Thursday, December 23, 2010

Newer larger paintings



Seeing how much a love being on a computer, I want to thank everyone for helping me be able to live my life as an artist again this year. I am so fortunate to be able to have met so many supportive and inspiring people. Thank you.

The landscape is of a view above the Mississippi River.
Where I live now has beautiful vistas of the river that haven't all been built up.
It's pretty awesome.

The barn is more of feeling like death in Waukesha. Painted this through rain, sleet and snow.
Not sure if it is done yet, now everythings covered in snow.
Both paintings are 25x40"

Snow






It is that time of year again-snowscapes.

I want people to look at my paintings of southeastern wisconsin as protest painting, the images I choose all reject what our culture is doing to the land. I am not looking nostaglicly backwards.The culture I am painting seems as dead as that old blue truck in the painting above. It isn't fun to say, think or feel that what you see around you is wrong. And in my case so wrong and hideous that I cannot even make images from it generally.
So I choose places that are remnants of an older way.

When I look at the world I am someone that feels deeply, and feeling guides me through my decisions in life.
This is something I am learning and can't explain. The painting with only the brush and trees is an example of this. It felt powerful looking at it. This isn't my brain telling me this, it is my body. It is a physical reaction for me. This painting is about seeing something that "felt right". The sunset painting is like that too, but wasn't as powerful for me

The other painting of the white barn is a farm that has been divided up into "commercial property"

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tough decision


Yesterday I decided not to teach in the spring. This is the first time I haven't been in school as a teacher or student since 1982.
I am going to try and support my girlfriend and hopefully help her make the most of her artist residency in Milwaukee. You can link to her site from mine to see what she does.
I did this painting on black Friday from my parents house. I was thinking of a Corot painting of a pathway heading to a village.
How much more intimate and "connected" were people before paved roads. I wish I lived someplace that I could walk through the land without asphalt or concrete, and to know the path from my childhood. This is about as close I a get. I long again to know the path from memory.
Of course now the pathway is covered in snow....

Monday, November 29, 2010

New old paintings





So I haven't blogged in a while, I have been pretty burnt out from shows and painting, and just stuff in general.
I haven't done much painting but here are a few that I did in september and october.
The red barn was a commission piece. I wanted to show the warm October light on that beautiful building.
The crooked house is north of Madison before the freeway splits. I think I will do some more paintings of it. I think starkly shows us the pitfalls of our monoculture of corn and modern farming. Or at least it is feel that way to me.
The sunset overlooks the mississippi before things got cold. Those were the first cold clouds of fall. As I sit here looking at the river being frozen at looks pretty warm.
None of these paintings are available, sorry

Friday, August 20, 2010

New Paintings From Michigan






I have been so busy doing shows, all I do is paint and frame paintings. This is not how I like to paint because I feel like I pick out obvious things. It is also mentally draining to be constantly painting under pressure. The light in Michigan is so different and the sandy soil makes the color of the fields different. It is nice to see different things, orchards and beech trees. I wish I could go back and not paint in such harsh lighting.
And by the way zinc white sucks. It is not very opaque and drove me nuts. Never again.
1.Farm with ceramic tile silo in shadow, near Manistee, MI, Hwy 31
2.White house with random cloud east of Traverse City, Hwy 72
3.Hay bales in Wood County, WI
4.Clouds over the East Arm of Grand Traveres Bay
5.Farm near Luddington, MI- had to paint quickly to get on the ferry, probably better that way

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Deep in the dog days



Even though there is a heat advisory today signs of fall are appearing. The red wing blackbirds that were seemingly omnipresent don’t hang around much anymore. Many birds are flocking up as the get ready to make the trip south.
The tomatoes are ripening at an alarming pace this week. The yellow butterflies called clouded and orange sulphurs are going crazy on top of the ridge.
But it is unmistakably summer. I sweat through my shirt every time I go painting. I am sick of trying to hold a mark with your arm covered in mosquitoes.

