artist

in the year 2000

Apparently I am on a 3 blog posts a year streak.

I started another new job and the biggest shock of all is I love it. I feel almost paranoid saying that out loud like I’m going to jynx it but I truly do enjoy my new day job. I work at a school for special needs students and I do admin work and a bit of design, and it is really rewarding.

Lets see what else happened, oh yes got married, took mega road trip honeymoon, got settled into house and job, now there’s time for ART.

photo credit to Pamela Berry   www.pamelaberryphotography.com

photo credit to Pamela Berry www.pamelaberryphotography.com

Wedding was lovely, it was like 97 degrees out that day but the day was amazing regardless. All our family pitched in to make it happen, like legit so many people helped it was so touching to be surrounded by all that love. Drew, I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned him by name anyways Drew my now husband was such a trooper that day. He’s a keeper.

I don’t often share photos of myself on here but our photographer did such a good job I had to share at least one. Also we wrote our own vows and damn near wrote the same thing, how does that happen.

taking a little nappy nap

taking a little nappy nap

The honeymoon was amazing we saw so much wildlife! We saw a moose 20ft away.

We also got to be in bunch of national parks with hardly any other visitors, it was amazing. Almost every trail we took we were the only people on that trail. it was John Muri-esque.

lamar valley, my second home

lamar valley, my second home

Ok one more photo from the trip.

We camped all over Tetons and Yellowstone the last night we stayed at pebble creek and camped among the lamar valley wolf pack and heard them howl all night. It was amazing. We then woke up early and met some career “wolfers” who spot with their scopes and track the packs of Yellowstone. A wolfer named Dusty let us look through his scope and we saw the soda butte pack. It is an experience I will never forget, so glad that me and Drew got to share this time together.

So now I have a billion arts I need to art. I have a couple commissions on the docket for holiday season so that’s nice.

I have had a long break from art since my last art show in Northfield. I am a little worried I will be rusty getting back in the swing of things. Strange as it is, it is harder working on a 2nd job when you like your first, when you hate your day job the hate becomes driving force to make your passion job work. Don’t get me wrong I would not trade back AT ALL, I just need to learn to have more discipline to dedicate time to art in my spare time. Maybe the hate of a job that drove art didn’t create authentic art maybe having a job or life that is rewarding will yield more rewards within art. That’s my hope at least.

running out of sand

So I've made a bunch of cool stuff lately. I've been playing with different styles and techniques.

wild goose island in the lake there, isn't he cute?

wild goose island in the lake there, isn't he cute?

So I love this painting. I love the colors so much, the clouds I struggled with I need to up my technique for that still also I think I need to learn to use retarder for my acrylics for clouds since it dries so fast I don't get time to think before it dries down. But all in all I love how it turned out. I want to do more like this, it was a lot of fun even if it is more conceptual than my normal stuff. 

this one is hard to photograph

this one is hard to photograph

This bison also is something new I am trying. I have a bunch of old halfworked canvases that I am trying to incorporate into new artworks. I had a lot of fun with this one too. I think I should have made the orange background darker more like burnt orange to make it more like the actual prismatic spring but I still like how it turned out.

compare.jpg

Here I just painted over the original and tried again at the same composition. This is what I call a half day painting. That's what the original was as well, a painting you work on for a half a day for fun while watching a movie. Opposed to a normal painting which is worked on in days and several sittings. The original was also a half dayer so it is nice to see even my quick art skills have improved since starting to pursue the "art dream" as they call it. 

So there is a month left of the year. I think I want to make a goal of 4 paintings in this last month. This year has been not the best in general for me but if I am looking at the positive I have made more art this year by at least 3 fold from the previous 2 years. So if art is my positive takeaway from 2017 lets make the last month have even more art to try to balance out 

i want my garmonbozia back

So Twin Peaks... It was all just crazy dream logic and I was wrong, I'm not okay with it! Laura is the one! Why would Coop try to save her [aka not save her] and destroy everything?! I hate alternative realities and un-canonizing the original series. Oh well, I'm just gonna pretend season 3 never happened. Or I'll just pretend Twin Peaks ended with Eddie Vedder's song, cos I flippin' loved that. 

