Recent Work: Starting the New Year

January is off to a good start with seven new works on the go, many of them based on old studies that I wanted to revisit.

This blog post is a look at some of my favorites of the paintings I've completed. I'll add to it as I finish more of them.


Oil painting of pines trees on the Pacific Northwest Coast

Clam Bay. 8x10, oil on hemp panel. 2019. (sold)

This is one of the small coastal bays you pass while riding the Bremerton Ferry.

Three years ago I did a couple of studies of the same scene and I spent a lot of effort without making much headway. However, this time around I managed to find a nice solution.

Here's a good tip: whenever you find yourself painting something that didn't work on the first try, change both the composition AND the palette.


Oil painting of a polled ram

Cassidy. 8x10, oil on hemp linen. 2019.

A new sheep painting. I found this one hard to do, in fact it has gone through eight revisions since I first called it finished.

The challenge, as always, was trying to get it to look like a real sheep without painstaking rendering of the details.


Oil painting landscape of backlit tree against gray sky

Warm Front. 6x12, oil on hemp linen. 2019.

Something I did as a keeper for myself. It's a reverse view of one I did in January 2018 which was sold even before it left the studio.

I often rely on this design pattern when painting on location. There are three main pillars: a simplified sky with two or three values, a simplified treeline with lots of edge work, and the principal color variations brought into the foreground.


 OIl painting of horses in an open field with a warm gray sky.

Warm Gray Sky. 6x12, oil on hemp panel. 2019. (sold)

There are usually just two reasons why a painting has a successful outcome: the quality of the design and the commitment to making it work.

It took longer than usual to paint this small landscape. I nearly scraped if off after painting the sky, but slept on it overnight and decided to battle on.

Small paintings are often done with a single layer of paint over a thin block-in. This needed more work: scumbling in the background, layering in the foreground and re-painting the treeline. The horses proved to be the easiest part.


 Oil painting of clouds over the water in the Pacific Northwest

Over Elliott Bay. 16x20 oil on linen. 2019.

We're having a surprisingly good winter for painting in Seattle. Instead of the usual four feet of rain there's occasional light in the sky.

This painting is based on the view from our house. I changed the viewer's elevation and the appearance of the horizon.

An oil painting of trees at the edge of Lake Washington

Laurelhurst. 12x12, oil on hemp panel. 2019.

Realism emerges from a complex pattern of dashes and abstract marks applied in layers over a transparent underpainting.

This was an experiment with the idea of using a negative space as the center of interest. It's something that I've rarely done—my typical landscapes are often built around big shape objects like trees and clouds.


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