Category Archives: Midwest

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.

Table Rock Lake Sunset

Table Rock Lake Sunset (2)

To me something about sunrises and sunsets have a calming effect. The anticipation of a new day or the satisfaction of a day well spent. The geese fly west…southwest towards the extinguishing light. The lake is like glass in the still of the night, and soon the night will consume the horizon’s red glow. Peace, serenity and calm. That is what this painting represents to me. I made this painting in one day. That includes cutting, gluing and sanding the wood canvas made of 3 pine board 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. 

Super Moon Over Missouri Wetlands


I have dedicated this painting to the Super Moon. I call it “Super Moon Over Missouri Wetlands”.

While Super Moons aren’t unusual, having three back to back to back in one year is. These three occurred October 16th, November 14th and December 14th, 2016.

The biggest of three Super Moon events was on November 14th. That hasn’t happened since 1948! The next Super moon of this magnitude will happen again after 18 years on Nov. 25th, 2034. The next Super Moon will be next year on December 3rd, 2017. The closest Super Moon of the century will occur on December 6th, 2052. If I make it that long I will be 95 years old. Yikes!  I have no idea the next time when there will be three in one year?

I’m from Missouri, and wanted to showcase a part of its land diversity that doesn’t get much attention…the wetlands. So, I  chose the wetlands of Missouri to be the back drop for the Super Moon. I think Missouri is better known for its rolling hills and bluffs of the Ozarks. Missouri has eight types of natural wetlands: swamps, shrub swamps, forested wetlands, marshes, wet meadows, fens and seeps, pond and lake borders and stream banks. I sort of blended some of these together.

I also included an eagle and green heron ( related to the blue heron), in it. The eagle has his eye on the heron snagging a fish. The scene is fictitious, but in my mind it plays out. I have seen plenty of blue herons on the many Ozark river float trips I have taken, and there are plenty of eagles to be seen in Missouri as well. This is the wonder of painting. The act of creating anything you want. I try to mix both realistic and made up scenarios when I paint.

I wasn’t sure how it was going to end up looking, because I made the scene up as I went and wasn’t really sure where I was going with it? That is the other fun part of painting for me. Just letting things unfold as it comes. I’m happy with the outcome. I used three long pine planks for this project. This is my final painting for 2016. I did 23 paintings since February. Thank you to everyone who have seen them, and especially to those who made comments as well. I appreciate the feedback.

A Tragic Car Accident

  1. Car Accident.jpg

Tuesday 16 Aug 2016. I work with a man who is in the Army National Guard. He has had several tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. His name is James. He has seen and been through a lot in those tours, but nothing could prepare him for what happened this month of August 2016. He received a phone call that one of his troops had been in a horrific car accident locally. He is 30 years old, married and has a two year old child. There was a terrible rain storm. His vehicle had hydro-planed, and he had lost control and violently slammed into a tree. James told me the details of his condition after visiting him in the hospital. He told me it was one of the worst moments he had been through. When James arrived at the hospital his troop’s wife and parents were there sobbing. Their lives would never be the same. James explained to me that his troop was put into an induced coma. His hands and wrists were fastened to each rail of the hospital bed with carefully folded sheets. They had to restrain the young man because he had been flailing about in excruciating agony. They had to heavily medicate him and put him into an induced coma it was so bad. His spine had been snapped in two places, and one of his lungs was punctured. He also had brain swelling. James went on and explained how he had been in the waiting room with the family. They all were waiting for the doctor to come out. The doctor finally arrived with a not so good look on his face. James said he knew instantly this was going to be bad. He began to get up and leave out of respect of privacy to the family. The family called James back though. They wanted him there because they knew this young man worked and toured with James for several years. The doctor just came out and said it. He will never walk again. He would be paralyzed from the waist down. He would only have movement in his arms and head. This past Friday they operated and place a steel rod in his back in the hopes to allow him to sit up. The operation would be a problem though. In a good scenario it would be like fastening a rod against a pole. In this case, it would be like fastening a rod against a wet noodle. His spine is so jacked up there is hardly anything there to fasten the rod to. When the doctor finished saying what he had to say, James said it was one of the most awful things he had been through. The young man’s wife and his parents and other family members were completely shattered. Uncontrollable crying and sadness had filled the room. He said it was the most darkest and mournful moments he endured. James told me this young man is a good man. He was strong, athletic and had faith. His life and his families lives have been tragically ripped to shreds now. He will need constant care the rest of his life. He will not be able to run with his child or do the normal things we take for granted. The hospital bills will be insurmountable. His life will not be what it once was. There will be a “Go Fund Me” account established. This story had a profound effect on me this past week and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Any problems you may perceive pale and are minuscule in comparison. The next time I feel that I think my day isn’t going as expected, I am going to stop and think of this young man. I just  had a compelling desire to paint something for him. I’ve been on this painting kick for the last several months. I don’t know what it is, but I went over thirty years without painting. Now I feel compelled to paint. I can’t paint just anything though. I have to have a real feeling about something first. I made this painting for this young man this weekend, and I am giving it to James to give to him at the appropriate time. Again, I don’t know why I just wanted to? I just feel I want to do something in addition to giving money. I will find out this coming week if his operation was successful. Since he has been sedated and in a coma, it’s unclear if he knows yet that he is paralyzed. I can’t imagine the pain he and his family will endure. It’s beyond comprehension to me. Bless this man and bless this family. I pray for all of them.

