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What's New:




"I do a lot of traveling, personally and professionally. So the observations you'll read below cover a broad and eclectic range of topics. If you'd like to comment on or respond to any of my musings, click the 'Contact Me' link in the lefthand navigation bar."

October 29, 2016 - 2:36 p.m. CDT - Black Hills, SD
Mule Deer
It's always nice to see the Mule Deer of the Black Hills! This "Big Boy" was roaming around a residential area "safe zone" and wasn't too alarmed when I stopped to take his photograph!

October 28, 2016 - 8:17 a.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
On The Road
I recently traveled between Missouri and the Dakotas, stopping along the way to capture on film scenes I may later capture on canvas. I use my digital camera as a tool to "sketch" elements that appeal to my artistic eye. For example, the top photo to the right is a Fall scene I ran across on a Nebraska highway. The colors, the elements and the overall composition of the scene were perfect at that moment. It's not too hard to see this as one of my watercolor or oil works. The bottom photo is from a rather chilly morning as I worked my way into the Black Hills. Frost that morning showed up as various wet areas that added to the sharp contrast of elements.

October 21, 2016 - 2:13 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
More Calendar Work
I also have a dozen paintings of mine represented on the 2017 KLJ corporate calendar. Again, a few are to the right and all of them are in the 'Fine Art' section of my online Gallery. I think you'll like what you see.

October 21, 2016 - 1:46 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Calendar Work
I have half a dozen of my aircraft paintings featuried on a 2017 wall calendar. A few examples are to the right -- all six are in the '">Aviation Art' section of my online Gallery. Take a look and see what you think.

March 7, 2016 - 2:11 p.m. CDT - Ste. Genevieve, MO
Sneak Peek
I thought I'd share one of my latest watercolors, created while in my hometown surroundings. I've been busy, so this is just a sample of much more to come in terms of canvas and photos. Enjoy.

January 5, 2016 - 5:13 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Rare Clouds
While traveling through the Great Falls, MT area, I came upon a somewhat rare weather phenomenon -- lenticular clouds. Looking like toy tops whirling through the atmosphere, lenticular clouds form at high altitudes and are usually aligned at right angles to the direction of the wind. They tend to form over or near mountains in stable, moist air flowing over the mountains. Pilots tend to avoid flying near these clouds becuase of the turbulence associated with the formations.

January 5, 2016 - 5:09 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Verdant Green
Going through Glacier Park, I noticed how green and mossy many areas were, especially near streams and in darker, damp forest sections. Just phenomenal. The gnarled, knotty tree limbs and roots, the velvet green moss and almost light purple hue to the surroundings gave a nice counterpoint to the giant, rocky mountains nearby. You can watch a slideshow I put together that chronicles my trip through these rocky canyons.

January 5, 2016 - 4:27 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Rockies Wildlife
During my trip following the Going-to-the-Sun Road through Glacier National Park, I encountered an interesting variety of wildlife. About midway along the Sun Road, I came across a mountain goat and, a little later and from a safer distance, a grizzy bear. On the Canadian side of the mountains, I stumbled upon a moose and a ring-billed gull. You can watch a slideshow I put together that chronicles my trip through these rocky canyons.

January 5, 2016 - 4:04 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Man Vs. Mountain
There's nothing like a mountain to help you gain perspective on how vast the landscape is and how small you are in the grand scheme of things. With massive rock structures and towering forests looming over you no matter which direction you turn, it's easy to understand how people like to go to the mountains to cleanse their minds and souls and put themselves in proper context with the natural world. You can watch a slideshow I put together that chronicles my trip through these rocky canyons.

January 5, 2016 - 3:21 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Pure Water
One of the things that struck me during my September journey was the clarity and purity of the mountain water. You see water, filtered by the rocks and gravel, pouring out in bright, fresh waterfalls and smoothly flowing in crystal pure lakes and streams. It's all so "mountain pure," it seems unrealistic. What a joy to know this is the real deal. You can watch a slideshow I put together that chronicles my trip from Montana to Alberta.

January 4, 2016 - 11:32 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
My Mountain Journey
Happy New Year! As we move further into winter, I thought I'd share with you a remarkable journey I took last September. I had the pleasure of traveling through a range of mountains, valleys, rivers and glaciers. I started in Helena, Montana and moved along the scenic Going-to-the-Sun Road in the Rocky Mountains, in Glacier National Park. I continued past Logan's Pass at the Continental Divide and then followed the glacier into Canada and the Canadian Rockies. It was then on to the waterfalls near Johnston Canyon, over to Banff and then to Jasper, Alberta. Everywhere you turned was a breathtaking view. I was overwhelmed by the photo opportunities in all directions. And for the artist in me, it was almost too much for the creative senses to absorb. You can see some of the photos I took here, but you might also enjoy a slideshow I put together that chronicles many of the natural wonders I came across during my travels.

December 4, 2015 - 10:13 a.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Polar Pumpkin Winters In Minot
I learned the 'Polar Pumpkin' will be wintering in Minot at the Dakota Territory Air Museum. The Cessna 185 N90SN got its unusual name from its distinctive orange color and from the fact it is the only single engine aircraft to have visited both the north and south poles. Piloting the plane during those excursions was Art Mortvedt, a Stanton, ND native and good friend of mine. In fact, one of my paintings is titled, 'Art's Polar Pumpkin,' in honor of the plane and Art. An image of the painting is located in the 'Aviation Art' section of my site. An article of Art's visit to Minot can be found here at the Minot Daily News website. And an earlier feature profile article on Art can be found here.

December 13, 2015 - 6:45 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Freedom Flag Complete
To the right is a photo of the finished Freedom Flag project at the Minot Aero Center, a piece I completed earlier this year. This was my excursion into three-dimensional art. The basic composition was made from insulation that's normally used to insulate residential and commercial buildings. Once the base form was complete, I then applied various layers of plaster and varnish mixes using transparent pigment to create the desired color and textures. In addition to the flag relief, there are details on the frame depicting a history of freedom through images of Washington crossing the Delaware, Independence Day, honoring the Military Forces, the wide open spaces and more. While creating this piece was artistically challenging at times, I really enjoyed working in this medium.

December 3, 2015 - 4:21 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
2016 Calendar
I recently completed a 2016 calendar project featuring 14 of my paintings (12 for the months, 2 for the front and back of the calendar). You can review the pieces in the Fine Art Gallery section of my website. A few samples from the calendar are at the right.

November 23, 2015 - 6:53 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
End Results
A special project I had been working on for about a year was finally completed at the end of October. Made of transparent acrylic forms, aircraft screws and cable, this massive display hangs in the two-story entry way of engineering and surveying firm KLJ in Bismarck, ND. The 13 objects depict what appear to be a flock of geese in flight, heading north and coming out of a North Dakota relief landscape scene on the south wall.
 
And while the image might immediately evoke a naturalistic scene, a further look would reveal the corporate nature of the art. The "geese" are actually chevrons I pulled from the KLJ logo, closely matching the chevron colors and shape. The alignment of the chevrons is gracefully upward, representing the forward movement of the company into the future. Arranged in a tight "V" formation, the art as a whole projects a sense of common movement as a team toward the company's goals.
 
But when you look at each chevron, you'll notice that no two chevrons are alike. Each has its own angle of flight and unique characteristics embedded in the design. This represents the unique identities and personal goals of the individuals who make up the company. The message of the installation, then, is a company moving forward and upward into the future, united as team, built on individuals pursuing their own unique dreams and goals within the team, all channeling their energies to work in sync toward the company's objectives.
 
Because the pieces are translucent, they cast colorful shadows from the sun as it moves across the western facing windows of the entry way.
 
The biggest challenge I faced in building this installation was finding the right size for the chevrons in the space I was filling. Too small and the piece wouyld be ineffective, unnoticed. Too big and the piece would be an overstatement, visually "yelling" at the viewer and overshadowing the subtle messages within. Stop by KLJ and take a look -- the pictures to the right convey a limited two dimensional impression of the three dimensional work.

September 3, 2015 - 7:56 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Other Great Flying Machines
More of my photographs of classic flying machines. The top image is a restored 1931 Waco QCF-2, owned by Warren Pietsch. The complete restoration was done by Warren Pietsch and the Pietsch Aircraft and Restoration staff of Minot, ND. The bottom image is a 1938 Monocoupe Sport, also owned by Warren Pietsch. It was also restored by Warren and the and that also was restored by WP and the Pietsch Aircraft and Restoration staff. You can check out the Pietsch website starting at http://pietschaircraftnd.com.

September 3, 2015 - 7:29 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Up Close With The Corsair
In June, I had the priviledge to spend a full day shooting photographs of classic aircraft with renowned photographer Moose Peterson and several other photographers. What an unforgettable opportunity for me to have that experience. I had a chance to stand on a hill and photograph a Corsair flying at low altitudes, passing around me and almost straight at me. To experience the speed, sound, power and elegance of the famous Corsair war plane that close was absolutely unforgettable. To the right are some of the photos I took of this amazing plane in action. It is a FG-1D Corsair from the Texas Legends Flying Museum, piloted by Warren Pietsch of Minot North Dakota. You can visit Moose Peterson's website at http://www.moosepeterson.com/blog/, and see his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/moose.peterson. You might also want to visit the Texas Legends Flying Museum at http://www.texasflyinglegends.org

May 19, 2015 - 4:00 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
And Two More...
Two more pieces I'm working on right now. More to come...

May 19, 2015 - 3:59 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Works In Progress
Here's a quick peek at a few of the works I have in progress at the moment. No titles yet -- everything's in development

May 19, 2015 - 3:38 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
More Aircraft
With the recent rains, I took the opportunity to photgraph these two aircraft under overcast skies, taciturn temperatures and forceful North Dakota winds. At the top is a C-47 on static display at the Dakota Territory Air Museum in Minot, ND. For whatever reason -- perhaps simply my love for airplanes -- I wished there would have been a large tarp available to protect the C-47 from the intimidating weather. At the bottom is the 1,000 HP M-18 Dromader Agricultural Aircraft. This is a plane that is used mainly as a cropduster or or in firefighting. If you're interested in these and other aircraft, you may want to visit the Dakota Territory Air museum's website at www.dakotaterritoryairmuseum.com. Also, you might want to visit the website for The Texas Flying Legends at www.texasflyinglegends.org. Several aircraft from the Texas museum are on loan and on display at the Dakota Territory location in Minot.

May 19, 2015 - 3:12 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Aircraft Photos
As nearly everyone who knows me is aware, my passion for painting is matched only by my passion for flying. Many times, the two come together in my personal and commissioned works. But I also enjoy taking photographs of various aircraft I encounter along the way. Some images may later serve as inspirations for paintings, but most become part of my photo collection, of which I share with you on this website. To the right are two that caught my attention recently. The top image is of a P-51 Mustang. This single seat fighter, nicknamed "Little Horse," was used extensively during World War II, the Korean War and other conflicts. The bottom photo is a three-quarter front view of an F-106 Delta Dart Interceptor that was once flown by the 5th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at the Minot Air Force Base, ND. In the background is the popular, smiley-faced DC-3 Duggy, a common site at many regional airshows and fly-ins. The Duggy is always a big attraction for young people.

April 2, 2015 - 11:00 a.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
New Project
I've started a new project that uses the same materials that went into the Freedom Flag mural I created for the new lobby addition at the Minot Aero Center. However, this new effort will be even larger, 7 feet by 12 feet in size. The subject will be a landscape representing various elements you're likely to see around North Dakota. My challenge: I'll be using only one color over the entire surface, relying on various light sources from various directions to bring out the layered dimensions in the work. I'll post occasional progress photos as this project evolves. Here are a few "starter" images...

February 20, 2015 - 8:13 p.m. CST - Bismarck, ND
Nearing The End
My mural project for the Minot Aero Center is getting closer to completion. Color and texture have been added to the frame around the large flag relief, which complements the art quite nicely. In the bottom photo inside the frame edges, you'll notice the start of a series of symbols and images that represent American Freedom. There will be something powerful to see in this piece, both at a large scale and in the details.

February 3, 2015 - 5:03 p.m. CST - Bismarck, ND
Challenging Project
I'm working on a project involving transparent acrylic forms, aircraft screws and cable. These will be located in a space with many windows, large metal beams, changing light from the outside and motionless lighting on the inside. Which means this is a project where the images will constantly change in color, reflections and the projection of dimension. More details to come -- in the meantime, the images to the right offer a sneak peek...

January 20, 2015 - 8:43 p.m. CST - Bismarck, ND
Finished Pieces
On January 5th, I gave you a small peek at two pieces that were in progress. Well, they're done, and the images to the right show the finished products. They both have a music theme, linked by guitars. The top one clearly has a bold, colorful 1960s/1970s rock music feel, while the bottom one is a bit more refined. Both of these works were matted and framed, with an engraved plaque showing the name of an individual and that person's years of service with a company. Each piece reflects an element of the person's interests -- for example, perhaps a hobby, a vacation, a weekend activity, a collection and so on. It's a nice change of pace from landscapes, airplanes and animals. I believe variety in subject matter and painting style helps keep the creative mind fresh and well exercised.

January 19, 2015 - 6:22 p.m. CST - Bismarck, ND
Getting Close -- Oh, So Close
Over the weekend, I got a good start on the framework that will accompany the relief in the mural project I've been working on for the Minot Aero Center. Once the framework is completed, my next task will be to harmonize the two components. The frame must not only complement the powerful relief image of the flag, it must also integrate as an element of the work as a whole. As I get closer to completing the work, my mind (creatively guiding my efforts) is racing to ensure that the concepts portrayed in the work and the composition of the work are measuring up to the vision I have for the finished project. Stay tuned...Oh, a short correction here -- in my Jan. 5th journal update, I mentioned I stopped at a wonderful cafe called "The Garden of Eat'n" in the town of Canton. Unfortunately, I put Canton in Iowa -- it's actually located in South Dakota. Now, there is a Canton, Iowa, but it's about 382 miles southeast of Canton, SD, where I stopped. So, my apologies to the good people of Canton, SD, for verbally moving them across state lines. Hopefully, by my correction, they are now safe and warm back in South Dakota. And all this leaves me hungering for more soup and a sandwich from "The Garden of Eat'n."

January 7, 2015 - 6:51 p.m. CST - Bismarck, ND
A Tale In Print
I had the honor of being featured in a recent issue of "The Antique Airfield Runway," a publication of the Antique Airplane Association and The Air Power Museum. The article focuses on how I ended up owning the plane in which I first learned to fly. You can read the article by clicking this link to access a pdf copy of the story.

January 6, 2015 - 5:41 p.m. CST - Bismarck, ND
Mural Project Update
A quick update on the Minot Aero Center mural project I've been working on since last October. This is a 5.5 foot x 11 foot relief mural of the American Flag. The theme of the mural is "Freedom." It's a unique project in that I had to build 3D relief as the base and then applying various layers of plaster and varnish mixes using transparent pigment to complete the desired color and textures. The image to the right is a close up of a portion of that project.

January 5, 2015 - 3:01 p.m. CST - Bismarck, ND
Stops Along The Way
I had the pleasure of discovering two fine restaurants during my holiday excursions. The first, called, "The Audubon's," is located in Ste. Genevieve, MO. It's a beautiful renovation of an existing building that once was the "Cafe Ste. Genevieve." You can tell many hours of work were put into this facility by a partnership of local individuals. The results show with an inviting atmosphere that exhibits a welcoming menu of delightful food selections. The walls are accented with creative works done by local artists, and I have the priviledge of having some of my works included in the displays. You can get more information on "The Audubon's" and view the menu at their website and on their Facebook page. Meanwhile, on my return trip to North Dakota, I stopped in Canton, IA, about 10 miles east of Interstate 29, south of Sioux Falls. It's a neat little town that has several antique shops and a small sandwich and soup cafe called "The Garden of Eat'n." It's actually a small church that was converted into an eating establishment. This is a great place to enjoy a bowl of good, homemade soup and a sandwich. The name of the place alone is worth a stop, but the payoff is the down home food served inside. You can learn more about this place at their Facebook page as well as their website.

January 5, 2015 - 2:56 p.m. CST - Bismarck, ND
Some Works In Progress
I wanted to share with you a few peeks of some projects I'm working on at the moment. The top image is from a piece I call, "Rocking Icons." The bottom image is from a work called, "Picking The Memories." These projects require bright colors and highly defined detail work. More on these pieces later on...

January 5, 2015 - 2:21 p.m. CST - Bismarck, ND
More Holiday Explorations
I was able explore a few more creeks in the Sainte Genevieve, MO area during the holiday season. I found some, like the one at the top, that are completely dry during the winter months, a few with small potholes of water and several slow flowing streams. The bottom image captures a unique angle looking up the side of a hill into a jumble of tree limbs stitched against a light sky. A very earthy image, I think. Both photos, for me, highlight a vast combination of rock formations, with shadows that compose an enhancing flow of light and reflections over the intricate landscape. Capturing this complex movement and interaction on canvas will become my next painting challenge.

January 5, 2015 - 1:56 p.m. CST - Bismarck, ND
Happy New Year!
I spent time in Missouri again over the holidays -- a somewhat warmer and more pleasant experience than what I found when I came back to North Dakota! While I was away, I took photos of scenes that appealed to my artistic eye. I've mentioned this before, but photography, to me, is as much an act of artistic creation as painting. Both use a canvas -- a digital one for the camera and a physical one for the paint. And, in both mediums, the images must be composed with just the right creative sense in order to convey the essence and emotion of the scenes depicted. Many times, I'll photograph a scene to use it as a reference image for something I might paint at a later date. So, here are a few of the images I found artistically interesting. The top one is a jumbled heap of old railroad planks,rough wood and sticks. The phrase that struck me with this scene was, "piled up memories." The second image features an old tractor storage shed by the side of a road. Crawling across the shed door and road are evening shadows cast by a setting sun.

