Sunday, August 25, 2013


I've already shared this juicy item on FB, but in the event you haven't poked the 'like' button yet ( ahem ), here's the scoop -

This little gem of a painting, a donation to Make-A-Wish Nebraska, recently fetched over $400 at their 30th annual auction and fundraiser.  Hoo-ee!  I am thrilled and honored that someone thought enough of my artwork to dig out their pocket book and plunk down such a pile of hard earned cash.

Of course, it's not just me. The individual doing the plunking is pretty special too.  In fact, the onus of raising money at these fundraising auctions falls on the plunk-er. Their generosity allows the money to pile up in the coffers of groups who need it. To my very own plunker goes a heartfelt hug.

I'll admit, I'm not high on sending my art to just any group who wants to use it for raising money. 

Auctions are held by those who want to sell something; household goods, golf outings, art. 
Auctions are attended by folks who are interested in buying something for less than its retail price.
It  becomes a hunt for the bargain, to edge the price up by mere nickels and dimes in hopes of getting a deal rather than plunking down a sizeable amount right off the bat for a higher purpose. It's human nature.

And thankfully it's human nature as well to want to help those who truly need it.  Make-A-Wish is a foundation devoted to generating funds to create experiences for children who are dealing with life-threatening medical conditions.  Jeez, who wouldn't want to help with that?  Plus, Kearney is my home town. Plus, this foundation asked in an appropriate and professional way, and that means a lot.

Congratulations to everyone involved; Make-A-Wish Nebraska, the annual event's coordinators, and all the good plunkers who raised over $100,000. I'm tickled pink to have been asked to participate, and to have helped make a few moments in the life of a child just a little bit easier.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Hearts To You

Greetings Dear Reader,

I recently spent a challenging and delightful weekend in Valentine, Nebraska sharing a workshop with the Sand Painters Art Guild.

I say "sharing" because this group of dedicated artists already spends hours each month honing their life drawing and plein air skills. It's not like they needed teaching, especially.  My job was to simply demonstrate how I start a painting and convey clearly and concisely what I was doing and the why behind that. 

Yeah, that makes me laugh too. 

Those of you who have tried this exercise know how tricky it can be. Keeping track of shapes and colors while stringing words together in some semblance of language is challenging to say the least.
I think my first sentence was something about ... the thingy... and the delie-o ... whatchamathinger ...gahhhhh...
Once the words started flowing however, some terrific discussions ensued about color and brushstrokes, creating atmosphere and the challenge of values. I had to be on my toes with this group.
It's so easy when leading a workshop to inflict one's own style on everyone else. Do this, then this, then that and ... voila! The entire class ends up with an imitation Scarborough! Trust me, one of me in the world is plenty.


It seems infinitely more useful to share some basic concepts and at the same time, use those ideas so they can be understood in their proper context.  Cool colors recede, warm colors appear closer, texture and line can be used to help compose are all simple, yet powerful devices for painters to understand. 
Painting while verbalizing the why's and how's put those theories into action.
And then...

... their turn. 
The challenge for an instructor in my humble opinion is to get out of the way and empower each artist to figure things out for themselves. They'll (hopefully) keep painting long after I've scraped my palette clean and gone home. That's when the hard work begins, and the most exciting potential for discovery occurs.  
That is what the instructor's job should be. To honor the potential of each person in their class, and to find ways to encourage each individual's journey of discovery. 
Sand Painter's, it was a blast hanging out with you. Thank you for your attention, your bravery and your willingness to step up to a challenge. Now ... go paint something!