Archive for the ‘My Art’ Category


Original sketch layout

One original idea I had sketched out and actually drew a layout to size featured a Bald Eagle flying. I liked the pose of the eagle, but after reconsidering the layout

More definition and some color for depth.

decided the positioning of this flying bird forced the size of the bald eagle to not fill the allotted space well. I believed I needed to rethink and do a painting where the subject was much more prominent.

My early thought on this particular positioning featured White Pine trees and limbs. Later, on my thought moved towards an autumn scene and eliminating the pine concepts.

I did this concept several times and made adjustments as I felt necessary to do. The layout shown on the right here defined with some watercolor strokes. I did this to bring out the feathering. I liked the look.

The next step was to transfer the image onto a gessoed-covered and sanded sheet of Masonite. I like painting on treated Masonite panels for rigidity.

I squeezed out a few colors of acrylic paints and slapped on the paint to aid in form. I do not have concerns at this stage with color accuracy. This step gives the initial form and feeling of the art. the colors are literally slapped on without concern of color or covering up existing lines at various places.  I may do several slap-on stages before settling down with a little more detail color.

I didn’t have the body of water in the early painting. that concept evolved  as did the old snag between the eagle resting spot and the water. I can same for the maple leaves.  As I said the earliest concept had White Pines and pine limbs to be included. I guess that impregnated my mind due to several close eagle nests in White Pines. However, I went with yellow  and orange hues of maples to brighten up the painting.

Early slaps of paint


A little more detail.




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A Finished Saw



Detail of the saw.

A friend from Kentucky recently requested for me to paint on a saw blade. His wish was for a couple of turkeys with Dogwood blossoms and Trilliums. With the rainy weather I quickly began to work on the saw.

I met John H. through a mutual friend, Randy Tost. Randy, unfortunately, passed away and John has not been to Pennsylvania since the funeral. I am thankful for the short time we had together.


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So Much Going ON!


The painting



Flier for Ford City Library display.



Display at Crooked Creek event.

To say my weekend was full might be an understatement. First, my cousin called me Thursday to tell me of the passing of a dear friend. His name was Vearl “Pete” Lookabaugh. We had been friends for some forty years. He was quite a friend and I will miss him. Some issues with funeral times occurred. Friday evening I was to be at the Outdoor Discovery Center (ODC) at Crooked Creek Park. Vearl’s funeral service was only six o’clock to eight Friday evening. I would not be able to attend. A Saturday committal service was to be ten to eleven. I had commitments on Saturday, too. I needed to do some adjustments.

So, Friday I needed to remove some of my historical paintings from the Ford City Library and set them up with others at the ODC building. (The   paintings had been at the library for about a month.) After setting them up and enjoying a BBQ meal from the group I was to speak to my talking engagement began. The subject matter for my talk was through their request. the topic was about the attack at the Indian village of Kit-Han-Ne. (Present-day, Kittanning, Pennsylvania.) The group had plenty of comments and questions and I didn’t get home until after nine.

The following morning I was to be at the Armstrong County historical Society’s museum to be available for a Civil war encampment event. My task was to bring in my original acrylic painting called, “THE WHEATFIELD-WHIRLPOOL OF DEATH.”  A stated above I needed some adjustments with my time so I delivered the paining and easel to the museum early on Saturday morning before going to the library.

This painting depicts the 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry at the battle of Gettysburg called the Wheatfield. (Click on historical for my blogs and you can get some details of this battle event.)

Saturday morning continued with going to the St. Michael’s Lutheran Church where the service was to be held. Fortunately, my friend had been relocated for additional viewing.to this church. The funeral service didn’t tell this information to me. I stopped by giving my respect to the family and saying goodbye. I made it to the museum around noon or so.

   The museum encampment was a success. Both days had a stream of interested patrons. I spent much time in the museum with the Indian Room. this room is my baby so to speak. I really enjoyed talking with the people educating them about events of our native Indians. I spent some time talking with others about the painting.