December 3, 2014 - 2:53 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Art In Progress...
Here's a recent photo of the "Freedom Flag" project I'm creating for the Minot Aero Center, Minot, ND. You can follow my progress on this art project here at my website and at the Minot Aero Center's Facebook page. I've also added a number of art images to my Fine Art and Aviation Art galleries here at the website. Enjoy!

October 7, 2014 - 11:24 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Art Award
I am both thrilled and humbled to have been presented with the Bismarck Art and Galleries Association "Autumn Artistry" 2014 Citation Award. The award was presented Oct. 7th, during the Fall Art Show Opening Reception in Bismarck. You can view the award in the image to the right. My thanks to BAGA, its members and those who have been kind supporters of my artistic endeavors. It means a lot.

October 6, 2014 - 9:37 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Mural Project Underway
I've started a project at the Minot Aero Center, located on the General Aviation side of the Minot Airport. It's a 5.5 foot x 11 foot relief mural of the American Flag. The theme of the mural is "Freedom." When it's completed, it will depict a history of freedom through images of Washington crossing the Delaware, Independence Day, honoring the Military Forces, the wide open spaces and more. This unique project is quite an artistic challenge because it requires me to go beyond canvass and paint. I'm constructing the basic composition from insulation that's normally used to insulate residential and commercial buildings. Once the form is complete, I will then apply various layers of plaster and varnish mixes using transparent pigment to complete the desired color and textures. The photos to the right, taken by Maureen Crawford of Maureen Victoria Photography, give you an idea of the initial stages in this art project. The top image shows the early mural in morning sunlight flooding the room. The middle image shows me at work on the mural. The bottom photo is a close-up of the mural. You can follow my progress on this art project here at my website and at the Minot Aero Center's Facebook page. By the way, I'll soon be starting another mural project using this process for Kadrmas Lee & Jackson (KLJ), which will measure 7 feet x 12 feet. Fun all around!

September 12, 2014 - 8:21 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Finished Piece
It's done -- the piece I call, "Teton Country." Compare the finished image to the right with the earlier image below of the work in progress. You can see that the mountains are much sharper in detail and echo a deeper hue of purple. The trees and foilage are also filled in and the stream and rocky banks are fleshed out and prominent. It's a beautiful scene, relfecting the intimate relationship between nature and artist: Mother Nature creates the scene. The artist works to capture that scene on canvas, filtered through his or her painting style, mood and message being conveyed through brush and paint.

August 29, 2014 - 1:55 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
New Work
Here's a quick look at a piece I started on August 27th. I call it "Teton Country." No up close studies here -- this is all about the majestic view, which requires a little more artistic consideration of the colors used and scope presented.

August 23, 2014 - 11:27 a.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Whimsical Journey


I recently finished a really neat piece for the "Zoolebration" to be held Thursday, September 4, 6 - 10 pm., at the Red River Zoo in Fargo, ND. This multi-piece, multi-shaped arrangement was donated on behalf of Kadrmas Lee & Jackson (KLJ). It's not your typical single canvas piece. In addition to the art work itself, I had to also consider the arrangement of the piece -- how the images would integrate with each other to create a whole piece that showcases separate elements. This was fun to create.

August 16, 2014 - 8:02 a.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Art On Display
I am priviledged to have one of my works included in an exhibit that opens today at the North Dakota Heritage Center as part of the state's 125th birthday celebration. The piece is titled, "He Walks With Me." If you get a chance, stop by the center and take a look -- not only at my contribution but everything else on display as well.

August 15, 2014 - 7:17 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Work In Progress
I thought I'd give you a peek at a piece on which I'm currently working. The photos to the right represent small sections of a painting I'm creating that should be completed within a week. The piece will measure two feet by five feet. I'll have more details later.

July 27, 2014 - 5:42 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Display And Demo This Thursday
I'll be participating in the 3rd Annual Wine Walk in downtown Bismarck this Thursday, July 31st. From 5:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m., I'll be exhibiting my art at Woodmansee's Office Supply (114 No. 4th St.) and also putting on a painting demonstration. Stop by and visit -- I look forward to seeing you on Thursday!

July 10, 2014 - 7:12 a.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Artwork On Display
I have a busy three months with several displays of my artwork at various locations during July, August and September. If you visit the North Dakota state capitol building, you'll find my work in the Governor's offices on the ground floor and first floor, the First Lady's office on the fourth floor and the Attorney General's office on the first floor. Additional information on the displays can be found in the "Prairie Arts" publication of the North Dakota Council on the Arts. I will also have work appearing as part of the upcoming Bismarck Art and Wine Walk on July 31st -- the exact location will be announced shortly. Finally, I will also have a piece on exhibit at the newly expanded North Dakota Heritage Center as part of the 125th anniversary celebration of North Dakota statehood (North Dakota was admitted to the Union on Nov. 2, 1889). The exhibition runs August 16th through mid-October and will feature my painting, "He Walks With Me." It is an honor and priviledge to have my work on display at all these locations and as part of the events commemorating an important part of state history.

July 1, 2014 - 6:51 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
New Art
Three recent creations of mine. At the top is "Elements Of Rhythm." I used two basic shapes representing a blend of movement (circles) entangled among lines of strength and depth. For the viewer, focusing on a particular area of the piece becomes challenging because of the feeling of movement created by the placement of the circles. The middle piece is "Musical Celebration." This, quite simply, was another chance for me to do something fun, whimsical. Very defined lines here and strong colors. You can almost hear the festivities. The bottom piece is "Sun, Sails and Waves." I was inspired to paint this after seeing a sailboat cutting across the waters of Lake Sakakawea. It was a beautiful sunny day, the bright white sails of the boat stood out against the sky, enough wind was filling the sails to generate a presentation of waves as the boat was carried across the water. This is an image of motion, of sun, sky, sails and sea all moving within the same flow.

June 27, 2014 - 5:19 p.m. CDT - Saint Paul, MN
Final Photos From A Trip
The top photo has some interesting interplay between the structure in the foreground and the towering lines of the building in the background. Both are reaching for the sky on their own artistic terms -- one with character, the other with grace. The bottom photo captures a lot of action. You have the green of nature coloring the bottom and rising upward. This plays in contrast to the straight lines of the manmade objects. Add to that the reflection of the dark gray building in the polished mirror-like windows of the other building. There's a sense of perfect symbiosis between the two buildings -- the horizontal and vertical lines of the one building look like they perfectly belong to the reflected building.

June 27, 2014 - 4:38 p.m. CDT - Saint Paul, MN
More Photos From A Trip
More images from my exploration of the architectural elements in downtown Saint Paul. Here, I was focused on composition and the interplay between elements in the images. At the top, the strong lines and circle of the window art are highlighted by the wavy, light lines within the art. This plays out in the foreground of a street view in the downtown area. The wavy lines almost extend into the street scene itself -- one can imagine a building at the end of the street, outlined by part of the glass pattern.

June 27, 2014 - 4:03 p.m. CDT - Saint Paul, MN
Photos From A Trip
I was recently in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area and made a point to explore Saint Paul specifically. I really enjoy the architecture that embraces the downtown area. So much so, in fact, that I was mesmerized by the visions of abstract, impressionist concepts and compositions. You really have to be here in person to experience the artistic symphony: Steel, brick, concrete, glass faithfully reflecting and capturing dancing shadows and changing shapes dictated by the passage of time and daylight. All this, and more, influenced the scenes I photographed. These images to the right, for example, highlight repetitive structure. The six parallel bars in the top photo neatly divide and contain the bicycle. They also provide a stark counterpoint to the curves of the bike. Straight lines and curves provide both tension and harmony. In the bottom photo, the nine "nice ride" bikes extend in a pattern into the distance. Some people might simply see a cluster of similar looking bikes. But notice, too, the gap between the bikes. The emptiness creates a sense of movement and action, for it is implied by the emptiness that other bikes were in those spaces and are now gone, no doubt borrowed for adventures one can only imagine. It's almost Tao-like, really: The empty space is filled with life.

May 12, 2014 - 7:46 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
A Little On My Artistic Philosophy
I recently updated my 'artistic statement' on my website home page. This is what I wrote: "A basic theory of the creative process is transformation. As an artist, I am engrossed visually in what surrounds me and to spiritually perceive beyond the visual dimension."
 
So what do I mean? This is something that is at the very core of my creative being. It is something that inspires me, motivates me, stirs my passion for capturing a scene on canvas, whether through paint, ink, pencil, chalk or digital photography.
 
It is the answer to why I love to do what I do.
 
What inspires me is what I see -- and don't see.
 
At one level, I visually absorb all I see in a scene and translate that onto my canvas. I become aware of the little details here and there that, together, describe what I am seeing. I try to capture the visual spirit of the scene, of the moment.
 
On another level, I am absorbed by the scene. I look to connect with the deeper, intangible elements that imbue the scene with a timeless presence, a purpose for existing, an invisible breath of life. I try to bring that undefinable "something" into my work as well.
 
If I am successful, then my work becomes more than just an image on the canvas. It is transformed, it is a powerful expression of artistic soul that stirs something within each viewer.
 
Transformation, at many levels, has the power to move people emotionally.
 
And transformation fuels my passion as an artist.

March 26, 2014 - 10:32 a.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
BAGA Workshop In April
I will be conducting a workshop at the Bismarck Art and Galleries Association (BAGA) on April 11 and 12th. The workshop is open to all experience levels. Topics will include developing a better understanding of drawing, design, seeing the subject matter, use and confidence of water based paint and mixed media techniques. You can get more information on the workshop by contacting BAGA by phone at (701) 223-5986 or in person at BAGA's home at 422 East Front Avenue in Bismarck. You can also register online at http://www.bismarck-art.org/index.cfm?page=classes. I look forward to seeing you in April!

March 22, 2014 - 6:57 p.m. CDT - Ste. Genevieve, MO
On The Road With A Camera - Part 9
The top photo is the home of the Aeronca Champ, the plane in which I learned to fly and, just over 40 years later, the same plane I was able to buy and restore. This flight field is just outside Ste. Genevieve, MO, and it is beautiful. The rock house is now over 100 years old. A new hangar replaced the old open door, t-style building that sheltered the Champ years ago. I have so many wonderful memories of this location and of Louis Sexauer, the man who took time from his busy life of farming and flying to teach a high school kid with a dream of flying how to fly. When I go back to Ste. Genevieve, I usually make a "must do" visit to the old airstrip and farmstead. The middle image is an old photo of the Champ from back in the 1970s and the bottom photo is how the Champ looks today after restoration.

March 22, 2014 - 6:13 p.m. CDT - Sioux Falls, SD
On The Road With A Camera - Part 8
A picturesque location, Falls Park is a nice place to visit regardless of the season. There's a lot of interesting history tied to this location. The remains of the seven-story Queen Bee Mill, lie on the east side of the river. The mill was built so Sioux Falls area farmers could avoid the cost of shipping wheat to Minnesota or Wisconsin. A number of other century old buildings dot the 123 acre park.

March 22, 2014 - 6:10 p.m. CDT - Sioux Falls, SD
On The Road With A Camera - Part 7
At the top, a young man takes time to enjoy an atmosphere of relaxation at Coffea Roasterie. The unique and interesting accents make this business a "must experience" place while in downtown Sioux Falls. In the bottom photo, a sidewalk patio welcomes those that want to enjoy a beverage of choice in seasonal weather. The composition of chrome chairs a black metal table and brick accent the entrance to Coffea Roasterie.

March 22, 2014 - 5:54 p.m. CDT - Sioux Falls, SD
On The Road With A Camera - Part 6
Here's something that's a little on the wild side in the downtown Sioux Falls area when a visitor takes a break from window shopping. In the bottom photo, a colorful storefront to the entrance of a local business in the downtown area. The bright colored geometric shapes create a mood of interest and a temptation to explore what might be inside.

March 22, 2014 - 5:47 p.m. CDT - Sioux Falls, SD
On The Road With A Camera - Part 5
A quick look around the Sioux Falls, SD area -- a good "weekend getaway" place. The top image shows "Eyes Of Steel," one of many sculptures that are displayed in the downtown Sioux Falls area. The bottom photo is another sidewalk sculpture you're likely to encounter as you stroll through the downtown area.

March 22, 2014 - 4:24 p.m. CDT - Minneapolis, MN
On The Road With A Camera - Part 4
An evening arrival in Minneapolis gave me the opportunity to catch a little light and window reflection from the surrounding buildings in the downtown area. The top photo has some neat play between two buildings. The main structure has sharp, straight lines. The reflected building's lines are warped and dark. The entire image has a "building within a building" feel. The bottom photo is one I really like: Glass, steel, concrete and a sky of blue. The architecture of Minneapolis is an overwhelming experience for me. It definitely enhances my appreciation of creative design and concept compositions of elements. For the artist in me, this is one of my favorite cities in the region.

March 22, 2014 - 4:13 p.m. CDT - Minneapolis, MN
On The Road With A Camera - Part 3
This is the bridge that replaced the old I-35W one that collapsed back in 2007 in downtown Minneapolis. By looking underneath at the new bridge, I see a neat composition with contrasting elements. The massive, solid structures that shoulder the immense weight of the road above while almost pencil thin objects such as a street light, metal fence, stairs and twin art pieces exist below in an almost fragile state. I have several sketches and many photographs of this particular scene. I'm thinking it might translate to canvas as an abstract piece. The lower photo features a contrasting combination of nature and architecture. People "grow" their buildings in straight lines. Nature grows in curves and curls. What's neat about this scene is it needs both elements to work. If it were just a photo of two buildings or just the tree, it would probably be nothing special. But put the elements together and you get artistic tension, visual contrast. It illuminates two worlds trying to co-exist with each other.

March 22, 2014 - 4:00 p.m. CDT - Duluth, MN
On The Road With A Camera - Part 2
In the top photo, an ice fisherman makes his way to the frozen Lake Superior shoreline. I wonder if his ice fishing day was successful? If not, perhaps a quick trip up the road to Lighthouse at Emily's would cheer him up. It's a great place with an outstanding selection of food and spirits. In the bottom photo, I love the contrast of color on the ship with the white of the snow. What should I title this scene? Frozen Palette? Winter Red, White's and Blues? The options are many. I also did a few sketches at this location.

March 22, 2014 - 3:57 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
On The Road With A Camera - Part 1
I recently did some traveling across a few states here in the Upper Midwest around early to mid March -- business and personal "adventures." I started at the Upper Midwest Aviation Symposium held in Grand Forks. Naturally, it was so cold and miserable one could hardly stand being there. But then, what else would you expect during the first few days of March in the upper northeast corner of North Dakota. From there I ventured on to Duluth, MN, a favorite place of mine to visit -- even in the winter (well, most of the time). It was really interesting to see Lake Superior completely frozen over. It's a rare event and a real treat to experience up close. The top photo is a county road near Bemidji, MN. It's always fun to drive off the main highway and explore the vast areas of birch trees and snow covered gravel roads. I also did some sketches in this area. The bottom image is from the shores of Lake Superior, frozen as far as the eye can see. You're looking northeast in this photo.

March 16, 2014 - 9:42 a.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Polar Pumpkin Praise
I recently heard from my good friend, Art Mortvedt, the Stanton, North Dakota native who became the first aviator to fly the same single engine aircraft to both the north and south poles. The plane was named 'Polar Pumpkin' for the distinctive orange color of the Cessna 185 N90SN. Art tells me that, in February of this year, the 28th Alaska State Legislature honored the Flight of the Polar Pumpkin and Art Mortvedt with a legislative citation. The state house adopted the resolution on February 14th (page 1594) and the state senate adopted it on February 18th (page 1674). You can learn more abourt Art's flight at his website: www.polarflight90.com. You can also read a June 17, 2013 Bismarck Tribune article about Art and his flight here. My friendship with Art started with a painting I did for him of his historic aircraft. You can see the piece in my "Aviation Art" section of my Gallery under the caption, "Art's Polar Pumpkin."

January 28, 2014 - 4:18 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Light And Shadows
I'm currently working on a piece called "Evening Glory Over The Badlands," pictured in progress to the right. The painting is about 50 percent complete and the overall size is 45" X 84" on stretched canvas. This is one of several pieces that will be displayed in various areas of the new corporate office of Kadrmas, Lee and Jackson in north Bismarck. I enjoy working on the large canvas -- it's perfect for presenting grand, almost panoramic views of scenes such as the Badlands. For whatever reason, I personally become energized when I work on projects of this size. And with the amount of wall space we have in the new building, I will definitely be busy creating new visuals for a while. For this particular piece I'm working on, one of the challenges is to capture just the right colors of the kind of sunset that evokes such a beautiful sight on an almost daily basis. The second challenge is subtly altering the colors as the sun's long rays mix with the colors of the bluffs. Add to that the need to find just the right colors for the shadows and approaching darkness in areas outside the brilliance of the sunset. As you can see in the two close-ups of the piece, the colors must shift in lightness and darkness according to the shape and reflectivity of the objects in the scene. It's a lot of work and attention to details. But, as you might guess from the wider view of the piece, the final result will be worth it.

January 9, 2014 - 1:16 p.m. CDT - Ste. Genevieve, MO
Artistic Challenges
The top photo illustrates a maze of river driftwood covering the river bank after the recent high water levels of the Mississippi River. The composition reinforces the strength of texture, light and a mix of values of soft gray and tan. This scene is great challenge for someone who wants to transfer this subject to a canvas or surface of choice. The bottom photo highlights the clear, unpolluted purity of many streams in the Ste. Genevieve area that are spring fed. If you look closely at the photo, you'll see an area of thin ice along the bank, along with rocks and autumn leaves covered with a brushing of recent snow. At the bottom of the stream are rocks, sticks, leaves and gravel that project the textures and colors that would enhance an artist's palette.

