Archive for the ‘My Art’ Category

The Boys Of Summer

The Boys Of Summer

I began thinking about a painting featuring White-tailed Deer in velvet sometime in May.  As always, the thoughts became some quick thumbnail sketches working on a composition. These roughs may be only about three by five inches. Eventually, I came up with a composition I liked and began doing a rough layout to size, in this case, an eighteen by twenty-four inch painting.  Using tracing paper, I traced that rough making further changes and refining as I believed would be best.

Rough sketch

Once I was fairly content with the rough composition I began refining the drawing once again. The next step for me was preparation of an 18 X 24 inch Masonite board. I applied three coats of gesso while sanding some in between each coat. I transferred the drawing onto this prepared board. Even at this stage I may refine the drawing or make changes. Notice on the layout on the left I had distant mountains, but I changed that concept to a field with fence posts.

The next step was to paint the sky. Once complete I began what I call the, “slapping stage” where I hastily block in color to keep the drawing close to what my intent was. I am not concerned much with color at this time, only applying paint to get the form of the image to my plans. Any person looking at the board  would think what is this guy trying to do. Now, I begin slapping the paints but in a more controlled method further getting the forms to where I want them to be.

The painting begins to slow down as I do stages with more detail. I worked the field in and background trees followed by more rough work with the tree and closer grasses. From this point on it is a matter of jumping around the panel placing more paint here and there all over the art. Detail gradually slows down even more and the painting begins to come to life. more.

I generally try to complete most of the background before detailing the deer in this case. The percentage of completion might be something like 65%. I continually look the art over and refine the details as needed. I slapped on more paint but  in a more

Into the “slapping paint” stage

controlled way until finally I began to detail.  The detailed deer began to take hold quickly. Sometimes it all happens faster than I would have thought. I keep adding paint as needed until I look at the art and deem it complete.


I like to set the art back for a day or two to see it all fresh light. Sometimes even then I will adjust things.

Finally, at some point, I look at the art and say I think I better stop painting. The next step is to varnish the art. I used acrylic paints on this painting, and like oil paints, once complete and dry the artist varnishes the painting.

Hope you enjoy the stages of this painting.





A little more defined.


Color from photography is off.


Starting to detail the deer.

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More Bear Art

A few days ago, I stopped painting on a summer buck painting and switched to doing some bear art. I have done other art similar to these on deer and elk shoulder bones. These two examples were done on Black Bear shoulder bones.

I usually don’t put the amount of detail on shoulder bone art as I would on a painting. However, they do make an interesting conversation starter at a home. I make sure the bones set up on a level surface. Some require a little removal of bone, many set perfectly without any additional bone sculpting.

The worst part of doing  bone art is the cleaning of all residue from the bone. If the bone has been in the elements for a long period of time the bones will be perfect for painting. Otherwise I have to scrape and pull all tissue from them. The second step is submerging them in bleach to whiten and further remove any thing I may have missed.

I find taking photos of irregularly shaped bones difficult. The contours on the bone allow for shiny sheens from the varnish. You will see some of those sheens with these photos.

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The Pines

I am not sure how most artists are, but I have always felt a little sadness upon the time when a painting becomes the owner to another. However, I am not a young person anymore and I have to let things go.

The painting called, THE PINES, was inspired by an actual deer hunting event that happened awhile back. Three shots were heard up and over the hill. Approximately a half an hour later I heard a snap only to see a buck to my left at about thirty, or so, yards.  This buck was not legal due to the four-points to one side law in Pennsylvania at that time. I watched the deer cut diagonally to my left and stop at times. This buck was looking around when I heard another disturbance to my left. I eased my eyes strongly in that direction and I could see antlers  sticking out from behind a tree.

I knew this buck had a really nice rack although, at this time, I could only see partial antlers. Now, I was in a bad way. How do I get the flintlock rifle up and in place without buck number 1 seeing the movement. However, I slowly brought the rifle up. I still wasn’t positive of the point count.

Why do deer do unpredictable movements? Normally, the last deer will follow the first deer, but this buck turned and began slowly moving upslope. Unfortunately, I was turned sharp to my left and in an uncomfortable position. The shot would have to be soon or the deer would be in a position where I would be unable to get a shot.

