Aug 27, 2014

Fine Art America Prints Now Shipping From The UK!

I have been using Fine Art America as my art print service for many years. Although they have always shipped internationally, shipping costs have been prohibitive outside North America. Finally, FAA has a printing service within the UK that ships throughout the UK and Europe, making shipping costs dramatically more affordable! And, through the end of this month (only a few days left!) they are offering FREE shipping on all canvas print orders to any country within the UK and Europe! Read more about it here.


This offer is not limited to any particular artist or image. Choose from over 170 wildlife and domestic animal images from my gallery ... or even browse the site for images you like better than mine (shame on you! ;)) It doesn't matter. Whatever tickles your fancy, whether wildlife art, floral, landscapes, portraits, or abstract, it's all available for FREE shipping to the UK and Europe. But only for a few more days, so hurry!

Here are a few examples my my art you can now have shipped affordably to the UK and Europe.



 
 
Art Prints 

Many more images and types of animals available! Check them all out here!

Aug 25, 2014

Miniature Painting - No 58 - Running Horse

New small works painting. This one is of a galloping bay horse. Because of the warm tones and soft lighting, and the reddish coloring of the horse, I'm calling this one "Evening Fire".


 5"x7" oil on Multimedia Artboard
Original: SOLD
Prints, notecards, and phone cases available.

Aug 18, 2014

Goldfinch Art Clothing and Gifts

Someone purchased a set of Christmas greeting cards from me today featuring my painting of Northern red cardinals in a holly tree.

Wow! It's hard to believe I'm sitting here sweating in front of the fan on a hot August night and we're already starting to think about the fall and winter holidays! Are you writing out your gift list yet?

Well, if you are, I have some ideas to get you started. I recently edited my painting of goldfinches and apple blossoms, removing the background and the third bird. I think this edited version works better for use on items such as clothing. Since we all have to wear clothes, clothing is always a good option when looking for gift ideas, whether it's for the holidays, a birthday, or just to show someone they're important to you.

I've added this image to some women's apparel. I think it looks great on shirts and other clothing without the background. It really makes the birds pop, and the simpler image of just pink, yellow, and white makes it look clean and bright. Take a look!


But, after that, I didn't stop there. Seeing how good it could look without the background I decided I'd try it on some other products. It turns out this cut-out version looks quite well on a number of other items, from cake pans to coffee mugs. Here it is on a coffee mug.


....and on a throw pillow.........


...and a reusable grocery bag....


.....a silver necklace....


....and a kitchen canister that can be used as a flour canister, cookie jar, candy jar...whatever you want...


I know, spring flowers might seem odd for a Christmas gift. But by the time the shortest, darkest day of the year comes and goes, your friends and family will be longing for spring! Cheer them up with a preview of what's to come!

Click on an image above to find out more about that particular item, or visit my Zazzle store to see lots of other kinds of gift items available.

Aug 15, 2014

Wolf Valley Painting Finished!

Well, after many weeks of blood, sweat, and tears my wolf painting is finally done!

I'm calling this painting "Passing It On" to tell the story of how wolf packs can claim a territory for many generations. Here the proud mother wolf is showing her pups the beautiful landscape within their pack's territory, a territory they may inherit and have to defend when they grow up.


18"x24"
Oil on Multimedia Artboard

The mother wolf was painted from a photo I took years ago at the Triple D Game Farm just outside Kalispell, Montana. I loved the stance of the wolf, and the dramatic lighting. But the background of the photo was pretty drab. For a long time I wanted to paint the wolf but couldn't decide what to do for a background. Then one day I was flipping through a book on wolves. There was an image of wolf standing on a ridge and the book talked about how, for unknown reasons, wolves seem to like to stand on high ground and gaze out upon the landscape.