January 8, 2014 - 9:12 a.m. CDT - Ste. Genevieve, MO
A River And A Bridge
A river ferry boat provides transportation between the Ste. Genevieve, Missouri side and the Modoc, Illinois side of the Mississippi River. The operating schedule depends on the river stage and weather conditions. The photo at the bottom is a unique, small covered bridge I found that crosses a small stream near Lake LaRose. It's a picturesque setting along a country road. The snow adds to the serenity of the image.

January 7, 2014 - 2:41 p.m. CDT - Ste. Genevieve, MO
Tales From The Woods
A few scenes from some of the many beautiful and interesting creeks in the Ste. Genevieve area. My artistic sense is easily overwhelmed by the shapes, textures and depth of these natural streams. Each has its own unique characteristics. Each has its own tale to tell. That's why an artist must be a good storyteller through his canvas.

January 6, 2014 - 8:17 a.m. CDT - Ste. Genevieve, MO
Subtle Illumination
I call this photograph, "Evening Light on the Forest." For me, photography is a form of digital painting. I use photos as references for later works or as art unto themselves. This image is both a good inspiration shot for a later painting and something that stands on its own. You can see the orange light of the setting sun creeping into the otherwise brown-hued woods. With the summer leaves gone, it's the winter sun now that brings color to the cold forest.

January 5, 2014 - 2:02 a.m. CDT - Ste. Genevieve, MO
A Snowy Welcome To 2014
Happy New Year from the "North Pole of Missouri." I planned on leaving this morning to head back to Bismarck, but Ste. Genevieve was invaded with North Dakota weather, BIG TIME! Here's some proof: A few photos that highlight eight plus inches of snow, low temperatures and winds of 30 miles per hour and more. No travel advised!

December 17, 2013 - 6:16 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
And Two More...
The top image is "Mountain Pass," a location I came across near the Bozeman, Montana area. The bottom piece is "Shoreline Memories." If you see hints of the northeast United States in this particular work, you're right. The rock formations, trees and landscape are inspired by what I experienced while visiting Maine earlier this year.

December 17, 2013 - 6:02 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
A Few More Works
The top image I call "Red Willows." The bottom piece is "Routine Flight Path," and it is also one of my pieces that will be featured at the Galleria Ste. Gen on December 28th.

December 17, 2013 - 5:41 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
In Progress And On Display
At the top right is a sample of a piece I'm working on right now. A very large piece, in fact -- about six feet wide by seven feet high. In fact, the preliminary work was done using a 2-inch roller. When finished, this large work will hang in one of our corporate conference rooms. The bottom right is a piece called, "Snow Drifts." This is one of my works that will be exhibited December 28th at the Galleria Ste. Gen in Ste. Genevieve, MO. Stop in for a visit.

December 16, 2013 - 7:08 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Upcoming Exhibition
I will be exhibiting my work December 28th at the Galleria Ste. Gen in Ste. Genevieve, MO. The exhibition starts at 2:00 p.m. Come take a look and help spread a little holiday cheer as we put the final touches on 2013.

November 27, 2013 - 4:21 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
More Creative Process Views
To the right are three examples of quick compositions I've created that will later serve as the basis for more complete works. These sketches help me compose the scene so that I can then focus on color and placement and the overall feel of the piece. Keep watching for updates...

November 24, 2013 - 11:15 a.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
The Artistic Process
Here's a neat look into the creative process. At the top is a rough composition sketch I made for my "Visions of Autumn" piece. At the bottom is the finished product. The rough sketch outlines the direction I planned to go in terms of color and layout. As you can tell, I made a number of minor changes and adjustments as I painted the final product. Creativity is a fluid process -- I might initially want to go in one direction, but as I work, the emerging piece will often dictate I go in another direction. That's the fun of comparing the before and after creations and seeing what made it in the final piece.

November 20, 2013 - 4:16 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
New Gallery Art
I've added over a dozen pieces to the "Fine Art" section of my Gallery. You'll be able to see the influence in my new works of my recent trip to the northeastern part of the United States. In particular, the pieces featuring water crashing on rocks and a number of the autumn scenes reflect what I experienced while exploring the East Coast. I think you'll enjoy my recent output -- take a look!

October 28, 2013 - 8:10 a.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Northeast Trip Slideshow
I took hundreds of photos during my recent trip to Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire. We're talking the upper hundreds -- closer to the thousand mark. I've pared down the images to some of my favorites and posted them here at my website as a slideshow. You can visit the slideshow by clicking this link. Once you're on the page, click the 'Start Slideshow' link and the images will start appearing one after the other at a brisk pace. Or, you can view specific images by clicking the thumbnail images at the bottom of the page. I think you'll find the images interesting. As I note on the slideshow page, the images were taken in the small communities that ring Acadia National Park in Maine, as well as taken in locations throughout Vermont and New Hampshire. The scenery, the rock formations, the colors, the streams and paths, the ocean waves crashing on rock -- all this and more left an indelible impression on me and invigorated my sense of artistic composition and interpretation. It was my first trip into the northeast -- I want to go back.

October 27, 2013 - 2:50 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Placed Visited and Places To Visit, Part 3
If you like small town, unique shops and galleries, you will find yourself in "shopping heaven" in the southeast. Among the ones I found and explored was American Heritage Gallery of Art, in Bath, New Hampshire. There is some impressive, beautiful artwork by Craig Pursley. Bar Harbor, Maine has a ton of shops and galleries to visit. The Acadia Shop and Gallery features artwork, decorative wall accents, photographs and specialty gifts. The Ducktrap Bay Trading Co. has great works of wildlife and marine art by local artists. It's a good place to spend some time enjoying the bay life atmosphere. The Argosy Gallery features a vast variety of art and design concepts. If you visit the D'Alessio Gallery, you can enjoy the paintings and drawings by Russell D'Allessio. Fun Stuff. Window Panes is a neat place -- I had to visit it twice, there's so much to see and enjoy. This place is fun, creative and habit forming, you can't help but buy. Finally, I'm including this place because it has a "back to the 50's" feel and look: The Gale River Motel in Franconia, New Hampshire. The motel sells its nostalgic appearance through the details: Old style fixtures, colored bath tub, toilet and tiles. It's a very clean and well-kept facility with friendly, helpful staff and a beautiful dog named Buddy who will be your new best friend in less than a minute. You wake up in the morning with a view of the beautiful landscape that surrounds this peaceful small town. And you can enjoy a nice countryside drive to the home of that great poet, Robert Frost.

October 27, 2013 - 2:18 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Placed Visited and Places To Visit, Part 2
Believe me, there is no lack of great dining and shopping experiences in the northeast! The Lighthouse Inn and Restaurant, in Seal Harbor, Maine, is a great restaurant in a small town. They have wonderful lobster soup and great evening specials. It's a real relaxing experience. Great breakfast as well, per Jim and Jim. Other eating establishments include The Water Front in Camden, Maine. This is harbor side dining with great appetizers and lunch and dinner specials. My best dining experience in a long time -- great fried oysters and crab cakes! Raw oysters were enjoyed by others in my group. Little Grill Burger and Fries in Bath, Maine had a great evening special on our visit: Brazilian BBQ, Fri-Sat special. You can overdose on food, what with a salad buffet and seven different meats served on a skewer. This was one of my favorite places on the trip. And it had one of the most outstanding waitresses ever! Jasper's Restaurant and Motel, in Ellsworth, Maine, has a very large menu of all types of food and specials, reasonably priced. Great service, good food and a go box for sure. The soup bowls looked like small buckets! Vittles, in Pittsfield, Maine is a favorite place often visited by Don and Mary Parsons. They have great homemade everything. A good small town experience. Granny Judy's Kitchen is a wonderful little restaurant nested between the beautiful hills of West Franklin, New Hampshire. It's a good place to stop and stretch and enjoy a good selection of local recipe creations. And then there's Molly's Restaurant and Bar, in Handover, New Hampshire, where you get the best wood-fired thin crust pizza ever! A "happy camper" group when we left!

October 27, 2013 - 2:04 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Placed Visited and Places To Visit
There were so many great eating establishments, galleries and speciality stores we visited during my trip to the northeast. I can't remember all of them, but there are a few that stand out. In the Bar Harbor, Maine area, the Bar Harbor Inn immediately comes to mind. It was outstanding! You get a great view of the bay from the restaurant and the Frenchman Bay Crab Cakes are to die for. Then there's Testa's Restaurant with a great menu selection. Paddy's Irish Pub had a great evening atmosphere and great specials, not to mention an excellent view of the bay area. Another neat little place is the Coffee Hound Coffee Bar. They had a noon special that included homemade oyster stew -- a recipe of owner's grandmother that is kept under lock and key -- no sharing. The Asticou Inn in Northeast Harbor had an outstanding bar menu and beverage selection. The Colonel's Deli and Restaurant, also in Northeast Harbor, had outstanding homemade pastries like no other -- I had to go back for seconds the next day. They also had a great lunch and dinner menu and yummy lobster rolls! I have more places to share with you in my next journal entry.

October 26, 2013 - 10:29 a.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Don Parsons
I was with the 5th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at the Minot Air Force Base back in the early 1970s. My commanding officer was Col. Don Parsons, a man for whom I have the highest regard and warmth. The last time I saw him was about 1971. Fast forward to this year and I learned my former commander and friend was living in Pittsfield, Maine -- in the area of the northeast I would soon be visiting! Well, arrangements were made for us to meet and visit, and I have to tell you it was truly a highlight of my trip to Maine. The intervening years melted away as we talked. Don and his wife, Mary, are two beautiful, lively people. They are also lovers of art and, over the course of their lives, they have built a wonderful collection. And they've made friends of the artists. I count myself fortunate to be one of them -- Don commissioned me to produce some pieces back in my military days. We all meet countless people in the course of our lives, but only a handful we truly remember. And of that handful, a rare few become etched in our memories as individuals who have a measurable impact on the way we think, act and live. I'm lucky to call Don Parsons one of those unforgettable people in my life.

October 25, 2013 - 9:27 a.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Remembering Moments
It's the little things you remember that give shape and texture to memories. For example, from my recent trip to the northeast, I remember the green moss on the ground. It was like walking on carpet. I remember the exposed tree roots that formed tangles and knots on the ground. I recall the sunbeams filtering through the trees in sharp spikes of light. And the quiet -- you could hear nature. You could hear a leaf falling from a tree, it was that quiet. You could hear boats in harbors far from view. You realize how small you are in relation to nature andf the Earth when you stand by the seemingly endless ocean and massive rock formations cradling a beach or forming the steep edges of a cliff. This was a neat trip for me, just unbelievable. I've always wanted to visit the northeast -- well, I did, and now I want to go back.

October 24, 2013 - 1:16 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
A Collection Of Impressions
There were so many places I visited during my trip to the northeast. The memories comes in bits and pieces, like a patchwork quilt. Woodstock, Vermont -- a beautiful town, a traditional politician's town. A place that has a Democratic feel to it in the style of homes and buildings, in the atmosphere, in the scenery. Northeast Harbor, Maine -- the boats and lobster markers used to mark off work areas in the water. The views there speak to both playful summer boating and crisp fall afternoons by the sea. The Otter Cliffs, Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse. The sounds, the smells, the sights. Words barely explain the feeling you get while you're there. That's why artists put paint to canvas in an effort to convey the mood, the feeling of a particular moment at a particular place at a particular moment in time.

October 23, 2013 - 4:15 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Robert Frost and N.H.
During my trip to the northeast, I was fortunate enough to go through New Hampshire -- a beautiful area where natural and manmade structures are always waiting to be discovered around the next curve in the road. I had a chance to visit the Robert Frost home in Franconia. You can see the great poet's mailbox at the edge of the road and the words, "R Frost," handwritten in black on the box. The house is truly an image out of a painting with woods behind and around the house. This, I thought while standing there, this is a place where someone would write. It's a creative place, a place for inner contemplation and outward peace. There is even a walking path not far from the house that divides at one point into two trails. You can't not help but think of Frost's poem, "The Road Not Taken," with the lines, "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."

October 22, 2013 - 8:47 a.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Travels Through Maine
During a 10 day trip to the Northeast in late September and early October, I had the opportunity in and around the Bar Harbor, Maine area and explore the Acadia National Park. The park covers quite an area on Mt. Desert Island. The small communities that ring the island are nestled in coves. And in these coves are hundreds of boats, from rowboats to yachts, from tour boats to lobster boats. I was amazed by all the boats of different shapes and sizes. Hills, beaches and forests are the norm here and you would be hardpressed to find a view anywhere that is not scenic. We did a lot of hiking, exploring faint trails, massive rock formations and dense treescapes. I was struck by the various textures Mother Nature has created throughout the environment. It's really something to look at the massive slabs of rock jutting out from the ocean and anchoring the beaches, land and trees. You see these images and imagine what powerful forces caused these rocks to be where they appear and layered in the way they are. In such silent contemplation, you get a sense of great forces at work over incomprehensible stretches of time.

October 21, 2013 - 7:13 a.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Exploring the Northeast
I recently had the opportunity to spend more than a week exploring amazing locations in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire. Not only that, I had the priviledge of connecting with a wonderful friend and mentor from my days at the Minot Air Force Base, retired Col. Tom Parsons. What can I say about the northeast -- many artists have called this region home or have spent time here and used what they experienced in their work. There's so much to take in that you can easily experience ASO -- Artistic Sensory Overload. I've put together a "slide show of my trip that you can browse through here at my website. I also have some thoughts about my journey and about my friend Col. Parsons that I'll share in my next series of journal entries.

September 26, 2013 - 11:21 a.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
New Flying Art
I've been working on some aircraft art recently. Here are three peeks at pieces I've finished. You can see the full images in my online gallery in the "Aviation Art" section.

September 18, 2013 - 3:24 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Go, Bison...
Here's a sample of some art I recently created for an insert into the NDSU Bison football program. This was a fun little project.

September 04, 2013 - 8:02 a.m. CDT - Minot, ND
Art On Display
I have some of my art that will go on display in Minot at the Beaver Brew Cafe, 1000 N. Broadway, starting at 5:00 p.m. on Sept. 6th and running through the end of the month. Other artists will also have works on display at the cafe. Stop in for a look -- and for something to drink!

September 03, 2013 - 9:27 a.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
For The Kids
I just completed a special artwork project for the Sanford Children's Rehab section. The original shown at the right will be reproduced on canvas to a size approximately 8 feet by 21 feet. The original was done using water based paint on tempered Masonite. You can see some of the detail in the image in the lower right.

September 02, 2013 - 2:52 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
My Two Passions
The images to the right show off my two lifelong passions: Flying and painting. The top image is of me standing next to my 1946 Aeronica Champ, a plane in which I first learned to fly and, not long ago, acquired and restored. if you scroll through these journal entries, you'll come across the unique story of my association with this particular aircraft. You can also view a slideshow of the restoration work here on my site.. The bottom image is a detail view of a piece I'm working on -- a tantalizing peek at something I'll share in full later at my website.

August 13, 2013 - 12:26 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
New Logo Work
I recently finished a logo for the Apple Creek Winery in Menoken, ND, and for their wine brand, Bearpaw. Images of both logos are to the right, and in the "Corporate Art" section of my website. Apple Creek uses a unique ingredient in their wine recipe: North Dakota honey. The result, according to owners Rick and Janet Ennen on their Facebook page, is, "a premium, dry white wine with a subtle floral finish reminisent of the hive. This wine has a slight golden tint and it's clarity is brilliant." You can visit their Facebook page by following this link .

August 07, 2013 - 1:17 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
New Aviation Art
I just added images of two pieces I recently created featuring a DC3 and a Lear jet. Two sampler images are to the right, and you can view larger versions in the "Aviation Art" section of my website. I've been artistically productive lately, so you can probably expect more art and photos to appear.

August 05, 2013 - 9:01 a.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Where To Find Me
Just a quick note -- my work is displayed at various galleries, businesses and locations around the country. You can review a growing list of locations either on my "About" page or near the bottom of my "Gallery" page. For example, you can find some of my work at the Dakota Territory Air Museum and the Minot Aero Center. You can also view it at places in Missouri, Iowa and South Dakota as well.

August 05, 2013 - 8:12 a.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Out And About
This Thursday, August 8th, I will be exhibiting and doing a painting during the Second Annual Wine and Art Walk in Bismarck. I'll be located at the Woodmansee's Office Supply and Furniture Store, hosted by owners Nancy and Joe Woodmansee. Stop by to watch and chat!

August 2, 2013 - 6:18 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Fantastic Flight
I thought it was worth mentioning Art Mortvedt, the North Dakota native who became the first aviator to fly the same single engine aircraft to both the north and south poles. Art has become a good friend of mine -- a friendship that started with a painting I did of his aircraft, The Polar Pumpkin. You can see the piece in my "Aviation Art" section of my Gallery under the caption, "Art's Polar Pumpkin." Art's photo (from his website) is to the right. Below is The Polar Pumpkin after the flight to the geographic North Pole. You can learn more about the two polar adventures at Art's website, "www.polarflight90.com," and through this June 17th Bismarck Tribune article. Art's story is a remarkable one of adventure, dedication and science.

July 22, 2013 - 2:16 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
New Art
I've added four new pieces in my "Fine Art" gallery. It's a nice variety of different art techniques I've been working in recently. It's a lot of fun for me. I hope you enjoy the results.

June 28, 2013 - 1:58 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Art Locations
I just updated a list of places where you can see public displays of my work (it's located at the bottom of my "Gallery" page). Although I have numerous pieces in private collections throughout the U.S., I'm also priviledged to have my work featured in airports, a hospital, a library and other public places in at least four states.

June 19, 2013 - 2:45 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
More Paintings
A few more examples of the works I've been producing in recent months. You can browse through a dozen pieces in the "Fine Art" section of my gallery.

