The View from Here

Upcoming Ivory-Bill Expedition.
November 22, 2009, 10:39 am
Filed under: Birds, Ivory-Billed Woopeckers

My art group, Masterworks For Nature, is teaming up with the Cincinnati Zoo and Geoff Hill of Auburn University to conduct an Ivory Bill “hunt” in the Choctawhatchee River Basin in January 2010. The Zoo is bringing a videographer to film the expedition, and a DNA expert in the hopes that we’ll find potential IBW feathers or droppings.  A few of our Masterworks members have been involved with IBW research for a while. John Ruthven was involved in the Arkansas search before it was made public, and was commissioned by the Interior Department to paint the bird. The painting was unveiled at Interior’s announcement of the bird’s rediscovery.
There will be a fairly large number of people involved (2 dozen??), so we can coordinate efforts to cover a large area at any given time. Our trip in 2008 was successful in that two of our members saw the bird, but we know it slipped by others because of gaps in our coverage. Finding active nest holes is the main objective, other than photographing the bird (always the top priority).  I’ll post more as the expedition is planned in detail, and of course, a full report after it happens.

Watch for my article about my 2008 sighting in the January-February issue of Bird Watcher’s Digest.

My recreation of my 2008 sighting of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker. Giclee canvas prints are available, with sales benefiting Geoff Hill's Ivory-Billed research. The original painting is also available, with 20% of the sale price benefiting Hill's research. See for details


New Works at upcoming Masterworks show, Nov. 21-29
November 10, 2009, 6:44 pm
Filed under: Art News

Some of my most recent paintings will be on exhibit this month at the Cincinnati Nature Center ( in a show by Masterworks for Nature ( November 21-29 in the Rowe building. This show is a benefit for the Nature Center. Original paintings, prints and books by the artists of Masterworks For Nature will be available for purchase.

I will exhibit a mix of plein aire and studio works. Here is a sampling:Morning On Owlsley Lake

Spring Grove plein aire 2

"Autumn on the Pond" 14 x 11 Acrylic on panel, Plein Aire


"Ivorybill!" 20 x 16 acrylic on panel

Harvest time

"Harvest Time" 12 x 9 acrylic on panel

Au Sable Pt painting:sm

"Au Sable Point, Michigan" 11 x 14 acrylic on panel, plein aire

Show Ends, Plein Aire Goes On
November 4, 2009, 8:48 am
Filed under: Art News

My exhibit of plein aire paintings of Hamilton County parks is over, although some of them are still on display in a case outside the gift shop of the Sharon Centre.  Many were sold at the show, but some of my favorites are still available.

I had first experienced experienced the pleasures of  painting en plein aire a few years ago, although over the course of my life I’ve done the odd watercolor during my travels. Six years ago I participated in a painting workshop in Wyoming with the Susan K. Black Foundation, and  bought a French easel and found that I really enjoyed  painting en plein aire. I haven’t taken it seriously until my project with the County Parks.  That project got me outside with my easel at least once a week over the course of about 10 months. My term as Artist In Residence at Pictured Rocks in September sealed the deal. Spending an idyllic 3 weeks painting in beautiful places made me think a lot about doing it a lot more.  Since my return, I turned out two more paintings for the Hamilton County exhibit, and a couple more at the large cemetery & arboretum, Spring Grove Cemetery, just a stone’s throw from my house.


Spring Grove plein aire 2

A plein aire painting done at Spring Grove Cemetery

Spring Grove plein aire 1

Nearly the same scene, different day at Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati



Being able to sell my paintings done en plein aire definitely affects my desire to do them. I do, after all, make my living with my art, so it isn’t just about what I enjoy doing the most.  At first I wondered if there could be a market for these paintings done in an afternoon. After all, my signature style has always been a very tight, highly detailed photo realism. These paintings could take several weeks to complete, and cost thousands. Especially in this economy, it is hard to sell big expensive paintings, so the 9×12 and 11×14 paintings selling for a few hundred have gone pretty well.  The fact that they are fun to do, and are usually done in a beautiful spot (as opposed to my cramped studio) also fans my desire to do them.

Our local landscape just doesn’t excite me as much as the shore of Lake Superior. I suppose anything new is always more interesting, but it really is more scenic up there. Of course, if you really look, there are paintings almost anywhere you go, but the fact remains that some landscapes are just more interesting than others. So, I hope to travel more with my easel. My stint as Artist In Residence at Pictured Rocks has inspired me to look for more national parks with A.I.R. programs.  I will look west and south of Ohio. Everglades National Park is another spot with which I have been familiar a long time. The parks of southern Utah’s canyon country are also high on my list.

Since I am not a winter-tolerant person, I’ll be spending more time in the studio as our weather deteriorates. My scratchboard drawings are calling me…