Archive for the ‘My Art’ Category

Blanket Hill Night- September 7, 1756

Pennsylvania in the mid-eighteenth century was a very much different Pennsylvania than today! Most of the population were to be found east of the Allegheny Mountain range. West of the mountain range was forestlands intermingled with native Indian villages. French soldiers were building forts along the Allegheny River to the dismay of the Bristish and colonists of the colony of Pennsylvania. The French and Indian War was reality by the midcentury beginning in 1754 with George Washington’s force firing on some French soldiers in southwestern Pennsylvania.

The painting shown above has received much interest on another site, so much so, I decided to give a brief story about the event. However, to tell the Blanket Hill event story there is a need to give a few details as to why it happened.

Pennsylvania, at this time, was an ally with England for it was one of England’s colony and not a state until after the War of Independence. The natives of the village of Kit-Han-ne (Present-day, Kittanning, PA.) The Indians located here were mostly of the Lenni-Lenape tribe commonly referred to as the Delaware. They, because of various reasons, allied themselves with the French cause launching raids into the frontier lands of the colony. Upon hearing of any Delaware Indians close would send settlers in a panic traveling as far as Philadelphia with nothing but the clothes on their backs. The threat of death was real!

Moving ahead to the summer of 1756 another event occurred. The defeat of Fort Granville would lead to the above incident. This fort was located near present-day Lewistown, Pennsylvania. The man-in-charge of the fort was Lieutenant Edward Armstrong. This man would be killed in the attack. Note the name!

The lieutenant’s brother was Lieutenant Colonel John Armstrong. This man sought the authorities to launch a raid on the Delaware’s chief village of Kit-Han-Ne. He, obviously, had thoughts of avenging his brother, but, also, wanting to destroy the village, burn their fields and rescue some one hundred prisoners being kept at the village. Some three hundred and seven men began the trek west to accomplish this feat.

Armstrong sent scouts ahead to watch for Indian activity. The scouts found a fire and believed three to four warriors were present. This was on September 7, 1756. The officer placed a Lieutenant James Hogg with twelve men to attack these Indians at dawn. Armstrong continued west towards the Indian town of about six miles away. Horses and baggage were left close to the area, too.

At dawn Hogg’s ordered the attack only to discover there were many more Indians present. A few prisoners gathered at Kit-Han-Ne during the following morning’s attack claimed about twenty-five natives had left the town. No doubt these were the men. The skirmish began!

Lieutenant Hogg’s was wounded twice and would die. Others were killed or wounded. The others took off out of fear leaving their blankets, horses and other gear behind! The battle was a moving skirmish as the Indians searched for the fleeing soldiers. The site became known as “Blanket Hill”. The area is still called this to the day.

My great, great, great grandfather purchased the land in the 1800 era. I was raised a few miles away from the site. I had walked the area in my youth before learning of the actual site of the beginning of the skirmish. In recent years I have hunted and harvested deer with my smoothbore sixty-two caliber and my fifty caliber flintlocks.

The painting depicted above shows four Delaware Indians at the fire the night before the attack at dawn.

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Winter Escape

Late last year (2022) I began sketching some ideas down for a Whitetail Deer painting. The plan was to work on a number of thoughts and being finalized by early January. The plan fell in place on the time schedule. Laurie was scheduled to have a food surgery on January 17th. I imagined I would work on the art while being near to help as needed. However, since I quit hunting with the flintlock early, I began the painting process for the above completed painting.

I made a number of “thumbnail” sketches. The thumbnail is an artist term used to make small sketches or thoughts. These thumbnails are studied until a direction is finalized within the thoughts. I made around six or seven of those thumbnails,

The thumbnail I decided to work the plan on. This sketch is around 4 by 6 or so.

After the thumbnail idea is decided on, I then think about what size the finished art is to be. The original size was 16 by 20. However, once I sketched the rough to that size and deemed my concept was “crushed” mush too much and elected to the size of 16 by 24. What that term of crush means here is that the drawing was too busy within the space. the 16 by 24 allowed to put my desires in the painting and not having the details to be lost with the elements of the painting. BUT… I happened to have a frame of 16 by 23 on hand so I shortened the length by an inch and adjusted the sketch as needed.

Notice some changes here with some rough ideas of farm buildings.

I began actually painting earlier this month of January and finished it rather quickly.

Another rough sketch drawn to size. Notice the varying ideas being adjusted on the two.

It is up to viewer to decide what the deer are escaping from. Was it a human? Was it a coyote? was it a much bigger buck challenging this buck? It is up to you!

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A Friend Receives a Painting!