June 19, 2013 - 2:36 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Plentiful Paintings
I've been very busy this spring -- I figured I should catch up on showing my most recent pieces. I've added about a dozen new works in the "Fine Art" section of my gallery. They cover a wide range of styles, from natural scenes to highly stylized interpretations. I'm really happy with my work during this burst of creativity.

April 7, 2013 - 12:36 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Done And Almost Done
I've finished up work on "Morning Light," which you can see in the top right image. I offered a sneak peek at the work in progress (April 5th journal entry, "Bold And Bright") and now you can see the work as a whole. As I mentioned earlier, I had a blast with this one, working with bright colors and bold movement. It's a piece in motion, and the more you look, the more you see. The bottom right image shows more of a piece in progress (April 7th and March 23rd journal entries). It's getting there, but there's a lot more to do. I'm having fun with this one!

April 7, 2013 - 10:28 a.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Project Update
Progress continues on this work, which I described in my March 23rd journal entry ("From Sketch To Painting"). I'm now laying down composition using markers on panel, layering transparent acrylic color with varnish over the markers until I achieve the final color I want. More on this work to come.

April 6, 2013 - 8:12 p.m. CDT - In Missouri
A Moment With Nature
I had the opportunity to spend a couple of days in Missouri over Easter, where I took these photographs along the Lime Kiln Road. There are numerous creeks in this area and each have certain characteristics that appeal to my artistic sensibilities. For me, photography is an extension of painting, and I'll compose a scene for the camera the same way I do for canvas. Of course, nature is the master composer, which makes my job of "painting" with digital bits and bytes that much easier. These images were taken about an hour and a half before sunset, so there were a lot of crisscrossing of shadows, reflections and color -- all manner of neat stuff. In the top photo, this particular formation of limestone was interesting, and having a light overall color really separated it from the darker colors and shadows in the background. The bottom photo captures a sense of forever for me -- endless are the thoughts I have as I stand looking downstream. The river appears to flow beyond the horizon. I feel if I head toward the distance, I'll still be chasing what lies beyond the edges. Texture, form, perspective, twisted shapes -- it's a composition with no end.

April 6, 2013 - 7:51 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Moss And Memories
I often take photos of scenes I might later use as inspiration in my paintings or other creative works. This particular scene jumped out at me in terms of all the textures and natural interactions between moss, stone and wood. It's not uncommon along streams to see areas of native moss growing given the amount of moisture and humidity. The tree trunks are often covered with this vegetation as well as objects that might be entangled within proximity of the stream. I remember times that I would go to these places with my parents and scrape the moss away from the surface, making sure to keep the dirt attached for replanting in my mother's flower garden. There is so much texture in the moss (softness) and rock formations (sharp and distinctive), all outlined by light and dark values. This is how nature paints a scene.

April 5, 2013 - 07:23 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Bold And Bright
The two previews you see to the right are from a piece I'm working on called, "Morning Light." I'm having a blast with this one -- lots of bright colors and movement. I'm using Chartpak Markers on a lightly textured hardboard panel.

March 23, 2013 - 9:02 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
From Sketch To Painting
This piece on the right is being painted on an 18 X 48 inch tempered surface Masonite board and primed with several layers of eggshell blue. I like having the surface painted with an off white color, especially when working under bright lights or in direct sunlight. A nice, soft grey is often used as well. At the top you can see where I initially sketched a guiding framework for the scene and then added some solid, defining lines. At the bottom, you can see where I've begun filling in the scene. The original painting will be enlarged to a size of 8 X 23 feet and used as a backdrop. I'll share more about this piece as I continue with the project.

March 23, 2013 - 8:57 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Movement And Texture
This is also a stretched canvas painting (close-ups on the right). As illustrated during the preliminary stages, I splattered the surface with several colors of paint to represent movement and texture. The subject matter should lend itself well to this technique.

March 23, 2013 - 8:53 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Texture And Layers
This piece (close-ups on the right) is painted on a hard board with an egg shell texture. I really like this surface for applying transparent color -- it has enough texture that the color lays nicely in place can be worked with a soft watercolor brush. It also allows you the opportunity to detail areas as the painting progresses once the surface is dry. There are about five to six layers of paint represented in this piece.

March 23, 2013 - 8:20 p.m. CDT - Bismarck,ND
A Switch To Oil
I'm in the middle of a "creative burst" of activity, and I'm really enjoying working with different mediums and techniques. On this piece (featured at the right), I opted to choose oil pastels as my medium on illustration board. It's been quite some time since I worked with the oil pastels, but for what I wanted to accomplish, I felt that this medium would work the best. It gives me the opportunity to put down color quickly and also emphasize texture on a rather smooth surface.

March 23, 2013 - 8:16 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
More On Technique
On this painting (the close-ups on the right), I'm again using Ceramcoat on stretched canvas. I like the texture on this surface and by adding a varnish to the paint, it gives me the opportunity to work it more, like the technique I would use with oil paint.

March 23, 2013 - 8:14 p.m. CDT - Bismarck, ND
Experimenting With Technique
I'm working on a piece using Ceramcoat acrylic paint on Strathmore illustration board and accenting areas with a ballpoint pen. The paint and pen complement each other and help accomplish a feeling of movement and direction. Some close-up examples are on the right. I'm having fun with this because, from an artistic point of view, half the fun is in the media you work with and the techniques you use to produce a finished piece.

February 27, 2013 - 10:13 p.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
Solitude In Time
How peaceful the feeling was as I took time to absorb this landscape bordered by distant buttes in western North Dakota. The tranquility felt as I watched the livestock grazing. The distant bales had been carefully harvested and placed, waiting to be moved to a convenient location for winter feeding. For me, this photo captures a time, a vision, a memory to enrichen an appreciation for what we have.

February 27, 2013 - 9:57 p.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
More Outdoor Photos
I call the first image, "Corner Post." Looking at this photo, I think about all the work and time ranchers and farmers have put into the building of fences: The twisted wire, the posts that were probably cut by hand, a chain hooked to a rusting metal rod used to secure the barbed wire fence. The second photo is an aerial view of the square buttes located north of Mandan. You really have to see these formations from the air to appreciate their unique shapes. I fly past these buttes often and in all seasons. And each time, I am struck by the beauty and wonder of these natural formations.

February 27, 2013 - 9:32 p.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
Grazing Time
This photo of horses grazing was taken during a fall morning sunrise at the Handboy Creek Ranch, owned and operated by Jay and Brenda Jones. The early morning sun brings a nice, warm glow to the scene. Look close and you'll see how the gentle curve along the back of the horse in front mimics the curve of the general landscape in the background. The ranch is located a few miles southwest of Trail City, SD. I was there instructing a two-day watercolor painting class. It's a beautiful location to spend a weekend of relaxation, hunting or trail riding. And it's a place that offers the best home cooked meals in the country. You can learn more about the ranch at www.handboycreek.com.

February 27, 2013 - 9:13 p.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
All Ears?
This is a close-up of a group of deer -- or, to be more accurate, a 'herd' of deer (although some insist the term is 'mob' of deer). I caught this moment near my son's place in southeast Montana. The deer were crossing in front of me and I took the picture while sitting in my car waiting for them to get to the other side of the road. They apparently took note of me (as evidenced by the focus of their ears and eyes in my direction), but they didn't seem too concerned. It all made for a nice extreme horizontal photo. With the frame, the piece is about 30 inches wide.

February 18, 2013 - 5:03 p.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
Another Pair
Two additional "quick pieces" I recently created. The top one is "October's Gift," and the bottom piece is "Crusted Cover." The first project, "October's Gift," was actually done using oil pastels -- something I haven't used for years. It was refreshing to work in that medium again. I often find that switching mediums gives me the opportunity to explore the creative process in new ways and from different perspectives. By this I mean you can look at one scene and creatively interprete that scene in different ways using different mediums, producing distinctly different results. Switching mediums is the artistic version of exercising different muscles of your body. The "feel" that went into producing "October's Gift" was rather spontaneous as I walked into areas of natural textures and looked across the massive acres of flat lands that were draped with warm colors. How lucky I am to experience those moments. That's one of the secret joys of being an artist: It's as much about the personal experience as it is the final painting. These and other pieces are in the "Fine Art" section of my online gallery.

February 15, 2013 - 2:44 p.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
New Pieces
Here are two new pieces, literally created in "moments of inspiration." What do I mean by that? Well, these are smaller (about 8 X 10 in size) than my typical works. In these instances, I usually work rather quickly, finishing the pieces in one sitting. So what I capture in the lines, strokes, shades and shapes is what I'm seeing and feeling in that brief period of time. More expression than reflection, in that sense. The first one is titled, "Tongue Creek Flats," and the second piece is called "West Side Of Burgess Junction." Both were created in the Big Horn Mountains area of Wyoming. These and other pieces are in the "Fine Art" section of my online gallery.

February 10, 2013 - 11:56 p.m. EST - Ste. Genevieve, MO
Day After Christmas Snow
I was in Ste. Genevieve for the winter holidays and, the day after Christmas, the area received a fresh, crisp cover of wet snow. It may have been a day late for a white Christmas, but it wasn't too late to keep the holiday spirit elevated for many of the locals. When I left North Dakota, there was hardly any snow on the ground, so I figured I had escaped shoveling duties back home. But it all caught up with me in Missouri. I had a chance to also get out and take some photos in the Ste. Genevieve area over the holidays. I often use photos as inspiration for projects I may paint at a later date. And there are times when I try to "paint" with the camera, hoping to capture through the lense what I see with an artistic eye. To the right are a few of the photos I took. The top one features trees in "winter bloom;" that is, they're decked out in snow and frost instead of leaves, giving them a full appearance. The second photo I call "Wet And Heavy," with clumps of wet snow gently bending the ground foliage and melting into the tiny trickle of a stream. I have several more photos that I've posted in my "Scenic Photographs" section of my online gallery.

February 11, 2013 - 9:23 a.m. EST - Ste. Genevieve, MO
More Winter Photos
Winter is, essentially, a "black and white" season -- white, snow covered expanses mixed with dark, cold shadows. But, every now and then, some color makes its way through the snow and, against nature's black and white backdrop, the colors are accentuated. I had a chance to venture out in the Ste. Genevieve area to take some photos after a recent wet snowfall. The top photo is called, "Partially Exposed," showing the red brick peeking out from under the snow. And the snow traces the open spaces between the bricks, creating an interesting visual pattern. The second photo is "Covered Bales Along The Way," capturing a frosty white blanket, draped across light yellow bales in a field. I've posted these and other photos in my "Scenic Photographs" section of my online gallery.

February 11, 2013 - 9:56 a.m. EST - Ste. Genevieve, MO
A Few More Winter Photos
There's something appealing about the interplay between the brown, bare woods and the crisp, fresh snow. I call the top photo, "Rhythm And Motion," because the way the snow has randomly clumped in varying sizes and shapes along the center portion of the trees has created the illusion of motion. It's as if the snow is blowing from the right to the left in a horizontal line. The texture of the snow on the ground adds to the "feel" of the image. The second image is called, "Overnight Arrival." This wet snow that fell the day after Christmas in the Ste. Genevieve, MO area creates the appearance of a "foamy" white whipped topping at the bottom, blended within the brown wood and light blue shadows in the left corner. I've posted these and other photos in my "Scenic Photographs" section of my online gallery.

February 11, 2013 - 10:18 a.m. EST - Ste. Genevieve, MO
A Final Trio Of Photos
Few things speak more to solitude and peace than snow covered banks of a small creek. Hence my title for the top photo, "Snow Along The Creek Banks." Winter is often a time of reflection, and I thought the second photo captured the "contemplative past" -- an aging, abandoned building nestled behind bare trees and blanketed by snow. Finally, my third photo, "Covered Memories," took advantage of the golden late afternoon sun to highlight a snow-covered outdoor rocking bench. It sits there waiting -- waiting for spring and at least two people to share some warmer moments yet to come. I've posted these and other photos in my "Scenic Photographs" section of my online gallery.

November 19, 2012 - 2:28 p.m. EST - Hill City, ND
When Winter Does The Painting
On November 10th, I was in the Black Hills near Hill City, SD, and had a chance to capture the beauty of the snow that fell in the region. The images to the right are as close to painting with the camera as you can get. I can easily see the painting style and colors I would use to create these scenes on canvas. I call the first photo, "Low Mileage" and the second image, "Closed Until Spring."

November 19, 2012 - 1:57 p.m. EST - Aberdeen, ND
More From The Back Roads Of South Dakota
A few more images from my rural explorations. First, I found the texture on the top photo very interesting -- the grass looks almost like fox fur. In the second photo, the contrast of the logs embedded in the ice and snow was kind of interesting.

November 19, 2012 - 1:51 p.m. EST - Aberdeen, SD
Palm Garden Cafe
Located in Aberdeen, SD, this is a very inviting place with great selections of soups and sandwiches, homemade chocolates and other delightful "sweet treats." Daily specials are offered in a very relaxing atmosphere. The colors and decor capture the feeling of being in a place closer to the oceanside than in mid-America.

November 19, 2012 - 1:43 p.m. EST - Aberdeen, ND
On The Back Roads Of South Dakota
I recently made a trip to Aberdeen and, on my way back, I ventured onto the back roads of rural America. And when I say "rural America," I mean some great small towns like Artas, Hosmer and Hillsview, just to name a few. My journey took me to Strasburg, ND, west to Lake Oaha and returning north on Highway 1804. It was a beautiful afternoon and I was excited to be able to experience the natural beauty and composition of so many elements: Thousands of Geese along Lake Oaha gathering for the night, the textures of the landscape and the richness of color, hues and definitions of shadows and shapes wherever I looked. Nature is the perfect artist, painting elements of strength, form and vision on a surface of creativity. This photo was taken near Lake Oaha.

November 18, 2012 - 6:56 p.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
Additional What's On The Easel
The last in this series of examples of my work and current projects. The first piece is titled, "Pencil Study." The second item is a painting in progress for an upcoming exhibit. It is titled, "Vision Beyond The Horizon."

November 18, 2012 - 6:24 p.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
More What's On The Easel
A few more examples of my recent work. The first is titled, "Winter Cover Along Rapid Creek." The second is, "Wet And Heavy Cover For The Hills."

November 18, 2012 - 6:09 p.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
What's On The Easel
Here are a few examples of my recent work. The first is titled, "Captured Within A Feeling Of Solitude." The second is titled, "The Wind Whispered As The Flakes Danced." These paintings will go to the Prairie Edge Gallery this week.

October 30, 2012 - 7:58 a.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
Cartoon Additions
I've added a few more cartoons to my gallery collection. Go to "The Baseler Gallery" link, select "Cartooning," and you'll see the three new illustrations.

October 18, 2012 - 2:08 p.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
A Few Sketches More
More sketches for current and future projects. First, a Native American village, another concept drawing that is related to the previous piece in my last journal entry. This one is a bit more simple in terms of composition compare to the first drawing. Next, an aircraft sketch that may serve as the basis for a recognition plaque. Finally, a cottonwood tree, drawn on location near the Cross Ranch area. This is one of the "napkin doodles" I drew that are featured in Clay Jenkinson's new book (see the Oct. 14 journal entry for details).

October 18, 2012 - 2:06 p.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
A Few Sketches
Here are a few rough sketches done while I was traveling through the badlands area. I'll use these sketches as references for future paintings. The geese and Native American scenes are studies that I might use later on an upcoming project. While I often use photos as reference images for later works, there are times when there's no substitute for simply sketching out what I'm seeing.

October 16, 8:27 a.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
Views From Above
Sunday morning, Oct. 14, was a "picture perfect" morning for some aerial photography in the Bismarck-Mandan area. Some areas of the Missouri River were canopied with a low level of fog that contrasted with the dry brown and tan areas of limited vegetation. The top photo is Harmon Lake -- note the cloud reflections on the water. Vegetation is short and dry and the walking/bike trails are clearly visible in the foreground. To the right you can just make out a few fields with this year's harvest of hay bales. The bottom photo is a train with about 100 cars winding its way through the Hart River valley, heading east toward Mandan. I love this area with its scenic, rolling hills, winding roads and railroad tracks. I like flying this route every now and then, taking note of the abandoned buildings, old bridges and coulees that shoulder the winding railway to the west. Photos are great, but nothing can replace the experience of actually being there, of experiencing the global view from the air and taking in more than you can see from ground level.

October 14, 2012 - 9:54 p.m. - Bismarck, ND
Clay Jenkinson Book Is Out
Scholar and author Clay Jenkinson has as new book out titled, "For the Love of North Dakota and Other Essays." I had the priviledge of providing about a dozen illustrations for the 364-page book that is a compendium of columns and essays by Jenkinson that have appeared in the Bismarck Tribune. I call the images "napkin doodles" -- sparse in detail, but strong in visual presentation. The result is that the viewer mentally fills in the images with his or her own details, making the art more personal. Clay will be signing copies of his book Oct. 24 in the BSC Student Union in the Missouri Room. The event starts at 7:00 p.m. I had fun tackling this creative endeavor -- I plan to post some of the "doodles" here in the near future.

October 14, 2012 - 9:35 p.m. EST - Missouri and Illinois
Great Fall Field Trip
My recent trip to Missouri was great and the timing couldn't have been better to hit the peak of the fall color season. From Missouri, we drove over to Illinois, crossing the Mississippi River at Cape Girardeau. The rolling hills ablaze with color can only be described as spiritually fufilling. The Alto Pass and Jonesboro areas are home to numerous wineries nestled in the lush landscape. Afternoons and evenings of winetasting are enjoyed by many locals and tourists and most of the wineries feature some type of weekend entertainment.

October 13, 2012 - 5:06 p.m. - Cape Girardeau, MO
The Pilot House
Located just north of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, this is a neat "hole in the wall" type of restaurant -- but the delicious aroma of mouthwatering food that seeps out of the place lures any passerby into the establishment for a great dining experience. This place is proof you can't judge a restaurant by the way it looks on the outside. It's the food -- and the food here is great. You can learn more about The Pilot House at this website or at at this location on FourSquare.