So I finished a painting I have been chipping away at all summer. I am so about it.

the bison I added but the rest is as it was when I was there in June

the bison I added but the rest is as it was when I was there in June

I love it but with the canvas was just a little longer. The bluffs went off so far and vast into the distance. What I remember most about the place was the rocks were so cold. I have a slight... obsession with feeling a place. Well more I really want to lock the place into a memory to store in the vault if that makes any sense, and feeling a place helps ground that. I guess because I am literally touching the ground. It was the edge of dusk where the sun is warm on your face but the air is cool. The breeze carried the pine-coney juniper scent of a million pine trees that filled out the canyon. It was quiet there, like crazy quiet but it wasn't scary like it is when your in your house and its super still it was a calming quiet. That is part of my weird memory "photograph" of the place and helps me get there in my mind and helps me paint it. 

Some of the places I've felt and kept in my memory vault are now gone. A good chunk of Glacier National Park has been lost and continues to burn. My cedar trees I felt and remember are being taken from the ages. While I never got to Sperry Chalet it was always a goal and partially why I started this venture in my life where I decided I was going to pursue art. The goal was to one day be able to be an artist in residence there. Having that goal be destroyed by outside forces does pain me a little bit but I think my drive or goal has become a larger force that can't be taken down so easily. 

Wildfire is also something that costs us many things like 100 year old buildings, the iconic vistas, the natural life of the area but it also allows for re-growth of new life. Glacier had a big fire the year after I was there on the East side of the park that scorched many of my places there. But it now has new life beginning to take the area back from the ashes.

[Photo by Saturated/iStock / Getty Images] Post-Fire Regrowth Near Gorge Trail

[Photo by Saturated/iStock / Getty Images] Post-Fire Regrowth Near Gorge Trail

Waiting on my regrowth here to overshadow the burnt, I feel like wildfire scorched my life some years ago and the regrowth has started but its a slow grow, and I'm impatient. But what else is there to do but keep going at it and wait.  

I think when I paint these places I've locked away in the mind vault, a big part of it is longing and romanticizing these places in my heart. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. I'm okay with it though. When you get to revisit these places via art or in person it is never disappointing or not living up to my memory palace of it. It is almost like the memory palace has improved the impression or feeling these places give me. So maybe that is why I still do landscapes even though I've been told they aren't my forte. [well at least yet they aren't] I want to share that place with people I want to capture that place in a box and be able to go there when I physically can't. 

Another rambly blog, but ramblin' is what I do best. #sorrynotsorry

i can has artz?

I think my first post on my website was exactly a year ago. So I've been arting it up for a year officially. Real talk, I am feeling kinda like a bummer. 

I feel like all I do is bitch and moan on this blog "I wish I had more time for art" "I wish my job was art" "the art community is so up its ass" "how do I find an audience?" and its all sour grapes. I acknowledge this. I am complaining about things I can't change which is just... useless.

But its also frustrating because I legit feel these are the things holding me back. I know I have a chip on my shoulder, I just don't know what to do about it. I want to be positive but honestly it is hard when it comes to getting my work out there. It feels like beyond just the standard hurdles of creating an audience and finding your nische, there have been additional intentional hurdles placed [mostly financial] to weed out up and coming artists of a certain economic background. 

Its hard not to take it personally. I for the life of me do not know how artists who don't come from money start from the bottom up. It feels as if things are set up to help established artists further establish themselves. I don't know what the stepping stone is between no audience/no establishment/no expendable cash to having a client base large enough to be able to afford to appear in art fairs, and it bums me out.

OK, venting complete, I feel better.

So positive stuff. I am so into drawing currently. It makes me happy and I am more apt to work on an illustration after work because its 1000% less set up, I can just dive in. I know a lot of my illustrations are made pretty much just for me, like beyond me there is probably no market for them but I'm not mad about that because I just like making them so much. 

like how gorgeous is this, I am in love

like how gorgeous is this, I am in love

I figured if I am doing American landscapes, I should include some native american women, this is based off a photo of a shoshone woman

I figured if I am doing American landscapes, I should include some native american women, this is based off a photo of a shoshone woman

my beautiful Celeste in that moment you felt her heart sink into her stomach, I try not to post the fan art I make onto my professional site but she was toooo pretty, big little lies so good

my beautiful Celeste in that moment you felt her heart sink into her stomach, I try not to post the fan art I make onto my professional site but she was toooo pretty, big little lies so good

I love them. I love my women. I could draw them forever. I have collected a bunch of reference photos and want to branch out in body types and races and what not. Mix it up more. 

I am also still working on landscapes and wildlife because I love them too. I love mountains and animals so much I can't even. 

so far improved from my zion painting from this time last year, so thats a plus

so far improved from my zion painting from this time last year, so thats a plus

some dog portraits I did for a friend's sister, the dog on the right was challenging with such short fur and all one tone but I am happy with how they came out

some dog portraits I did for a friend's sister, the dog on the right was challenging with such short fur and all one tone but I am happy with how they came out

Sometimes I feel as far as art that all my positivity goes into the artwork and all I have left is sour grapes to promote the work. When I think about drawing or painting my work I feel calm, happy, peaceful, when you ask me about selling/marketing my reaction is blechhhh and anxiety. 

So despite all my bitching I did enter in a couple of art shows, and god if they read this blog I am sure my applications will end up in the bin but hey I am being honest. I am not about to drink the koolaid. I need to get out there and meet my market/create a market and I need to learn how to not be such a bummer about promoting my artwork.  

oops its feb

Long time no writey. Well I decided this year I want to make a lot more art, and considering its only February I think I have a considerable amount of new artwork made in the last month. 

I've started making some mixed media illustration drawings of naturescapes and faces of women. I am super into it and I know it is totally artwork just for me and no one else probably is even into it but I am loving them and they are so fun to make. I missed drawing people, I have shyed away from it because I also really want to capture nature in my art. So I guess this my atempt of satsifying both desires for my artwork?

fishy is my favey

fishy is my favey

The bottom right drawing was my first, and it turned out a little more "cartoony" looking just because I am getting back into the swing of things drawing people, and even my more realistic portraits still look a little disney, I just don't like hyper-realism I like a little bit of stylistic type look to my stuff. 

This fish is so dope, it looks like a sticker and I am loving it. I for sure want to do a million more woman and fish paintings. Maybe I will do a series of endangered or threatened fish species. This one is a cut-throat trout currently endangered and numbers dwindling fast from Lake Yellowstone; shout out to my cut-throat buds stay strong my friends! 

I think I am going to do at least 2 more of these based on Yellowstone flora and fauna, but I want to do other parks too. I think it would be cool to do this as an illustration series of different national parks. National parks and art are my 2 passions , as you've probably gathered by glancing at my portfolio, so it only makes sense to mush them together.

I have also started trying to sketch daily. I get in at least 1 a day usually. Here are the greatest hits so far. 

dying to do some Finnish goddess stuff too, but again nische market if there ever was one

dying to do some Finnish goddess stuff too, but again nische market if there ever was one

I am super into my animals, they look so cute and disney cartoony. I used to think realism is the goal but now that I have my fundamentals down I am leaning more stylized. Which I am ok with because I love how it looks, whether or not other do or will is another question entirely.

I LOVE the bison. I could draw bison and pretty woman all day long I tell ya. Bison have somehow become my sigil I should really work on making them my logo and ensignia.

I have also experimented in palette knife painting. It is hard. I want to keep practicing but omg it is for the very light of hand, and I am of the heavy handed variety.  

pinky mountains are purrty

pinky mountains are purrty

I want to do some mountain paintings with oversaturated "alpenglow" the pinky snow at sunset, I am obsessed with how it looks and want to do a high contrast pumped up color redention of it. I am working with mediums in my acrylic now to get a thicker consistency to try to paint these mountains with a palette knife; so it is a lot of new stuff at once. 

LOVE the island on this one

LOVE the island on this one

On this one the mountains got a little more pink than I would have liked but again finding the slight of hand balance is hella hard. I love the water and island in this one, but water and silhouetted trees I could paint with my eyes shut, its one of my favorite things to paint. I also really love the cloud, its so fluffy and soft. I think this one is better than my first try but I chose slightly the wrong color for the sky and mountain. I want to play with new colors on scenes but still am finding my color scheme it seems. I'll get there. 

So in conclusion... I'll keep making more stuff I guess. Still haven't figured out how to get it out into the world... idk Ebay? We'll see. 

progression

Well, this past weekend's craft show was a bust but I guess I learned my lesson about knowing your crowd. But hard to know what the crowd is or is gonna be without trying some things. The next show I am doing is crafters / makers only, so maybe the audience will be more open to art. I am really still not into the idea of galleries, maybe I should look into coffee shops but even then, they have become almost gallery like because soooo many artists are looking for their showcase.

I also learned that apparently there is always one lady at a craft show that is going to passive agressively deflate your mojo with a sly ass hatted remark. I feel like I am usually someone to just let things slide but these craft show shady ladies dig deep yo. It put me off my game for a day each time. 

But since I have the best family ever, I feel like I can bounce back from those haters. Seriously I have the most supportive friends and family and am so thankful for them. They are national treasures and I want to build them all vacation homes and make it so they can all retire because they deserve it and they are just so awesome. 

My friend Meredith requested a cardinal in winter painting for her Grandma. I had so much fun making this one.

he's a little grumpy and I love it

he's a little grumpy and I love it

I love how the bird looks and the background, I still struggle with tree branches and bark. I should do some practice pieces of just tree branches, to up my game.

So I love how it turned out, but when comparing it to an older artwork of a cardinal I love it more. 

just wow

just wow

Don't get me wrong I still like the one on the left but not often do you get to see side by side comparison of your skill level. My boyfriend always tells me that my technique has improved and being a woman you assume he is just placated you but I guess I actually have, which is really cool and awesome to see. 

I am in the midst of making a new northern lights painting, people seem to love them, and I had one ordered by my gracious aunt at my last show.

Lets hope new and more art is on the horizon and next year turns out even more art and success. 

on the road again

I am an inspiration/reference material hoarder. There, I said it. I must have a million things I want to make paintings about, yet I still wanna get more ideas. I need to work on the follow through on getting more paintings cranked out. I think that November and Decemeber I am going to have to take a lot of 'me' weekends and get stufft doned.

Next Saturday is my second craft/artisten show atempting to sell my wares. I hope it goes well, I have my hopes up, but not my expectations?? If that is possible. 

I feel stuck between the 2 factions of art. I am not the gallery type, and I am not lowest common denomiator type either. I need to find my niche market, I feel like it is out there I just haven't found a way to connect with them. 

I have at least 2 commisioned paintings on deck for the holiday season, which is good. I mean thats 2 more than any other year. I think honestly I need to make more new stuff. Perhaps that shall be my Thanksgiving goal, paint something everyday during the 4 day break. Less the day of the craft show.

I am kinda pumped to set up my booth again, I feel like it looks hella awesome.

a little crowded but idk I like it

a little crowded but idk I like it

and of course my fly ass vintage table cloth

and of course my fly ass vintage table cloth

balance

Couple things to get out of the way. I decided to roll the dice and do some art/craft fairs. I know they are a gamble and most likely I won't gain any audience or sales, but I gotta get out there somehow. As we know I am not a fan of the gallery scene just because its all concept no substance and its not about engaging with the audience, its more selfish type art, which I think is important but isn't my main focus. I like working with people I like hearing people, I like making artwork for people. So I am betting on my artwork and taking the plunge into arts/craft shows.

If you are so inclined [whoever if anyone is reading this] the shows are:

October 22nd 10am-3pm @ Knights of Columbus KC Hall in Hastings, MN

November 26th 10am -3pm @ Holiday Inn Hotel Conference Center St. Paul NE in Lake Elmo, MN

So I finished my commissioned bear painting.

"Bear Family" 18" X 24" acrylic on canvas

"Bear Family" 18" X 24" acrylic on canvas

I like everything about it, except baby bear's face. That little face caused me more trouble than I care to admit. I am satisfied with how it turned out but wish it was better, my reference photo was so tiny that it didn't give me much help so I did struggle getting his little face in there and looking cute. The mama bear was a breeze, as were the lupins, I really had a fun time painting those. I just love adding flowers to paintings. I actually really like the willow branches, and how the bark turned out. I know I am not hitting it on the nose for photorealism but I am not sure if that is where I want to be heading. 