The members of the 62nd living history group did an excellent job setting up the Civil war Room. If this is something you are interested in please make plans to visit the museum soon. the museum is opened on a limited time so call first.

To contact the museum call: 724-548-5707. Address is: P.O. Box 735, 300 North McKean Street, Kittanning, PA 16201.

To find out more about the local to Armstrong County area, 62nd Pennsylvania living historians group call Bob “Slim” Bowser at 724-545-1330.

My ancester, Henry Blystone. He marched under General Sherman.












Civil War Room


Native American Room


Document Room features a letter penned by George Washington.



Military Room



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I certainly do have an avid interest in history. The French and Indian War years interest me a lot since many events of this era happened in Pennsylvania and within a few miles from where I grew up.  The years for this war locally began  in 1754 and lasted to 1758 when the French abandoned Fort Duquesne in present-day Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania allowing General Forbes to take over the fort. He renamed the fort to Fort Pitt.

Within a mile from where I live is a community called Kittanning. During this war members, primarily, of the Lenni-lenape (Delaware) and Shawnee nations took up residence launching raids across Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. In September 1756, Lieutenant Colonel John Armstrong launched a raid upon Kit-Han-Ne. Mostly militia-style volunteers under Armstrong were involved in this attack. However, some Pennsylvania Provincial soldiers were involved. These soldiers would be dressed as shown in my painting called; IN DEFENSE.


The Indians of the time were brave warriors. The painting shown here called: IN DEFIANCE, depicts a naïve warrior defying the soldier. Eastern Indians usually wore little into battle preferring to paint themselves to aid in terrorizing the enemy. However, as cooler weather approached  clothing would be worn as needed.

These paintings were created  in 2004 and 2006.

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Original thumbnail ideas.

The painting process, I have found, can be very interesting, at least, for non-artists wishing to understand how a painting

Original concept of reclining ‘cat. I felt this format was too crowded.

turns from ideas to completed art. For this reason I am doing a blog entry to show some of the stages with explanatory text.

The idea for the painting, “Wykoff Run Bobcats came from a contest entry form I had received from the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Their interest was to select a painting to add to their “Working Together For Wildlife” print series. I imagine you may have figured our by this time the painting was to be a colored piece featuring a Bobcat or Bobcats.

Bobcats are native to Pennsylvania and have been increasing in numbers in recent years. I am thankful for that fact.

The wildlife prints are sold by the PGC. (Pennsylvania Game Commission) Proceeds from the  sales of the prints go to wildlife research and management programs.


Original reclining ‘cat on a horizontal format.

At first I wasn’t thinking of doing a painting as an entry. I do not attempt annually to do a painting, but I have entered some over the years. And I have actually placed with a few. Last year in 2017 I did a Snowy Owl but failed to win.

A little encouragement from an artist friend of mine made some thoughts come into my feeble brain. I did five thumbnail ideas. My interest in painting a Bobcat painting intensified. Soon I roughed in a reclining ‘cat on the size of fifteen inches by twenty-two and a half inches in a vertical format. I wasn’t feeling anything with the first idea. The plan, to me,

Rough sketch to size.

seemed congested. I rough sketched another reclining Bobcat on a horizontal format and I liked the way the sketch was going. I roughed in two Bobcat kittens.

I laid a piece of notebook over the head of the Bobcat and fined-tuned the sketch some. I began thinking I may be onto something here. I placed another piece of notebook and traced through with details this time.  I liked where this going. I added details with the two kittens. Later I changed the one kitten’s head with a slight inquisitive tilt. I liked that, too. I felt I was on the way to a completed painting now.


Head tracing to begin detailing.

A few days later I spent time hiking in the Wykoff Run area of the Moshannon State Forest near the Quehanna Highway. Besides hiking , photographing and fishing I was looking for additional inspiration and sketching opportunities to finalize the background thought process I had done with the original concept.