October 12, 2012 - 4:17 p.m. EST - Alto Pass, IL
Bald Knob Cross
Located not too far from The Root Beer Saloon is the well known Bald Knob Cross. Standing 111 feet tall at an elevation of 1,034 feet above sea level, the white cross makes for an imposing sight again a clear blue sky. It overlooks the Shawnee National Forest and the community of Alto Pass is easily visible from that location. The pass was a shortcut from the Ohio River to the Mississippi River eliminating the need to cross the higher hills. This is a great place to be in the fall: Rolling hills surrounding by a valley blanketed with lavish colors. Simply breathtaking.

October 12, 2012 - 3:23 p.m. EST - Alto Pass, IL
Root Beer As You Remember It - And More
The Root Beer Saloon at Alto Pass, Illinois is a really neat place that features root beer drinks, shakes accented with whip cream, a cherry and a vanilla wafer the way I remember it all as a kid. The saloon's Interior is plastered with mounted water fowl, animals and such. This place is much more than just food -- the owner also handcrafts beautiful guitars that look as great as they sound. You owe it to yourself to check out the saloon's website for more photos and information. I took the exterior photo and the interiors are from The Root Beer Saloon's site. It's a really a unique place that I just happened to stubble upon while touring the area.

October 8, 2012 - 9:54 p.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
Fall Scenes 1
The colors of fall are emerging and lending themselves to some great photos. I often take photos of scenes that I might later use as inspiration for my paintings. These particular images caught my attention: First, a blazing yellow-orange grouping of brush at McDowell Dam. The moving water seems to turn the reflection into a watercolor painted reflection. Next, a neat gathering of fallen leaves on a picnic table at General Sibley Park in Bismarck. The random arrangement of the leaves on the table made for a nicely composed photo. I've posted both photos in the "Scenic Photographs" category of my "Gallery" section at the website.

October 8, 2012 - 10:22 p.m. EST - Ste. Genevieve, MO
Fall Scenes 2
More seasonal photos, this time down in the Ste. Genevieve, Missouri area. The first image shows a little creek I found in the area. Fall colors haven't hit this particular spot yet, but it still makes for a nice, relaxing scene. The second photo captures a little of the season's expression of color in the burnt red, yellow and green, with a portion of a fallen tree adding some texture. I've also posted these images in the "Scenic Photographs" category in my "Gallery" section of the website.

October 8, 2012 - 2:37 p.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
New Art
I've added nearly 20 pieces to my "Gallery" section in the "Fine Art" and "Aviation Art" categories. Yes, I've been busy!

September 25, 2012 - 3:52 p.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
New Photographs
I've added several new photos to my "Gallery" section in several categories (Scenic Photographs, Aerial Photographs, Fly Side of Life). I often take photos of scenes and activities to serve as reference points for many of my paintings. And there are times I takes photos simply to capture an interesting scene -- painting with a camera, if you will.

September 18, 2012 - 08:47 a.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
More New Art
This one is a little departure from my traditional style of painting. It's an abstract art piece called "Morning Rhapsody." Thanks to the oil boom, North Dakota is growing rapidy in population, traffic and infrastructure. I wanted to capture some of that growth in the Bismarck area, which is coming at the expense of the open prairie. Thus, we see lines of force, lines of movement, all things modern coming from all directions, pushing away the plains, blocking the horizon. It's change and growth in all directions. It's neither good or bad -- it just is what it is.

September 4, 2012 - 11:03 a.m. EST - Bismarck, SD
New Art
I've added some new pieces to the "Gallery" section of my website. Two new images for the "Aviation Art" section and a new piece in the "Fine Art" section. Take a look here and in the "Gallery" for the full images ...

August 30, 2012 - 7:11 p.m. EST - Huntley, MT
Another Stop Along The Way
Had a delightful sub at the Parkside Deli in Huntley, Montana. Here's a great small town business trying to survive by offering excellent food.

August 14, 2012 - 5:15 p.m. EST - Nye, MT
Stops Along The Way
Going through Montana, I stopped at a little cafe in Nye and got a tasty Mocha. There are a lot of neat little communities along the way that are worth stopping in for a bit to take in the atmosphere and fine food.

July 23, 2012 - 38:17 a.m. EST - Richardton, ND
Assumption Abbey Workshop
The facilities were super, just phenomenal. Some really talented people came in for this workshop.

July 1, 2012 - 3:12 p.m. EST - Dickinson, ND
Dickinson Arts Roundup
I had a tent and some exhibits at the Dickinson Arts Roundup over the weekend. A nice event and nice crowd. A good day, overall.

June 21, 2012 - 8:13 p.m. EST - near Palmers, MN
Great Meal Here
This is the place to go - The Lighthouse At Emily's near Palmer, Minnesota. It's just a neat place to eat, plain and simple. Behind the restaurant is a deck with a great view of the river.

February 24, 2012 - 9:47 a.m. EST - Perryville, MO
New Art
I'm honored to have a piece of mine handing in The Barrens Winery in Perryville, Missouri. Titled, "Morning Glory," this eagle piece hangs near the ceiling dividing two rooms of the winery.

February 6, 2012 - 10:01 a.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
Upcoming Workshops
I have two workshops coming up in the next few months. The first is March 30 and 31 at the Bismarck Art & Galleries Association (BAGA). Titled, "The Spirit & Creativity From Within," this class is aimed at anyone who would like to explore the excitement and various techniques associated with the use of water based paint. You can get more information at the BAGA website, or by calling BAGA at 710-223-5986. The second workshop is set for July 22-24 in Richardton, ND, at the Assumption Abbey. For more information on the event, please contact Bev Haas at 701-974-3738 or cbhaas@ndsupernet.com.

February 4, 2012 - 10:38 a.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
Another Project
As I mentioned earlier, I've been busy this winter. Here's another award plaque I created called, "Sports of All Kinds." The artwork, frame and matting all come together to create a very nice finished piece.

February 3, 2012 - 8:12 p.m. EST - Huntley, MT
R & R Trading Post
I stumbled into this business while driving through Huntley, MT, located just a few miles east of Billings along the Interstate. It's a combination coffee/latte/beverage shop, an antiques store and a very decorative, stylish clothing and accent business for ladies young and old. Overall, it's a very interesting concept and quite inviting to anyone who drops in. An area in the back of the store is set up for customers to come in and relax on antique and modern furnishings. You can visit their Facebook page for more information.

February 2, 2012 - 6:51 p.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
Another Commissioned Artwork
This one has been fun -- a refreshing commissioned request called, "Abstract of 3." This is for the private collection of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Aasen of West Fargo, ND. Working in different painting styles is "mental exercise" for an artist. From realism to abstract, varying the style helps keep me creatively alert. It's one reason why painting never gets "old" for me -- there's so much to translate to the canvas and so many ways in which to do it.

February 2, 2012 - 6:44 p.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
A Commissioned Piece
Here's a little more on a painting in progress titled, "Morning Glory." Commissioned by Patricia Huber, it will hang in The Barrens Winery, located in Perryville, MO (here's their website). The top image gives you a view of the painting as a whole. The bottom picture shows you a close-up of the eagle's tail feathers.

February 1, 2012 - 6:53 p.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
Busy at Work
It has been a busy winter for me so far -- and I'm loving it. In addition to my personal paintings, I'm also working on several commissioned pieces. As an example, the image at the top right is a piece called "Snowmobiling and Hunting" that I created for a large award plaque. Below that is a photo of me putting some finishing touches on a painting I call, "Morning Glory."

January 15, 2012 - 8:39 p.m. EST - Sainte Genevieve, MO
Exhibition Extended
My exhibit of artwork in Sainte Genevieve, MO at Galleria Ste. Genevieve, 46 S. Main St., has been extended through the end of January. I've have the priviledge of selling a number of my prints and originals during the exhibition. A heartfelt thank you to those who have viewed or purchased my work -- I'm honored by your support and interest. Keep in mind, a portion of the sales will be donated to the Friends of the Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital. In fact, the photo at the right shows me standing at my exhibition with Friends member Jodi Uding. You can also still register for a print of mine to be given away when the exhibition finishes its run at the end of January. As always, I look forward to seeing you.

December 19, 2011 - 6:15 p.m. EST - Sainte Genevieve, MO
End of the Year Exhibit
I have an exhibit of artwork scheduled for Dec. 30, 2011, from 2pm - 7pm, in Sainte Genevieve, MO at Galleria Ste. Genevieve, 46 S. Main St. A portion of the sales will be donated to the Friends of the Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital. You can register for a print of mine to be given away after the exhibition. I look forward to seeing you!

November 23, 2011 - 8:56 p.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
New Art Added
I've added more than a dozen new pieces to my gallery section -- I've been busy and inspired! Check out the latest in my Fine Art, Aviation Art and Cartooning Art collections. A few examples are to the right.

November 22, 2011 - 4:34 p.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
Polar Pumpkin Piece
One of my new art pieces is titled, 'Art's Polar Pumpkin,' located in my Aviation Art section. This refers to Art Mortvedt and his 'Polar Flight 90' adventure -- a solo flight to the Geographic North Pole in a Cessna 185 N90SN. I had a chance to meet Art and I'll fill you in on that a little later. You can learn more abourt Art's flight at his website: www.polarflight90.com/.

July 26, 2011 - 6:56 p.m. EST - Hill City, SD
High Country Guest Ranch
Several of my family members and friends gathered for a few days at this guest ranch, located just four miles outside of Hill City. We rented three log cabins that were well furnished with all the necessities needed and featuring plenty of room to accommodate several people. The ranch property is bordered by the George S. Mickelson Trail, a 109 mile walking-riding-biking path into the heart of the Black Hills. This is a landscape covered with Ponderosa Pine, birch trees, lush meadows and rock formations to enjoy. The ranch is also home to horseback riding tours, a swimming pool, 99 cent flapjacks (pancakes) with country style fixin's and an evening dinner and country music show. You can learn more about the High Country Guest Ranch at its website here and discover more about the Mikelson Trail at this website.

July 25, 2011 - 4:41 p.m. EST - Hill City, SD
Stops Along the Way
A few places of note worth visiting while you're traveling through the Hill City area. First, Warrior's Work in Hill City, ND. This gallery represents some of the best original "American Art and Sculpture" in the region as well as the works of Sarah Rogers. You can discover more about her work at sararogers.com. Next, the Jon Crane Gallery, also in Hill City. Jon is nationally known as the "Artist of the Black Hills" and one look at his works will explain why. His website is at jonecranegallery.com.

July 25, 2011 - 5:07 p.m. EST - Hill City, SD
A Few More Stops Along the Way
A few more places worth visiting while you're traveling through the Hill City area. First, Jewels of the West, home to handcrafted jewelry, pottery and custom designed western wear items. Elegance, quality and design saturate the space of dimensional expression. Check out more at jewelsofthewest.com. Next, Desperados Cowboy Restaurant, a unique place that serves great food in a location that captures the atmosphere and history of the Hill City area. Owner Dan Dickey enjoys conversing with his customers and will make you feel right at home. A "must see" stop in the area. Check out their Facebook page, filled with photos and information.

July 25, 2011 - 11:21 a.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
Sneak Previews
Psst. Here are a few sneak previews of some paintings I'm working on at the moment. There is truly boundless beauty to behold in the colors, shapes and serenity of nature's landscape.

June 23, 2011 - 3:47 p.m. EST - Minot, ND
Champ First Flight Video
I've posted an edited highlights video of my first flight in the Aeronca Champ on May 2nd. The last time this plane flew was in 1974, and the last time I personally flew this aircraft was in 1968. I learned to fly in this Champ. I had the opportunity to buy the plane and restore it to flight status. The short video begins with Gary Johnson of Pietsch Aircraft, Minot, North Dakota, propping the plane and follows me on the plane's test flight from take-off to landing. Click here to visit my video gallery

June 22, 2011 - 2:29 p.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
More from the Amber's Dream Project
On May 1, the Medcenter One Children's Hospital unveiled its "Amber's Dream" project to the public (see my earlier journal entries on this project). I had the privilege along with other artists such as Dwight Williams, Hans Gilsdorf and Ric Spryncynatyk to develop murals for the sixth floor hospital based on a Peter Pan theme. I have a few more photos of the murals I created as my contribution to this special effort. The top image to the right is a pirate map mural on the wall adjacent to the elevators on the sixth floor. The bottom image shows the dedication in the mural to Amber Des Roches.

June 22, 2011 - 2:43 p.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
Amber's Dream Project (continued)
The Peter Pan theme was inspired by Amber Des Roches, daughter of John and Pam Roches, who died of leukemia in 2007 at the age of 15. At the top right is the original painting of the pirate map mural. This framed version hangs in the Family Room on the sixth floor. The bottom image is of the underwater mural I created that is located in the Treatment Room. The scene helps take the cold sterility out of the traditional treatment room and replaces it with a more relaxing, warm atmosphere.

June 22, 2011 - 3:12 p.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
Amber's Dream Project (continued)
This final image is of the Sunrise mural, located at the end of the Starry Night hallway on the sixth floor. It's a nice "visual bookend" on the overall theme for the Children's Hospital. This project meant a lot to me and the others involved. You can read more about the "Amber's Dream" effort in this article at the Bismarck Tribune website.

May 7, 2011 - 8:23 p.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
The Fly Side Of Life Gallery
I've just added a new gallery to my website -- "The Fly Side of Life," a place where I can show off various aircraft photographs and related images that I've had the pleasure to shoot over the years. After all, how can a guy who loves aviation not have a special section dedicated to the flying machines that fuel his passion? Check out the new gallery section and check back often for new additions.

May 6, 2011 - 9:35 a.m. EST - Rapid City, SD
Enjoy the Coffee, Tea and Food
One of my favorite places to visit when I'm in the Rapid City area is the Bully Blends Coffee & Tea Shop. It's now in a new location, 908 Main St. It's a nice place to enjoy a great cup of coffee, favorite tea and a menu that exhibits a good selection of breakfast or lunch sandwiches. The relaxing atmosphere is enriched with the aroma of fresh brewed coffee and homemade pastries (I'm getting hungry just thinking about it).

May 5, 2011 - 6:01 p.m. EST - Minot, ND
First Flight of the Restored Champ
A moment of history for me on May 2nd. I took my restored Aeronca Champ out for a test flight, taking off from the Minot International Airport. It was the first time since 1974 that this plane had been in the air. Significantly, it was my first flight in this particular plane since 1968. I learned to fly in this Champ and I first soloed in it in 1967. What a thrill to be back in the pilot's seat of this aircraft. I can't begin to put into words the numerous fond memories that flooded back on the first flight around the patch. In the photos to the right, the top image shows the Champ before the flight. The middle photo was taken during the run up system check and the bottom image captures the Champ heading for its first take off in more than 35 years.

May 5, 2011 - 6:12 p.m. EST - Minot, ND
More on the Champ's First Flight
How do you put into words the feelings of a lifetime? How do you describe the mingling of past memories with present moments? During my first flight in the Aeronca Champ since soloing more than four decades ago, I was both the exhuberant youth of my past taking his first steps in aviation and the seasoned pilot of today enjoying another moment in a long passion for flying. The photos on the right show my approach following the Aeronca test flight (top), a three point landing (middle) and a moment of reflection after landing (bottom). Check out my Aeronca Champ slide show where you can review the path I took in bringing this special plane back to "flight status."

May 1, 2011 - 5:12 p.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
Amber's Dream Project Unveiled
The Medcenter One Children's Hospital unveiled its "Amber's Dream" project to the public today. I had the privilege along with other artists such as Dwight Williams, Hans Gilsdorf and Ric Spryncynatyk to develop murals for the sixth floor hospital based on a Peter Pan theme. That theme was inspired by Amber Des Roches, daughter of John and Pam Roches, who died of leukemia in 2007 at the age of 15. At the top right is an island map mural I created that is located on the wall when exiting the elevators on the sixth floor. The image at the bottom right is a mural located at the end of the galaxy hallway on the floor. This project meant a lot to me and the others involved. You can read more about the "Amber's Dream" effort in this article at the Bismarck Tribune website.

April 10, 2011 - 11:16 a.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
BAGA Class a Success
I had a great time conducting a water media painting class at the Bismarck Art Gallery Association April 8 and 9. The atmosphere was great and the people thoroughly enjoyable. Thanks to all who attended. To the right are some photos from the event.

April 2, 2011 - 8:43 a.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
BAGA Class Coming Up
I'll be conducting a workshop April 8-9 at the Bismarck Art and Galleries Association building in Bismarck, ND. The cost is $60 -- you can register, get complete class details and materials needed at the BAGA website: http://www.bismarck-art.org. See you there!

April 1, 2011 - 2:10 p.m. EST - Minot, ND
Featured Painting
The Minot YWCA featured one of my paintings, "Sister's Love," on the cover of its annual "Women of Distinction" awards dinner program. The Women of Distinction Program honors women for their achievements and contributions to community. The Minot YWCA also honors businesses and agencies who are committed to the empowerment of women. A copy of the cover with my painting is to the right. A larger image is in my Fine Art Gallery art the bottom of the page.

March 31, 2011 - 7:51 p.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
The Long, Long Winter
It seems this winter has been dragging on. Just when you think it's over, a quick blizzard moves in and drops five to nine inches of snow. As an artist, I look for interesting elements in a scene that I might be able to later incorporate in my paintings. A case in point are the two photos to the right, both taken in Ste. Genevieve, MO. The first is by the cemetery and captures a cold and somber mood. Old, grey tombstones and a grey wall stand in the quiet grey of winter, with a bit of red ribbon offering any hint of warmth and life. The second photo is of a house in town -- to me, the photo captures a Dickens-like quality surrounding the home and the wintry landscape. You can view a number of other winter scenes I've photographed in this short slide show, which includes some highway blizzard scenes and some snow covered evergreen tree branches after a recent snow storm.

March 26, 2011 - 4:58 p.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
Amber's Dream in Progress
I've been working on a wall mural for the "Amber's Dream" project at the MedCenter One Children's Hospital. I'm one of several people who are transforming the look and atmosphere of the sixth floor oncology unit at the medical center. Other artists involved in this project include Hans Gilsdorf of Detroit Lakes, Dwight Williams of Fargo and Ric Sprynczynatyk of Bismarck. The inspiration theme is Peter Pan. The images to the right offer a little "sneak peek" at the work I'm doing for the wall mural. The new unit is expected to be dedicated later in April. You can read more about Amber's Dream in an article at the "Inspired Woman" magazine website: http://www.inspiredwomanonline.com/831/ambers-dream/.

February 5, 2011 - 7:52 a.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
Can't Wait To Fly
My 1946 Aeronca Champ is ready to fly -- I just need Mother Nature's cooperation at this point. I've spent the last several months restoring the plane in which I first learned to fly. It's been a labor of love for me, wrapped up in warm nostalgia. Once the weather improves, I'll take the Champ out for its inaugural restoration flight -- and the circle will then be complete. This is the plane in which I learned to fly and, decades later, through a series of connections and conversations, I was able to buy the same plane from Mick Coleman of Farmington, MO (who himself learned how to fly using the Champ). Check out my slide show where you can follow my progress in bringing this special plane back to "flight status."

January 3, 2011 - 6:12 p.m. EST - Mobridge, SD
Two Great Restaurants
If you're ever in the Mobridge area, you've got to stop at the Great Plains Family Restaurant and Rick's Cafe. These are excellent places to enjoy good food and great atmosphere. Rick's is known for their Homemade Salt Seasoning for fish, beef and pork -- and it's awesome!

December 28, 2010 - 7:29 p.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
A Fun Project
Here's one commissioned project I enjoyed creating. It's a whimsical piece for a person who retired after 31 years on the job. The cartoon features numerous references to his years of work and his overall personality. I enjoyed working in the bits of information to create an overall portraitg of a unique and interesting individual.

November 30, 2010 - 12:46 p.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
Getting Close...
Wow! Work is quickly progressing on my 1946 Aeronca Champ at this point. I'm about ready for a flight test and I'm excited. Very soon, I'll be in the air once more in the very plane in which I first learned to fly. Restoring this cherished craft over the past eight months has truly been a labor of love. You can view a few recent photos of the Aeronca Champ to the right and you can check out my slide show where you can follow my progress in bringing this special plane back to "flight status."

November 18, 2010 - 1:18 p.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
Birds-Eye Views
Some of the best views of a community or location are from the air. You truly do get to see the "whole picture;" that is, you get a sense of perspective and context on things we partially see from our normal, ground level experience. Over the course of several weeks this fall, my friend Tom of "Leutz Graphics" took a series of aerial photos as we flew over the greater Bismarck, Mandan and Wilton areas. I've collected some of those photos in a slide show you can watch by clicking this link. A few of the photos are to the right. See if you can recognize the state capitol, the Pinehurst Shopping Center, Mandan's "Strip," the Mandan waterpark, the geometrically intriguing ball fields south of Bismarck, the beautiful square buttes by Harmon Dam north of Bismarck and the wind farms near Wilton.

November 3, 2010 - 8:11 a.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
Another Airport Painting
In addition to Texas (see the entry below this one), I also have a painting hanging in the newly remodeled terminal of the airport at Linton, ND. On November 2nd, the artwork was presented to the Linton Airport Authority. The painting depicts an antique biplane.

November 2, 2010 - 6:16 p.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
"Dakota Kid II" Painting in Texas
A painting I did of the P-51D Mustang "Dakota Kid II" fighter plane is now in a Houston, TX museum, along with the popular replica of the plane that has been a staple at the Dakota Terrritory Air Museum. In the images to the right, there's a photo of the "Dakota Kid II" in the Dakota Territory Air Museum, my painting in the middle and a view of the museum in Texas at the bottom with my painting in the middle of the photo. Visit the Dakota museum website for more details on the plane's history and how it will be shared between North Dakota and Texas.

October 25, 2010 - 6:19 p.m. EST - Minot, ND
Watercolor Workshop
I held a watercolor workshop in Minot, ND the weekend of October 23rd at The View near the Homesteaders Restaurant. It was a great mix of people with skills ranging from basic to advanced. The faciities were great for hosting the workshop -- and the coffee was great, too. There are a few photos from the workshop to the right and you can see more pictures by clicking here to visit the "Projects & Workshops" section of my website. I also have a watercolor class scheduled for Mobridge, SD, Nov. 19 - 21.

October 18, 2010 - 1:54 p.m. EST - Omaha, NE
Taxi's Grille and Bar
During a trip to Omaha, Nebraska in mid-October, I ate at Taxi's Grille and Bar. It's just a super place with a great atmosphere and great food. The crab cake salad was outstanding -- and the seafood enchilada was probably the best I've ever had. It's not a big place, but it is big on service, atmosphere and food. It's well worth a visit.

September 17, 2010 - 12:40 p.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
The Champ Has Wings!
Just a quick update on the restoration work I'm doing on the Aeronca Champ, the plane in which I first learned to fly as a teen and which I was fortuitous enough to purchase earlier this year. As you can tell from the photos to the right, the wings have now been attached, and it is truly looking like a fun, little flying machine now. I've put together a slide show where you can follow my progress in bringing this special plane back to "flight status." You can also get to the slide show simply by visiting my "Workshops/Projects" section.

August 7, 2010 - 9:54 p.m. EST - Bismarck, ND
Aeronca Champ Comes To Life
I fired up the engine on my Aeronca Champ today -- the first time I had personally started up this plane in 37 years. This is the plane in which I first learned to fly and a lot of special memories are tied with this fine flying machine. When I flew it for the last time in the early 1970s, I never dreamed I would one day be reunited with the Champ as its owner. I've been restoring the plane to mint flying condition with the help of some very good friends. When I heard that engine come to life, the sound took me back to a little grass runway strip in Missouri where my flight instructor would start the plane, hop inside and teach me how to fly from take off to landing. My moment of nostalgia was broken by the sound of backfiring -- the timing was off on the engine, so we had to shut things down and take care of that issue. In the photos next to this update, I'm working on the Champ's engine with Gary Johnson of Pietsch Flying on the right and my friend Steve Vigue in the middle. In the second photo, Gary is manually starting the engine by swinging the propeller -- there's no electric starter on this aircraft. In the third photo, the Aeronca engine is running. This was also a big week for the plane's restoration as we attached the wings, which had been removed for storage and transportation purposes. Soon, very soon, I'll be in the air once more in my Aeronca Champ. I've put together a slide show where you can follow my progress in bringing this special plane back to "flight status." You can also get to the slide show simply by visiting my "Workshops/Projects" section.

August 2, 2010 - 6:37 p.m. - Omaha, NE
Restaurant Review" Upstream Brewery Company
A wonderful brewery and restaurant to visit. Really -- great beer. I don't drink beer very often, but I sure did enjoy myself the day I visited. The brewery is located in the "Old Market" area of town, a place of old brick streets, turn of the century style buildings, arts centers and unique food shops. Check out the website at www.upstreambrewing.com.

July 8, 2010 - 7:31 p.m. - Stillwater, MN
Restaurant Review: The Dock Cafe
What a wonderful atmosphere -- located along the St. Croix River, you can sit inside or outside and enjoy the river view. Add to this a great menu and you are in for a positive, flavorful dining experience. One neat feature of this place: The "Patio-Cam" and "River-Cam," which provide you with a live, "web eye's view" of activity at the restaurant. Check out the business website at www.dockcafe.com.

July 1, 2010 - 2:44pm EST - Bismarck, ND
New Photo Gallery Images
I've added a series of photos in my "Scenic Photos" section. These were taken recently at McDowell Dam in the Bismarck area. I call them "Reflections" as they play with scenes and images being reflected in the water and because they are the kinds of tranquil scenes that often lead to a little inner reflection. I hope you like them.

June 18, 2010 - 12:46am EST - Bismarck, ND
Update On Aeronca Champ
I've been working diligently on getting my 1946 Aeronca Champ restored and ready to fly once more. As I've mentioned earlier in this journal, this is the plane in which I learned how to fly in my early teens. The fact that the plane was still around and that I was able to purchase it earlier this year is a dream come true. So I'm lovingly and patiently updating the Aeronca for flight. I've put together a slide show where you can follow my progress in bringing this special plane back to "flight status." You can also get tob the slide show simply by visiting my "Workshops/Projects" section. I'll keep adding new photos to the show, so check back often.

June 18, 2010 - 12:24am EST - Bismarck, ND
Update On 'Riverwalk'
I've done a little more work on my 'Riverwalk' piece. I'm posting progress updates on this project in my "Workshops/Projects" section so you can see the progression from beginning to end. Take a peek and let me know what you think.

June 4, 2010 - 12:01pm EST - Bismarck, ND
Still More Projects In Progress
The title of this painting is "River Walk," a 24 X 48 inch project. I'm planning to work on another piece called the "Champ" this weekend.

May 5, 2010 - 12:53pm EST - Bismarck, ND
More Projects In Progress
I'm in a "creative zone" right now. Here's a sneak peek at another piece I'm working on. Here, you can see the evolution of the painting between the top and bottom photos.

May 2, 2010 - 10:12am EST - Bismarck, ND
Projects In Progress
I'm working on two pieces at this time, one I call "Mountains In Montana" and the other, "Badlands." You can view early samples of the works in progress in the images to the right.

May 1, 2010 8:04am EST - Mobridge, SD
Restaurant Review: Rick's Cafe
This is not your typical rural, small town restaurant. The menu selection and food quality rank up there with some of the best restaurants you'd find in the large cities. I had the walleye filet dinner and I have to say it was some of the best walleye I've had in quite some time -- it tasted as though it was freshly caught and prepared on the spot. i have it on good, local authority that Rick makes the best "belly bust'in" chili burgers in the country. Rick also serves a Saturday night buffet that has become the "talk of the town" -- ribs, chicken, smoked turkey (Rick's style) and a large selection of items to go with the main course. And I would suggest not leaving Rick's without purchasing a container of his well known "Rick's Cooking Salt." It's great when barbequeing burgers, chicken, fish, etc. I tried some of it last evening and it's good stuff.

April 30, 2010 8:01pm EST - Rugby, ND
Restaurant Review: Rockin' Relics
If you like your nostalgia sweet and meals memorably tasty, then stop by the Rockin' Relics restaurant in Rugby. It's a neat little place with decor that goes back to the 1960s and a little earlier. They serve classic food with classic names. For example, I had the "Big Bopper" meal, a hamburger and shake that was to die for, as the old saying goes. You get a real and literal taste of nostalgia here. You won't be disappointed.

April 30, 2010 - 7:31pm EST - River Aux Vases, MO
Restaurant Review: Copper Mines Bar and Grill
Here's a neat little restaurant tucked in the town of River Aux Vases. Great steaks, burgers and sandwiches along with a really neat buffet. The atmosphere and service are first-rate -- I recommend stopping at the Copper Mines Bar and Grill. By the way, the town is also known by the nickname, "Staabtown," because, throughout the town's history, so many members of the Staab family have lived there.

April 30, 2010 - 7:14pm - Ste. Genevieve, MO
Restaurant Review: Station 2 Cafe
This place just opened up earlier this year and it's a delight -- both in design and menu. The owners converted an old, historic fire station in town at Main and Merchant into a restaurant named "Station 2 Cafe" The interior is phenomenal: Historic station artifacts pepper the walls near the tables. The huge fire station doors sport large windows, letting in a lot of light and providing great views of the outside. And the food? Excellent, period. And if you look at the pastry menu, you'll see featured items along with the name of the person creating those treats -- what a neat way to personalize the dining experience. If you're anywhere near Ste. Genevieve and you're hungry, this is a "must stop" place. You can check out the restaurant's Facebook page for more information.

April 18, 2010 - 6:17pm - Mobridge, SD
Regional Art Show Judging
I had the priviledge to help judge an art show in Mobridge April 16 and 17 at the Scherr-Howe Arena. The show featured student and adult art, and I have to tell you there were a lot of great pieces on exhibit. The student art in particular was well done, expressive, creative -- it was all fascinating to view and, frankly, tough to single out the best works. By the way, the arena is named after Oscar Howe, a well known Yanktonais Sioux artist. You can learn more about him through this link. And you can view a short slideshow of some photos I took at the art show.

April 15, 2010 - 6:21pm EST - Bismarck, ND
GIS Mural Installed At BSC
On April 14th, my 20 foot long mural for the GIS classroom at Bismarck State College was unveiled. The acronym "GIS" stands for "Geographic Information System," a way of bringing or measuring three-dimensional objects like the topography of a specific location within a two-dimensional coordinate system. Think lines, latitude and longitude. My mural plays with those concepts, toying with the visual tension between the straight lines of the world as depicted on paper and the curves and bends of lines in the real world. I had a lot of fun with this project -- it gave me a chance to stretch artistically in terms of visual design And presentation.

April 7, 2010 - 7:01am, EST - Ste. Genevieve, MO
Print Donated To Hospital
In early April, my brother Terry and I donated a framed print of one of my paintings to the Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital in the memory of our parents, LaVerne and Francis J. Basler. The print is of my work, "Winter Solitude," a piece that draws from my walks along the Rapid City Creek in South Dakota. There's a lot of personal meaning on several different levels for me wrapped up in the painting and the hosital donation. The Ste. Genevieve Hearald ran a story on the donation -- you can view an image of the article here as well as read a text version here.

April 6, 2010 - 5:52pm EST - Bismarck, ND
A Personal Dream Realized
I don't think there are enough words or art canvasses to adequately express how I personally feel about a very special moment in my life. On March 27th, I took possession of an artifact from my youth, a nostalgic touchstone that has influenced my life and livelihood over the past four decades. It's a 1946 Aeronca Champ -- the very plane in which I learned how to fly.

When I was 14 years old, I took my first airplane ride -- and I was immediately hooked. I used to hang around the airport in Ste. Genevieve, looking for a chance to ride with anyone willing to take me along and teach me a few things about piloting.

Louis Sexauer took me up a lot in that 1946 Aeronca Champ, teaching me in bits and pieces the basics of flight. Louis was a private pilot, not an instructor, and I'll forever be indebted to him for his willingness to teach me the ropes and amazing patience with a young kid eager to earn his wings.

When I turned 16, I soloed in that plane to earn my pilot's license.

A lot of good memories for me are tied to that plane and those early days when my passion for flying was new and in full bloom. I saved the original flight log books from the plane during the time I had a chance to fly in the Champ.

Time passed, I grew up and left Ste. Genevieve to pursue my dreams.

I have a Polaroid Swinger black and white instant photo of the plane, taken around the time I soloed in the Champ. Over the years, looking at that photo, I wondered what became of the 1947 Aeronca Champ.

I found out about eight years ago, learning that, in 1971, Louis sold the plane to Mick Coleman of Farmington, MO, who himself went on to learn how to fly using the Champ.

I made a few inquiries over the years, asking if Mick was interested in selling the plane to me.

Earlier this year, he said yes and my heart just about lept out of my chest. On March 24th, I left for Ste. Genevieve with an 8 foot wide by 24 foot long aluminum trailer to collect the plane. I got to Farmington on Mar. 27th and loaded the plane into the trailer.

How do you load a plane into a trailer? With the wings off and stacked neatly next to the tube like fueselage.

I took my plane to Minot where the professional crew of Pietsch Aircraft and Restoration will assist me in re-assembly of the plane, test the engine, replace some parts and so on. The trailer I used belonged to airshow performer Kent Pietsch (I should perhaps express a Thank You to him for the trailer use).

The plane is in remarkably excellent condition -- very clean, no rust, no mildew. It's like it was preserved in a time capsule.

I don't have a firm timeline yet on when I plan to fly the 1946 Aereonca Champ. I'm going to take my time and be meticulous in getting the plane flight worthy so when I do fly, I'll be able to spend more time enjoying the ride and the memories and less time thinking about mechanical details.

But, believe me, I'll let you know all about that first flight back in the plane of my youth. And, later, I'll fill you in on some interesting side stories about the people involved in all this that I'm sure you'll find interesting and inspiring.

In the meantime, here's a link to an image of the article the Ste. Genevieve Herald ran about me and the plane. You can also read a text version here. And you can view a short slideshow of photos related to the plane.


April 3, 2010 - 8:15am EST - Ste. Genevieve, MO
A Ride In A Gyroplane
On April 2, I had the pleasure to take a ride in a gyroplane piloted by Greg Gremminger. I've never been in one and, thanks to the kindness of Greg, I got a chance for 30 minutes. It was interesting - and for a pilot like me, a completely different concept and feel of flying than a fixed wing plane. We flew out over the Mississippi River along the shoreline on the Missouri side, about 300 feet up in the air and at about 60 mph. The first photo on the right shows me as a passenger in the gyroplane. The second shot is one I took from the aircraft looking south along the Mississippi River. Illinois is on the left, Missouri on the right and a barge is passing in the middle. Check out the river -- it's swollen over its banks right up to a levee on the right barely holding back the water. The third photo is a bird's eye view over a farm. The experience was great and I thank Greg for the ride and Stephanie Gremminger who helped set up the opportunity.

March 15, 2010 - 5:49pm EST - Ste. Genevieve, MO
Permanent Exhibition In Ste. Genevieve
I have a permanent exhibit at Dr. James Brandt's dentist office in Ste. Genevieve. I'm showing 10 pieces there that can be viewed or puchased. My thanks to Dr. Brandt for the display area.

