Parley's Pride, 2014

18x24 Acrylic on panel
Collection of Spence and Sandy Lloyd

There are always firsts. This was a first for horses.  Well almost a first. I sat by Antonio, a Native American, in third grade. He was great at drawing horses, and I always envied his ability.  Later I entered a "contest" on the "Sheriff Dan Show" and won a sewing machine for my grandmother. But I'll not count those as horses that would compare with this endeavor.  After watching horse pulls for hours, researching horse anatomy, and harnesses, I made the attempt.  Dress harnesses are not the run of the mill harness, as they are much fancier and for show.

I have always admired horses, even before the third grade.  Draft horses are powerful athletes and responsive to the occasion and the teamster. These horses have "performed" and are now pulling the owner, Parley, around the arena which has the purpose of settling them down after the Adrenalin rush of the pull. You can see the power in the arms of the man and can hear the loud speaker host announce the next event.  What a great day for a pull.

The challenge of the painting was to have the sense of place not take away from the horses and man. That must remain a supporting character in the display. Seeing into shadows and feeling the power and desire of the horse and master, so that the spirit of the event is present.

The Gap in Hobble Creek, 2013

11x14 Acrylic on panel
Collection of the Artist

We drove up Hobble Creek looking for a place to paint for an other occasion with a friend.  We were coming back down the canyon when the beauty of the moment was one that could not be ignored. We stopped and took a picture of the road and the gap.  It was not a place to set up an easel so I contented myself to paint it in the studio. What a beautiful place to live.

Hobble Creek Glow, 2013

11x14 Acrylic on panel
Collection of the Artist

My wife and I went on a morning excursion up Hobble Creek Canyon--about five minutes from the house. French easel in hand I found a quiet spot not far from the road where I could observe the morning splendor and the sounds of nature.  Any day painting is a good day.

Spring Thaw, 2013

10x10 Acrylic on panel
Collection of the Artist

We took a spring trip up Provo Canyon above Sundance Sky Resort to a cabin. Here we found a small stream fed by the spring melt. I took several photos of the last vestiges of snow as they filled the streams. A quiet, peaceful time walking in the brisk air enjoying the sounds of awakening.

Blue-water Waterfall, 2012

14x11 Acrylic on panel
Collection of Stan and Karen Martin

The Internet is a marvelous tool for obtaining instructional content. I have been enthralled by the resources offered for free. I signed up with, and as a result, I was offered an opportunity to be a student in live web classes that were recorded for subsequent paid distribution. The process put me "in touch" with Johannes Vloothuis from Canada. Johannes, a professional artist, offered insights that were significant to my development. I can no longer look at paintings without his "commandments" of painting coming to the front of observation. Although I went to art school, I never could make all the connections between what was taught and the application in a painting. Johannes has a way of integrating the two. I don't necessarily agree with everything, but that's because of too many years in art history. I do, however, appreciate him focusing my attention on 15 or so commandments--they tend to grow and morph over time.

This painting was the result of a class assignment to paint a waterfall.  I had never painted waterfalls, so it was a challenge. I never submitted this one for critique, but I learned from the critique of others' works--we all make the same mistakes. Someone once told me, "If we were all to confess our sins to one another, we would be stricken by the lack of creativity." So it is with mistakes in paintings; we all make similar, if not the same ones--novice and professional. Professionals look for and correct them, while the novice goes on unaware of their existence. Johannes taught us to look critically at our own work and correct the mistakes -- if not during the painting process, after our own evaluation. 

I like this painting that was painted with my artistic license to make it "real" rather than realistic.

Loess Hills, East of Logan, 2011

Collection of Conrad and Shirley Acebedo
8.5x11 Acrylic on  panel

One thing I like about painting--observation. Once you start the process of painting, your heightened awareness kicks in, and you see things differently. This doesn't just happen when you have a brush in you hand, but before and after. Subtle color changes and the value shifts used to create depth become beautiful in and of themselves. Marge and I struck out to find beauty on a late autumn day. We came across a back road--dirt of course. Who knows where, but there it was--beauty of place. The moment is memorable as you see the beauty of color, value, line, and stroke. I can never go back to that place except in the painting. Photographs never seem to capture what is really there. Sure they are good for details of shape, but not color, value nor finding it again. Maybe a camera with a GPS would be good, but I don't know why; I have a painting.

Way West, 2011

14x18, Acrylic on canvas
Collection of Marv and Gloria Bailey

In the Winter Quarters Temple there is a painting by LaVoy Eaton which shows the Platte River and Chimney Rock in the early evening. It is a beautiful painting that I have enjoyed each time I was privileged to observe it. For those not of Nebraska, you cannot see Chimney Rock and water in the same scene unless it is raining. Nevertheless, with artistic license in hand I made a sketch of the general composition of the painting and decided to take my brush in hand to make a similar painting after his.  I chose to have it a little later in the day and with more color on the horizon.  One should never paint something just before a webinar on painting skies. You always will find something to correct and then correct again. I love living in Nebraska, and I had a Great Grandmother born in a wagon bed just down the road a bit during an overnight stop at Ash Hollow. There is always a story to tell along life's trail.