Many years ago, when my mother was still alive, she asked me to do a painting of lightning over Spirit Lake, Idaho. Spirit Lake is where I was born, and where my family had lived for the first seven years of my life. My parents had a long history in that small town. Lightning storms over the lake were tremendous and thrilling occurrences for a young child, and I can remember them well. This painting was the result of her request, and was conjured up from my memory.
From 1989 to 1997 I lived with a woman named Christel Kratohvil. At that time she was a talented painter, but also very temperamental. My late friend Mark Perry claimed that she was as “crazy as a peach orchard boar.” We lived first on Queen Anne, then moved into a large live/work space in the Sunny Arms art cooperative. We also spent a few years living in the top floor of the Horton Bank Building, a constantly leaking 9 rooms in Georgetown. We traveled to California together, as well as Chicago, Washington DC, New York, Denver, etc. We made many trips to Portland OR, as I was showing at Elizabeth Leach Gallery then. Our relationship eventually collapsed amidst constant bickering and endless arguments, the subjects of which continually eluded me. Christel eventually ran off with a Flamenco dance cult, and took her mala leche with her.
This painting was done very rapidly in the studios we shared at Sunny Arms. Christel didn’t like to pose, and I had to work quickly. I’ve never been sure if it is truly finished, and she eventually gave up posing altogether. It was around this same time that the Northwest Figurative Artists’ Alliance was founded, in the same studio.
This painting was begun over a year ago. It had been painted during the midsummer months where everything is boringly green. I had never been completely satisfied with it, so decided to rework the painting in mid-spring, hoping that the more dynamic range of tertiary colors and deeper atmospheric perspective would make a more interesting image.
The initial stages of this reworking corresponded to the first day of my plein air painting class. This photo represents that first day of work. It was a beautiful day at the landing, with lots of children, their parents, and squawking ducks.
You can see a comparison of this reworking with the painting that it covers over on my Painter’s Workshop page.
I’m currently having a sale on Plein Air Class sessions and Online Critiques. If someone close to you is interested in painting on site, or could use some advice from a well-known artist with almost 50 years of experience, both painting and exhibiting, this would be a good time to make a gift of lessons or critiques. Prices have been been substantially discounted for this sale, with savings of over $100 for Plein Air Classes, and discounts of almost 50% for Critiques. Check out my.
Update: This sale is officially over.
Snow Haiku 2016
Running through the woods,
past the snow laden pine boughs
and the ice-laced brush.
This is the first urban landscape that I produced after moving to Seattle. I had done some shipyard and Queen Anne neighborhood subjects, beginning when I was still living in Spokane. Those paintings had been shown at Foster/White Gallery. I believe that I was still showing at Foster/White when this was completed and sold, but I began showing at Davidson Galleries shortly thereafter. It is the first time that I had tackled a complex street scene with multiple figures.
I no longer know where this painting is. It was purchased by a law firm that had offices in what was then called Columbia Tower, now called Columbia Center, and I presume it is still in their lobby.