I also worked on a couple other paintings this weekend. I tried doing some experiment paintings where you just go with it and it usually turns out crap, so I'm still on the fence if it did turn out crap.

Ok I kinda love how this looks and also see the problems. I love the gold on blue, omg I love the gold. I get Klimt's obsession with gold leaf. Gold is fun. I think the elk photo I chose as reference was taken at odd angle so when it is silhouetted his body looks stumpy. I still like it though, real talk, I'm into it, as of now. I am sure I'll look back at this in a week and be like ew junk. 

I also attempted another northern lights painting, because I miss and obsessed with my old one.

I went too dark with the sky and too pastel with the northern lights. It is hard to find that balance yo. My blue's weren't doing it so I added a little black which darkened the sky too much. I think also this is a kind of painting that needs to be large, I keep trying to make it work on a small canvas and it isn't working. I think I need to go big with this and try again.

I have started a new dripping bird piece and am pretty excited to see how it turns out. I am pretty settled on an osprey but I don't know what bird to pick. I also toyed with the idea of doing another animal instead of a bird, but birds have the most fluid motion, that translates to the drips. 

I feel like I am in a better swing of things, now having weekends generally open to work on my artwork. Whether it be actually painting or preparing for art/craft show, or getting reference materials. I am hoping that I am able to keep at it like this and make the transistion to doing this as my main gig instead of my side hustle. 

against the wind

I finally had a legit full weekend of working on canvases. The canvases were fighting back however. 

It is becoming increasingly clear I need to work on making the switch from career to artist; not that you can really call my day job a career but still, it gots to go. I don't hate my day job its neutral to me, I have no feelings about it one way or another however it eats up all my time and sucks the energy out of me. So when I do go in to working on what is currently my weekend craft, I have nothing left in me because weekday job used it all up.

I think my current reachable goal is to be able to go down to part time / 3 days a week. I would like to be able to do that within 6 months if not sooner. However that would mean making $400 $500 a month from artwork sales, which I've never done. So we'll see. [that saying should be my family's crest]

I'm still working on my bear painting comission. I am hoping it leads to more work. I really enjoy comissions because I think I try harder when making something for someone specifically. I really enjoyed doing the mural I recently completed. It is going to sound obvious but working with that much color brought me joy. There is of course doing what you love the actual painting act which is rewarding but being around the color was what I really enjoyed. I liked playing with the colors and I miss being able to "go to work" and be immersed in color. The color gave me life almost.

So long story short I need to quit work and be able to do art, it will be simple right?

Here is the one painting I finished this weekend. I like it but yet I feel like it is missing something. I like playing with silhouettes and color, but I am not sure what I feel is missing. I wanted to capture a dusty old bison in rut running against the wind, the smell of hot summer in the grasslands where the rocks just radiate heat like an oven, and the breeze is even warm and dry against your face, where the badlands just feel so vast and empty. So yeah, that rambling, that's what I wanted to paint. 

14ft of awesome

Mural is finally finished! 

Like my photoshop skills to have the gate on there? It's not actually mounted yet

Like my photoshop skills to have the gate on there? It's not actually mounted yet

It doesn't photgraph well from a distance. In person the details are much more vivid, so I took some closer shots so the "glasswork" can be seen. 

Each pane has beveled glass details and I absolutely love how it turned out. The iris is my favorite detail. I am a sucker for purple. 

Overall it took about 32 hours of work, which seems like a lot but it is a 14ft x 9ft space, so the sheer size is what ate up a lot of the time. 

This has been the largest project I have taken on and I am happy with the result as is the client. I am exctied to move onto my next project [bear painting] and hope that more comissions will follow. 

murals, commissions, life lessons & adventures

Welp, I thought by July I would have a ton of new paintings done that I could post on here but alas nothing new in a while. HOWEVER I have been busy. Which I'll get to in a minute, first going to talk about what I learned the hard way.

MN State Parks is getting their own MN license plate and held a contest recently for artists to render designs that they would use on said plate. I made a painting but had decided it sucked too hard to bother entering and thought there's no way I could have won so why even try. Well life made sure I will always try now. They posted the 3 finalists last week and they... well they... let's just say had I known that kind of quality would be finalists I would have entered in a New York minute. I guess I know now that always try, because you never know. 

