Category Archives: Camping

Moonlight Hiker

With the Covid Pandemic there has been upheaval in everyone’s lives. During this past year I took a break from my wood canvas art paintings. Just recently, I decided to explore art again. I do absolutely love working with wood and painting, and combining the two for me is rewarding. My oldest son back in 2000 hiked the Appalachian Trail. It inspired me to try a different art form. 3D art I guess you would call it. The piece you see here only has about $15 in materials, but I know could sell it for many times that. The laired panels to create the 3D look is just from a 1/8″ piece of wood panel which I bought at a big box store for about $6. I just cut it to make it look like mountains and then sanded and painted them. The frame is just repurposed from an old ugly painting it once held that I bought from a second hand store. The cutouts of the hiker, trees and moon were bought on-line for cents on the dollar. The cutouts are bare wood, so I painted them with the colors that I thought would best suit the picture. The creation is just a labor of love for my son and what he accomplished. I presented it and gave it to him last week, and he absolutely loved it. I don’t know what is more rewarding, making art or giving it away. Anyway, I just thought I would share it here, and welcome any comments.

Big Piney River Frog Gigging

Recently, my oldest son and his fiancee, my niece and her fiancee did a float trip on the Big Piney River. When my son posted some great pics of their trip, I asked him if I could use one to make a painting. The painting here is when my son snapped a pic of my niece’s fiancee standing at the river’s edge watching the frog giggers light up the other side of the river bank. The beam of white light freezes the frogs stare, so they can gig them with their long spears. I’ve been on the river myself watching people gig for frogs. As they troll up river, the echoing sound of the flat boat motors bounces off the bluffs in the thick black night. It’s a sensory experience to behold. Their brilliantly strong spot lights pierces the darkness with ease. The bull frogs eyes glow in the blinding white light. They freeze like statues, and then with a swift gig their fate has ended. I made this painting on two small pine planks glued together.

New Day Current River

New Day Current River

My wife and I just floated the Current River, and I felt inspired to do another painting of it. It was a great float! I decided to go with a bright pink and orange sky, and a huge morning sun. The river winds around the bluff on the left, and is complimented with a large gravel bar on the right. Great place to pull up the canoe and have a morning dip. The Ozark Mountains up ahead. The morning air is cool with spring fed water that’s crystal clear. We go with the flow. Made this painting with two small pine wood planks.

Float On

Float On

One of my favorite places on earth is the Missouri Ozarks. People come from all over the world to float it’s rivers. Of all the rivers there that I have floated, my all time pick has to be the Current River. It’s gravel bars, caves, bluffs and the river itself teaming with wildlife makes it hard to beat. In this painting the river divides temporarily by a center gravel bar. Looking back from the canoe towards the large tree in the center, you can make a choice to float down the left or right side of the gravel bar. The painting shows the canoe resting on the other side of the river on another gravel bar. The occupants chose to come down the left side. but as we look into the painting this would be on the right. Looking back at the amazing bluffs on either side, the canoe made a long sweeping turn on the right side of the painting, and came to rest before launching over a small rapid. It’s a good place on a hot summer day to grab a snack and beverage and look up river from where you just came from. The summer sky, the rushing water and magnificent bluffs can fill your senses. It’s personal to me because I have floated this river countless times since I was a teenager. I’m 60 now, and hope I have many more floats in me. It never gets old. This painting is a compilation of my many memories to reflect several aspects of the river. It’s hard to compact all aspects in one painting. That said this painting makes me want to go back and “Go With The Flow”. I made the painting on three pine planks. 

Eagle Over The Smoky Mountains

Eagle Over Smokies

I call this painting Eagle Over The Smoky Mountains. The Smoky Mountains bring mysterious, peaceful and sometimes haunting images throughout the hours. It all depends on temperature and time of day and evening. The mist blanketing the mountains is something to behold. I remember traveling and camping here as a kid with my parents. It’s something once you see, you never forget. The eagle threads his way atop and along the horizon. This is a small painting on two pine board planks. Even though the canvas is small, this little painting packs a colorful punch and rivals any large paintings I have done. I’m completing this painting on the last day of the year 2017. As we soar into 2018, I’m thankful to be able to paint, and to all of you who have looked at my work. I wish all of you the very best in the coming year!

