What was it about me that got the painting thing going? I did not come from an artistic family but I do come from a family of “doers”. I can get in front of a blank canvas and get things started either in the studio or plein air – no problem with painter’s block. My siblings inherited the same ‘get it done’ trait but do other things than paint. Like you, I had to learn the basics: values, color mixing, shapes (drawing), edges, paint application, brush, palette knife and all the rest. Sounds like a lot but it is easier for new painters with every class. For me it was similar to learning a new computer program. When I got stuck, I needed help. A good critique by artist friends or teacher usually got me back on track. I teach oil painting every week in my studio and critique every class. Students learn not only from the teacher but also from fellow students. We specialize in gentle critique, even of the teachers work-and I love it. The value of another set of eyes is very important. I send out a weekly class up dates to my students showing what we painted in class and what the final product came to look like. To receive class updated click here.
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I paint a lot of landscapes because I live in beautiful northern Colorado. Rocky Mountain National Park is close by. I love to paint nature and to be out in it but I didn’t start there. I first started painting live portraits. My teacher stressed the importance of painting from life and she was so right. The same holds true for landscapes. The first time I went out to paint a landscape in plein air, I struggled. It was so complicated, it was too hot, there were too many bugs and the light changed all the time. It was not at all like the controlled environment of a studio portrait but then the Coll perseverance thing kicked in. I painted outside for two years before I ever came back into the studio to paint a landscape. I can relate my struggle to my love of fly-fishing. I didn’t catch a fish for the first year but I came to love and respect those wily trout. After that long year, I figured out the tactics and started catching fish but by then didn’t have the heart to keep them and gave them their freedom back.
I attract students and collectors by my direct, straight forward style of painting. My students think I am a fast painter because I get done before they do. I use one-quarter the number of paint strokes they do. When my brush or palette knife is empty I re-load rather than dab-dab-dab it into ‘mud’. I practice, put it down and leave it.
I better explain the llama thing because you see pictures of them on my web-sight. Years ago I purchased two “trained” pack llamas. I was the one who had to be trained and I have come to love the “boys” (Cardamom and Night Train). At least once a year they carry my camping and painting gear to the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming. When I roll out the trailer they go into their happy dance to get loaded. I go into my happy dance too – ready to do what I dearly love.
I encourage you to follow my blog updates, student updates and new painting posts. Thanks so much for reading about what I do.