About Me

Hello art students and art lovers! What can you expect in an art class? A student and friend of mine put it this way: "Art sustains is in our everyday lives, illuminates the ordinary and helps us to identify the sacred in ourselves, in each other and in our world. Maybe you haven't been a professional artist but you decide to respond to the suggestion of a friend or to trust some urge inside yourself to communicate with a brush and color and images instead of spoken language. What can you expect in an art class? You'll grow yourself and develop skills. You'll be so frustrated and delighted. You'll give up and then go at it again. You won't understand what instructor means and then Bing - you'll get it! You'll be immersed in choices of style and technique and composition and you'll learn to swim. You'll actually give up your electronic gizmos and gadgets for awhile and enjoy something more elemental - a link to human creativity through the ages. The small community that is an art class allows you to nurture your skills as well as your soul.” - Susan Schaefer

Monday, January 9, 2023

Nature in Action: A Drop of Rain

Can you imagine the adventure of a drop of rainwater must have? From the heavens to the ocean and whatever is in between. It drops, lands on a leaf, following millions of other raindrops and becomes a powerful force of nature. The wind, hot or cold, make it a drop of water or a snowflake. But my story is just a small part of the journey of one rain drop.

I was in Brown County Indiana State Park, sketching and photographing the forests and streams, searching for those perfect compositions that inspire great works of art. I saw hills - mountains - cliffs, made of limestone, and creeks that all had a history with the rainwater that carved its way throughout the hills down to the streams. I could feel the wind, the sun, and the cool mountain air. This is what I want to see in the paintings.


I did a detailed pencil sketch, hunting for a composition. I followed that with a broad value sketch using vine charcoal and searching for direction. The land pitched and moved in so many different directions with cracks in between the layers of limestone. There were abundant trees growing tall like telephone poles and a stream trickling down from the secret places in the hills to a lake.

I chose to use this study for a demonstration at a gallery solo exhibition.  For the demonstration I used pastels. In broad strokes I started laying in the cool colors with shades of blues for the sky and greys for the trees. Then I began laying large warm browns and ochre for the leaves on the ground. The hills were alive with rust colored leaves flying to and fro in the winds. 


As the water in the stream came forward, the colors got stronger and the details in the rock seemed necessary. I started softening the edges in the distance and sharpening the edges in the foreground. Then I applied layer after layer of color to deepen the colors to a richer hue. 

Halfway through I had run out of time and had to save finishing it for another day. 

"In matters of art, one's state of mind is three quarters of what counts, so it has to be carefully nurtured if you want to do something great and lasting." - Paul Gauguin

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Lacare Art League Demonstration

I was invited by the Lacare Art League to lecture and demonstrate my style of art. I also donated a small painting which they raffled off to the artists who attended that day. 

I started the demonstration with broad strokes of local colors which helped establish the subject matter, Deep River County Park in Hobart, Indiana.

The second layer helped build a perspective for me to establish my centers of interest: The river was wild and the surrounding effect of wind and moving water was exciting to me.

I only had an hour to work on the painting so it is about halfway to completion. Enjoy! 


Monday, September 19, 2022


    We all have experiences that seem to be so clear in our minds that we can feel the sun and the wind on our face. I remember every detail on that painting trip as though it was yesterday. Kathy and her husband had a cabin in Ludington, Michigan. Kathy and I decided to take a plein air painting trip to her cabin. Flowers were blooming everywhere and we took advantage of every opportunity available to us. Ludington State Park was a local attraction to travelers and to us it was an adventure. With my camera on my shoulder Kathy and I walked down a long stretch of beach to a series of islands, which were connected by a series of bridges. Everywhere we looked was a memorable photo and every day of the trip was spent hunting for the next perfect location to create. We succeeded in finding place after place to fully immerse ourselves in our surroundings to make art. We took lots of photos, did several drawings and small oil sketches, as well as several water color paintings. The trip was a success and we went home as happy and fulfilled artists with framed pieces to show for it. Some are still in my private collection.

    Recently Kathy passed away and all of the sudden I felt the need to go back to those good times. I had so many ideas as I searched through my thoughts and collection of sketches and photos from that trip. I wanted to find a peaceful place to be with my memories. I could tell the story in so many ways. It was so peaceful, quiet, and undisturbed. I created a composition that would express the way I felt. 

    I primed a canvas with two layers of gesso and when it was dry I painted a black and white version of my vision to check the values and composition. Then I began color with transparent glazes building up the values and richness I wanted to achieve. Surprise! One of the centers of interest that I thought was important to the story was not a group of bushes, but fallen logs on the bank of the lagoon. The water was so clear and reflected every nuance of the surrounding foliage. Distance seemed to be another surprise problem to solve, which I am still working on. 

What small steps can you take to improve as an artist? Sketch 5 minutes a day. Organize your research files. Photograph a still life. Do one thing for yourself each day. Anything will improve your skills of observation.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Keep Your Calendar Open

This piece "Strength in Many" was accepted into the 80th Annual Juried Exhibition of the Indiana Artist's Club. The exhibit opens on April 21st and runs until June 10th at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. More details to follow.