Saturday, May 16, 2020

Painting - Rocky Mountain Bull Elk

Acrylic Painting of a bull elk in the rocky mountains colorado montana idaho utah wyoming


This is my latest painting of an autumn landscape with a big bull elk bugling.  It represents what I view as a classic Colorado fall scene.  The elk reference I used in this picture was taken from a photograph I took years ago in Rocky Mountain National Park.  The autumn landscape was taken near the Silverthorne/Vail area on a fall colors photography trip, while the sagebrush in the foreground was taken from yet another photograph.  Putting all these images together in a rough composite allowed me to tweak the composition exactly the way I wanted it.  I then adjusted the lighting so they fit together.  Artist license... it's allowed!


Elk reference photo


Inpiration background photo


Photoshopped reference photo

 Recently, I have been working on my technique with the goal to paint faster without sacrificing quality.  I try to use a larger brush for much of the piece to fill in sections faster giving the illusion of texture and detail, especially in the background.  Another thing that I'm learning is that using a solid reference photograph goes a long way toward creating that realistic, engaging image.  It's fun to compare images from the past to see how you've grown as an artist.  Below is a similar painting I completed when I was in college 15 years ago.  Side by side with this current one, you can see a lot of technical improvements:


15 years ago
Today



Last, here's a complete time-lapse video of the entire painting process:






Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Four Seasons Mountain Photography

Fall Summer Winter and Spring with the Sawatch Mountains of Colorado


This past year, we visited specific scenic locations four different times throughout the year.  We chose easily accessible, yet scenic areas of Colorado to shoot all four seasons.  These photographs represent what I believe to be iconic views of our mountains with aspens or other foliage in the foreground to show the changing of the colors in the different seasons.  The first area is the Sawatch Range of central Colorado near the towns of Leadville and Buena Vista:


Mount Elbert talles mountain in Colorado four seasons 4 Fall Summer Winter Spring
4 Seasons on Mt. Elbert - The tallest mountain in Colorado


Mountains Cabin 4 seasons four fall summer winter spring collage autumn twin lakes colorado
4 Seasons - Cabin reflection

4 seasons four on colorado mountains mount yale 14ers
4 Seasons - Colorado 14er Mt. Yale

four seasons Mount Princeton Colroado 14er Bueana Vista
4 Seasons - Colorado 14er mt. Princeton

 The second location was close to home.  Rocky Mountain National Park and the Front Range are within an hour of our home, so naturally it works well for us to take day trips to get to these spots easier:


colorado 4 seasons autumn winter fall spring summer bear lake RMNP rocky mountain national park
4 Seasons - Bear Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park


Rocky Mountain National Park Colordo Hallett Flattop Mountain Glacier Gorge Estes Park 4 season fall summer spring winter
4 Seasons - Hallett and Flattop Mountain


4 seaons boulder flatiorns chautauqua park fall summer winter spring
4 Seasons - The Boulder Flatirons

4 Seasons - Longs Peak


Prints of each individual image in these collages is also available on it's own.  Check out my four seasons gallery link below for all the photographs:










Friday, March 13, 2020

Drawing - "Serpent and Dove"

Wise and shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves quote by Jesus


It seems to me in recent years, there has been an increase in hostility toward Christianity.  The view that Christians are judgemental and hypocritical is shared by many in the area we live.  It is true that these negative traits can apply to people who worship Jesus and to people in general.  One thing I've been trying to work on is to live like Jesus instructs His disciples when He tells them to be "as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves."  He himself was totally innocent, but also very wise and cunning in His actions.  Though He was "gentle and humble in spirit" (Matt 11:29) He also turned over tables with whip in hand to cleanse the temple of money changers (John 2:15).  If we as Christians don't live pure lives, how will our message be credible?  On the other hand, if we don't share Jesus in a way that is purposeful, even crafty, then how will people ever come to know about His great love?

One of the ways that our church is acting this out currently is through our low cost medical clinic.  During the week, we meet the needs of people in our community freely.  They come and get their needs met.  Nothing is asked in return.  Some of these people end up becoming members of the church through the connections they make with people at the clinic.  This is no accident or coincidence.  Our preacher told of a man from the community that figured it out one day.  He said, "Hey, I see what you Christians are up to!  You just do these things because you want to get people to become Christians!" 

Sneaky snakes... 

There is no greater need than the need to be saved.  The ultimate motivations of our actions should be love.  Sometimes that means we go "fishing" to hook people in.  Sometimes we might have to be like slimy salesmen.  We might have to be subtle or we might have to be aggressive or we might have to be gentle.