February 20, 2010 - 9:23pm EST - Fargo, ND
Aviation Work Presented To General McDonald
Earlier in the month, a commissioned work of mine was presented to retired North Dakota Air National Guard General Alexander P. McDonald at the Upper Midwest Aviation Symposium in Fargo. The work features the planes he flew while serving in the Guard. During the symposium, General McDonald was also inducted into the North Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame. It was an honor and pleasure to create this painting for a person who has distinguished himself so well in service to his state and country.

February 14, 2010 - 8:19am, EST - Bismarck, ND
Photo Gallery Updated
Just a note that I've updated my photo gallery with new images from my recent travels. I've also included larger versions of some of the photos in journal entries below. Click here to view the scenic photo gallery.

February 14, 2010 - 8:15am, EST - Bismarck, ND
Here's An Interesting Creation...
I'm working on an interesting piece, something that plays with perception and highlights the unique tension between a perfect world of straight lines and grids and the natural contours of the real world. Click the images to the right for a "sneak peek" at portions of what will be a series of interconnected pieces that form a large work and a large presence. More to come in the near future...

February 14, 2010 - 8:12am, EST - Bismarck, ND
Aviation Work In Progress
I've also been working on a piece that will be given to a client in southeast Missouri who has devoted his life to promoting aviation in and around his community. Click the image for a larger view.

February 14, 2010 - 8:09am, EST - Bismarck, ND
Chalk Buttes Piece
I'm working on a commission piece featuring the Chalk Buttes formation in southeast Montana. The client has a spiritual connection with the buttes and this piece will help celebrate that connection. This is the center panel with a left and right panel to come. CLick the image for a larger view.

February 14, 2010 - 8:07am, EST - Bismarck, ND
Finishing An Ongoing Piece
I'm finishing up work on an project I've been working on in bits and pieces for quite some time now. I'll be using it in an exhibition at a later date. Click the image to the right to see a larger view of this work still in progress.

February 13, 2010 - 6:52pm, EST - North Dakota Badlands
A Rare Winter View Of The Badlands
Photos of the Badlands in spring and summer are common: Sharp, rugged bluffs with brilliant bands of color stretching horizontally in the rock. I wanted to capture some uncommon views of the Badlands during winter. It's neat to see a different side of the region -- it helps expand one's appreciation of the landscape's overall character. The snow helps better define the contours of the landscape -- various curves and mounds often get lost in the thick foliage of summer. The snow also highlights wildlife and snowmobile tracks, allowing you to see for long distances the meandering trails left behind along and across the frozen Missouri River. And the sky -- I love the sky this time of year. The clouds have a different look, as if they were painted on with a brush stroke against a slightly gray canvas. Click the images for a larger view.

February 13, 2010 - 6:56pm, EST - North Dakota Badlands
A Rare Winter View (cont.)
As evening approaches, deep shadows cut across the Badlands in winter to accentuate and exaggerate hidden details of the landscape. Several photos I took at this time of day will serve as great inspirations for a watercolor piece or two down the road. And then sunset: Warm, fading colors on a winter blue sea of land. Beautiful, just beautiful. Click the images to the right for a larger view.

February 13, 2010 - 6:52pm, EST - Rapid City, SD
Traveler's Tales - Bully Blends Coffee & Tea Shop
Here's a great stopping place in Rapid City for a great selection of coffee, tea and good sandwiches and soup. It's really a neat place to relax -- no need to be in a hurry, just sit and absorb what crosses your mind. Their logo includes an image of Teddy Roosevelt on a coffee cup. What I thought was neat was were the large bags of coffee sitting around on the floor and the raw teas displayed in large old jars. The address is 410 Fifth St.

February 13, 2010 - 6:46pm, EST - Ste. Genevieve, MO
Traveler's Tales - Station 2 Cafe
This new, unique restaurant chose President Day, Feb. 15, to open their doors for business. What makes it unique? It's located in a rennovated old fire station building. Check out their Facebook page for more details and photos. It's really something to see.

February 13, 2010 - 6:42pm, EST - Ste. Genevieve, MO
Traveler's Tales - Stella and Me Cafe
A unique menu, warm and comfortable atmosphere. A carefree feeling place to sit down and relax. Their sign says it all: "Lunch Cafe, Yummy Desserts, Unique Gifts." Janece Warden is the owner. Check out their page on Facebook.

February 12, 2010 - 11:02am, EST - Rocheport, MO
Iconic Small Town America
Rocheport has a Norman Rockwell feel to it - the community is that warm and comfortable. The town has been around for a long time and it features building styles that reflect early 17th century America such as the red brick walls of buildings. This town embodies the early American/all American look. A highlight of the community is the Missouri River bluffs just outside of town. These aren't gently rolling bluffs but sheer, 100-foot drops to the bottom. They are breathtaking -- they're one of my favorites places to visit when going through town. Lewis and Clark went through this area on their mission of discovery and when I look at the area, I wonder what did Lewis and Clark think when they saw all this? Click the images to the right for a larger view.

February 12, 2010 - 10:03am, EST - Hill City, SD
The Incredible Horse Sculpture
I went through Hill City early in February. There is a sculpture of a horse in front of the Dakota Nature and Art Gallery and the "Jewels Of The West" stores that is built from scrap iron. When you look closer at the sculpture, you begin to discover interesting details: a shovel spade and other implements that, in the proper place, help shape the horse. Believe me, this is that rewards your afrtistic senses the longer you study it. There is a new discovery with every glance, every focus on details. Click the image to see a larger, detailed version.

January 10, 2010 - 4024pam, EST - Ste. Genevieve, MO
Small Town At Night
Just to add a bit more to the discussion below, a small community like Ste. Genevieve tends to wrap itself around you like a warm blanket. There's something peaceful in being in the center of town at sunset. Night is coming, but the street lights flicker to life and provide a reassuring glow in the darkness. The silhouettes of the buildings against the dusky sky bring calm and quiet to the surroundings. Click the image for a larger view.

January 10, 2010 - 3:54pam, EST - Ste. Genevieve, MO
Christmas Season
I spent the Christmas holidays back home in Ste. Genevieve. When the town puts up Christmas decorations, when the weather turns cooler and the sights, sounds and smells of the holiday are evident, you can't help but get that warm, comfortable, comforting feeling that small communities give off during the Christmas season. Most noticeable are the red wreaths hung in the windows of the old homes in town. There's a sense of continuity and tradition in that. And green moss growing on the steps of other old homes adds to the ancient color of the season. Click the photos to see larger versions.

November 21, 2009 - 9:29am EST - Bismarck, ND
Amber's Dream Project
Very soon, I'll start work on a special collaborative project for the MedCenter One Children's Hospital. Amber DesRoches was 11 when she was diagnosed with leukemia and spent four years as a patient of the Children's Hospital. Based on her experiences there, she wanted the pediatric unit of the hospital remodeled to be more appealing to patients and their families. Sadly, she died in 2007, but her vision lives on through an extensive remodeling project that will reflect what Amber had in mind for the unit. On the artistic side, I'll be working with Deb Jaeger and Ric Sprynczynatyk in bringing to life Amber's idea of a Peter Pan "Neverland" theme to the unit. I'll keep you posted on the progress of this special project. You can read a Bismarck Tribune article on the planned effort as well as a Bismarck Tribune editorial on the work.

November 9, 2009 - 2:05pm EST - Bismarck, ND
Finished: Children's Library Project
After more than three month's of work and some unique painting techniques, the four mural Bismarck Public Library Children's Library project is complete! There are, of course, other aspects of the library project still in the works that have nothing to do with art, but everything is expected to be complete in time for the official ribboncutting ceremony Jan. 23, 2010. The remodeled Children's story room opened Oct. 21. This project presented some creative challenges and opportunities for me -- just the things I like. You can view a slideshow of photos taken over the course of my work in the library. You can also view the great page the Bismarck Tribune dedicated to my work at the library, and read the article from that page. This was a lot of work and fun for me. If you have any questions about the work I did, feel free to e-mail me and I'll answer where I can.

November 5, 2009 - 7:11pm EST - Valentne, NE
Traveler's Tales: Dunes Lodge and Suites, Valentine, NE
Valentine is a neat little town and Dunes Lodge and Suites is a wonderful small motel on the southeast side of town that boats reasonable rates, a friendly staff and a great continental breakfast. This area borders the Niobrara River, which is a great rafting and canoeing place. In fact, I bought a used 17 foot canoe there for use in some of my current and upcoming projects in the Dakotas. I had lunch at the Cedar Canyon Steakhouse on Main Street while in Valentine. The restaurant has a great menu, filled with a lot of variety. A good place to stop.

November 2, 2009 - 10:46am EST - Bismarck, ND
Traveler's Tales: Food, Lodging and More
I've been doing a lot of traveling in the past few months and I've come across several places that you should make a point to check out if you're in the neighborhoods:
  • Shea's Garden Grove, Crescent, IA. I found this great little coffee shop just a few miles off the beaten Interstate highway path. Located in a remodeled two-story house from around the turn of the 20th century, it's a delight to see and visit. I found Shea's Garden Grove because I was low on gas. When I stopped to fill my car, I asked if there were any good places to eat in the area. I was sent to Shea's -- and what a treat it was, both in terms of visual elements and food. A custom furniture shop is also located in the building. Shea's is one of the hidden treasures worth hunting for during your travels.

  • La Minestra, Pierre, SD. Excellent Italian food. Just fabulous -- just really, really good. I can't say enough about this place, owned by Mark and Stacey Mancuso.

  • La Tea Da, Cavalier, ND. It's like walking into a place in France: White tablecloths accented with nice silverware and flowers. Elegant, clear water glasses with long stems -- a beautiful interior that has a "welcome - come on in" feel. A great concept for a small town. Various coffees, teas, homemade desserts. Just a really neat place.

  • Steve's Cafe, Helena, MT. Steve Vincelli is the owner of a small cafe that's big on a great selection of food, outstanding salads, a homestyle atmosphere and a professional staff. "Breakfast and lunch among friends" is the restaurant's slogan and the place lives up to those words. It was a good experience eating there.

October 28, 2009 - 1:43pm EST - Bismarck, ND
LifeStar Project
I was commissioned to create a painting for LifeStar, an air rescue group based out of the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville. The painting was to commemorate the 25th anniverary of the group, fearing the four foundeers of the organization and the various aircraft they've used over the past quarter century. The painting was presented in October during a gathering in California.

October 23, 2009 - 11:16am EST - Bismarck, ND
New Photo Gallery
I've added a new gallery to the site. Called "Aerial Photography," it features a growing collection of photos I've taken while flying around the country. The idea is to bring some unfamiliar views to a lot of familiar places. For example, several "birds-eye views" of the North Dakota Capitol or the mountains near Jackson Hole, Wyoming offer perspectives that can be mesmerizing. We know how things look fromn the ground up. This gallery shows you the world from the sky down. Take a look!

October 17, 2009 - 8:32apm EST - Bismarck, ND
The Art of Music
I've been working on another paiting in my music themed series of large works. This one is called "Summertime," and features a southern music feel. It complements the "Blues Avenue" piece I did more than a year ago (which is currently on display at the Majrstic Theatre in Mandan). I'll have more on the "Summertime" project later.

October 2, 2009 - 4:21pm EST - Bismarck, ND
Commission Work
I did a commission piece of a homestead in Missouri down in my old "stomping grounds" near Ste. Genevieve. Titled, "Eagle's View," it features an eagle soaring above the homestead which is nestled within the protective embrace of an expanse of trees.

September 30, 2009 - 5:46pm EST - Ste. Genevieve, MO
Merchant Street Publishing Exhibition
I've started exhibiting at Merchant Street Publishing in Ste. Genevieve, MO. The photos to the right show the beautiful interior of the business along with some of my recent works: The Church of Ste. Genevieve painting and the Sydney, Montana Air Show piece. Behind my art works are historic black and white photos from Ste. Genevieve's past. Bill and Patty Naeger of Merchant Street Publishing, and Mark Evans published a beautiful, coffee table book on the history of Ste. Genevieve, drawing on photos and information from residents. And there's certainly a lot of history, given that the town can trace its existence back at least 300 years.

September 28, 2009 - 6:21pm EST - Sydney, MT
Wings of Freedom II Air Show
Phenomenal -- that's the only way to describe this event. The "Wings of Freedom II" air show Sept. 26-27 was one of the biggest air shows in the Midwest simply because of who was there: It's rare to get in one place at one time such an an amazing assortment of people and performers. What a lineup: The Canadian Snowbirds; Kent and Warren Pietsch out of Minot, ND; Jim Peitz, Apollo 8 astronaut Frank Borman; Gene Soucy; Phil Petrik; Skydive North Dakota; Wingwalker Teresa Stokes; John Mohr. This was big. Just getting the Snowbirds to perform was something of a minor miracle (it was actually the culmination of five years of lobbying by Sidney farmer-rancher and pilot Bryan Prevost. The Sidney show was only one of three civilian shows the Snowbirds planned for the U.S.). About 10,000 people attended the Saturday and Sunday event. I did a painting for the show ahead of time (later autographed by the performers) which was auctioned off at the end of the event. I'm also producing 50 giclee prints of the airshow painting.

September 20, 2009 - 12:23pm EST - Hill City, SD
Traveler's Tales
I was in the Black Hills area of South Dakota in September 2009. I found some great places in Hill City -- I think you'll enjoy them, too:
  • Alpine Inn: A "must experience." Excellent food.

  • Horse Creek Inn: Outstanding menu and good service.

  • Slate Creek Grill: Try the white cheddar amashed potatoes -- you should go "super size" on this tasty treat!

  • Jon Crane Gallery: Features the works of an artist well known for his Black Hills watercolors.

  • Warriors Work Gallery: Don't pass this one up. Beautiful presentation of works. The leather frames and beadwork that surround various paintings are works of art in themselves. A fabulous gallery that features the fantastic works of Frank Howell, Sarah Rogers and others.

September 15, 2009 - 2:50pm EST - Ste. Genevieve, MO
Church of Ste. Genevieve painting event
I had a great time in Ste. Genevieve helping the church celebrate its 250 year history. The original painting I created commemorating the church was raffled off during the church's anniversary picnic. The winner was Mary Stuppy of Texas. Her brother, Dennis, accepted the painting on her behalf. Later, I was at the Merchant Street Publishing Company, signing giclee prints of the painting. All in all, it was a great time spent with a lot of wonderful people in Ste. Genevieve.

August 20, 2009 - 4:05pm EST - Bismarck, ND
Update: Church of Ste. Genevieve painting finished!
Here's an image to the right of my Church of Sainte Genevieve painting, which is now complete with linen liner minus frame. click here to see a larger version of the image. The painting features the church building as it looks today with round insets at the top left and top right of earlier buildings in the church's 250 year history. There'll be 150 giclee prints available for purchasing between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Each giclee print will be reproduced on an 18 x 24 inch sheet of 100 percent velvet cotton rag fine art paper with a 14 x 20 inch image. Each print will be signed and available in Sainte Genevieve at a cost of $85.00 each. Please contact the Merchant Street Publishing Company or the Galleria Ste. Genevieve for prints. You can also contact me or the Church of Sainte Genevieve Parish Office if you're interested in purchasing a giclee. You can call me at (701) 527-9160 or use the contact form here at my site. You can also call Deanne at (573) 883-2731.

August 5, 2009 - 05:54pm EST - St. Louis, MO
The City Museum
If you're ever in the St. Louis area, you've got to check out the City Museum. It's a museum unlike any other you've visited. It's 600,000 square feet of eclectic objects and design made from stuff collected around St. Louis. Old chimneys, steel, bridge pieces, construction materials, old tile -- even old planes -- are all linked together in a place that turns the old into something new. It's the ultimate playground for kids, too. Wire mesh allows young people to climb into musuem displays. There's a seven-story slide for the young and young at heart and a ferris wheel on the roof. Located in the former International Shoe Company warehouse, the museum is the work of artist-entrepreneur Bob Cassilly and a crew of 20 other artisans. The photos I took shown on the right don't even begin to do justice to this wonderful place. You've got to experience it in person. So, after touring the famous Gateway Arch, swing over to the City Museum. You can learn more about it online at www.citymuseum.com.

August 4, 2009 - 09:16pm EST - Great Falls, MT
The Buffalo Jump
I got a chance to visit the Great Falls area recently. A beautiful community with a lot of history surrounded by a backdrop of mountains and open land. I stopped by Ulm Pishkum, site of perhaps the largest buffalo jump in the world. This is the place where Great Plains Indians chased herds of Buffalo over high cliffs where the animals fell to their deaths. It was a unique way of hunting that was also quite dangerous for the person who had to disguise himself as a member of the herd and lead the stampeding buffalo toward the cliffs. During their travels through Montana, members of the Lewis and Clark expedition got a chance to wintness one buffalo run. Meriwether Lewis wrote about it in the journals of the trip. It's hard to tell from the photo at the right, but about the middle of the photo just below Square Butte in the distance is the jump off point wehere the Buffalo were chased to their deaths. You can learn more about Ulm Pishkum online at The Lewis And Clark Trail website.

July 30, 2009 - 05:54pm EST - Near Ste. Genevieve, MO
River Stories
Passing through the Ste. Genevieve area once again I caught some photos of the Prairie du Rocher on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River. The ferry used to carry up to 6 vehicles from one side of the river to the other. For a time, that was the only way to get across the river by car. There's a famous limestone quarry on the Illinois side and limestone was shipped all over the country and the world via river barges. I visited Fort de Chartres on the Illinois side: Surprisingly smaller than what you might imagine (TV and movie versions of forts are always larger than life). I also came across an old, abandoned Creole style house, quietly decaying and slowly being reclaimed by nature.

July 17,2009 - 08:15pm EST - Bismarck, ND
Finally time to catch up
Whew! Have I been busy this year! So many exciting projects in the works, so many places visited around the country, so many new ideas generated (enough to keep me busy well into the next century at this rate). And that's only the first seven months of 2009 -- who knows what will come up in the last part of the year. Below is a rundown of what I'm doing and have done so far...

