5 – Portage Island Cliff 6×6 Series

In this painting, the challenge I set for myself was to render depth while using only two pastel sticks–black and white. All the shadings of gray were achieved by blending the two colors on the painting. blending pastel colors In pastel painting, I can’t really mix colors, but I can layer colors. Pastels are often […]

4 – Portage Island Cliff 6×6 Series

In this painting I started experimenting with the underpainting. Since most of this painting is in shades of green, I used the complementary color–red. I chose four shades of a bluish pink and created this value study as an underpainting: The goal of using a complementary underpainting is to liven up the painting colors, since […]

3 – Portage Island Cliff 6×6 Series

Today I finished the third piece in the 6×6 series I’m doing of the south end of Portage Island. If you recall, I’m working on 36 different versions of the same scene. The landscape shows a clearing with a lone birch tree and a beautifully curved spruce tree above a steep cliff. All paintings will […]

Portage Island Cliff 6×6 Series

Last year a friend of mine in another state participated in a “6×6” show. Each artist in the show produced 6 rows of 6 paintings, all 6×6 inches–36 paintings in total. I was intrigued by that idea, and since then I’ve brainstormed different ways I could put together a 6×6 series for one of the […]


Sometimes (usually–at least for me) the process of making art is hard work. Once in awhile, though, things come together with unusual ease. This was the case with my most recent painting “Echo Cove II”. First I’ll describe what goes into my typical painting process. Then I’ll explain how it happened with this particular painting. […]

Finished Work

And here’s the finished piece using the textured clear gesso as an underpainting for a slightly impasto effect. (See previous post for more details.)    

Textured Underpainting

I recently attended a Richard McKinley workshop in Gig Harbor at Donna Trent’s studio. The topic was underpaintings–various ways to start a painting by doing a thin layer first that will later have soft pastels added over it. Since pastel painting are usually done on a sanded surface, an underpainting helps cover the paper so […]

Painting a Day 1-2-2016

This is my second daily painting, using the same theme as the day before. I’m still not satisfied with the results, and if you look at the reference photo I’m using I think you’ll see why:

Plein Air Painting Adventure

People often have a romantic notion of what it is like to paint en plein air (outside on location). They imagine peaceful sunny days in beautiful settings, where the artist can spend a leisurely day enjoying Nature and creating art. Sometimes it can be like that, but the reality is often quite different. Creating this […]