‘Sky Fire’ – Konza sunset

There are those moments we all have that forever remain in the deepest valleys of our hearts and minds. One of these moments I share with one of my closest friends, Miss Rachel Lehr. Our shared love for hiking the surrounding prairie landscape of the Kansas Flint Hills led us to an evening of laughter and a breath-taking sunset.

Truly amazing sunsets have the ability to stop you in your tracks, to make you run for your camera, to find everyone you can to share it with. But, like many of the best things in life, sunsets are extremely fragile – changing in an instant – reminding us to stop running and just let the experience flow over us. At one point I remember Rachel whispering “Its on fire!” Within twenty minutes the sun sank lower and the clouds changed from dusky french blue to light pink, hot pink, then orange, crimson, and finally dark violet and navy.

I had ventured before to take an image (one of probably 100) captured in the moment and paint it in watercolor. It is just so difficult to capture a moment of the sky’s passion in a soft and soothing media that I decided to try in out in acrylic impasto, a media full of passion and vibrancy. Again the adventure was more than I had planned, becoming stressful, confusing, and downright ugly at times. I’d probably never try this image again at this grand of scale, but I’m glad I pushed myself. So much so, I’m proud to share that I have entered this piece ‘Sky Fire’ in the 2011 Kansas State Fair – Fine Arts – Professional Division, September 9-18 in Hutchinson, Kansas. I will also be participating in the ‘Plein Aire’ Contest, in which I will be painting on the fairgrounds during the mornings on Sept 9-10. It made me kind of nervous, so I decided it was something I should do. Naturally.

‘Sky Fire’ painting process images_blank 30″x40″ canvas, inspiration photograph

a rough start blocking out zones with a brush, thinking “this is the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen”

adding impasto tree/forest massing, still pretty darn ugly

the part I liked, the upper sunset into clouds

the blending and texture in wet paint, my favorite part of the process, somewhat like watercolor, but paints never fully blend like in watercolor

adding in highlights in the grass sections of the landscape and more shadow at edge of tree lines

beginning of the more difficult part, the slight gradations of sunset, especially tough with a sky nearly 4ft wide.

nearly completed within the studio, only grass blades and signature left to add

up close with the waving grasses, from afar the many hues blend to form one, up close you can see the hot greens, deep violets, blues and warm greys.


The vibrance and warmth of a Kansas prairie sunset – an evening sky on fire.

Interested in having this painting in your abode?


iron city

Hi there!

There has been lots of travel this summer, many hours on the road.  I have likely spent less than half the summer in my own apartment, the rest of the time visiting or traveling with family and friends.  Some of the highlights include a road trip to Pittsburgh-Gettysburg-Lancaster with my parents, a week with my brothers, several nights with my friend Jim in his new place in KC. 

During my travels to Pittsburg, my new Canon EOS Rebel 550 arrived, after much struggle with an online electronics company from New York.  My wonderful friend Rachel was taking care of my plants (lots of plants) and was nice enough to spend part of her afternoon camping out waiting for the shipment to come. Since the camera didn’t come before I left, I decided to make a camera adventure out of it anyway, I took along my parents fully manual Minolta and two lenses. I think many of the images may have been slightly over exposed, but for the most part I had a lot of fun practicing with it.  You will likely be able to see which were taken by the old Minolta and which by my old point and shoot camera that traveled to Europe and back with me.

Pictures from my time in Pittsburgh- Gettysburg/Lancaster to follow in a few days. There are simply too many photos for one post. :)



Fallingwater_ hour and half southeast from Pittsburg_ designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for the Kaufmann Family of Pittsburg

Phipps Conservatory_ Oakland, PA an adjacent city to Pittsburg


green and windy in late May

it might seem strange, but I was more homesick for italy than I have ever been for any other place.  Maybe it’s because I always have known that it’s not that hard to go back, but clicking my ruby slippers isn’t going to take me more than a few hours in Kansas, Tuscany must have some other type of footwear clicking required.  Maybe leather boots from Florence or something.

Besides a general sadness of being home from Europe and the realization that the economic prospects for working at  an internship were completely gone, it wasn’t so bad to be home.  I had things to do.  Working in the yard, in the gardens, gathering roses, watching storms, watching television, and shopping at big grocery stores.  Chips and Salsa! Reliable internet and jogging in the morning with watercolor in the afternoon.  Plus, there were people to visit in eastern and western Kansas, family I hadn’t seen or even talked with since January.  It was all good, just unexpectedly bittersweet.

on the drive home from KC

my aunt’s garden


Greensburg, Art Building

visting old friends

attending birthday suprise parties!

growing prize veggies