Now, I could see the whole rack and was, almost, ready to squeeze when some limbs stopped my attempt. In seconds the buck was up and over the ridgeline.

The buck in the painting was never this visible for a shot, although I came very close on squeezing the trigger. Fate is like that when hunting is involved. Little things can make or break the shot.

Interestingly, I saw this same buck on the last day of the season close to quitting time. The range was farther than I wished to shoot with my flintlock. I tried to move and waylay him, but he must have went in a different direction.  Moments later the season was over.

The owner of the painting was the hunter who had fired the three shots prior to the buck coming to me. I think that is a nice closure to this painting.


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The day was beautiful and I couldn’t get out and enjoy for many hours. I had called a doctor’s office in Pittsburgh with questions about an upcoming appointment for my step-father, Bob Miller’s cancer  issue. So, I remained close to the phone anticipating that call that never came.

I guess remaining home wasn’t all that bad. I finished a painting on spring wildflowers. I tinkered around the yard while Laurie remained near the phone.

Around five o’clock , after our meal, I believed the call wouldn’t be happening buy this time so I took off for an evening walk.

White Violet

I didn’t see a lot of wildlife, but I did see a deer up close and three rabbits, but I finally walked upon some tasty MORELS!









Early Spring Wildflowers- the painting.

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A Painting For Christmas

Christmas Lights


Christmas season is quite some time into the future as I type this entry. However, I completed the painting of an elk entangled with some vintage Christmas lights. This concept happened last year within my early thoughts. I had completed, over the years, several other Christmas themed paintings featuring Whitetail Deer, a Turkey and a Black Bear. I used them as Christmas cards. I began thinking along the line of featuring an elk in a Christmas-style painting. The above painting is the results of those months of planning and working towards this goal.

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Feather Art

I received a call from an individual wishing art on a turkey feather for her boyfriend. I told her I could do something and I had turkey feathers here at home.

Since the day was breezy and cool, I jumped onto the job and created  the feather art depicted here.

However, I went a little farther with the feather and placed a couple of smaller feathers along the quill. Also, I took a cone with deer hair and beads and tied them all together to give the feather an “Indian” appearance. The feather has a loop on the end to hang, however, the lady suggested she may have it placed within a shadow-box frame. Upon completion I sprayed some semi-gloss varnish to help seal the feather’s barbules and painted image all together.

I surprised her when she learned the art was already completed the same day she contacted me.

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The day began with much colder temperatures than we usually expect at this time. I had a number of projects to deal with, but I decided to attack a Black Bear shoulder bone with a pen and ink illustration.


Mid-morning  produced a lot of Crow cawing outside the house. I checked the source of the commotion to see a Red-tail Hawk setting in the tree above the site where I placed my deer rib cage. The Crows have been feasting and they didn’t appreciate the intruder so close to their food source.

I went out to try to get a photo but the hawk had flown the coup. However, I managed to get a Cardinal among some yellow oak leaves.


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I completed a second shoulder bone painting this afternoon. I, actually, began to do the art yesterday. There seems to be a lot of interest from people  while visiting and observing them on other sites. Yesterday’s art was sold.


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Shoulder Bone Painting

Shoulder Bone Painting

Life around here has been a little hectic at times. We have been at a number of doctor appointments and hospital tests concerning my step-father Bob’s cancer issue.

Today, a scheduled Pet Scan was cancelled due to a malfunction with the machine. The day was, also, mostly rainy so I decided to attack a bear scapula or shoulder bone with a bear painting. I had, previously, rough sketched a layout design and today would be a good day to begin the art.

I began painting prior to noon and this afternoon I actually completed the art and varnished.

Next week is the early muzzleloading season for deer and bear. AT this point of time and I am not sure how many days will be utilized with additional appointments. the Pet Scan is next Tuesday. Another hospital visit will be required to change as well for this Friday to next week.

Rough draft on the bone


The unfinished art.

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I enjoy slapping some acrylic paints on interesting things.  This Black Bear shoulder bone worked perfectly to complete a painting of a Black Bear. I was waiting to hear back from  the plumbers. They were to do some repairs for me. While waiting for their call I hurriedly did this art.  I may do additional details.

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