The man in the above photo has been a friend for a number of years. I believe we first met some years ago after the formation of the Kit-Han-Ne Local Chapter of the Pennsylvania Wild Turkey Federation. With time I became less active in the organization, but Bill still stayed on fulfilling various positions and committees. We worked together a long time with local chapter banquets, too.

Late last year I received a message of Bill’s son, Greg about the painting, “LAUREL FLUSH.” Greg wanted to surprise his father with the original painting for his birthday. Discussion followed and Greg recently picked up the painting.

Laurel Flush has found a home and I am pleased to see the painting was received by Bill. The son said Bill was surprised and a few tears of emotion were viewed. As the artist, I can’t ask for much more than such reactions. Thank you, Greg and happy birthday, Bill.

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The group responsible for this endeavor. (Notice my look for the rain was visible coming down the hollow.)

Recently I was approached and asked if I might be interested in suppling art and text for a kiosk. Once I learned of the details I accepted. The project was for a kiosk to be erected on the Freeport Trail telling the story of a young woman from the latter eighteenth century…1792 to be exact. In fact, this dedication of the kiosk happened on the exact day of Mrs. Harbison’s adventure.

The site of the kiosk is along the Freeport Trail as stated and the Allegheny River near the community of Freeport, Pennsylvania.

The completed kiosk.

The story of Massey Harbison capture by native Indians is a long and detailed story, one I am not going to take the time to write with completion here. There are many forms of her narrative available through the internet and books.

Imagine, living in the frontier of western Pennsylvania in 1792 when this capture occurred. Indian incursions were, once again, happening along the frontier. A fear of wonderment would be present by all. Most in times of potential trouble tried to move close to blockhouses where a defense could be had in the event of Indian raids in the area. Massey Harbison’s abode was within sight of such a blockhouse.

Very early in the May 22 of 1792, Indians entered her home leading to the murders of two of her children. She and her youngest child were carried off eventually settling in near the intersections of today known as SR 422, SR 38 and SR 68 in Butler County.

My painting called, The Escape of Massey Harbison.

Eventually, the brave and courageous woman escaped to begin the dangerous and fearful trek back towards the Allegheny.

She would in time arrive back in the hands of those settlers along the eastern side of the Allegheny River. She was exhausted and close to expiring herself when the rescue occurred. Traveling in the wilds can be a sentence to death.

As stated above, if interested in learning more of Massey Harbison and her capture and escape search for information. Lots of informative narratives are available.

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R. “Slim” Bowser Photo

Saturday, May 21, I attended a French and Indian war event at the Armstrong County Historical and Genealogical Museum in Kittanning, Pennsylvania. Besides myself dressed in period attire a group known as Proctor’s Militia were in attendance. (To allow the reader to see how deep into the abyss America is sinking, this group is threatened by facebook and not permitted to use the word, “militia.” A militia was all men capable of defending their families, communities and state and country against all forms of evil and tyranny both foreign and domestic. Today, the word is used to designate radical people and is “verboten.)

This group consists of men and women participating in educating the public on the 1754-1764 time of was locally. They are, also, in period attire., armed with flintlock muskets and all the accouterments required to engage in the eighteenth century.

Members demonstrated shooting off artillery at a few times.

I had the chance to meet a great group of America-loving people attempting to educate the public, as well as people interested in learning. History has not been taught well for generations and most of the people coming into the museum find themselves fascinated with the talks and demonstrations we do. they observe and they ask questions. many ask about the details of my French and Indian era paintings and other local historical events.

Trying to stay in the shade.

Tom Klingensmith of the Proctor’s Militia

Part of my display and my sister Ruthie smiling pretty.

I was fortunate for the day was very hot for a day in May. Temperatures were to possibly reach ninety degrees. However, I was inside and avoided the extreme, but the house was still rather warm.

The log building shown above, is being re-erected on site. Some work still needs to be completed to finish the display. The original building was saved recently from an Armstrong County site.

Two more of my paintings on display.

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Autumn Dilemma


Recently while looking through an old folder of painting ideas, I found a rough sketch of a colonial era man and son hiding in a deadfall behind big trees while some turkeys were coming up and over the side of the hill. The art was to be a springtime painting. I debated about painting this idea when I thought of doing art with elk instead. I quickly roughed out an idea only to rework it shortly afterwards. (See below.)

Rough idea

The rough, as you can see, was different from the finalized painting. One distinct change was the elk positioning. Originally, I planned on having slope variations as often found in the mountains of Pennsylvania.

The rough using felt pen to emphasis the idea.

It wasn’t until after I had painted for a time that I decided the elk and the varied slopes wasn’t working for me. the changes began to happen!

Early “slappin’ of the paint” time to get the feel of the image.

As you can see from the completed work above, I did eliminate the slope variations to show the entire bodies of the elk.