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The American bald eagle. What an amazing creature. I just had to paint this guy. I made up the background, but I was inspired by the infinity pool I had seen when I was at Johnson Shut-Ins two weeks ago. The eagle is in action eyeing his river prey. Soon he will have his fish in his mighty claws. No escape. I used seven cedar wood planks in vertical fashion. I wanted to enhance the river violently going over the falls, and thought by placing the wood planks vertically that it might help? I’m not sure it helped at all, but I don’t think it hurt either. It’s a fictious scene for sure, but I think it’s not to far off the mark. A similar situation may play out on any day in Alaska for instance. There are many Bald Eagles nesting near where I live here in the American midwest. There are also many eagle watching places and days here to spot this magnificent animal. Mainly in the spring, fall and winter months. For me, painting nature in action is my favorite subject. I’m still learning how to splash acrylic paint around together to learn what it does. It dries fast, so you sort of have to be quick with your decision of what you want from it. Again, I’m no teacher on the subject. Quite the opposite. I’m just trying to encourage anyone looking at my paintings that maybe some day they could give it a try. Of course, you will mess up, but like anything else with each try it builds a little more confidence to try again. You might surprise yourself on your abilities. Over thirty years ago I started out with water colors and poster boards. That medium doesn’t cost a lot of money if cost is a concern. For that matter acrylic isn’t that expensive either. Oil painting is a different story and it will eat you alive. Back then, living in the military on base with a couple small kids it was a concern. So, painting with water color was a cheap and fun outlet for me. Then I got away from it for decades until this year where I have gone ape painting on wood with acrylic paint. I never knew my love for wood would be incorporated with painting. Glad I stumbled on it. So, whoever is looking at this, consider grabbing a paint brush and let your imagination flow through your hands. For me it makes me look at the world through a sharper lens. I find myself focusing more on what a cloud looks like or a tree or whatever. Stuff that we just take for granted on a daily basis all of sudden comes alive a little more. Like the blog says….Shine On, and don’t be dulled by what others think.

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The Normal Brand

The Middle

I did this painting for an amazing clothing company based out of St. Louis, MO. They are called The Normal Brand If you visit their website you will discover why by reviewing their blog, customer pics, testimonies and of course the clothing itself. They have a terrific clothing line catering mainly to everywhere in the Midwest. One of their sayings is “Life In The Middle”. That said their brand can be found in retail outlets coast to coast. I met their founder and some of his staff, and all I can say is they are some real genuine and fantastic folks who are taking the clothing world by storm.

Now, as to why I did this painting for them. I actually heard about The Normal Brand through a local TV News Story on how they are taking their clothing line to incredible heights. As I looked a little deeper into how they started back in 2015 I got hooked. They are already getting accolades from celebrities like Jennifer Lopez to Terry Bradshaw to John Hamm and more. It was pretty impressive on how the founder started very small in such a short period. They also have been in a ton of magazines and news stories across the nation. But, what really impressed me is they are so down to earth and approachable. I liked their clothing, and I especially liked their “In The Middle” theme. So, with that I was inspired to make a painting for them.

My painting style is sort of also in the middle. Like The Normal Brand I am trying to share something a little new and different in a world saturated with what appears to be NORMAL. As I said, painting on wood is not new, but my style and usage of a different kind of wood canvas makes my art a little in the middle too. So, it’s my new normal. I wanted to depict their brand in this painting in such a way that it would all tie into the middle theme. The silhouette of a man fishing is my youngest son who I love dearly. He is an amazing person. He is one of those people that if you met him for the first time, you would instantly like him. I have a lot of respect for him and I’m not just saying that because I am his dad. The image of him fishing is from a photograph his mom took of him back in 2012. For me, this was the perfect center piece image of the painting. As you can see the fishing line is connecting everything together to include the sayings… “Life In The Middle”, “The Midwest” and “Embrace It”.

This was a fun project for me. The company’s founder Jimmy Sansone has it hanging in their place of work where he and his staff see it everyday. That is rewarding to me. It justifies in my mind that what I am doing is worthy. As an amateur artist I question my abilities. The hardest part of making a painting to me is putting my signature at the bottom when it is complete. I’m my own worst critic, and I say to myself is this painting really complete? Did I miss something? Could I have made something different or better? Will anyone who sees it think it is good? I could go on and on. I say these things not to discourage anyone from maybe giving painting a try. It’s just part of the painting process. So, don’t be to hard on yourself when you try something new. Give it a shot. Pick up a paint brush, a guitar, a saw or whatever, and discover the power of creating something. For me, it’s therapy, escapism, fun. Free your mind with it.

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The River

The River

This painting is quite large (4 feet long x 2 feet high). It’s a depiction of what I remember from the current river. This river I have floated what seems like a hundred times in my lifetime. There are many high bluffs along its path. There are a few caves and trails along its many miles. Birds like King Fisher, Great Blue Heron, Hawks, Owls and Buzzards are also plentiful. The clear spring water contains a variety of fish as well. There are snakes and turtles and beaver too. It’s a beautiful river, so it was easy for me to paint from memory. Spending several days with some overnight camping on its gravel bars is a wonderful experience. Did you notice I even put a fire at the bottom left of the painting? I have dedicated this painting to my dear niece Angie, who also floated this river on many occasions. The canoe in the painting has the number 47 painted on its bow. It represents the age of Angie who unexpectedly and tragically passed while I was painting this. I do get a little emotional when I look at it. I love it for the river of course, but now I always think of Angie when I see it. Love you Angie.  Always and Forever….Uncle Kevin.

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KC – Jacob


This painting is for my great-nephew Jacob. He is also the son of my niece who I painted the Panda for. He is a cute little fella. When I last seen him a few months back he asked me if I could paint something for him. I said sure what do you like? He just shrugged his shoulders and said I don’t know. So, I just made up something for him. He lives near Kansas City (big baseball and football city). I decided to incorporate that theme with his name and city. It was a simple project, but to a kid it’s a big deal. I think if I just painted a rock he would have been happy. He is just that kind of kid.

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