So in spirit of try, I am going to do my own artist in residency of sorts in 2 weeks. I will be going to a rural yurt with my friend Anna for a few nights on the Southern Shore of Lake Superior in Upper Michigan. I plan to bring a couple sketch books and hopefully find some inspiration to make some new stuff. I took off 10 days for me to work on new stuff and work on some newly commissioned stuff. 

Recently I was commissioned for my first non-family/friend artwork. I know that sounds like oh wow finally someone who isn't related to you is asking for art big deal, but I don't know, it kind of feels like some sort of step forward? I am making a mother bear and cub portrait for her, with a forest motif. I am actually really excited to start this painting. I think it's going to be a lot of fun. Here is the preliminary sketch. 

wanna do lupins and lots of pines in background

wanna do lupins and lots of pines in background

I also have been commissioned to do a outdoor mural on the brick wall on the back of my aunt's garage. She had told me she wanted to incorporate her garden and ferns but wasn't exactly sure what she wanted. I went with a stained glass motif since she is a stained glass artist herself and I thought it would simplify the large wall space instead of trying to do life like detail on enough flowers to fill a space of 14 feet, and would be something unique to her. This was my original sketch, excuse the highlighter coloring since that was all I had available when I sketch this during an overtime shift. 

I primed the wall then sketched out in marker then went over in thin black paint to create the outline I am filling in with each "pane" of color. I will go over the outline in black again once the panes are finished to give the illusion of lead soldering. 

had to modify the sketch a bit to fit the actual dimensions of the wall

had to modify the sketch a bit to fit the actual dimensions of the wall

I have started to add the color piece by piece and it is proving to be a lot more time-sucky than previously thought. I love how it is looking but I am glad I am starting with the small bits and moving towards the larger colors because I don't know I would have the patience for the small detail after doing the large scale colors.

the border looks a little gryffindor now but once the other colors fill in it will balance out the cool tones

the border looks a little gryffindor now but once the other colors fill in it will balance out the cool tones

I will take more detail photos once more of it is finished. Each pane I have painted in the illusion of stained glass with waves and reflections on the glass. I think it looks pretty cool, and excited to see how it looks when I add more and more colors. 

ain't got no suitcase

So I got the rejection email from the artist in residency program I applied to. Schwang-wang-waaaang...

Honestly I wasn't expecting to be accepted because, keepin' it real, I'm not totally ready, I don't really have a voice yet and my skill is decent but not excellent yet, and I know I need to make a larger cataloug and yada yada yada. The thing is ugggg that takes so much tiiiiime. I would love to do it everyday, but my god, how do people have the spare time to work at it daily or weekly? I honestly only have time to drag out all the art stuff once a month at most. I really think people underestimate how much time and work it takes to hold a fulltime job and work at your passion, when they say stuff like "follow your bliss." 

I also am regrettably a glass half full kind of person deep down. I know I had no chance really for this residency I know I need more development I know there are a lot more people than me that probably deserve it more and are more talented, I know all this but deep down there is a seed of "what if?..." I can't decide if I love my seed of wistful hope or hate it. The thought of "what if?" is motivational and detrimental at the same time. Hope is motivational; rejection can be debilitating. 

Do I feel debilitated by this rejection? No. However, this is my I don't know 1000th something rejection, so they just don't pack a punch quite like they used to. Of course, I mean I am a little disapointed because anytime you put yourself out there and get shot down without any critique or feedback its frustrating because you don't know where you need to focus your efforts to grow. [and a little sad I offically won't be going to Montana anytime this year now]

I think rejection is fundamental for artist growth, or personal growth for that matter. You need to be ripped down raw in order to not only toughen up your skin but to learn what it is to be raw. Raw you is real you, and real you is the you that needs to be the person you are putting out there. [if you can make any sense of that lol] Not only because learning to be your authentic self is important but because when you are always raw rejection starts to hurt less and less. I know a couple artists that were lucky enough to achieve some success right after college and have been working in their medium all of their adult career. This may be some deep seeded jealousy talking but it's my honest opinion that artists [or people] who are granted early success and faced no battles to acheive said success have their work suffer for it. Their work become stagnant and they don't improve upon their skills because they have never been challenged. Now it can be argued they don't need to improve because they have already been granted success, but I think that fights against what it means to be an artist or person.

