here is one such scene .. ochre turquoise chamisa .. low winter light .. mountains with snow clinging all in blue shadow.

'5x7       oil on canvas panel


'Totem Rock'

Another rock study in a series of small paintings .. created while a major snow storm moved in and is in the process of blowing itself out .. not to worry .. all is warm and cozy in my studio .. wind gusting .. Vivaldi accompanies to lighten the mood.

This piece was inspired by one of the many redrock formations found in this part of Utah .. it was an overcast day when I took the reference photo.  I emphasized the cool cast and underplayed the warmth from the image.  I liked how this stately group thrust up into the silvery sky .. calm and watchful .. like a totem.

5x7     oil on canvas     $175


'Western Skies'

Winter is in full swing here in Torrey .. I am keeping cabin fever from setting in by doing a series of small oil studies.  At the same time.. I am also reworking a couple larger complex pieces and I needed to take a break and have the satisfaction of completion [which is eluding me on the big canvases] .. ergo small paintings to the rescue.

5x7       oil on canvas panel        SOLD

And here is the photo I took last summer .. reference for the clouds:


'Sienna Light' - Grand Canyon - evolution of a study

I thought I would show the stages a painting might go through .. the first two images were painted previously and are buried beneath the current version.  In each case .. I thought the painting was finished.. not. 

The last image is of the final painting [but I might want to tweak it a bit more .. a couple of intense sparks of light] .. is a painting ever done?

grand canyon art painting process km withers

grand canyon art southwest painting km withers

Current version:

grand canyon art oil painting of last light on a formation km withers southwest art

8x10     oil on a canvas panel     $550
antique pewter wood frame


'Awapa Sheep Camp' - Utah Highlands

I thought I would post a few photos of a painting that recently sold.. it took me a long time and many many revisions.  Mainly it took so long because I was not used to mixing so many greens .. a color I rarely used in my landscapes and actually avoided.  So I decided to face my fears and do a green painting.

This is an impression of one of the sheep camps you might find on the Awapa Plateau in central Utah.  It is a vast upland region close to Capitol Reef NP.. high meadows and scattered stands of trees.  The winds can be fierce.  You will not see any tourists up there.. maybe a modern day cowboy or a 4x4 adventurer.  Being above 8000'.. it's a great place in the summer when it's hot down below.. great camping.. and vey beautiful.

20x20       oil on canvas       SOLD

Here is a photo of just one of the very early stages of this painting:

And a later stage .. not as green as the finished piece:


'Sunflower Ridge' - Capitol Reef geology

Another effort at painting rocks ..

rock art, capitol reef painting of a rocky ridge,painting of rocks

8x10  oil on canvas

.. a close-up:

painting rocks, oil painting of rocks,capitol reef formations

The early stages .. I think I like this version better .. moonlit rocks?


'Mesa Afternoon' - just outside Escalante - Utah

A quick plein-air piece created while at the Escalante Competition .. standing by the side of the road in mid-afternoon  .. overlooking faraway sandstone mesas .. the radiance was what captured my attention .. the space of the high desert.

plein air painting escalante utah red rock mesas

9x12   oil on canvas panel

And here is an interim stage of this painting.. I thought it was done but was not satisfied .. thought it was too pastel .. too wimpy .. or maybe not :)

And here is a shot of this piece in it's early stages while on my plein-air easel:

.. the paint box on it's heavy-duty tripod: