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Waterfalls Block Print

If you have been following my blog, you know I spent the last week exploring West Virginia.  I decided to make a block print from one of my sketches.  It’s a waterfall scene outside Charleston.

I carved the design in reverse in a block of linoleum

Then inked the block…revealing the first glimpse of what the print will look like…

Here’s the first print.  I decided to carve a little more to give some white foamy space to the water.

The finished print. 

Come see me print this live at my studio tonight, Friday 26 from 6-10pm at the Pendleton Art Center in Cincinnati, Oh. 

I am having a special guest, Rob Weingartner.  He is a master silversmith, and stone cutter, and does all his work by hand…from cutting the stone, to setting it in silver.  He is also a good friend and very nice guy. come see us both at studio 400A.

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West Virginia!

After a great time in Eastern KY, I crossed the river for some painting.  This part of the river is busy with tug boats transporting coal and gas products.  If you enjoy electricity or gasoline, there’s a good chance it was on the river.  I took some videos while working, and edited them into this short video.

After spending most of the day painting, I took a hike up a mountain.  I don’t think my photo captures the awesome feeling of being on the mountain top (or the sweating and panting), but it was a great view.

I had dinner beside the upper falls of a smaller river.

and made this little sketch while sitting on the river bank

…and enjoyed a sunset listening to the falls.

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Sketching In Eliott County, KY

After spending a day at home, I decided to continue my outdoor-traveling-artist training, and head toward the mountains.  My goal was West Virginia, but I stopped in Eliott county to visit a good friend.


Eliott County is interesting because it is the home of many of Kentucky’s famous folk artists.  It is not unusual to see a painted barn by Jo Ann Butts when driving around. 


While driving around the county, I realized why so many artists live in this area…it is beautiful.  I did not have time to do a full painting, but I made a few sketches with my ipad while traveling.


I really liked this barn on the curve of the road on HWY 7.


I tried to capture the feeling of the house by the creek in this sketch…I think I will add a few elements to the drawing…maybe a dog, maybe a deer…maybe both! IMG_7912

Running water always inspires me.  This is the little Sandy river.  You can follow a nature trail that exposes some beautiful cliffs. 

These sketches don’t scratch the surface of how fun you can have in Eliott county.  I highly recommend seeing it for yourself!

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Show opening at Leslie Spetz Framing and Gallery–Louisville, KY

Friday night I had a great time at the Leslie Spetz Framing and Gallery.  

She is featuring my artwork this month, and for the show’s opening, I carved and printed a special block print to benefit the Arrow Fund:  a special group that takes care of severely abused animals, and works towards changing animal abuse laws in Kentucky.  Please visit their site, and support them if you can:

You can read more about the print here:

I met some amazing people, printed lots of prints, raised money for a great cause, enjoyed delicious cupcakes from The Drunken Oven, and sold artwork…it was a perfect evening.


This is loosely related, but before the show, i sat by the river in Louisville and made this little ‘sketch’..when I got home, I added a few interactive elements to it….  Touch the boat and train to see.

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Special Block Print For the Arrow Fund

I am an animal lover, and enjoy the chance to use my art to help animals in need.  This Friday, I am having a show at the Leslie Spetz Framing and Gallery in Louisville.  As part of the show, I am bringing my press and will print a special linocut.  100% of the proceeds from the print will be given to the Arrow Fund; which goes toward care for severely abused animals.

I made this sketch for the print.

then transferred the design to a block of linoleum

then, fun part!  carving the design

When the carving is done… 

It gets rolled with ink, then put through the press.IMG_7869

To see the finished print and support a great cause (and see my new work too!), join us at the Leslie Spetz Framing and Gallery this friday (october 19) from 5:30-7:30.

