2017-10-08 The Mt. Judea Mercantile

Jennifer and I brought a bunch of prints over to the Mt. Judea Mercantile in September. The Mercantile is a Co-op of local artists and crafters who sell their handiwork out of an old general store building in a tiny town out in the middle of nowhere in the Ozarks. The entire town consists of the Mercantile, a gas station, and a school.. There must be a post office somewhere, but I can’t recall where exactly it is at the moment..
Anyway, to avoid paying commissions on your sales, the “vendors” can spend 3 days per season tending the store. Today was our first day, SO Jennifer and I jumped in Tony and cruised over; good thing too, because there is no running water at the store, so the bathroom on the Van came in handy throughout the day.
So while Jennifer tended the store, took care of customers, collected money, and sold fried pies, I sat out front, across the street, painting the old store. We did a surprising business this Sunday; there were a lot of tourists roaming around for such a remote location.. Here is how the painting came along:

2017-07-20 Holland Lake, Hungry Horse Reservoir & Glacier National Park

Between Yellowstone and Glacier, we saw a little smoke from the wildfires – but this is about as close as we ever got…

We stopped at Holland Lake to Camp between Yellowstone and Glacier.. Found a nice place to swim, and met two opera singers from Idaho… (how often does one get to say that?)

Chef Jennifer prepared a fine Italian meal, and Steve supplied some sausage and the authentic table cloth..






In the morning we hiked up to great waterfall.

As we continued North, we stopped for Pizza night and then ended up at Hungry Horse Reservoir, where we found a most excellent campsite (after about 10 miles of washboard dirt road)

I got started on a painting of this scene (which is also right where we camped)

And in the morning, we headed into Glacier National Park.

Glacier is a pretty phenomenal place, and that is evident just a couple miles into the park..

The Going to the Sun Road is an experience everyone should have – we were lucky enough to have two drivers; so one could view, and the other could drive and switch alternatively. If one was traveling alone, I would definitely suggest the Red Bus tours to see the sights, and then Driving through also just for the fun of the drive.




2017-01-09 The Progression of a Painting

This Painting was taken from a Photograph I took on my Iphone while visiting Big Bend National Park.

The canvas I started with was already painted once. I didn’t like the original work, and had painted over it with some blue paint I had on my pallette. (You can see the original color on the bottom 1/4 of the picture). I squished a couple blues around and then started adding some interesting cloud formations.

Working from the Photograph as reference, I worked the clouds some more and the tinted the sky with reds, browns and yellows a little more than it really was..

Then I used some Browns and Purple to sketch in the horizon.

And worked forward a little with some contrasting color for an underpainting blocking in the colors and shapes.

Once satisfied with the placement of shapes and composition, I started working the mountains in the background a little.

The Red swath in the foreground will be the trail, and I added some color for the grasses etc.. constantly working back and forth letting areas of paint dry a little while I worked a different part of the canvas.

Flicking and splattering paint, I just keep moving forward while refining the background at the same time. Working in the grasses and bushes in the foreground, adding some color to the pathway..

Flick and splatter, flick and splatter… add a few branches in a lighter color so it pops in front of the dark stuff.

Refine the cactus shapes in front, and add some more rocks and gravel to the walkway..

At this point my feet were tired, so I called it a day.  Now I’ll add a coat of clear over the top to make the colors pop and study it for awhile to see what else needs to be done…
OK, so it’s a tad more colorful than reality… What can I tell you?
…Texas is a little too drab in January for my liking.


…and finished:

2016-09-23 Richland Creek Wilderness Area: Twin Falls Devils Fork

Last year we took our Old 97 Dodge Van to Richland Creek Wilderness area for the weekend to hike to Twin Falls, Devils Fork Waterfall. We managed to pass the little fork in the Creek and ended up at Richland Falls.
This year, we did it a little more comfortably, in Tony (the Travato), and I finally made it there (I think this was my 4th or 5th attempt to find this elusive spot).

Its a 2-1/2 mile hike (good workout) up Richland Creek in to the wilderness area. The entire hike is beautiful, and scattered with wonderful little holes of water to stop and swim in for a bit. The water is turquoise and amazingly clean and clear.



Here is the fork to look for; A right angle turn in the creek to the left, and this huge angled sycamore points the way to Devils Fork. The creek looks dry at the point it enters Richland, the water is underground.


I’ve seen the water higher when determined photographers make the hike in and get those awesome shots of thundering waterfalls, but that would probably entail a lot more “wading” and river crossings than we were up for. It was perfect for us; the water was high enough to fill all the swimming holes, yet low enough so we did not have to worry about currents.img_6481-2


img_6472-2Saturday night we had visitors at the campsite to share steak, salad and baked potatoes over the fire. With Birthday cake to boot.

dinnerHappy Birthday to me.

Another awesome weekend in the Ozarks with this fine lady.

Sunday, we sat down by the river, and I worked on a plein air of the Richland Creek campground swimming hole while Jennifer read a book. 


Fall is coming, so I helped Mother Nature color the trees up a bit more..


Maybe I’ll finish it tonight..

The Final result is on the Next Post

Life is good.

2016-06-02 Telluride Co.: Americas Most Beautiful Drive

Thursday Morning we made the loop from Ouray to the North, through Ridgeway, and around to Telluride.



