Monday, November 16, 2020

ZION: A Fall Artist-in-Residence Experience

ZION: A Fall Artist-in-Residence Experience (cover)

The new book has finally been submitted to the printer. (Yea!)

This is a hardbound, premium-quality, signed, limited edition art book. It measures 8.5"x11" and is intended for anyone who would like to have high resolution reproductions of all of my Zion series paintings in one volume - or for anyone who has wanted to own my artwork but been unable previously to afford an original.

The volume contains 79 images, with 54 in full color. It also contains a number of black & white compositional studies, and several step-by-step demonstrations of my working process.

If you'd like to own a copy, email me ( for further details and availability. (It would also make a great holiday gift for special art-lovers and national park enthusiasts!)

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Coming Soon!

Coming soon - a new series of step-by-step demonstration videos and instructional workshops to supplement the video snapshots I've recently begun posting. 

The step-by-step demos will generally run no more than 3 minutes with minimal text and voice-over. The narrated "full-length" workshops may run up to 1 hour but will likely be posted in 15-minute installments (allowing you to refresh your cup of coffee before starting a new chapter), and may include PDF materials lists.

Techniques and materials will be covered in shorter videos. Longer videos will cover journaling (nature and travel), drawing, and painting, with works covered from beginning to end. And we'll be doing a mix - alternating studio works with on-location plain air. (Watch for visits to some exciting destinations just as soon as we can put the pandemic in our rearview mirror.)

So, bare with me as I get the video studio back up to speed (and work out a few bugs - like remembering to turn off the metronome "click" in the audio track.) Watch for regular "test videos" to be announced here and - depending on their length and format - posted to my Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram/IGTV channels. And join me for the new art adventures.

Oh! If there are particular topics, techniques, or subjects you'd like to see covered - please let me know by leaving a suggestion in the Comments.


Saturday, October 24, 2020

Video Snapshots

I've begun creating and posting a series if short videos (I call them "Video Snapshots.") to my Instagram account recently. Each video runs 13-60 seconds in length and provides a step-by-step insight into my working process on a painting or drawing (or, in some cases, a scrolled pan of an elongated drawing or journal entry.)

To date I've posted 7 snapshots. (If you don't currently have an Instagram account, you can view the first 6 on my DrawntoAdventure YouTube channel.) And, going forward, I'll try to post a new short to Instagram every 3-4 days.

Once I have a steady following I hope to expand the offering by adding slightly longer (up to 10 minutes) IGTV demo and instructional videos to the mix. 

So, take a look. And, if you like what you see be sure to "follow" me on Instagram.

Oh, if you have an idea for my future videos (Want to see instructional videos? Demos? Studio work? Plein air? Painting? Drawings? Journaling?) let me know in the comments below and I'll see what I can do.


Monday, October 12, 2020

Art in the Age of Covid

 Like so many others, I've been experiencing an increasing level of stress since the onslaught of the global health crisis. Thanks to the internet and 24/7 news feed (which was SO accurately described by one observer as the "Doomsday Scroll"), we are all bombarded during our every waking hour by a steady stream of political, social, and health crisis that most of us are powerless to resolve.

So, I've decided to join the growing number of people who are choosing to focus on the things that we do have some control over. I've deleted the news feed apps from my phone, stopped reading newspapers, stopped listening to radio talk shows, and stopped watching broadcast TV.

Instead, I've turned my attention to making art, fly fishing, and riding my bike (which frequently gets me to places where I can make art, or fly fish, or both.)

And - with this post - I'm renewing blog posting on a regular basis in hopes that these posts may prove helpful to others who are seeking a healthy, stress-free alternative to the current day-to-day grind.

I invite you to get comfortable, dust off your pens & pencils, get out your paints, and let's get started. 

To get things rolling (and get some rust out of the system), I decided to complete a couple of paintings from my Zion National Park series. First was In the Shadows (First Snow), 12"x12", oils on panel (above), followed by Along the River/Zion Canyon from the Temple, 9"x16", oils on panel (below). (And, if you'd like to see more works from this series, please visit my website gallery at )

In future posts I will share additional works, discuss art supplies & materials, offer suggestions on a variety of subjects and techniques, and demonstrate helpful step-by-step art-making processes.

As always, thanks for letting me share. And I hope to see you next time.

Oh, and if you'd like more frequent updates on what I'm up to, please follow me on Instagram! ( )

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Up, Up and Away!

