Sunday, September 15, 2013

Painting During the Flood

We've had a lot of flooding in Colorado, but luckily my studio stayed dry and I had the opportunity to work on a painting while we waited for the rain stop. I love the iconic "Tree of Life" image-I even do a "Tree of Life" sunset painting project with my students based on Gustav's Kilmt's painting of the same name. So, I decided to create my own "Tree of Life" themed painting while the rain was pounding on the windows and creating rivers across the roads.

"Tree of Life-Deluge" acrylic, 2013

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Portraits... of People

I don't have much of a background in portraiture--and by this I mean that I have no training in painting portraits and almost as little experience. Consequently, I've hesitated to choose this as a subject matter for my paintings. I do enjoy painting animal portraits, but here I'm referring to portraits of my own species rather than my beautiful dog Zoe. I can't say that I remember what inspired me to try it out this time, but I actually enjoyed creating these two portraits. This may be the start to a series. We shall see....

"Somnio Mons" oil paint,  2013

"Laetitia Surgit" oil paint,  2013

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Trip to New Mexico: Classic Truck Painting

It seems like every time I go to New Mexico I see at least a few of those old classic pickup trucks; some are really rusty, while others are in pristine condition. I'm not generally into classic cars and trucks, (nor any vehicles, to be honest), but there is something sculptural and nostalgia-inducing about these trucks. It's not uncommon to see classic trucks, which clearly don't run anymore, displayed as sculptures (either intentionally or inadvertently) in yards and driveways. The classic 1950s Chevy pickup truck in a field with weeds sprouting up around the tires, or in front of an old adobe house with a bright New Mexico sky in the background is an iconic image of the Southwest. There were certainly some great paintings of this sort of iconic scene in the Santa Fe and Taos art galleries, but they weren't exactly within our budget. So, after taking some photos of a classic 1951 Chevy pickup truck that was painted an amazing shade of "light sky bluish-turquoise" in Taos, I decided to create my own "classic truck in the New Mexico landscape" painting. I also love the New Mexico skies and adobe buildings, so of course I had to sneak those in as well. This was also the first time in months that I've used oil paints, and I really enjoyed working with oils again.

"Taos 51 Chevy" oil paint, 2013

Here is a photo that my mom, Susan Flook, took of a really interesting classic pickup truck displayed as art on a small side street in Santa Fe. Too bad I missed this one when we were out there.

"Santa Fe Truck Art" digital photograph by Susan Flook, 2013

Friday, July 12, 2013


I realized that I hadn't posted any photography in a while. I guess with digital photography it doesn't feel like I am creating something with my hands the way it used to when I would develop images in the dark room. However, there is still something to be said for creating a unique image, digitally or otherwise. Here are some landscapes, botanicals and portraits from this summer. Click on any photograph to scroll through photos one at a time.

"Bamboo Eye" 2013

"John Dunn Bridge" 2013

"From the Rio Grande" 2013 

"Petals" 2013

"Rocky Mountain Shadows" 2013

"Storm on the Rio Grande Gorge" 2013

"Animal Sanctuary Tiger" 2013

"Leaf Drops" 2013

"Cactus Stars" 2013

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Bighorn Sheep Painting

Fun fact: bighorn sheep have oval-shaped pupils.

When I was looking at various reference images of big horn sheep (I've seen them up close, but it has usually been while driving up to ski, so I don't have any of my own close-up photos), I thought that the eyes had been photoshopped. Apparently, they really do have pupils that look more like a jelly bean than a circle. Actual bighorn sheep are better camouflaged in the Rocky Mountain landscape, but I wanted this guy to pop out, so I enhanced the contrast by making the sheep more colorful than any bighorns you might see up in the mountains.

"Colorado Bighorn" acrylic, 2013

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Beginning of Summer Paintings

I just completed a fairly large (30"x 24") tiger painting, which I like, and a very small koi fish painting which I didn't really enjoy. I've decided that I seem to prefer working on larger canvases more than small ones, although what I consider "large" is probably much smaller than what some painters prefer. We went to visit the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado and I took a ton of photos of the tigers, lions, bears, and other rescue animals. The tigers seemed to be the most visually striking, so I decided to start with this painting.

"In the Grass" acrylic, 2013

"Koi Fish Ribbons" acrylic, 2013

Friday, April 5, 2013

Experimental Elephant Painting

"Elephant Sunset" acrylic, 2013

I originally planned on doing a realistically colored elephant with some plants and other nature details in the background, but of course I got pretty bored with that approach. Instead, I played around with adding color to the elephant in such a way that it almost looks like I used chalk pastel instead of acrylic paint. I decided to do a fiery sunset background because I liked the contrast it made with the pale pastel colors on the elephant. I'm not sure that this painting turned out exactly as I would have liked, but it was certainly an interesting painting to work on.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Barn Owl Painting

I have my mom to thank for inspiring this painting. She sent me photos of some animals that she had seen while out in Tucson, Arizona. I was immediately drawn to the photos of the barn owl and decided to make this the subject of my next painting. I kept the colors fairly close to the real owl rather than adding or exaggerating the color as I often do in my paintings of other animals. I liked the contrast of the bright white owl glowing against the blue sky, so I tried to keep that feeling in my painting.

"Tucson Barn Owl" acrylic, 2013