I’ve always wanted to do a painting of Alley Springs Mill, but I wasn’t sure on what kind of mood I wanted for it. Then it kind of hit me with Halloween coming. I decided to do a ghostly, haunting theme. It’s not quite night as the sun rays fall on the mill and the moon rises above the bluff. An unworldly set of tiger eyes pierces through the trees. Just staring and waiting for the impending darkness. I think I created an uneasy beauty with this theme. It took me awhile to get this one done because I wrestled with how I was going to create the mood. I almost left the tiger eyes out, but then decided to go with them. I hope it was the right decision. This painting is done on 4 pine planks glued together.
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.
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.
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.
Sunrise mist floating over the river. A Great Blue Heron effortlessly glides across the water. I was inspired to do this painting from the many memories I have of the Current River. The morning sun rising above the river bluffs. The mist hauntingly climbing the trees from the cool waters below. The Current River is spring fed, so year around its between 58 and 68 degrees. The many springs feeds 20 million gallons of water a day into this river. This painting is not an exact depiction of the Current River, but the beauty of that river easily made my paint brush flow in my mind through my hand. A combination of creating out of imagination and reality. I couldn’t resist adding a great blue heron. It’s wing span can reach over six feet, and they can cruise 20 to 30 mph. On the Current River they fly just above the water. It’s a sight to see as they stay just ahead of your canoe. If you are lucky enough you may quietly float past them as they stand and gaze upon you from a gravel bar or river bank. I used 4 pine planks measuring 26” long for this painting.
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 ?! 🙂
Penelope and Louis continue their adventures. They think they are people. This is the 5th penguin painting in a series. I made it using two pine board planks glued together.
I made this painting for my good friend Don whom I’ve known for 40 years as of this year 2017. Don, since I know you love Salmon fishing, I decided to make a painting for you. Besides, what is the point of painting if you can’t share it with the people special to you in your life. I really racked my brain on what I wanted to paint, and then it just came to me. This painting is on two small cedar planks. Hope you like it Don, and I will have it in the mail to you soon. I wish I could hand deliver it, but Oregon is little far for me right now. I will be there to see you some time though, so have an extra pole and lures ready for me! Your friend for life…Kevin
P.S I learned from the first photo of taking this painting to not take it in artificial light. The detail of the painting won’t come out as good and it won’t have a yellow sheen to it. I retook the photo in natural light and it made a much better picture I think.
I know this appears as a shameless plug for my owl painting, but I’m just responding to today’s daily word prompt word “MYSTICAL”. I did a painting for my wife because she loves owls among many other creatures. Because of her, I became more aware of them. At times they do have a ghostly / mystically look about them. The way they swivel their heads and just sit and observe their surroundings.
Their eye sight is unbelievable (especially at night). Also, did you know that the Great Horned Owl and the Hoot Owl are the only two species of owl that emit the hooting sound. Even their hoots are a bit mystical at times to me. Actually, I have two paintings depicting the owl. Here they are:
https://woodcanvasartist.wordpress.com/ (he is flying away from chaos of life on the right-hand side of the painting).
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.