Inspiration of Inness

Inspired by Summer, Montclair (New Jersey Landscape) by George Inness
Acrylic on canvas panel 8x10
Collection of the Artist

I've always admired the ethereal nature of the Tonalists and in particular George Inness, so I thought I'd like to "paint like Inness." I didn't really try to copy Inness but to channel him and to learn from the master. I once attended a workshop from a Nebraska regional artist, Judy Greff, who told me if it isn't working just, "...spatter the 'heck' out of it." I like this corollary--just glaze the "heck out of it." I think that works better for me.

Pete's Plane - Hawaii

11x14 Acrylic on Linen Panel (2018)
Private Collection

It's been some time since I've posted some work. This is a painting of a young man training to be a pilot in Hawaii between the wars, about 1935. I've never painted a plane before and this was a challenge for that reason. The research for an historical painting is immense. It was from a black and white photograph and had to be recognizable as to the person.

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.