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ipad sketching in Madison, IN

After a few days of traditional art making, I switched gears, and enjoyed a day of sketching with my ipad while in Madison, IN.   IMG_7828
I love traditional arts, but also welcome the new technologies.IMG_0570
Regardless of whether you are using pencil, paintbrush, charcoal or an ipad, drawing skills are an important part of art making.IMG_7806
Drawing from real life gives me a chance to capture more than just the information in front of me…I get a chance to edit the scene and capture the ‘feeling’ of being in a place.IMG_0571
I usually don’t work from photos…all these sketches are drawn from life.  I took the photos afterwards so you can see the scene and compare it with my interpretation.IMG_7810
For me, working from a photo hurts more than helps.  The photo becomes a kind of ‘crutch’, and I depend on it for reference, instead of following my instincts.IMG_0572
It’s interesting using an ipad…you can draw, or use the tools and approach the work more like a painting.IMG_7832
…and I haven’t even started drawing with color!  The possibilities are endless.

Thanks Madison for a great visit!  You are a great river town

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The Falls of the Ohio

A large deposit of fossils caused a series of waterfalls on the Ohio River.


In frontier times, boats would have to get out of the river and move around the falls…I guess when some people took their boat out of the river, they decided to make Louisville their home.

Dams along the river have changed the river and falls, but I wanted to capture the idea of the place.

Here are some progress shots from my day’s work:

I did a very loose thumbnail sketch with my ipad before starting on the paper

The basic idea in charcoal.  Notice I decided not to include the bridge.  I thought it distracts from my idea.

Brown and white acrylic washes to bring out the values

Some color with pastel.  I was inspired by the way the sky has pink towards the horizon, then blue as you look up.

more acrylic.  I am trying to get the feeling of ‘falls’ in the foregroundIMG_7802
details and shapes with colored pencil.

This painting has been a little more of a challenge than the other works I have done while on the road.  Maybe I am starting to get a little fatigue from being on the road and painting every day, but getting to this point was not easy…and it has a LONG way to go before it is finished…but you can get the idea of where it is going.  When I pull it all together, it will be a great view of Louisville!

Thanks Steve Aubin for the portrait of me at work!

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Painting in Frankfort, KY

After living in Kentucky for 12 years, I just now visited our state’s capitol for the first time.  My friend + mosaic artist, Becky Ebert showed me around, and I have been charmed.  It’s a small town on the Kentucky river, surrounded by hills and cliffs and the capitol building sits across the river facing the historic section of town.

FrankfortKY 002.MTS.Still001
One of my goals for this trip is to learn how to create great art while on the road.  The view from Daniel Boone’s gravesite is a big view of Frankfort.  You can see the bend in the river, the capitol building, and the historic section of town.  I wanted to capture the essence of overlooking the view on a full sheet (30”x22”) of paper.  If you have been following my work, that is way outside my comfort zone.  A 16”x20” is large for me!

Instead of bore you with photograph of a view that is breathtaking, but impossible to photograph, I thought I would share the step by step process of the painting. 

I started with a loose brown pastel drawing

Filled in the details – still using brown

Started to bring in some color with acrylic paint

Added more color with acrylic and pastel

add details with colored pencil

Tone colors with brown acrylic

I will estimate the painting is about 50% finished, but you get the basic idea of the composition, and colors. I will try to finish it while on the road. 

While leaving the cemetery, I ran across the grave site of Paul Sawyier, and it reminded me that I am not the first artist to enjoy this area.  Paul was famous for his watercolor paintings in Frankfort and along the Kentucky river. After today, I have a deeper understanding of how much he loved Frankfort.


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Road Trippin’–Lexington

My long term (5 year) goal is to organize a group of artists who travel together, making art while traveling to places that might not have a lot of exposure to working artists.  Visualize something like the circus, but with artists.


If it is going to work, I need to get more comfortable on the road.  SO—I have packed my van with art supplies and a sleeping bag, and headed for Kentucky’s horse country.

I spent the first half of the day taking care of business in Lexington, then went exploring for something to draw.  I don’t know anything about horses, but I think this building in Woodford County is for them.


I like the roof, the fences along the rolling hills and horses in the distance, so I decided to draw it in charcoal.

I’m really pleased with how it came out!

If you would like to have this drawing and help support my projects, it is only $60. 

It’s an original (only one person can have it), so hurry to my drawing gallery here:

…and stay tuned!  I’m trying to stay on the road until Sunday.