The corn is high. I hate it. It blocks the land and birds and obscures views and vistas. Nothing screams out inspiration like factory farming. It feels so wrong, and since so much of what I do is based off of feeling I kinda hate this time of year. If you can find a field of anything else though there is much color to paint, but because we grow so much of this shit for ethanol and our cheap diabetes inducing food supply, it is hard to find much of anything else around here, except soybeans, which isn’t much better.

I painted this barn whose owner is a 76 year old bachelor farmer named Merwin. As he walked his dog down the road I could see my grandpa in him with his slow gait and arthritic arms. It felt good to paint this barn.

The panoramic image is on Bryn Rd, which is really cool but I don't like it as much since they started planting corn.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fish series


So I am drawing every fish that I keep this year to show my environmental impact on the mississippi river, in at least how many fish one person takes from the river. The fish are starting to add up and I think look interesting. I draw because I want to have a persnonal relationship with the world. If I would just take pictures I wouldn't be sitting there asking questions. When I ask questions I learn and care. When I care it gives my life meaning. When I have a relationship that is emotive and meaningful with something I think I am likely not wanting to destroy or hurt that relationship. So I paint and draw nature. So I care so deeply.

And yes I did eat the sheepshead

Fog on the solstice



I am so grateful to the people that suport me and make me able to live a life that I want to in so many ways.

I have been busy but have a few new images to come.

This image is of the fog the evening of the solstice in chipmunk ridge road. I like when the paintings push abstaction and become much more emotional.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Large painting



This is a new large painting- Road to Nowhere. Inspired by the oil spill in the gulf, capitalism and our culture.

I like to keep the site to be about my paintings but I am really proud of the martin house. It came from my great grandfathers farm. An hour after setting it up there where purple martins on it!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Canoe Painting


I had to paint the calm evening sky, and so I paddled out in front of the house and did this one looking south.
It is the Missisippi River backwaters and main channel to the south.
I feels good just using a canoe and no motors. It kicks my butt somedays but I am not using any oil.
It also feels good to do a painting you like from time to time.
Can you tell I was looking at Monet this week?

New Vice



Yup, a bad new thing happened this week-Trout Fishing
I love how intimate trout fishing is. There are fields near Coon Valley with bobolinks and meadowlarks. It is so nice to walk in places that aren't growing corn, where there is diversity in animals and plants.

Stormy Paintings





It has rained seemingly everyday this month. So plenty of chances to paint rainy skies.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Forest View Lane


A little painting on forrest view lane from a few weeks ago. It always takes a while to remember how to paint green, and the leaves on the trees. I painted the man walking his dog three times until I found the right spot, quickly like a figure drawing gesture. This painting is on a dead end road with not much traffic, I think the neighbors were a little confused as to what exactly I was doing.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

More updates


I am successful despite myself it seems. I am no good at telling people what is going on.
Katie Musolff and I have a show up currently in Waukesha. This is my first show in my home town.
The show opened last night at Waukesha Tattoo and Galleria Edge, and it was nice to see old profs from Carroll and UW-Waukesha. Thank you to George Wang for offering us the show. The space was redigned and is a great place to show. In the middle of the space are the tattoo booths and around the edge is the gallary space. It is a nice way to include art into a more non tradional space. So congrats and best of luck to George. I am showing some of my fish drawings, which I haven't done in a long long time, I have about 50 up.
Katie has about a dozen paintings. So if you are in Waukesha anytime soon come see the space and the show.