A stroll around town, and a bike ride up another great city walking/biking trail along the San Miguel River..13344642_1197545300270046_7176320411746781126_n


This one had some history, with Kiosks along the highway. Those zig zags up the mountain is a switched back road to the mine (still covered with Snow in June). They are used as Jeep touring roads now, and no doubt lead to the trails which connect to Ouray… The two towns are less than 10 miles apart as the crow flies, but divided by 10000 ft plus peaks.IMG_5969

There is a (free) Gondola that takes you up and around in to Mountain Village (a mini-Aspen).IMG_5951We skipped the typical crowded commercial campgrounds in town, and found the Sunshine Campground State Park just South of town a couple miles. 
The view from our “sliding doors” was awe inspiring. So much so, I whipped out a quick little painting.13325494_1197544506936792_7129407875650486571_n


I’ll finish this up when I get home..


Sunshine Mountain


2016-03-04 Springfield Art Walk, McIlroy Madison WMA, Wagonshed Painting, Steel Creek

As usual, we took off with plans of Jello

(the best part about owning a small Class B Van).

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Our first destination was the First Friday Art Walk in Springfield Mo. Springfield is a funky little city (3rd largest in MO) with an energetic art community. They seem to have been working on rehabilitating “Downtown” for a decade or two. We packed up some groceries and headed up the highway a couple hours North. Though we arrived a little late, we quickly slid into a normal city street parking spot and began wandering the streets somewhat aimlessly trying to find galleries and participants of the Art Walk.  Street Musicians were on nearly every block, and “people watching” was the highlight of the evening.  The local residents, rednecks, punk, goth, Rock N Rollers, clean cut college kids, 50 something tourists, farmers, business owners, art and wine connoisseurs, and many “blends” of the above, seemed to have turned out on this pleasant March Evening. I was having too much fun to think about snapping any photos. Jennifer and I shared some Soup & Veal/Portobello Mushroom Raviolli at Brunnos, a great little Italian restaurant recommended by our friend, Joe Golden. 🙂

Enough of the City. We headed South and found a great free (out of season) COE Campground called Cape Fair Marina.  As Jennifer slept off her Zuppa, late into the night, I was having a ball listening to the stereo, following Siris instructions on the GPS, and driving through the darkness over the twisty hilly roads in the Ozarks down to the lake. …and we camped in Style; Lakeside, Free, Again 😀

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In the morning, we started out early looking for something to paint from a list of “attractions” another friend had recommended… The first “must see” item was a shabby place called the Golden Museum… It was closed…  2016-0305 17


Next, was the “Little Golden Gate” Beaver Bridge.. ehh…




Then we stopped by “Roaring River State 2016-0305 15Park” and Fishery, only to discover it was the first week of trout season, and the place was packed with THOUSANDS of fisherman (literally -Thousands- spaced every 10 or 20′ along the river for 2 miles fishing) It was a ridiculous sight, and so disappointing we didn’t think to photograph that either… They did have a cool spring there though, and we got in a quick steep hike; up, over and around this canyon.

So, that was enough of planning. We just decided to “drive” after that… Got out the good old fashioned DeLorme Arkansas paper atlas, and went to check out Withrow Springs State Park in Arkansas, which was nice. A modern state Park with new, well maintained facilities (and a $32.00 Big Rig RV camping price to match).  I really don’t like paying that sort of money just to park and “camp” alongside a bunch of others in big R.V.s. so, another look at the atlas showed a much larger Wildlife management area, just a few miles up the road, where there was Free “Primitive” Camping. 🙂

A few miles down a lovely rough gravel road and BINGO! A perfect little spot, right beside a creek, and a cave just across the field!

heh heh heh… Life IS Good.
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And This was in our backyard… About 20′ away from the Van 🙂

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Finally, something inspiring…


So, I went to work; slaving away in the hot sun…

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while the “Queen” did what she does best….




She did warm up some of her Homemade Chicken Soup (which she made for me last week when I was feeling a little ill), and we hiked around a bit to check out our new place..

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That is NOT the road we drove in on… But it wasn’t much different.

It dropped down below freezing Saturday Night but we didn’t know it, because we were cuddled up sleeping with our silent furnace in our toasty little Travato. In the morning, I got up early and turned the cab in to my own little personal painting Studio..

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Jennifer made us Eggs on the “fire” and we painted and read some more, and went to check out a Spring and Cave nearby..

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We hung around awhile, and then headed towards home.  On the way, we rolled down to Steel Creek, and took a stroll down the River..

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Tried to get these folks to flip there Canoe for a more interesting picture, but they just wouldn’t bite..

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There’s just no place like Newton County..

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Got a start on a new painting,

and shared another great weekend with the one I love.

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2015-12-01 The Glory Hole

DSC_5464wThe Glory Hole

Actually took a photo as a reference shot last year, on a beautiful winter hike. The trail was (mostly) safe to walk, but solid icicles hung off the bluffs around the Glory Hole.

This 18×24 Framed Original acrylic painting on canvas is available at the Nelms Gallery in Jasper.  A limited number of 8×10 prints matted to 11×14 will be available with or without frames.