Nov 29, 2012

Miniature Painting - No 11

Miniature painting No 11 is a bighorn sheep. Going for a monochrome look here, with all brown on brown.

5"x7" oil on Gessobord
Original: SOLD

Nov 27, 2012

Coloring Book Page for Kids - Christmas Deer and Snowman

In celebration of the holiday season here's a printable coloring book page for the kids to enjoy. It features a whitetail deer nibbling the carrot nose off a snowman while a bunny looks on, hoping the deer will share a piece of the tasty treat.

As with the previous coloring pages, have your kids download it, print it out, and color it or paint it any way they want, realistic or wild and crazy! (Click on the image to see a larger version. Then right-click on the larger image and select "save image as..." to save it to your hard drive.)

This coloring page was created from a small painting I did recently. Below is the image of the painting your children can use as color reference. Of course, they're free to use their own imagination and color it however they want.

Holiday greeting cards can be made from this image on Fine Art America.

Nov 25, 2012

Miniature Painting - No 10 - Pelagic Cormorant

Miniature painting No 10 is a a pelagic cormorant.

7"x5" oil on Gessobord
These solid black birds are anything but plain black. They have amazingly beautiful iridescent feathers, with lovely shades of blue, green, and purple!

The reference for this bird was taken on my trip to Astoria, Oregon.

Original: SOLD

Nov 24, 2012

Miniature Painting - No 9 - African Lion

Miniature painting No 9, a majestic black-maned African lion. This is a little unusual for me since I rarely paint African wildlife. But what's not to love about the King of the Jungle? Or, that really should be 'King of the Savannah"!

5"x7" oil on Gessobord
Original: SOLD

Nov 22, 2012

In Honor of Turkeys on Thanksgiving

To honor the many turkeys that gave their lives for our Thanksgiving feast today I'm posting some images of wildlife art representing turkeys in paintings to honor this majestic bird.

Challenge at Turkey Creek
by Jim Killen 

First Rays of Dawn
by Murrell Butler

Grandfather Gobbler
by Ryan Kirby

Nov 18, 2012

Miniature Painting - No 8 - Christmas Deer

Miniature painting No 8 is a holiday greeting scene.It shows a deer nibbling the carrot nose off a snowman while a little bunny looks on, wishing he could have reached the carrot himself I'm sure! Perhaps the deer will be nice and share a bit. :)

5"x7" oil on Gessobord
Update: SOLD 11/23

Holiday greeting cards can be made from this image on Fine Art America.

Nov 15, 2012

Miniature Painting - No 7 - Pileated Woodpecker

Miniature painting No 7, a beautiful pileated woodpecker.

Pileated Woodpecker
5"x7" oil on Gessobord

This lovely bird was photographed on my own bird feeder in my backyard. There are plenty of pileated woodpeckers in the area here (I hear them a lot) but they're hard to spot in the trees, and it's rare for them to land on a feeder. They are such timid birds they'll fly away at the first sight of you, even if you're pretty far away. I was lucky enough to sneak up on this guy from inside the house and get a shot at him through the window. I think the reflection on the window must have hid me from his view.

Update: SOLD 11/22

Nov 13, 2012

How to Ship a Wet Painting

What do you do when you sell a painting before it dries and you need to ship it?

Yeah, yeah, I know, selling a painting that fast is not normally an issue. I'm sure we artists all wish it were a daily problem. :)

But, once in a while it happens.

I recently had a deer painting sell the very day after I finished it and posted it for sale. Normally I put my paintings in a 7 day auction so they have a whole week to dry before being shipped to their new owners. But in this case I had put a buy-out price and it sold right away. I didn't want the buyer to have to wait a week for it to dry before I shipped it. Otherwise, there's not a whole lot of advantage to using the buy-out, is there? So, I had to think of a way to ship it before it was completely dry.

The painting was mostly dry to the touch the next day but still a bit tacky. Certainly not dry enough to tolerate packaging material pressing up against it. I decided to solve the problem by making a little box that would grip it by the edges and keep the face of it from touching anything. So here's what I came up with.

First, start with a piece of cardboard a little less than twice the size of the painting.  Notch out triangular wedges so the points meet the corner of the paintings, as shown in yellow below.

Next, fold the corners over. Make sure the point of the folded pieces lines up with the outer edge of the cardboard. This will insure that the outer walls are sloped inward when folded, which is what you want to do to hold the painting in place without touching the face of it.

Next, fold the ends and sides up, as show below. Tape the pointed bits to the end so their edges line up with the bottom of the box, not the top. Make sure the top of the box slopes inward. This slope on all four sides is important for holding the painting in place. Note the angle of the yellow lines below is less than 90ยบ.

See below how I can tilt the box and the painting will not fall out because the wedge-shaped sides hold it in place.

Next you want to make a little lid for it, something stiff, so that the packaging material will not touch the face of the painting. Here I just added another piece of cardboard, a little bigger than the box opening, to cover the top. Tape it securely on all four sides.

