Las Cruces

New Mexican food, lots of long-time art friends and beautiful art.  I’m happy to be showing at the Las Cruces Art Fair this weekend.  Hope you can join us!


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Come to the Las Cruces Art Fair this weekend

 

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My Creative Process

Most everyone seems curious about an artist’s creative process, including myself.  How did one arrive at the finished work of art?  I take photographs of nature and wildlife that interest me, and from those photographs glean ideas as well as the reference of habitat and the life of the subject.  Because I like to work slow and methodical in the quiet of my studio, working from photographs suits me.  Part of the fun is researching and learning about my subject.  Sometimes I decide to work on something based on photographs capturing ‘a moment of personality’ and sometimes I’ve gathered enough reference to feel comfortable representing that subject.  I’ll get an “inner vision” of what I want the finished work to look like and will try to make it happen.  I love old natural history illustrations which have their influence on my etchings.  Throughout my career, my favorite subjects have been birds, bugs and botanicals with a few other subjects mixed in.  I usually draw or paint what speaks to my heart.

After studying my reference photos, I begin to make thumbnail sketches to further define what I want. I work with a ‘less is more’ philosophy and it can be challenging to pare down to the very basics, especially in the medium of etching which lends itself to minute details.  Essentially, I focus on my subject, adding only enough habitat to help the story.  Once I get the composition down, I begin the real work, adding and deleting details until I arrive at a finished drawing.

At this point, I hope that my efforts translate into an etching.  Usually it does, but not always.  There are many considerations.  The tonal background from the inked plate(s), the etched lines are darker and crisper than graphite work, so the etching could end up darker than the drawing. Once I have finished the etching process (written about in a previous post), pulled a few trial proofs and the etching shows promise, I will begin the process of color studies.  Etchings are essentially black and white. Hand-coloring with watercolor and/or pastel, creates a beautiful image but also complicates the process.  There is much experimentation in that what I had in mind, usually changes multiple times, to arrive at a work I am ultimately pleased with and want to share.

Throughout the entire creative process, I am also thinking about the commercial aspects such as titles, edition sizes, image size, pricing and how well the subject will appeal to my audience.  I am fortunate to do what I want to do, but I know I must consider the business side as well.  I must have done something right as people have enjoyed my work to keep me at it full time for over 30 years!

Following is an example of a reference photo, thumbnail drawing, and finished etching of a 3 plate etching entitle, “Tangled Web”.

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Turtle Release

I spent a few days at Port Aransas on the Texas coast last month, and while there,  I took the opportunity to attend a Kemp Ridley’s Sea Turtle release early one morning.  The weather was warm and windy and overcast with around 150 people there to witness the baby turtles making their way to the sea.  It was fascinating to watch the park volunteers wave poles draped with surveyors tape to keep the seagulls from swooping in and picking off the babies.  It was over in about 45 minutes as the last turtles were swept up in the waves.  And to think that out of 100 or so baby turtles, only a few will make it, if at all. I’m hoping to create an etching of a baby turtle from this experience. Stay tuned!

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Empty Nest

With the last post, 2 cardinal babies hunkered low in their nest. A week old, they still had a ways to go, so I figured after returning from a short vacation, they would have changed significantly.
Instead, an empty nest. I assume a predator of some sort got them. Sad, but the way of nature.

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Day 5 or 6

They are growing! Fast!

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Day Two

Cardinal hatchlings, day two.

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Beginnings

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A couple of weeks ago, Mama Cardinal built her nest in the yaupon beyond the kitchen window. While she was away, I sneaked a picture. Can you see the 2 light blue specked eggs? Yesterday, they hatched! I’ll get a picture when I can.

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Flat Coral

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I spied this flattened coral snake on my walk this morning. Beautiful colors. Wished it had made it across the road. Too bad they get such a bad rap. They are good snakes.

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Another Deadline Met

I’ve spent the last two days completing information deadlines for the upcoming Western Visions Original Prints Show & Sale and the Society of Animal Artists, Art and the Animal – 52nd Annual Exhibition. Lots of paperwork, but I think I got it all done. I’ll get the art prepared for shipping in a few weeks. More on the shows later. Time to get back to packing work going out to galleries. I feel so fortunate to be busy!

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Memorial Day

Memorial Day! Finally, a day off after many weeks of constant work towards the 3 shows I did in May! Many thanks to all the collectors who supported me. And most important, many thanks to those who have fought to keep us free.

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