New Painting! “Ruddy Shelduck, Mongolia”

I unexpectedly got some very good reference this past July for ruddy shelducks, a species that I hadn’t seen much of before this trip. Some of the best photos are of a mother duck and her ducklings, swimming around in a stream surrounded by yaks. And I will certainly do a painting of that.

But, first things first. I need to do a couple of studies of the adult and ducklings to learn “what they look like” and how I want to handle painting the feathers. I have no interest in rendering every feather, so I need to use the process of painting to analyze the pattern and see what I can leave out while still making it clear that I have observed shelduck feathers correctly. I’ll probably also go to Google Images before I start a larger, more complex painting so that I can get a feel for what is typical and what is unusual or where my reference might be deceiving me.

In the meantime, I did this simple 12×12″ study of a shelduck in nice light.

"Ruddy Shelduck, Mongolia" 12x12" oil on canvasboard

Meet Shawn Gould A New Book Of His Art); And Great Show News!

I received a delightful surprise in the mail a few days ago. My friend and colleague Shawn Gould sent me a sweet little self-published book of some of his recent paintings. I’m writing about this for two reasons. One, because I thought that you would enjoy seeing his work, which is quite different than mine, and two, to look at what he has done from a marketing standpoint.

Sparrow Song 12x16 acrylic on masonite

Shawn grew up in Iowa, but now lives about twenty minutes from me in Eureka, California. He started out as an illustrator, creating award-winning work for clients like National Geographic, the Smithsonian and the Audubon Society. For the last ten years, however, he has been creating beautiful paintings like the ones you see here. He’s a Signature Member of the Society of Animal Artists and his work has been accepted into a variety of national juried shows like Birds in Art, Art and the Animal Kingdom and Arts for the Parks.

Good Dog 18x15" acylic on masonite

Now, for the book, “Wild Sanctuaries”. I asked Shawn via email to tell me more about it. He said that “I have a lot of new work that hasn’t been seen by very many people, and the book seemed like a nice format to get it out to a targeted audience for a reasonable price. We sent out 100 books for less than the price of a one page magazine ad.”

Summit 24x42" acrylic on masonite

The publisher is a company called, who I had never heard of. I wondered what they were like to work with. “Blurb was great. Kristen (Shawn’s wife) did the layout of the book, and deserves all the credit for how it looks. If like me, you don’t know InDesign very well, blurb does offer software you can download from their site. I don’t think you have as much freedom with the layout, but it’s easier to use and does still look good.

Gambel's Quail 12x18" acrylic on masonite

“Wild Sanctuaries” is available through Blurb on a print-on-demand basis, so Shawn hasn’t had to tie up any money in inventory. If you would like your own copy, for yourself or for a gift, it’s $30 plus shipping and handling and can be ordered here

Challenger's Bugle 26x38" acrylic on masonite

Given the down (down, down) economy, creating and producing “Wild Sanctuaries” took some courage and a leap of faith. But Shawn now has a powerful marketing tool that should prove increasingly valuable as conditions improve. Food for thought.

You can see more of Shawn’s work at


I recently received one of two Janie Walsh Memorial Awards from the Redwood Association for a painting that was in their 51st Annual Fall show. It even included $100 check! Here’s an image from the show. The painting of bighorn sheep, “Heavy Lies the Head” is mine. The show ended yesterday afternoon.