Saturday, December 29, 2012

Work-in-Progress: Study of Walt Whitman

Had a little time to work on this, in-between stuffing myself with Christmas cookies!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Witness Tree at Devil's Den

I've been in a bit of an artistic funk this year -- I keep working but often find I am not as satisfied with the results as I would like. In an attempt to break out of this negativity, I decided to create a small landscape based on a portion of the Devil's Den area on the Gettysburg Battlefield. I had recently read an article indicating that the tree depicted here is one of the few remaining "witness" trees -- meaning, a tree that is confirmed to have been present during the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, and that is what spurred me on to choose this particular location.

Recently I received some very good news regarding this painting, done in colored pencil on PastelMat: it is one of only 101 works selected for the exhibition, America's Parks Through the Beauty of Art. In addition, it was chosen as one of the Top 50, and will be part of a travelling
exhibition, moving from Missouri to New York to Wisconsin, beginning in March. Folow this link to read the juror's statement: While I realize that being pleased with our own work is what's important, not the opinion of a juror, this was a welcome "shot in the arm" for an artistically-uncomfortable year!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

2012 Christmas Cards

These two images represent the new additions to my line of Civil War-themed Christmas cards. The top one is Windows of Gettysburg IV: The Brafferton Inn (historic Codori House); the bottom is part of a series I've created for the Shriver House Museum in Gettysburg, and is entitled A Christmas Surprise. My entire line of Christmas cards is now comprised of 17 cards; you can see the complete line at:

And purchasing has never been easier, because now each individual card's page includes purchase options through PayPal!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Basil Biggs, Step 5

Shortly after I photographed this work-in-progress at its last stage, it occurred to me that it just wasn't realistic to have so few people on the streets during the time this scene would have occurred. This was early afternoon on July 1, 1863, as the morning's casualties from the battle to the north and west of town began working their way to the makeshift hospitals in town, but before the Union retreat to Cemetery Ridge would have really gotten into gear. Civilians would have been off the streets at that point, but injured Union troops would be in evidence. So in this stage I've begun to indicate them. I feel like I'm finally getting some momentum going with this composition and hope to maintain it so that I can complete this piece sometime in September.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Back to Basil - or - Basil Biggs, Step 4

Despite the fact that this piece isn't as far along as I had hoped it would be at this point, I guess I have made some progress since I last posted about it in -- I'm embarassed to admit! -- October of last year. But research on the buildings which would have been standing on the south side of the first block of York Street was painstaking and time-consuming. Still, I wouldn't have felt right continuing on it without being thorough and as accurate as possible about the setting, so I'm glad to have given it the time it needed. Maybe now I can move along a little more quickly!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Completed and Sold!

I did complete Sunset, Peter Frey Farm in late June, and it and another small landscape sold in early July to a gentleman from Pittsburgh.  I enjoy these Gettysburg landscapes and am now experimenting with using Neocolor II (Watersoluble Wax Pastels) on some larger versions, as they lay down much more quickly than the Inktense pencil/colored pencil combination.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Lots of catching up to do

I've had almost no time for posting recently, since we're into the heart of the tourist season in Gettysburg. So this week, now that we're past the big annual reenactment, I plan to post a lot of things I've been working on in the intervening weeks. These are the last three plein air pieces I created during the Plein Air Paint Out, part of this year's Gettysburg Festival -- Pennsylvania Monument; Barn, Henry Culp Farm; and Gettysburg Railroad Depot. The railroad depot piece, the largest of these three, I completed within the timed, 2- hour Quick Draw event held within a one-block radius of Lincoln Square in Gettysburg. About 20 minutes into this painting, I'd realized I'd bitten off a little more than I could chew, because the detailing on this building is absolutely incredible. But I just kept plugging away, and much to my surprise, did actually manage to finish it within the 2-hour timeframe. All three pieces are done in watercolor and ink.

To see more of my plein air and other Civil War-themed work, please visit

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Plein Air Paint Out at the Gettysburg Festival

The Plein Air Paint Out at the Gettysburg Festival began Friday with a great battlefield tour by our knowledgable guide, Bob Prosperi. So far I've painted Friday, Sunday and Monday (today it pretty much poured, all day, but thankfully this is really the only rainy day forecast for the entire ten day Festival). These paintings are all quite small, and rendered with watercolor pencil. The third painting featuring the General Warren statue on Little Round top has a little bit of ink line work added in the statue and the rock area. Hopefully I'll get out tomorrow morning to do some more!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

In-progress: Barn at the Peter Frey Farm

This needs some work, primarily to the tree on the lefthand side, but I'm pleased with how it's coming along so far. I'm working with an  Inktense watercolor pencil underpainting on white PastelMat, and adding dry colored pencil color enhancement and detail on top. It's turned into one of my favorite working methods for landscapes.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Good news!