Elk painting detail.

The original painting was done in acrylics and was painted on a twenty by thirty-inch gesso-prepared panel.

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A Mural at Driftwood

Hmm. a trip to the high country of Pennsylvania…

Last autumn I received a message from Linda Burrows of Driftwood, Pennsylvania. She is the director of the Driftwood Senior center. Within the message was a question; asking if I might be interested in painting a mural at the center. At first, I was not sure if I wished to take on such an endeavor, after all the largest painting I had ever completed was on a forty-eight-inch panel and that was painted horizontally.

The art was to depict a tree known often as a Memorial Tree. Names of past members can be placed on the limbs as a permanent memorial. Linda wanted a more realistic tree on her wall with some scenery. Traditionally, memorial trees are often done as a silhouette. The mural was to be memorial in honor of a man who had helped much within the center and was loved by all. His name; Wayne Johnson. I would paint an image of Wayne fishing a native trout stream.

I would ask some questions and eventually agreed to do the art. I tried to figure out my needs to paint such a large piece. The wall area is seven by seven.

I messaged her with a very rough sketch for the art and she agreed that was along the line as to what she was thinking.

Linda was gracious when I said I would attempt the project but needed to wait until 2022 for hunting seasons were coming to reality and we had holidays to contend with. Weather would play a part, too.

After a very cold start to the year a break was reported and the trip to Driftwood was on. I was on site for several days. I was blessed to meet some very nice senior citizens. I even begged them with an offer several times. the offer was for someone to pose nude…there were no volunteers, but some laughing with comments.

I worked long hours on the project working from around ten A.M. the first day for almost twelve hours. I cleaned up and tried to sleep and after about two hours of sleep total, I arose and began at two thirty in the morning through the day until around six thirty. I cleaned up and laid my head down to sleep at eight o’clock and was out immediately.

One aspect of this task that I hadn’t planned for was the pain of lifting my arm overhead and climbing a small ladder and painting from the floor. I was aching a lot, but I stayed true and ignored all pains the best I could.

I woke up the following morning a little after four and began to finish up followed by removing all the necessary items to do the job. I swept and mopped the floor since I had time before people began rising around nine.

Linda arrived followed shortly by the wife of Wayne. When the two came away from the art I could see tears in the eyes. Of course, I had some mist, too.

Leaving the center was sad for me, for I truly enjoyed those in attendance. salt of the earth kinds of people! This country needs more people like the Driftwood Senior Center patrons.

As a plus for the painting, I saw seven elk the first evening and three on the second evening while walking outside for breaks. I would see many more after leaving the site.

Thank you all at the Driftwood Senior center for their kindness. The address is: Driftwood Senior center; 7806 Bridge Street; Driftwood, PA 15832. The phone is: 814-546-2331.

If interested in seeing the art contact Linda at the center for hours and details.

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Very recently I decided to paint a Cardinal. I sketched the image on a gessoed panel I had leaning against a wall. A short break when I began slapping the paint. The idea of including Dogwood blossoms came as an afterthought.

I have included a few “progress” photos.

The sketch on a prepared panel.

Two hours in the “slapping paint” process.

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Screech owl and Chickadees

Very recently I received a copy of the Conservation Lantern. I was very surprised to see an acrylic painting of mine called, “Screech Owl and Chickadees”. The Conservation Lantern is a seasonal publication from the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen Clubs and Pennsylvania Wildlife Federation. The website is: http://www.pfsc.org.

Earlier this year they used a Bald Eagle painting on their cover.

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The Lost Arrow- Black Bear

The Lost Arrow- Black Bear

I have not been inspired to paint much as of late. there is a lot of issues I am dealing with, however recently I saw some birch trees while hunting bear with the muzzleloader. I took some notes and began sketching down an idea.

I found a panel I had prepared to paint on and decided that would be the size of the painting. The size is thirteen by eighteen.

My first drawing shown here found a liking for the composition. I used tracing paper and refined the sketch some. Once I was satisfied, I transferred the image to the pre-pared panel and the “slapping stage” began. People are amazed how the slapped-on paint evolves to the finished piece.

The original composition

I then start to refine the painting process. Detail work slows down the art, of course.

The original concept for this painting had Jack-In-The-Pulpit seed pods and ferns, but as the painting moved along, I chose an arrow and eliminated the other thoughts. the arrow is from an Eastern Indian bow and was lost while shooting at something in the days before the bear walked past. the bear gives the arrow a look with curiosity. The entire story behind the painting is up to the viewer. However, my original intent was the piece to be of a historical nature.

I have included some photos of the process for those who enjoy observing. I hope you enjoy.

The tracing paper transfer to refine.

Detailing begins

Black and white verson

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