A couple new paintings



Two new larger paintings. One is Misna Ridge in Vernon County. I worked on this for a month or so on and off. I have been busy with commitments and spring happened so damn fast this year that this painting took on a life of it's own. I got stuck up on the ridge during a pretty potent thunderstorm in April and that is what the painting became. I hadn't been scared of a storm for a long time, and I figured what the hell, if I am going to die this is probably the best I can do. It took a long time to draw out what I wanted with this painting, and I actually liked that process best.
This other painting is done from memory of a day in March when the sky was ominous and the ice was melting on the Mississippi. This painting took a couple months and I worked thinner than I usually do, and in a more layering way. I think the painting ended up being denser, and I learned something. The abstracted stripped down root is what causes feeling for most people, and that isn't limited to painting. The only question for me generally is how much detail is important. How much drawing does one include, and because I can really draw, not to be seduced be that ability. Hopefully the painting conveys the idea.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

kinda new paintings



I haven't really gone out painting in 10 days, busy and sick
I really really hate computers and digital images. I think if I am successful it is because I have gone my own way and have a real authentic experience with nature, and hopefully a unique voice. Not something I was taught at school, or picked up looking at any particular artist. Art and Nature is an emotional experience and it isn't easy. Technology takes away the emotional experience and rounds off the edges without realizing that the struggle and imperfections make the experience so powerful.
Looking at the land doesn't scream out for your attention and money, it just is.
I am fortunate to have chosen a path with my life that enables those emotional experiences, and I encourage everyone to do the same and I hope my paintings remind people to do so.

These are two more paintings of Brinkman Ridge Road

Summer Show Schedule

So I am pretty bad at promoting myself. Last week I painted at the Art in Bloom at the art musuem in Milwaukee and I didn't hardly tell anyone. On that note this is my summer show schedule as of now.

May 10th Marshfield WI-Mothers Day Art Fair-I do this one because it is near my grandma
May 16-17th Indianapolis IN-Broad Ripple Art Fair
June 19-20th Minneapolis MN-Stonearch Festival of Arts
June 26-27th Duluth MN-Park Point Art Festival
July 10-11th Madison WI-Art Off the Square- the cool people are not on the square
August 6-8th Minneapolis MN Uptown Art Fair
August 28-29th Green Bay WI- Art Street
September 10-12th St Louis MO- St Louis Art Fair
October 1-3rd Louisville KY-St. James Court

I will update the schedule when I know more

Thursday, April 1, 2010

More Brinkman Ridge Road


This white house is 105 years old and stunning, I am not doing it justice though.

Brinkman Ridge Road



So Brinkman Ridge Road is pretty awesome. I can't paint fast enough to express the changing seasons. Damn warm weather.
The big painting is like 25x50 and the smaller study is like 7x18. I lke the relationship of the land and building and from farmstead to farmstead. I'll probably paint this one again, and again.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Last of the snow and ice





Snow and tree is near Lewiston MN
Barn is just south of La Crosse on Hwy 35, you can see the mississippi river and bluff on the left side. The farm is for sale and probably leaving us soon.
And the ice is a study for the panoramic painting.

Three Panoramic Paintings




I have been working in this format lately. It is hard to see this format on a computer but...
The icy bluffs was first, that is the view from my yard in February.

The end of February beginning of March snow sunest on the bottom was fun, except cold, it is up on Chipmunk Ridge Road, fast becoming one of my favorite all time spots.

And the sunset with the ice was last week also from my yard. I LOVE when the ice is retreating, I did three little paintings the day before I did the panoramic one. Yesterday was I think the last chance for me to paint the ice. Yesterday as I painted thousands of Tundra Swans, and hundreds of Pelicans splashed and honked in the dark distance. The Mergansers and Canadian Geese and Bald Eagles were out there too. The river is a dream somedays.

I am wondering if I am spouting off too much and should just post paintings, but I think Art really is a vehicle that gets us talking about the things that really matter, the environment in my case. I hope everyone feels this way.