July 14, 2009 - 08:01pm EST - Farmington, MO
Aviation Art For Missouri
I'm doing a painting for the new General Aviation Terminal in Farmington, Missouri. It will depict the history and growth general aviation in the Farmington area. I started work on this project in January. The goal is to be done by the end of July or so.

July 13, 2009 - 06:56pm EST - Farmington, MO
Farmington Art Show
I was fortunate to have had an art show at the First State Community Bank in Farmington, Missouri earlier this year. The hospitality of the staff was outstanding. Among my works displayed were many of my aircraft pieces, which perfectly fit in with the bank's interior motif featuring various aircraft models around the bank and suspended from the ceiling. I got a chance to reconnect with Ralph Pingel, the man who inspired me to do the painting for the General Aviation Terminal in Farmington. I've known Ralph for years, going back to when I was in high school and he ran the airport. He was instrumental in helping grow the Farmington airport and the Farmington community.

July 12, 2009 - 08:14pm EST - Ste. Genevieve, MO
Travelog: Inspirational Images
I love visiting the area around Ste. Genevieve by the river. There's so much history here as well as personal memories. I got some great photos (I often use photos as reference points for paintings I may later create). Here's one that shows the ferry crossing from the Missouri side to the Illinois side near Ste. Genevieve. In the old days, the ferry used to carry six cars at a time from one side of the river to the other. That was the way you got across the water in that location at the time. I like the imagery in the photo: The light mist around the boat provides some moody texture, he shadows, the colors. The other photo features a drege boat, used to clean out a channel in the river so heavy watercraft can effortlessly float by. Again, this photo captures a mood and feeling. These images can serve as inspirations for me in my artwork.

July 11, 2009 - 07:34pm EST - Bismarck, ND
Bismarck Goes Green - Naturally!
Here's a rare treat. I was flying into Bismarck back in June and I couldn't believe my eyes -- the landscape from the air was an emerald green, almost fluorescent in some areas. I'm used to seeing either a white, snowy landscape or a lot of browns, yellows and a hint of green. But the heavy winter snow and spring rains apparently soaked the area so well that green is now the name of the game in 2009. We're talking a lush green, something that takes on the feel of an Irish countryside. Check out the photos to the right to see what I mean. These are views coming into the Bismarck airport and the community around the airport, including portions of Lincoln. I love it -- this is one of the joys of flying: Getting to see areas as a whole that you can't visualize from the ground. It gives some context to the land.

July 10, 2009 - 06:12pm EST - St. Louis area
Cemetery Architecture
Here are a few scenes from one of the oldest cemeteries in the St. Louis area. The architecture of the monuments here is phenomenal. In general, the older the cemetery, the more ornate the designs for headstones, grave markers and mausoleums. General William Clark of the Lewis and Clark expedition is buried in this cemetery.

July 9, 2009 - 04:19pm EST - Ste. Genevieve. MO
Artist Highlight
Ali Cavanaugh is a great artist, and I had a wonderful time visiting with her in Ste. Genevieve at an art show in February. She has, in particular, a magnificent series of pieces featuring a cancer survivor. I urge you to visit her website and browse her works -- you will be impressed. Go to my "links" page to connect to her website.

July 8, 2009 - 03:10pm EST - Ste. Genevieve, MO
Inside the Artist's Mind
An artist often uses, as reference points, burst of creative inspiration, photos and memories. Here's an example of how memories can influence my artistic efforts. When I was a kid, we used to play near a bridge in Ste. Genevieve that went across Gabouri Creek. This bridge is only nine feet high and, every so often, a truck with a height greater than nine feet would try to go under the bridge and inevitably get stuck or crash. Besides being a place to test human fallibility, the bridge also struck me as something interesting in design, shape and location. It had the right "art vibes" that I picked up on and kept in mind for future reference. I've taken photos of the bridge. Those images, along with my warm memories as a youth, keep that bridge always on my mind, always prodding me to capture it on canvas. I may just do that in the near future. In the meantime, the idea is maturing like a fine wine -- when it's ready to be painted, it'll feel right.

July 7, 2009 - 06:34pm EST - Yankton, SD
Friendly Faces at Carlson Aviation
Carlson Aviation in Yankton is, for any pilot, a good place to visit -- great people there. Gary and Kati Carlson run the place. Exceptional people, you feel a friendship with them right off the bat. They focus on the needs of pilots and passengers. They're great promoters and ambassadors for the Yankton community. They may be a small FBO (fixed base operator), but their friendship and hospitality are as good as the big FBOs -- if not better.

July 7, 2009 - 06:56 EST - Missoula, MT
Another Good Pilot Stop
Minuteman Aviation in Missoula, MT is another great FBO. Good people, good service, great atmosphere. The kind of place you can call a pilot's friend.

July 6, 2009 - 08:11pm EST - Missoula, MT
Good Food Found Here
Sean Kelly's Stone of Accord, Missoula, MT features an Irish Pub atmosphere with great food. It's a really neat experience -- you've got to try it when you're in town.

July 5, 2009 - 10:12am EST - Cody, WY
Scenic Views For The Artist
If you want artistic inspiration or you just want to experience the power of nature, this area is for you. We followed the scenic route along Highway 296, which is just a beautiful, beautiful drive. This is the kind of landscape where sky and land seamlessly merge together. Mountains and clouds seem to exist together at the same level and you feel dwarfed by it all. The rust red hues of exposed rock provide a contrast to the blacktop of the highway and the blues and whites of the sky. No matter where you look, there's a panoramic view. In many places, you almost feel as if you're flying above the scene. These sample photos don't do justice to the view -- you need to experience it in person.

July 5, 2009 - 09:37am EST - Coffman, MO
Sample The Wine
If you're ever in the Coffman, Missouri area, make time to visit the Twin Oaks Vineyard and Winery. The flavor of the wine is enhanced by the music from numerous musicans who perform at the establishment. It's one of many wonderful wineries in the area. In fact, this area of Missouri is getting to be like a little California in terms of vineyards and wine production.

July 3, 2009 - 5:56pm EST - Around Arkansas
Travels through Arkansas
The Cotter Arch Bridge across the White River is a beautiful piece of architecture. The drive along Highway 7 near the Buffalo River is a delight for the senses. I took a lot of photos along the way, photos that may serve as great references for future paintings. And what can I say about sunsets in the Kiamichi Mountains along Highway 258? Words can't do the view and feeling justice -- you need to see it.

July 2, 2009 - 8:43pm EST - Missoula, MT
A Place Worth Visiting
Missoula is a beautiful community with phenomenal walking trails, most that pass over historic bridges. Missoula is home to several great colleges that, by design, blend in with the environment. Of particular interest in terms of architecture is Miller Hall on the "Mizu" campus. Go into town and check out the Missoula County Courthouse with the famous clock tower.
 
The downtown area offers a spectacular view in any direction. Look down any street and you see the mountains seemingly at the end of the road, almost a touch away, it seems. There are more specialty shops than you can imagine in the downtown area, ensuring that you will not lack for something to see and do. And food? Well, there are great places to eat just about everywhere you turn.
 
Lewis and Clark passed through the Missoula area on July 4, 1806 during their famous expedition of exploration.
 
The Nez Perce Historic Trail, a mountain pass within the Rocky Mountains and located on the border between Idaho and Montana, is a must see during any trip through the Missoula area toward Idaho.
 
There are a number of great websites about Missoula -- go to my "links" page to visit them.

July 2, 2009 - 09:12pm EST - Ste. Genevieve, MO
Hometown Overview
Of course I'm partial to the Ste. Genevieve community because it's where I grew up. But it is also a place with a history going back more than 200 years, and that gives a lot of interesting character, personality to the area. There's the Green Tree Tavern, which was built in the 1700s. There are the fascinating courtyards behind one of the historic buildings in town. There are the bed and breakfasts as well, located inside buildings that go back centuries. This is really an artist's paradise, because there isn't a bad photo you can take or a boring scene you can paint. Everything has texture, color, unique imagery. By the way, if you're in Ste. Genevieve, stop by Studio de Michel on South Main and Jefferson. It's a great shop to visit and I have some of my work on display there. Click this link to see a mini slideshow of places around the Ste. genevieve area.

July 1, 2009 - 05:34pm EST - Bismarck, ND
Aviation Exhibit
I had the pleasure of being able to showcase my aviation art during the North Dakota Aviation Symposium held in February. It was a lot of fun to visit with those in attendance.

July 1, 2009 - 03:19pm EST - Ste. Genevieve, MO
Art Exhibit
I had a wonderful time during my exhibit at the Galleria in Ste. Genevieve in December. The shop itself is warm and intimate and helped highlight the pieces I had on display. A lot of fun!

December 14, 2008 - 07:33pm EST - Mandan, ND
Mandan's New Street - 'Blues Avenue'
My large painting, 'Blues Avenue,' has a new home for a while at the Majestic Theater in Mandan on Main Street. It's a perfect match: A big painting for a big location. A sample of the painting is to the right and a larger version can be found in the 'Fine Art' section of this site, six rows up from the bottom. But the best way to see this work is to go to the Majestic and experience it full size.

December 2, 2008 - 10:43am EST - Around the region
It's been a busy summer, and the next few months look the same
I've finished some commission pieces, I'm working on a few more and I'm working on a special piece for a special church. Here's a little of what I'm up to these days:
--Farmington, Missouri Airport Lobby: I'm working on a com missioned piece that depicts the history of aviation in the Farmington area.
--Ste. Genevieve Catholic Church: As part of the church's 250th anniversary celebration set for June 2009, I'm donating a piece that shows the history of the church and it community over the past two and a half centuries.
--Robert's Floral, Bismarck, ND: About two months ago, I finished a painting that spans the entryway of the business.
--I've also been busy with trips to Montana, South Dakota, Missouri, Wyoming and Canada, to name a few. Details are in the posts below this one.
--I have an exhibition coming up on December 26th in Ste. Genevieve, at the Galleria Ste. Gen, from 3pm - 8pm. I'll be showing about 30 works. If you can make it, stop in, look around and visit for awhile.

December 2, 2008 - 10:42am EST - Around the Great Plains
I've been everywhere, it seems...
There's an old popular country song titled, "I've Been Everywhere," and it's the perfect theme song for my recent travels and activities. From the Painted Canyon area of West Yellowstone to Jackson Hole, Wyoming; from the Badlands of South Dakota to Banff, Canada, it sure feels like I've been everywhere. Below are a few quick notes, photos, observations and places to visit and eat.

December 2, 2008 - 10:29am EST - Helena, Montana area
The art canvas that is Montana
The mountains here are pure artwork, painted by nature on a canvas of land and sky. Photos help tell the story, but they really can't capture the depth and breadth of the surroundings here. A photo of fog gently draping the steep and rough sides of a mountain looks great, but you've got to experience it to truly appreciate the sense of quiet majesty.

December 2, 2008 - 10:24am EST - Banff, Canada
Picture perfect place to visit
When you can look down Main Street and see towering mountains serving as the distant backdrop to your streets, you know you've got something special in your community. A beautiful town framed by beautiful scenery. The lake area around Banff is also "picture perfect." I got some great reference sketches here and in Montana for future works.

December 2, 2008 - 10:19am EST - Painted Canyon area, West Yellowstone Park
A view from the edge
Standing on the edge looking over what seems to be a 500 foot drop or more, you constantly feel as if you're going to fall off -- it's that steep an area and view. The colors in the rock can be tough to accurately describe -- rust colored here, but not quite rust; brown color there, but not quite brown. Also, wherever you go in this area, you see buffalo -- lots of buffalo.

December 2, 2008 - 10:14am EST - Spearfish Canyon area, South Dakota
Hills, trees, waterfalls -- what more can you ask for?
In the fall, the bright, flourescent colors of the leaves compete with the canyon views. There's something pleasing for the eye, whether directly in front of you or in the distance. It seems you're always looking up. Near the top of Spearfish Canyon is a popular waterfall area. Again, photos can only approximate the beauty of the surroundings -- you've got to experience it in person.

December 2, 2008 - 10:09am EST - Needles Highway, South Dakota
Thread the needle, visit the cathedral
Located in the Black Hills, there is a very narrow stretch of road that cuts through rock. How narrow? Well, if you look at the photo, you'll see that a standard size tour bus barely fits through the opening. There's barely enough room for light to pass on either side of the bus. Here, the driver slowly and expertly "threaded the needle" on the road. Also featured in the Needles region is the "Cathedral" area -- stark, towering vertical rock formations that remind you of a medieval cathedral.

December 2, 2008 - 10:02am EST - Badlands, South Dakota
These lands are, indeed, bad - and that's good
You can tell at a glance why this area is called the "Badlands" -- rough, rocky, sharp gouges in rock and earth that seems to go on for miles. Then there are the "stripes" in the rock, rust colored layers of sediment that mark ancient rivers and millenia of weathering. The starkness is breathtaking, and that realization creates a momentary contradiction between words and view: The Badlands are beautiful.

December 2, 2008 - 09:51am EST - Badlands, North Dakota
Same formation with differences
It's amazing, really -- the Badlands are a single geological chain that extends across North and South Dakota. Yet, the Badlands of North Dakota seem a little different from the Badlands of South Dakota. Here, the landscape seems to have a softer edge, a little more roundness and smoothness. The "stripes" are there in the rock and the landscape extends to the horizon. But it seems less desolate than its South Dakota cousin. Certainly you can find areas in the North Dakota Badlands that resemble South Dakota but, on the whole, it's a "kinder, gentler" Badlands in the north. Oh, and the deer -- everywhere, everywhere, everywere.

December 2, 2008 - 09:39am EST - Southern Missouri
Historic Tower Rock formation
Tower Rock is in Perry County, Missouri. Lewis and Clark talked about this rock formation in the Mississipi. I'm working on a painting based on this unique landmark. The formation rises 90 feet above the river bed and has, over the years, been the source of numerous legends and tales. It's hard to tell in the photo, but it's reported that the waters passing Tower Rock can be quite turbulent at times.

December 2, 2008 - 09:33am EST - Around the Great Plains
Check it out: Hill City, South Dakota
Hill City is an art community, a heavy tourist center. Artists retire to this area and draw creative inspiration from the surroundings. One visit will tell you why. While you're in Hill City, take in a meal at the Alpine Inn -- it's an excellent place for eating. Some places to visit while in town include the Jon Crane Gallery and Warrior's Work Studio. Check out my links page for more on Hill City and artists featured in the galleries in town.

December 2, 2008 - 09:31am EST - Around the Great Plains
Great places to dine for travelers
Here are a few places I've found during my recent travels that offer great meals and atmosphere: * Medora, ND: Iron Horse Saloon and Restaurant. * Helena, MT: Brewhouse Pub and Grill * Helena, MT: Montana Club * Helena, MT: Mediterranean Grill * Havre, MT: Duck In Supper Club. They have the best salad bar I think I've ever tried. * Buffalo, WY: Bozeman Trail Steakhouse. The best buffalo burger I ever had was here.

August 11, 2008 - 05:58pm EDT - Hulette, WY
Small town beauty and nature's canvas
During the July 20th weekend, I was in Hulette, WY, for the 1st annual Wings and Wheels Airshow, which featured Pietsch Airshows of Minot, ND. It was truly a moment of superlatives: The weather was beautiful, the performance unbelievable, great attendance and the surrounding landscape breathless. To the artist, the nature lover, the weekend tourist or anyone looking for a refreshing escape, this is definitely a place to get away for a weekend and set up an easel and paint. Hulette is a town of about 400 people, minutes away from the iconic Devils Tower and surrounded by the beautiful foothills of the Black Hills National Forest. Rock formations accent many areas covered with ponderosa pine, cottonwood trees, cedar and the valleys are covered with low lying vegetation. The Belle Fourche River snakes its way along the northwest side of town and sets the feel for wanting to get the canvas ready for a masterpiece. Take time to fade back in time by walking through downtown Hulette. Among the places to visit: The Rogues Gallery and Museum, a small museum with tons of artifacts from the local area representing the early cowboy and Native American culture. The museum is owned and operated by nationally known western artist Bob Coronato and his wife, Lisa. They live in Hulette during the summers and return to Central Coast, CA for the winters. You can experience Bob's work at www.devilstowermuseum.com -- awesome. The Ponderosa Cafe and Bar is just down the street from the museum and offers a large selection of sandwiches as well as full dinners. You might want to try the Buffalo Burger -- more than a mouthful, to say the least. I will be coming back Hulette and, when I do, it will be with canvas and paint in hand. You can learn more about Hulette online by going to http://www.hulett.org.

May 27, 2008 - 3:35pm EDT - Along Highway 12, Montana
More visions from Highway 12
Again, this is perfect country for an artist. Check out the colors and textures in this photo. The scene almost paints itself.

May 27, 2008 - 12:27pm EDT - York, Montana
Stop in for an awesome burger
A quick note -- if you want an awesome burger with grilled onions, stop by the only restaurant/bar in York, Montana. Good food, good people.

May 27, 2008 - 12:23pm EDT - Along Highway 12, Montana
Visions from Highway 12
This is a neat drive in some great country -- a perfect journey for anyone with an artistic sense. Everywhere you look, you'll see a scene or a moment that you'll want to capture in words, on film or on canvas. This is a drive worth making.

May 27, 2008 - 11:03am EDT - Harlowton, Montana
A great coffee and shake shop
I'm driving from North Dakota and I'm on Highway 12 in Montana when I come across "Snowy Mountain Coffee," a small shop in Harlowton. I stopped in for a shake and, I've got to tell you, it was one of the best shakes I've had in a long time. It's a neat little shop in a quiet, scenic town that's definitely worth a visit. The shop has a website: www.snowymountaincoffee.com.