Latest news: some good, some unbelievable


Update on the juried show front-

Two of the three paintings I entered in “Spirit of the Horse” to be held at the Palos Verdes Art Center, have been accepted. One is “Takhi Stallion and Mare”, part of which forms the masthead for this blog.

The other is “That’s the Spot!, see below. It was painted from reference that I shot at Khomiin Tal in western Mongolia during my September 2006 trip there.

Update on the festival/show front-

Due to gas prices and the slowing economy, at least in California, I have pulled out of the Los Altos show in July.

I will be participating in the 10th annual North Coast Open Studios June 7-8. Please stop on by, I’d love to see you. I’ll have original paintings, prints and cards available, plus the garden is starting to look pretty good.

The following weekend, I’ll be at the Marin Art Festival. I think it’s going to be a whole lot of fun and it’s almost two hours closer to me than the Los Altos event.

My gut feeling said pull out of the first, but don’t pull out of the second.

And, now something totally unique in my 30 year career in commercial and fine art:

I recently realized how important it is to listen to that inner voice. I was invited last year to participated in the art show at the Grand National Rodeo and Horse Show. I had some reservations from an animal welfare standpoint, but decided that I would send five paintings and attend the opening weekend to judge for myself whether or not this is an appropriate venue for me.

That decision will have to wait, since, to make it short, the show was such an unbelievably incompetent mess at so many levels that I ended up crating up my work and pulling out. Yup, loaded it back in the van and brought it home.

Most of the other over 100 artists, including some from England, Australia, Italy, Belgium and Canada, weren’t so lucky. I am participating in a private forum that was set up to sort this out. As of this morning, over six weeks after the close of the show, many of the artists have not gotten their work back. At this point, work is finally starting to move out, but only because of relentless effort on the part of the management of the Cow Palace. A fair amount of what has been returned is dirty, damaged or not in the containers it was sent in. And a lot of those were expensive Air Float boxes, which are to regular cardboard boxes what real cheese is to Velveeta.

In some cases, art was removed from the Cow Palace against the express, specific wishes of the artist.

The “directors” of this show have, IMHO, lied to, misled and otherwise conned all of us. As of today, none of the three has given the slightest sign of a clue that they have done anything wrong. It’s everyone else’s fault. The stories and excuses change almost hourly.

IMHO, do not, under any circumstances, get involved with anything that they are in charge of.

If you are an artist who sent work to the 2008 Grand National Art Show or joined the Grand National Artist’s Society, you need to email Tami at immediately.

Do not join The Grand National Artist’s Society. Do not participate in the art show at the Santa Barbara Fiesta until you have confirmed that none of the people who created this mess are involved. I visited the Fiesta website and it looks like a great event that you should consider if you live down that way!

I am not going to publish names here. Please contact me through my website if you need more specific information. As we are all learning, what goes on the web, stays on the web. Forever.

If I hear of anything else, I’ll post it here.

Final happier note:

Our doggy guest has moved on and very probably has a forever home already waiting for him with someone who had to recently put his 14 year old longer haired shepherd to sleep.

Pet overpopulation is a myth. The homes are out there, but sometimes it takes patience and some effort.

Latest news!

I have been a member of Artists for Conservation (formerly The Worldwide Nature Artists Group) for quite a few years now. Two years ago, they instituted a recognition program called “The Conservation Artist Award”. One artist a month is chosen, which qualifies one for the Simon Combes Award at the end of the year. And (drum roll!) I’ve been chosen as the artist for March! Go to and you’ll see a box on the right hand side with my picture. It’s really an honor since the organization is now approaching 500 members.

Also, today I got my acceptance letter for the Marin Art Festival, so I’ll be at The Civic Center Lagoon, Mill Valley, June 14-15. I’m really excited to have gotten in on my first try. I’ll be publishing my full festival and show schedule as soon as all the info rolls in.


I recently had the privilege of doing a portrait of Cosimo, a Holsteiner imported from Germany for Grand Prix jumping events. He had some leg and foot problems, as it turned out, but with time and care it looks like he is back on track. His owner said that she would probably only really be seeing him in the arena, so she wanted a painting of him relaxing during his “down” time. Knowing that she grew up on a ranch in Ventura county, I couldn’t resist letting inspiration from the early California landscape painters take over. For Cosimo himself, I spent 90 minutes sketching and photographing him in an exercise paddock last spring.


The interesting parts of painting Cosimo were the getting the shape around his eye right, since it really gave him a distinctive expression, and the top of his shoulders (withers, I guess, to be technically accurate), which were huge in comparison to other horses I have seen. I’ve never done a horse portrait before and spent a lot of time doing preliminary drawings and even a small study in oil to make sure that I captured an accurate likeness of a head that, in the finished painting, is less than 2″ long. I enjoyed getting that glossy sheen on his coat, too.

He isn’t what I would consider a pretty or beautiful horse, like an arabian, but even during the short time I had with him, I got a sense of a horse with quiet dignity and strength of mind. Not someone you’d joke around with. He apparently has a solid competitive drive too, which he’ll need.

The background elements include an oak tree, a sycamore, California poppies and a sprinkling of lupine, which are all plants the client grew up with. The quail were added for fun and to provide a narrative element.

The original is a 16″x20″ oil on canvas on board. My client is very pleased, which, of course, makes me very happy!