As Captain Picard said "Inside you is the potential to make yourself better, and that's what it is to be human. To make yourself more than you are."

I also feel like I know that the rejections I've faced are leading up to my destined... non-rejection?... Or acceptance, as I've heard its rumored to be called. I know that I will definitely appreciate my non-rejection more now than I would have say 6 years ago. It will a gift when it happens and not a given. 

year of the bison

We all know that bison are the ish. 

I met a ton in the Dakotas and Wyoming, but it seems the ones I get to encounter close up [not that close though, I'm not about to selfie with a bison] are bulls going through rut looking a mess like this. 

If you could only hear the bellowing belch/honk coming from this guy. So about 3 minutes after this picture was taken, he walked out towards our car on the road stared into my soul and yelled at us. He never broke eye contact as we drove away. I will never forget you grumpy bison! 

If you could only hear the bellowing belch/honk coming from this guy. So about 3 minutes after this picture was taken, he walked out towards our car on the road stared into my soul and yelled at us. He never broke eye contact as we drove away. I will never forget you grumpy bison! 

Not that I have anything against grumpy drooly bulls, I just wanted to paint a sweet one. When I think of bison I want to nuzzle my face in their fluffy fur on their forehead. Knowing that I can't do that in real life [apart from the goring and death factor they kinda have a smell and are covered in nast] tears apart at my soul. 

Most of the bison I saw were in Teddy Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. Yellowstone did have a lot as well but at TRNP they were bam right there and we lucked out and got to see an entire herd in motion both times I've been there. I would love to do a whole series on TRNP as well [I am already working on a Yellowstone one] because there is such cool stuff there and I feel like nobody knows about it. The Dakotas have so much just incredible stuff and I think it gets overshadowed by the tourist traps. Spearfish Canyon is one of the best scenic drives in the country, and you probably would never know about it unless someone told you, so here I'm telling you. If you go to Rapid City skip deadwood drive up 14 to Spearfish, stop in Lead at the bakery, and you can either go to Devil's Tower or back to RC.  

Anyways, back to the painting, I found it hard to get depth in the fur since they are so dark brown but overall I am happy with how he looks. I wanted him to be peaking out from behind some spruce, because I saw a ton shading themselves in the trees and I like giving animals a more [for lack of a better word] cute feel, although I have contemplated recently to do a series of grumpy animals. 

Why website? Why now? Why no use complete sentences?

[caution: slight animosity ahead, it only lasts the first 2 paragraphs I promise]

You may be asking yourself what's the point of starting this blog/website now? 

Like so many of us, upon my arrival to college I was told to let the dream die of becoming a professional artist since its not a real job. [truer words cannot be said] I was talked into majoring in my University's experimental new major of "DIVAS" [Digital Imaging Animation & Sound] since it would combine my love of art with a degree that would lend to an "actual" career. 

It turns out real jobs suck. 

But what is adulthood if not discovering you made enormously expensive mistakes because you were forced to make gigantic life decisions at the age of 17 on the whim of suggestions from people paid into tricking you into a lifetime of debt. Dress it up anyway you like but that's what it is.

Bitterness aside, I realized I don't want a real job. I want to make quality stuff for quality people, and that's about as far as you can get from any "real job" I've had. To quote Leopold Bloom "There's a lot more to me than there is to me!" 

Art lives deep down in my core, and I bet it does for you too if you're crazy enough to be reading this. It's like the first time you see a mountain, and you feel it, you feel it almost in your spine, you feel just a primordial umph within you. You know that this [the mountain] is important and all that other fleeting stuff is blown out of the water by how incredible and simple it truly is. Yeah, so art is pretty much like that...  

Problem is now that I've seen a couple mountains and painted a couple paintings I'm hooked on that umph feeling. I want you to have that umph feeling, and I want to make it my life's work to capture that feeling in any way I can down on canvas and paper to share with people so that they can even for a brief time have their fleeting stuff blown away into the distance. 

I may be late to the game attempting to start my pilgrimage as an artist, but I know it's what I'm passionate about and I know it's what I'm good at.