Finally, remember this protective box is not your actual shipping box.It's just to keep the packing material off the painting. Next you need to place the little box in your bigger shipping box and be sure to add packing material like air bags or packing peanuts around it. You want at least in inch on all sides for small painting like this one. For a larger painting you'll want at least 2 inches on each side.

I'm happy to say the buyer contacted me to let me know this painting arrived at its destination safe and unblemished.

I'm sure there are other ways to ship a wet painting. There's probably packaging you can buy that's designed just for that. But, what's better than an inexpensive, nearly-free art shipping crate created from a few scraps of cardboard, some tape, and a little ingenuity? :)

Nov 11, 2012

Miniature Painting - Painting No 6 - Crow

Here's miniature painting Number 6, a crow cawing.

5"x7" oil on Gessobord

I took this photo at the Woodland Park zoo in Seattle. He wasn't a zoo animal, but had flown down to see what was going on, probably looking for snacks from visitors.

It's been a while since I took the picture so I don't recall what the lighting was like that day but the crow seemed to have an interesting sort of mauve color reflecting off his feathers. I thought it looked lovely against the black so I decided to go with that in the background to tie it all together.

(SOLD. Sorry, but this painting sold within a couple hours of offering it for sale, so it was no longer available by the time I wrote this post. Keep checking back for the next one, or take a look at other paintings that are still available!)

Nov 9, 2012

Miniature Painting - Painting No 5 - Cougar

Miniature painting number 5, a cougar (or puma or mountain lion, if you prefer) looking over a cliff.

 Mountain Lion No1
5"x7" oil on Gessobord
Original: SOLD

This is probably my first cougar painting. I've painted other big cats before, a few tigers, and a couple African lions. But I don't think I've done a mountain lion before. That's one nice thing about doing all these little mini paintings. Because I can do one in a day I get to do a lot more paintings and paint a lot more subjects. When I'm done with my 60 paintings I'll have a better idea of which subjects are more fun to do and will probably do a few larger ones of those subjects.

The reference photo for this painting was taken at the Triple D Game farm in Kalispell, MT when I took a wildlife photography workshop there a couple years ago. They have a lot of beautiful animals there and it's not like photographing in a zoo. The animals are taken out to natural settings for you. Their handlers encourage them to run and play and stalk and chase lures so you can get some great photos of wild animals moving and behaving naturally. If you ever get the chance to take a workshop there I highly recommend it.

Nov 7, 2012

Miniature Painting - Painting No 4 - Sea Lion

Miniature painting number #4, a sea lion basking in the sun after a recent dip in the Columbia River.

This is something new for me. I don't think I've ever painted a sea lion before, or any marine mammal for that matter. The shiny wet coat was a challenge, but fun. Painting wet fur is not something I have a lot of experience with so I had to rework the white areas a couple times to get them to look like wet shine rather than the sea lion looking like a pinto horse. :)

Sea Lion No1
6"x6" oil on Gessobord
Original: SOLD

The photo reference for this painting was taken during my trip to Astoria, Oregon a couple years ago. I remember when visiting the Astoria Column I could hear quite a ruckus coming from down by the water. I asked a local about the sound and got an exasperated response about sea lions on the docks. Apparently they are quite an attraction for visitors, but a most unwelcome guest to the locals. Not only do they keep residents awake at night from their incessant barking, but they cause all sorts of problems at the marina docks where they like to gather. They gather in quite large numbers, completely covering the docks, sometimes so many sea lions on one dock they actually sink or damage it from their weight. They can be dangerous if approached so this makes it difficult, if not impossible, for people to reach their boats. Fortunately, the sea lions don't stay there all year so life can return to normal for the residents before long.

Whether they are welcome or not, I had fun taking photos. They spend a lot of time squabbling and chasing each other off the best spots, so they were rather entertaining to watch.

Nov 6, 2012

Waterfall Wildlife Painting Background Done

Well, I finally finished the background in my waterfall wildlife painting! It may need a touch or two here and there, maybe some more fallen leaves on the rocks. But overall it's pretty much done. Now comes the fun part, the animals! Besides being the fun part, it's also the scary part. I've spent so long on the background that if I don't get the animals just right it could ruin the whole look and feel I'm going for. Yikes! I think I'll wait until the background is really, really dry before adding the animals. That way if they aren't looking just right and I wipe them off and start over without messing up the background. :)

16"x20 oil on Gessobord

Nov 4, 2012

Miniature Painting - No 3 - Goldfinch

Miniature painting #3, an American Goldfinch.

American Goldfinch
7"x5" oil on Gessobord

Such colorful, cute little birds they are! I thought a violet background made a nice contrast to his bright yellow coloring.

I took the reference photo for this at my bird feeder in the backyard. We get a lot of chickadees, house finches, nuthatches, bushtits, pine siskins, and even woodpeckers at our bird feeder. But the goldfinch is a rare sight. So when this guy landed for a snack I had to take as many pictures as I could before he flew away. So you may see some more goldfinch paintings before long. :)

(Update: Sold 11/11)

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