Practical Magic

Fishing lures have always captivated me. Beyond just their layers of thick paint and shiny varnish, there is something magical about them.


Beyond just their layers of thick paint and shiny varnish, there is something magical about them. That you can toss them into a body of water and (with some patience) reel in a live creature is one of those  simple things in life that makes me happy.


It's a little bit like the feeling I get from planting a seed in my garden and eventually having something I can actually eat. Or converting a blank canvas into something that someone might hang on their wall. That's my own practical magic!


I don't know why I haven't attempted this before but I'm beginning a new series of fishing-lure paintings from items in my own tackle box. I have blogged about the similarities between painting and fishing so it seems like a natural fit. If I like the way these are going I may eventually begin buying vintage plugs and painting them as well. I think it might make for a great gift for that fisherman in your family to combine the painting with the actual vintage lure. I may play around with the idea of framing them together...we'll see.


Each painting  will be an 8x8-inch oil on panel and painted in still-life format in my studio. 


This first painting features a Heddon Lucky 13 top-water lure that I managed to use with a lot of success (catch and release only). It's simplicity and beauty is something that is hard for a black bass to resist. Tried and true for many generations. 



The heat has finally broken and crisp air fills the lungs.

A youthful excitement is triggered by indescribable but unmistakable smells of autumn.


A plains tree reveals its formerly hidden grace as winds pick at weakening leaves. One by one they relent and fall to the ground, disappearing into drying waves of grass. 


Transition - 5x11-inch oil on birch.


Painting Over Old Paintings

I don't make a habit of trying to salvage panels from "failed" paintings. At least not for the economics of it. If I do, it's for the possibility of incorporating some of the old painting into the new by letting it survive in a few places. 


For example, my latest painting here, (Shadow Patterns - 8x8" oil on birch wood) I used an old still life that I wasn't happy with. You can see little bits of yellow ocher, blue and mint green in various spots of the stucco wall. I think it makes for an easy and organic way to add texture. 


The only thing you have to be careful about is making sure you don't have any obvious shapes showing through from the texture of the old paint. This technique works best on birch wood or gessobord since you can lightly sand any problem areas. 


Day Trippin

My wife loves this painting but asked me, in its initial stages, if anyone would buy it based on the subject matter... meaning, two strangers walking in a public square with no ties to any potential customers. After pondering this question, which was actually a good one for me to consider, my answer is YES! I think there is a market for it.


Figurative paintings are slices of life. Simple compositions of everyday activity. Here in Day Trippin, we have two people getting on in years, holding hands and sharing a Saturday enjoying the local scenery. To some, this might touch an emotion, maybe remind them of their parents, or just bring a smile to their face because of the sweet nature of it. To others, the subject matter is irrelevant. It's about brushwork, shapes, temperatures and values. And then there are those that simply love the body of work and want whatever the artist has to offer. 


Consider what the "Masters"chose to paint. A women washing clothes, a butcher carving meat, or a fisherman tending his nets. Nothing majestic, for the most part. In fact, pretty mundane stuff. Now maybe they weren't thinking about whether or not someone might buy it, but I think most successful artists simply paint what moves them, not what sells. The latter usually takes care of itself in those cases.


To purchase Day Trippin, please click here.


Desert Floor Sunset

In the high desert of west Texas, twilight is the beginning of life. Oppressive heat gives way to cool, dry air and things begin to happen. The "day" is just beginning for most of the local denizens.  

Spend the night out here and you will hear things. Lots of little sounds of life. Scurrying, digging, howling, hooting and munching. But have no fear. It's like the best "sounds of nature" soundtrack ever. 


This is the view from Paint Gap Road, a primitive camping area in Big Bend National Park.


Desert Floor Sunset -  8x10-inch oil on stretched canvas. To purchase this painting click here.