I was on my way with this idea so I prepared Masonite with three coats of white gesso with some light sanding in between each coat. Using a T-square I placed light pencil lines on the Masonite to locate edges of painting. I actually placed lines from the contest size of fifteen inches by twenty-two and a half inches, however, I made lines to eighteen inches by twenty-four inches. I was going to paint the painting to the larger size, but white matting

Detailing features on notebook paper.

would cover the extra painting.


As stated, I spent two days in the Moshannon State Forest and Quehanna Wild Area. I studied many rocks. The area has places inundated with rocks from small to as big as a house. I had plenty of opportunities to look them over and the various vegetation that may be found on them.

Sketch from the woods.

I made some sketches of rocks. Later the first day I made a quick sketch idea using previous thoughts and made another rendering to work with while at the jeep. Note the changes from the earlier sketches concerning background.

The rough drawing to size at the jeep.

Now using tracing paper I traced over the drawing I made from the jeep after I came home. I cleaned-up the roughness and detailed shapes better. I am ready to transfer this rendering onto gessoed-covered Masonite. The painting is about to begin.

The cleaned-up rendering ready to transfer.


Image lightly transferred to a prepared panel.

I began to paint on the panel. The style  of painting I perform, at this time, I jokingly call the “slapping stage.” In simple terms of describing this stage I mix up some paint and rapidly slap the paint on. This, to me, establishes some form and depth to the early painting. The paint you see in this example was completed in one hour. I know this for I listened to two half hour interests on the computer.  I may slap more on before settling down to serious detail work.


Refinement of detail. This design has approximately 7 hours of painting time at this stage.


The painting with approximately 10-11 hours of work


All of the background and rocks are close to 80% completed. I “slapped” more paint to get the feel of the cats.


Background is about 90% complete. I have begun to detail the cats. Notice the kitten on right. I slapped some paint to make the kitten bigger. Detail of cats is about 20% done.


The following two photos of the painting shows more detail on the ‘cats. Note some changes on the females left leg. I wasn’t happy with the way the leg was so I changed it to allow her paw to dangle over the rock, too. Also, note that I completely changed the positioning on the one kitten.  I realized something wasn’t feeling correct, so I roughed the kitten in  as you can see in the photo. I suppose I still cluttered the art, but I guess I try to capture much into a painting as I see the wild.


Redo rough on the kitten. Detail on big bobcat is about 60% completed…maybe a little less.




More detail work and the kitten is almost done, but I see some probable changes. I changed the positioning of the left leg on the mother ‘cat.


The painting matted to size.



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Around Christmas I went for a walk-on a rainy day. The rain wasn’t a heavy or even moderate rain at the beginning. The moisture was light. While walking I saw a landscape scene that immediately triggered an inspiration for a painting. The image wasn’t nothing spectacular as the photo here shows, but I saw potential as I snapped the photo. At the time of the photo the rain was increasing.

Rainy day photo

I quickly decided some deer would be the subject matter as I rapidly sketched the photo image onto a gesso-treated panel. I wasn’t concerned with a hundred percent copy of the photo as the pencil put into place some things. The trees and very rough drawing of deer is shown below. I began “slapping on” paint at this stage, too.


Early sketch and slap-on paint


I knew the painting would evolve as they always do for me. I very seldom do a replica of a photo in fact most paintings are creations from deep in the back of my brain area….yes, way back there! In other words they are made up!

I included some stages on social media as many have told me how they enjoy watching the progress of a painting.

You’ll see readily how this painting changed from the original photo and sketch. I included some Aspen trees and changed the sky dramatically from the gray rain clouds. Notice I altered the tree on the right some. Eventually, I added a second doe. I hope you enjoyed this series of photos showing some stages with this painting.

Detailing well on the way

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My most recent paintings on Black Bear bones: Contact me if interested in purchase.


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