MacRostie Miniatures

Project: Create a small piece of fine art not to exceed 12″ in any dimension for the MacRostie Art Center’s 6th annual ‘Miniatures Exhibition’

Status: Competed!


The MacRostie Art Center has an upcoming exhibit called Miniatures and takes individual submissions from local artists. The pieces must be no larger than 12″ in any dimension. Now what to do…what to do…

April 22, 2013

I had completed a black under painting and started a sketch out of the painting I was going to do. But I didn’t like it. All along the way a loon kept creeping back into my thoughts, especially with the anxiousness for a summer that seems like it will never come to Minnesota this year. So I got the loon sketched and the water painted. I thought it was odd how quickly my ‘oil’ paint was drying. Upon closer inspection of the blue and discovered it was acrylic. So I had been mixing acrylic blue with white oil (not to mention everything else in the painting was oil). The final results at this point are bearable, so I hope the it will have no long-term disastrous effects.

Water finished, loon blocked in

Water finished, loon blocked in

April 23, 2013

I made a few updates, adding green to the head and details to the beak. It still needs the eye and the white spots and stripes, but it is nearing completion. Good thing, too, because it’s gotta be done and dry by Friday (two days!)

Nearing completion- needs eye and spots

Nearing completion- needs eye and spots

April 24, 2013

Completed! Now let’s hope it dries by Friday when submissions are due. The down side of oils is that it doesn’t favor the procrastinator.



Mammoth Mural

Project: Paint a mural of a mammoth for Itasca County Historical Society.

Status: Completed!


The Itasca County Historical Society has moved to a new location and they are in need of a new mammoth mural to complement the tusk found interred in the area. I’ll be posting some photos of progress and the finished result as it comes available. It has to be finished by the end of February, 2013. So I’ve got a month to hunker down.

The final painting will be 9’x9′ so the plan is to do more research, complete a final, scaled drawing, scan it in, projected with an LCD projector, trace it,  and finally paint.

February 9, 2013

I realized my deadline is coming quickly so I did some work on the mural this weekend. I did a second draft of the preliminary sketch in blue pencil and inked it with a trusty old Sharpie (which after eating kimchi later in the month I realized Sharpies and kimchi have a similar aroma). Then since the sketch was only to be a guide and didn’t need a high resolution for projecting and tracing, I used my iPhone to ‘scan’ it into my computer with a quick photo.

I uploaded the photo onto my computer and then using Photoshop I cut it up and readjusted the composition to fit better in the rule of thirds.

For aid in visualizing the final, I colored it in Photoshop and did an overlay onto a photo of the wall to be painted. It got the nod of approval from the folks at the Historical Society.

Preliminary sketch Readjusted composition Digital mock-up on wall photo

February 19, 2013

After a long weekend enjoying the frozen wilderness off the Gunflint Trail, I returned to town realizing with just over a week until ICHS’s grand opening…I had better get this pachyderm painted. It began with technical difficulties and trouble getting the projector to read the

computer. After time I overcame that obstacle and got the image projected. I wanted to fill as much vertical space as possible and wasn’t sure how far to the left I could extend the painting. So in retrospect I should have moved the image left so I wouldn’t have lost the whole right side of the composition. Alas, what’s done is done. Below is a series of the first night’s progress, about three hours of work…one of which was fighting with technology.

IMG_0187 IMG_0190 IMG_0198 

February 21, 2013

I returned to lighten the sky with a thin white wash gradient over the blue and began to add brown to the mammoth. After starting to fill in details on the clouds, I suddenly questioned whether (no pun intended) the cumulus-like clouds I was depicting actually form in cold ice age weather. I did some quick research and found another formation more likely seen in the cold. I free-styled it, but it just looked like a white, unplanned mess. The solution? Remove the clouds altogether. I painted sky over my mottled mess and called it good.

Whitewashed sky and revised cloud types. Clouds removed!

February 22, 2013

Progress report:

IMG_0212 IMG_0211

Amazing how the angle can skew the size of the tusks…I had considered forcing the perspective like a piece of Julian Beaver sidewalk art so that the mammoth would appear to pop out of the wall from a certain angle… but I didn’t. One or two more sessions of work and it should be ready for the February 28th museum grand opening.

February 25, 2013

Done, perhaps? I spent some time with finishing touches Monday night and kept going back to fix things. I’m not happy with the tusks altogether but I decided to leave well enough alone. Let’s call it finished!

Mammoth Mural Completed

Mammoth Mural Completed


March 2, 2013

Although not referenced in the text, look who sneaked into the background of this news article in the Herald Review…