Untamed Land

Untamed Land
Untamed Land

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fun Without Color

Several years ago my nephew Dan and I had this idea to produce and market a series of small prints in black and white. We assumed that quality black and white prints would be much cheaper to produce, so we would be able to sell them at a low cost.
The photo above is a tight close up of a larger piece.
The complete painting. I enjoyed doing the series of black and white paintings. It was an interesting change of pace from my normal work. I forget the name of this one and the rest as well.
Another close up of the next painting. 
The complete painting of the wolf family.
So our intention was to do a series of small prints of popular Alaskan wildlife and sell them at art shows and in local gift shops that cater to tourists. We quickly found out that we would not save all that much money doing these paintings in black and white as opposed to color.
Another close up of another in the series, a Dall Ram.
Another Dall Ram from the same painting.
The complete painting.
Anyway we worked out the cost of printing, and the costs of matting, foam core backing, and shrink wrap. Then we figured that we could sell each print for $15, or $20 dollars. The gift shops take half of that leaving us with a thin profit margin.
Every tourist who comes to Alaska wants to see a Moose. Every hunter dreams of bagging a giant Moose like these.
The painting is set in Denali National Park. No hunter will be able to get these guys.
A close up of Trumpeter Swans.
The funny thing about this painting is that the leaves look to me like they have a trace of color although I only used black and white acrylic paint.
From the experience of doing many art shows together, Dan and I knew that we would only be able to sell a limited number of prints in a given show. We realized that it would take years for us to recoup out initial investment in making these prints. So we dropped the idea for now.
A grizzly cub.
Mama Grizzly.
The complete painting with Mt. McKinley in the background. There was another painting in the series that was far superior to any of these but I sold it before I could photograph it.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Building Upon Ideas For Paintings

The sky in this rough study of Caribou reminds me of one of Cezanne's paintings; I forget the name of it, but it was a landscape dominated by a big mountain in France.. This study was inspired by a looming thunderstorm that I observed in Eagle River several years ago. At the rime I was noticing that there were greenish tones within the purple clouds.
In the past I used to make many studies for possible paintings. Over time my enthusiasm has waned and I have gotten lazy. Now I usually just work out a painting directly on the final surface. This idea for a Caribou painting is perfectly fine. I do not know why I have never tried to do a refined version of it.
Many things used to spark ideas for paintings like seeing alpenglow turning snow into a pleasing shade of pink. When I would come up with a mental image such as this, I would rush to duplicate it on any available scrap of paper. I never painted a finalized version of this one either.
This black and white sketch was made using a pencil, a ball point pen, and a Sharpie. I like the perspective and I hope that one day I get around to painting it. All of these little studies were dome some years ago: I stuck them in a box and forgot about them. A few days ago I stumbled upon them. There were hundreds more sketches like this that have been thrown out over time.
This quick raptor doodle was done on the menu of a take-out restaurant.
I had the urge to do a seascape of some sort.
I found out that seascapes are not so easy to paint. this one got recycled. It could have been reworked but I did not have the patience.
Another version that went away also. There was a third version that came out fairly well. I gave that one away before I ever photographed it.
I had an idea for a Goshawk in an old snag. There were many variations on this theme.
The version that eventually got painted is called, Grandfather Tree. It is an 18x24" canvas. Unfortunately it got a hole poked through the canvas. It can be repaired but it lessens the value of the painting. I should do one more variation on this theme with more background.
What inspired this idea was the miniature waterfall between the two foreground rocks. The Dipper is more of an accent to compliment the setting.
The completed version was slightly surreal but it sold easily. The photo of this 16x20' painting is also slightly askew, and washed out.
On the more recent artwork front, the Cougar painting that I have been working on for the past few weeks is progressing nicely. I think that it will be a good one.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

In Gary's Yard & A New Painting

Gary Lyon from Homer set up a game cam in his yard to see what was around when he and his wife were not watching. He has a nice sized pond on his property that often has a Moose in it.
The game cam captured this shot of a Grizzly Bear. It was chasing a Moose. See the agitated water at the far left of the photo.
The Moose got away.
Gary got this night time shot of another Grizzly Bear from much closer. Notice the Fish & Game collar around its neck. That means that it is a nuisance bear that has gotten into mischief before.
It must be a little unnerving to know that there are multiple bears wandering around your property.
I cannot remember if I posted this photo before of a Saw-whet Owl that spent weeks in Gary's shed a few Winters ago.
It did not go hungry. I believe that the prey is a redpoll.
This is a poor photo of my latest painting. This 11x14" Coyote is a commission but I'm not sure how serious the couple is that wanted a Coyote painting. I finished the painting it a few weeks ago but I wanted to sit on it for awhile before I decided if it was finished. Personally I am not too impressed with this painting but I have sold much worse artwork than this.
A slightly out of focus close up.
Today I started applying paint to an 18x24" Cougar sketch that is another iffy commission. The new painting is already looking much better than this one. I have high hopes for it, and I hope that I did'nt jinx it by saying that.