Researches aren't sure why they like to do this. Perhaps they are searching for potential prey. Maybe they're scouting for intruders into their territory. We always assume animals only do things for the purpose of survival. But what if they are just enjoying the view? Could it be that animals sometimes do things just for pleasure? We'll never know. But the idea that a wolf mother could be viewing the landscape simply from pride and joy makes a nice story for a painting, anyway. :)


Aug 6, 2014

Nature Is Cruel - Accept It!

I have been motivated to write this blog post because I am sick and tired of vegans/vegetarians telling me that I, as an animal lover and wildlife artist, should be totally opposed to the hunting and eating of animals, or any use of animal products.

So I am writing this to argue my case as to why I am not opposed to hunting and eating animals.

First of all, there is this wide-spread illusion that anything "natural" is "good" and we humans screw it all up with our Man-made things and behaviors.

Stop this BS first of all. There are boatloads of natural things and behaviors that are not really good. Arsenic, cyanide, rattlesnake bites, man-o-war stings, many mushrooms ...get the picture? Really. Not everything "natural" is good for you or the environment.

Next is this silly idea that everything humans do is "unnatural" and bad. Sorry but, I believe humans are as much a part of Nature as any other creature on Earth. Sure, our behaviors can be bad for other living things sometimes. But so can the behaviors of "natural" creatures. For example, we think humans are "bad" and "unnatural" because we don't kill only for food. We kill for a lot of other reasons and we think that's somehow unnatural.

But we really aren't the only ones.

Animals regularly kill for things besides food. They kill out of fear, they kill for territory, for resources such as water and shelter, or for breeding rights ... or even for reasons unknown. Take African lions, for example. Male lions often kill lion cubs when they take over a pride. By killing all cubs they induce the female to breed again. This way the new male leader doesn't have the burden of raising another male's offspring, and he can sooner get to breeding and raising his own.

Lions will also kill cheetahs any chance they get. They don't eat them. So why do they kill them? Scientists speculate it could be because they compete for food and territory. But lions don't seem to have this same hatred for leopards, which also compete for food and territory. So, no one really knows why lions have it in for cheetahs.

OK, so now back to the vegan/vegetarian issue. Many people also have this illusion that humans should not eat meat because it is more cruel to animals than Nature is. For some reason we think a human killing an animal is worse than a wild animal killing an animal.

Wrong!

Nature is horribly cruel much of the time! Several years ago I wrote a couple of blog posts about why hunting and killing animals is not more cruel than Nature. Read those posts here.


I won't go over the whole thing here. You can read those posts for details. But to summarize, I said Nature is NOT nicer to wildlife. The "natural" way most animals die in the wild is miserable. They die slow and painful deaths from disease, parasites, and starvation. Even if they are lucky enough to die "quickly" from a predator attack, it's never pleasant and peaceful, and not always quick and merciful.

Nature shows no mercy.

People believe we humans are more cruel to animals than Nature. Yes, sometimes we can be. But that doesn't mean Nature is nice when dealing its deaths. People say we shouldn't eat meat because slaughterhouses are cruel. Yes, they can be. But they aren't always. And Nature isn't necessarily any better.

Do you ever watch wildlife documentaries? If not, you should. They will open your eyes to the reality of Nature. Slaughterhouses can be stressful to animals, and sometimes animals are injured, or don't die as quickly and humanely as we'd like. But let's take a look at some of the ways Nature kills animals.

Slow and agonizing deaths through starvation, disease, and parasites have already been mentioned. But what about those "quick" deaths by predators? Sure. Nice and peaceful. Stress-free and pain-free, right?


WARNING: Descriptions get gruesome here. Don't read on if you can't stomach some grizzly details.


Let's start with those beautiful wild cats everyone loves. They only kill for food, right? And they kill quickly, so there is no suffering. Snap of a neck and it's instantly over, right? (Let's ignore the fear and stress of being chased and caught) Well, we already talked about how lions kill for other reasons besides food. But even if the animal is killed for food it's not always quick. Wild cats often bring a young animal, like a baby antelope, back home for the cubs to "play" with. The practice of hunting this live baby animal can go on for hours or all day, the poor thing repeatedly knocked around, scared, stressed, and injured. In fact, many such practice prey animals die from stress and exhaustion rather than actually being killed by the cats. A wonderful way to spend your last day on Earth, eh?