(Sorry 'bout that. Now you'll spend the rest of the day with the Fifth Dimensions song playing in your head.)

I haven't posted in quite some time - but it hasn't been because I have no plans for new wilderness adventures.

As a matter of fact I've been busy polishing the rust off my piloting and photo/video skills, having a blast (at least on the days that haven't been too cold or too wet), and planning my next voyage de découverte (to begin just as soon as we've settled into spring.)

So, once color starts returning to Mother Nature's cheeks expect to see my usual sketches and paintings of wild things and places supplemented with panoramic aerial photos and videos - beginning here in Texas with the spring wildflowers, but ending up wherever the wanderlust takes us.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Uinta Chipmunk (A Step-by-Step Demo)

Anyone who has hiked up to Angels Landing knows that, while on the move, you spend a great deal of time watching the trail ahead of you. (After all, accidentally wondering off this trail can be VERY traumatic.) And, as you near Indian Lookout you start noticing something new flitting back and forth across the trail (and maybe coming inquisitively close to you if you sit down to take a break along the way.) This speedy little fur ball with the alternating burnt orange & white stripes that runs with its tail stuck straight up in the air is Uinta Chipmunk, and it calls the higher elevations of Zion Canyon home. And this week I thought I'd share a "pocket painting" step-by-step demo of how I went about painting this energetic little fella.

As with most of my Zion paintings, I began with a small pencil comp study on gridded paper -- discovering the light/dark patterns, selecting the format shape, and determining the compositional relationship.

Work now begins on the pocket panel I've selected for the job -- in this case a 5x5 Gessobord which I've pre-toned with Burnt Sienna (a little darker, and redder, than my usual Yellow Ochre) -- as I quickly draw in the key shapes & confirm the shadows. (Note that I decided to draw the chipmunk slightly larger than in the comp study, and eliminate part of the surrounding sandstone.)

Painting began with a quick roughing in of the subject and establishment of the first shadows in the surrounding Navajo sandstone -- working from the middle tone of the panel toward my lightest lights and darkest darks. (That is, at this stage I avoid using white or chromatic black.)

With the color/tonal areas roughly established in the chipmunk I continue to block in the shadows and secondary (reflected) highlights within the weathered stone -- paying particular attention to the cool/warm contrasts.

Value contrast is relative: lights will appear lighter as new darks are introduced; and darks will seem to get darker as new areas of light are applied. For this reason (and to allow me the freedom to "discover" new highlights and core shadows to the very end) I continue to hold my lightest & darkest colors in reserve.

Once all of the general shapes have been blocked in and the basic color patterns have been completed I turn my attention to the final details; fine tuning color, unifying form, and carefully selecting & applying the brightest highlights & deepest shadows.


Friday, February 24, 2017

All Things Great and Small

As one might expect, most of my time in Zion Canyon was focused on the geological giants, the brilliant color effects, and the ever-changing lighting. But, occasionally, I found time to gaze in wonder at the little things -- the flora and fauna -- that call the canyon home.

Two simple (and ever so beautiful) examples: a Western Bluebird that perched on the Grotto bus stop sign while I awaited the shuttle one morning; and a Sacred Datura in full bloom that I discovered near the Junction bus stop one afternoon. (In both cases, not while I was going somewhere, or looking at something else, but while I was waiting -- when I took the time to look at the micro-world about me and was open to new discoveries.)

Western Bluebird, 5"x5", oils on panel

When I am going no place in particular (or when I'm en route to somewhere in particular) I often carry a set of "tools" with which to capture the unexpected, the serendipitous: a pocket full of small Gessobord panels (I call the results "pocket paintings") with my small (ultra light weight) pochade box; and a sheet or two of 3.5"x5.5" watercolor paper (actually heavy ivory-colored, deckled "Verge de France" cards by G. Lalo) tucked away with my field notebooks, pens & watercolors in my daybag.

Sacred Datura, 3.5"x5.5", w/c over pen & ink

I never know when Circumstance will present me with an opportunity that calls for me to use one or the other; but I usually end up with a delightful keepsake of a memorable mini-adventure when she does.

On a footnote: the Sacred Datura is indigenous to dry areas of the North American west and southwest, and is highly poisonous to humans and livestock alike. However, several of the First Peoples of the region have discovered both medicinal and religious uses for this fragrant bloomer.