Thursday, March 4, 2010



The difference between Stoddard, Wisconsin(where I am painting this week) and Lewiston, Minnesota(where I painted last week) is astounding. Lewiston is on the edge of the prairie and more gently rolling making it much more open or sparse. The land is farmed by bigger farms and overall has a lost feeling. Maybe it was just because it was cold, but to me it conjured up emotions of bleakness and decay. Sitting on a gravel road and giant pick up trucks zooming past me, or sitting along the main route and having so much traffic go by you stop noticing isn't exactly inviting. There was a disconnect. I favor the open vistas of the prairie, just not the factory farming and distruction of small communities and of course the land. The sunset painting is from near Lewiston.
Above Stoddard lies "the ridge people", as I am reminded by Ben Logan's classic "The Land Remembers". When taking Chimpmunk Ridge Road up from the Mississippi River valley you enter a differnent world. Winding higher along a one lane road through the tress along the bluff imparts a dramatic view of Pool 8 of the Mississippi River. And then when you get to the top the winding follows the ridge for five or six miles before the road connects with county trunk K. But that short serpantine road is spectacular. There is no sense of isolation but of a community of small farms working this upland. The houses are what you would think farm houses would look like. The farms are old and the buildings generally maintained and in working order. There is little traffic and what traffic there is must go slower because of the winding nature of the terrain. Yesterday I painted on top of Spring Coullee south of Stoddard and the traffic was more horse and buggy than trucks.
This barn painting is a farm that was worked by the Amish as I painted. It was interesting watching them watch me, them curious as to what the heck this crazy red hair was doing, and me curious about everything they were doing. At one point a sleigh and men came up a hill and I thought I really was living in a different universe. Driving down the ridge on Spring Coullee Road was stunning, with the warm afternoon light peeking around the ridges illuminating a sea of maple trees being tapped for the collection of the sap and the winding creek making it's way to the river I was just glad to be there. I can't remember the last time I had that feeling.
The root of many of our problems comes from places like the land near Lewiston. Cheap food, bad food, food dependent on fossil fuels, and unsustainable practices. Lewiston doesn't even have a grocery store and yet all that farmland surrounds it. The same can be said for Stoddard, except Stoddard is much closer to a city, but still the question I have is why are we doing this?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

South of Stoddard


Did this last week. It is the wetland around Coon Creek south of town. In the summer there are at times dozens of egrets here.
One thing I don't like about the river is that it is seemingly always bordered by highway or railway. It would make like the coolest bike trail in the world. I can dream......

February


This is where I live now. I wanted to do a limited pallete, high key painting of the river.
I hope it worked.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Mid Winter Catch


I couple weeks ago we caught these fish called spottail shiners, they are very beautiful with a dark pthalo blue dot where the vertabrae stops and the tail begins. We walked out on the ice a mile to a secret spot and by some fluke I drilled on top of a large school of these fish. The Mississippi River I do believe is the most romantic place I have ever encountered, and always full of surprises, the only thing that compares are the great lakes. The river means so much to me. When I get up and look at it each day it never disappoints. Having grown up on the other side of the state with the notion of having to go "up north" the river is a real change of pace. By me there aren't very many jetski's and pleasure boaters. Unless in the main channel, the vast majority of the river, thank goodness, doesn't allow for such foolishness. There are so many places to explore and hide that are no good to the attitude that I have grown up around. Out from me lies a shallow bay choked with duckweed and anchored by lotus and coontail along with many other plants I do not know the names of but wish I did. You couldn't really put in a pier and you definitely wouldn't go swimming. To my selfish great pleasure it is of little use to most people, even though I know that it is a sad inditement of our culture. And so let people go "up north" I am fine with them overlooking the river, I know the spottail shiners don't miss them.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Super Bowl



In the spirit of Saints vs. Colts, Brees vs Manning and Man vs Food
I present fall vs winter at Goose Island
The top one is during hoarfrost and the bottom during morning valley fog.

River Valley Winter Paintings





So I have been getting more of a feeling of the river environment. It is hard for me to paint something so beautiful and actually have a point to it. I like how the bluffs look in the winter, and how I can abstract them easier. I have been painting near Winona, MN and of course Stoddard, WI. I am actually sad that I have only a month or so of snow left on the bluffs as I was just getting into it. All these painting are done in Mississippi River valley.