The River Breathes

via Daily Prompt: Better

I wrote the below narrative back in 2015 after a river trip. I think it is appropriate for the daily prompt word “BETTER”. My blog here is an archive of my paintings. My story below are words only. I have a deep appreciation for people who can paint their stories with words. I think I will stick to painting 🙂

Sep 10th 2015

Early morning rain drops began to hit our camp. The drops steadily increased splatting harder on our overhead canopy. The clouds got thicker and grayer, and the rain picked up speed. I was thinking this will be our second float day. Why? Why must it rain today? We had already finished our breakfast, but now the rain was in sheets. The outfitter bus was scheduled to pick us up at 10:30 am at our camp. As I watched a fat little wood chuck rob something from a few camps down and wattle his way back towards the river bank, I thought we still might have a chance to float today. It would burn off I told myself. Our bus arrived, and we loaded our gear and headed north. As we headed upward on the winding up and down snake back road the clouds were breaking up and slivers of sunlight shined through the rugged tree line. Yes, I thought this is going to work. It wasn’t long after we were standing at the Akers Ferry put in. My wife and I never get tired of floating the Current River, and this is a real good 9 mile stretch of it. I have floated this river since I was 15 and I’m now 59, and each time is different. The river has it’s own beating pulse and life with each time of the year, day, hour and minute. Blue sky was now starting to overtake the odd shaped puffy clouds above. Bulging gray rain clouds were still rolling by, so I was still a bit wary of a cold wet blast. No matter, the magic of the river was pulling us to go in, and that dominated any other emotion. The morning rain cleared the humid air and the temperature dropped nicely. Two days earlier on our first float further down the river we seen abundant wildlife. Numerous striped bass, blue heron, king fisher, ducks, turtles, beaver, otter and more. The air was also teaming with dragonfly and butterfly. We expected the same this day and we were not disappointed. The water was swift on our first float, and I knew it would be even faster today. The slope of the river increases the further up you go. It was running perfect and slightly high. We anxiously sat in our canoe and shoved off. As we traveled down and picking up speed, I glanced back and I couldn’t get over how evident the downward slope of the river was? I wasn’t sure if it was an illusion or actual, but I almost felt I was on an escalator. We were moving at a great clip now. With patches of thick clouds still rolling by and cool air slipping over our skin we couldn’t stop smiling. Love this river! I barely had to use the oar to paddle, and mainly only used it as a steering device. Even in the widening flatter parts of the river we were moving at a good pace. On many occasions, I stood up. Standing gives a much greater vantage point when you look downward into the river. Of course, this made my wife a little a little nervous, so I was limited on this practice. This stretch of the river does have some tricky bits to negotiate from time to time. Large root wads and boulders sneakily hide just below the surface of the water, and so what looks like a harmless ripple from way back, can be a trap. After running a few little white caps through some twists in turns of the river, we heard an increasingly louder roar from around a coming bend. We had little time to react to what was lying ahead. The river straightened a bit, and I was standing once again to survey our choice of routes. The left bank had a narrow passage with deep roaring water slamming into the high hillside, and the white caps turned sharply with a hard right and out of sight. This canoe size wide passage had a very large round root wad the size of a car with another passage next to it. Next to the root wad and further right was a downed tree with large limbs spreading up and outward in all directions. Moving further right and just passed the middle of the river you could tell the river was starting to get very shallow as it moved to the right bank. This water was still running fast and hard, but you could start to see the surface gravel glisten in the sun. I almost chose that point of entry, but thought it might be to risky with the fast water pushing us into those tree limbs. I had to think fast now. I had to choose between going through the narrow passage of the tree and root wad, or the root wad and the hillside bank on the furthest left. Both options had their own unique peril. Now I had no choice but to commit. I chose between the root wad and tree. Just wide enough for our canoe to pass through, I told my wife to spread her feet wide for stability. I aimed our torpedo canoe to the  target. No turning back now we were being sucked in with uncontrollable speed. Everything at this point becomes sort of a blur because a large fear of flipping suddenly becomes very apparent. You just feel like a helpless baby at this point, and just hope for the best. The water was loud and ferocious as it slammed our vessel hard into the root wad kicking us hard right into a large tree limb to the right of us. The canoe first tipped hard left and then hard right. It was a balancing act with two rag dolls flailing wildly about in all directions. We were bouncing hard atop white water with it’s fierce loudness and anger. Telling us you don’t belong here. Feeling like a hocked loogie it kicked us out of it’s clutches and bellowed towards us not to try that again. Hearts still racing a little we were able to have a sigh of relief. That was a close one because we did nearly flip which would have been a disaster at that speed. With the humidity still lingering, there were at times real thick patches of mist floating on top of the water. The air was cool when we passed through them. Some would hauntingly climb up the hillsides off the river. The river is alive and it breathes. A lone blue heron standing about 2 feet tall stays just ahead of us soaring just inches above the water, it’s 6 foot wing span let’s it glide effortlessly above the water. King fisher dives into the river grasping fish along the way. Circling above us are a few buzzards. Not a flap in there wings, they just float on the rising thermals. As we sat listening to nature with not another person on this river with us, I was thinking. All the people going to the Caribbean, Australia, Europe and other exotic locations on this wonderful planet, and here we were on this magnificent river in our backyard. Yes…we made the right choice. It’s a beautiful day. What could be  Better ?! 🙂