I received word just yesterday that my colored pencil drawing, Sarah Emma Edmonds II: Transformation/Liberation, was awarded 2nd Prize in the Drawings and Original Prints category in the 70th Annual May Show at The Little Art Gallery in North Canton, OH. The exhibition will be on  display through June 2.

I also received word last week that my mixed media composition, Sarah Emma Edmonds I: Departure, has been selected for inclusion in the Adams County Arts Council's Ninth Annual Juried Exhibition, to be held June 8 - 17 at Schmucker Art Gallery on the campus of Gettysburg College, as part of the Gettysburg Festival.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Dusk at Devil's Den

I believe this is done -- added some detail but I didn't want to overstate it. So I'll post it for now and spend some time looking at it in this new form to see if I feel it truly is finished.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Devil's Den at Sunset, Step 2

I taught a workshop over the weekend on using Derwent Inktense water soluble pencils as an underpainting for colored pencil drawings. Since I had this piece with me to use as an example of a couple of concepts, I spent a little time during the lunchbreak punching up the watercolor layers and then last night had some time to add some dry colored pencil detail. It's starting to head the direction I want; it does seem to look a little too dark, overall, in this reproduction.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Artistic Struggles

Devil's Den at Sunset, step 1

As I'm sure so many of my artist-friends can relate to, lately I've really been struggling with making progress on any of my various projects. I have a number of commissions on which I'm making progress, but I've found that it's also very important to me to have my own personal project "in the works", something I'm very emotionally connected to, to keep my spirit alive. That is not to say I don't have any emotional connection or sincere interest in my commission work, it's just to say that the feeling is not quite the same as when I'm doing something of my own choosing. I'm emotionally connected to the Basil Biggs project but am finding some of my references to be lacking; I'm emotionally connected to my third -- and probably final -- piece involving Sarah Emma Edmonds but I'm finding it difficult to determine a direction for that piece. Recently, however, I've hit on some ideas and now have a vague notion regarding the composition of that piece, so I'm hopeful that I'll be posting a rough layout of it soon.

In the meantime, in addition to teaching a number of classes and workshops in OH, I've also been studying the pastel landscape work of Richard McKinley, and am trying to work with his "underpainting" concept for some small landscapes I'm doing of the Gettysburg battlefield. The image above represents my watercolor pencil underpainting with a minimum of colored pencil applied on top. But again, I appear to be "stuck" when it comes to moving forward with this composition.

I know this is just a natural part of the artistic process, but I have to say it's very uncomfortable and i'll be pleased when things start to smooth out a bit.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Time to face facts

For several years now I have been working on what I've come to title my Civil War 150 Project, with a goal of working in a chronological order to create works focusing on the often-overlooked people and events of the Civil War era. As we begin 2012, we are in the 150th anniversary for the year 1862, which featured such battles as Shiloh, Second Manassas, Antietam and Fredericksburg. And while it continues to be my intention to study each of the battles carefully and create works to represent them, I realize that it is not going to be possible to cover them in-depth, as I've done so far with the First Battle of Manassas, within one year's time, and still stay on track with my additional project of developing works that relate to the civilians of Gettysburg. Because my gallery is located in Gettysburg, and so that I may be able to do justice to that series in time for our 150th anniverary commemoration in 2013, I realize that I'm going to have to make some sacrifices. I've finally resolved that, since Antietam and Fredericksburg are closer in proximity to my Gettysburg gallery, I will focus on producing a few pieces that relate to them. Once we've passed the 150th anniversary period in Gettysburg, I plan to revisit some of the other battles of 1862 and 1863 that I've had to skip over for now.

I've had to put the brakes on my Basil Biggs project once again, as I've recently learned that there may be another source of photographic images of him that I had not known about, and want to look into that before I go further. In the meantime, I have a number of Civil War-related commissions that I will be posting in this spot, and will begin developing some pieces dealing with Antietam. Relating to that, today's post shows a piece I created in 2002 for their 140th anniversary. The print edition is sold out; however the original art is available for purchase. Please contact me at, if you are interested in learning more about this piece. As always, I invite you to visit my website,, to view all of my Civil War-themed works.