OK, let's next talk about crocodiles and alligators. You've probably seen images of them jumping out of the water to snap the head of a zebra or wildebeest crossing the river. We think, oh, that's it! Instant death! But this is often not the case. Crocs and alligators are not really very good at killing their prey directly. They usually just grab the animal and pull it down to the bottom of the river to drown before eating it. Drowning is not fun. Sometimes the crocs/gators don't want to wait that long for the animal to drown, though. They sometimes use a method of spinning their bodies around in the water while holding their prey, literally twisting and ripping the limbs or chunks of the body off while the animal is still alive.

And my personal favorite (yes, sarcasm here) is the African Wild Dog. This "beautiful" spotted dog is actually incapable of killing prey. So they don't even try. They routinely eat their victims while still alive. And the best part is, they love the entrails most. They go for those first. They just drag the live animal down to the ground and then they dive into the abdomen or genital area to disembowel the hapless creature. Imagine what fun it must be to have your intestines literally pulled out through your anus while you're still alive! Yes, a happy day in the park!

OK, so you still think slaughterhouses are more cruel than Nature? At least we humans have a conscience. Most of us do not want animals to suffer. Laws have been passed to reduce the pain and suffering of food animals. There was even a movie made about Temple Grandin, a woman who devoted her life to improving the conditions for beef cattle. There are many activist groups as well. Yes, more work needs to be done. It's not perfect. But, the point is, at least we humans try. Nature makes no such effort because it just doesn't care.

Humans kill their food by shooting it through the heart, decapitating, or hitting it over the head with a sludge hammer. Not pretty. There is no pretty way to die. But would you rather see a buck get a bullet through the heart? Or watch a baby deer get "played with" for hours by young mountain lions? Would you rather see a chicken get its head cut off? Or watch a zebra get its legs ripped off while still alive?

So for all you vegans who think we're more cruel than Nature, we're not. I'm not saying things are good. I'm just saying Nature is not nicer. Nature can be far worse than humans sometimes. And, in reality, humans are part of Nature. So what we do is, in a sense, is perfectly natural.

The reality is, things kill things to eat and live. It was this way for billions of years before humans arrived on Earth. It will be this way for ages after we're gone. We are not unnatural. We are not a fluke. This is Earth. Accept it.



Aug 4, 2014

Wolf Valley Painting - WIP1

I actually started this wolf painting a long time ago. But it got put on the back burner while I worked on my songbird series. I will definitely be doing more birds in the not-too-distant future but for now I'm taking a break from birds to work on a large wolf painting. This one, being bigger than my usual paintings, and having lots of detail in the background, is taking a long time. So it will probably be another week before it's done. But, in the meantime, I thought you might like to see how it's been progressing. Here are a few snap shots at various stages.


Work on the sky and distant mountains starts first.



Starting on the valley. Grass, trees, and a suggestion of fields of spring flowers.




More valley work. Trees closer in. And a river below.



Work begins on the ledge the wolves are standing on. Starting to block in the wolves too. River almost finished.



All of the background is done now, as well as most of the foreground ledge, covered in grass and flowers.


Next comes finishing up the wolves themselves. This painting should be done next week. So check back then to see the finished product!

Jul 28, 2014

Miniature Painting - No 57 - Whitetail Buck

Wow, I just realized I have not painted a single deer painting this year. My last painting that included a member of the deer family was an elk painting from Nov of last year! Since deer are my favorite animals, I decided I was long overdue to paint a deer. This is just a small one, painted in a day. But it scratched that itch I had to get a deer painting done! Here it is.


7"x5" oil on Multimedia Artboard
Available here.

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