Penguins at Piney Falls

Penguins at Piney Falls

Penelope and Louis are at it again. In my last painting, they found themselves in the desert. This is the third in a series. After playing in the desert sand they made their way east to Fall Creek Falls State Park. Although Penelope and Louis are a figment of my imagination this location is not. It is very much a real location. Piney Falls is one of many in this Park. The noise of the falls, and the peace and beauty surrounding it make it a great destination for our two love birds. Their artic snowy memories have faded into wooded bliss, and so they will stay awhile and relax. World Penguin Day is April 25th. Crazy I know. But hey, it helps me with coming up with silly painting ideas. This painting was painted on three pine board planks.

“Fire Fall” An Amazing Illusion

fire-fall

During some years, for about two weeks in mid to late February, the setting sun creates a mesmerizing deep orange glow phenomenon when it strikes Horsetail Fall. This is a small waterfall that flows over the eastern edge of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. El Capitan is a majestic enormous rock face, and a favorite of rock climbers. The fierce orange glow of the fall is caused by just the right conditions like water flows, clouds and temperature. The natural effect gives the illusion that intense bright orange lava is cascading off the cliff of El Capitan. Timing is everything when the angle of the setting sun causes the light to hit the waterfall just right.

When I lived in California for a total of nine years my family and I frequented Yosemite as much as we could. In fact, we camped there for an entire week on one occasion. I can understand why John Muir spent almost entire life there. In my opinion, its one of my top places to see on the entire planet.

I painted this on two small cedar planks. I added a snowy owl because it just felt right. I hope you enjoy the painting, and of course I always look for feedback. Good, Bad and Ugly.

Window To Pikes Peak

window-to-pikes-peak

I named this painting Window To Pikes Peak. Back in October of this year (2016), my wife took a photograph of Pikes Peak through a rock opening located in the Garden Of The Gods. The rock formations here are spectacular! Garden of the Gods is the top geological wonder in Colorado with incredible rock formations and an activity playground that lets people hike, bike, horseback ride and explore this free attraction in Colorado Springs. When we got back home from this vacation I came across the photo she took. I knew right then I had to paint this. I added a hummingbird at the bottom of the painting only because I just wanted to. My wife loves hummingbirds, so it felt right. Pikes Peak is 14,114 feet high. On our visit there we decided to drive up this behemoth. I have to say it was one of the most frightening drives I had ever driven. Altitude sickness is a real thing folks. For me it kicked in around 12,000 feet. Feeling a little dizzy with beads of sweat on my forehead I pressed onward and upward. Having a death grip on the steering wheel, it was worth every white knuckle moment getting to the top though. There are no guard rails, so one false move and you will take your final leap. This painting will be a reminder of this adventure for years to come. This is a good size painting that is just under 2 feet wide and just over 2 feet long painted on six vertical pine wood planks.

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Owl Mountain

owl-mountain

I call this painting Owl Mountain. My wife loves owls, and we both love nature. I wanted to paint a painting dedicated to owls for her. I didn’t want to just paint a single owl. I wanted this painting to exploit owls in some kind of new way. At first, I couldn’t figure out how to do that. I was having painter’s block. I wanted to be outside the box on this one.

Then one day, out of nowhere it had hit me. We recently took a trip to Colorado, and the Rocky Mountains and Pikes Peak were still fresh in my mind. This is how I came up with Owl Mountain. I wanted to combine a mountain range with some owls. So, I started to formulate a plan for the scene in my head. All kinds of thoughts started to pour in. This painting is a culmination of those ideas. These are not the Rocky Mountains. They are made from my thoughts only. A fictitious place dedicated to owls.

The owls are actually part of the mountains, like the wood I paint on is part of the art. When you think of it, this isn’t to odd. Presidents are carved into Mount Rushmore, so to me (albeit weird), this wasn’t to out of the ordinary. This mountain pays tribute to owls in a grand and unusual way. Frankly, if there was such a place…I would like to visit. All said and done, I accomplished what I set out to do I think. My wife thinks so as well, and she really loves this painting. Satisfied. I can now move on to my next painting quest.

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