Monday, July 18, 2011

A Tiny Little Flower...

During the last couple weeks we have found a new trail to hike called the Whitefish Trail. It runs through a lot of private land as well as public lands that have been cleared of the thick forest undergrowth with the idea of limiting fuel for a potential wildfire in the area. Because of the open areas under the trees, there are many different varieties of wildflowers grow in the area. The trail is quite winding with a nice variation of terrain, but not too challenging for Sharon and myself. The mile and a half walk leads to a really wonderful view of mountains, valleys and directly below is Skyles Lake -- a terrific sight.

So, during our hikes at this place I have been shooting lots of pictures of the wildflowers that grow there. One in particular that really struck my fancy is called the Elegant Cat's Ear. At first I thought it was a Trillium. It's called that because each petal has small appendages than appear to be hairs. The shape of the individuals petals must have reminded the person who named the flower of a cat's ear. The blossoms measure approximately .75" up to about 1.25" across. The plant stands about a foot tall. What you are looking at is a digital painting I did using one of my photos as reference. It did it with and App on my iPad called MyBrushes. It allows many variations and is reasonably easy to learn. Color and brush modification is simple and, even I was able to pick it up quickly. This image took about 3 - 4 hours to create, and that was while I was learning the App. I hope you will comment on my first effort, EVER, creating a digital painting. I hope this is a small step in learning the unlimited possibilities in this medium. More to come... - Posted from my iPad

Location:Whitefish, Montana

Friday, July 15, 2011

First Art...My Favorite Bird

I've been taking a lot of pictures of Magpies lately and knew that I had to do a drawing of one of these amazingly beautiful birds. It is properly known as the "Blackbilled" Magpie and is larger than a Bluejay but smaller than a Crow. The relationship to the other two birds is evident in the shape, proportions and unmistakably, the voice -- unpleasant at best. They are all around Whitefish. There is one place, which is on our usual walk, where there are at least 20. They gather around a stand of pines which buffers a neighborhood from the street. They have built several nests in the trees. The only problem with this is that the scene is not the greatest for a drawing. So I took full advantage of my hard earned artistic license and decided the bird would look much better on the stretch of river I haven't been able to fish since we've been here. It's on the Flathead river at a place called Blankenship. I always have good luck fishing here and thought it the appropriate location for my drawing.

The image was done in pencil in my sketchbook. It's been cropped on the sides. The original is about 8.5"x9.5". Let me know what you think of this piece I just finished today. I hope to be posting more pictures in the next few days. Best from Montana!

- Posted from my iPad

Location:Whitefish, Montana

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Back in Montana again...

I have to start out by saying that what you are seeing is an experiment on my iPad using a mobile blog app called BlogPress. I have absolutely no idea if it will satisfy my design sensibilities or if I will have to relearn something new in order to make it work. So, anyway, here it goes...

The first thing we noticed when we arrived in Whitefish was that there is still an amazing amount of snow in the mountains. Usually when we get here at the end of June only the highest peaks in Glacier have that white top appearance.

This picture is of downtown Whitefish and you can see the snow still at the peak.
Over the weekend I had to see how high the Flathead River was flowing considering the fact that the snow is still on the mountains and predictions that they were going to be high for a while. As you look at some of my pictures you can see that the river is really gushing -- muddy and WAY too high to even think about fishing. The lakes are my best hope for now!

July 1, 2, and 3 there was an Art Show and sale in Depot Park. There was the usual mix of arts and crafts, most of which were uninspiring. There is always a good mix of bright color, a few interesting works of art and, certainly a scattering of unusual characters. The most interesting to me was Plein Art art by an artist who displayed some very well done landscapes from Glacier Nation Park(GNP). So enjoy a small montage of this colorful event.

- Posted from my iPad

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Keep doing work and it will get noticed sooner or later...

Great news! Wednesday afternoon I was notified that my work, The Aviator, was chosen for inclusion in the American Illustration 30 competition. If you remember, I had previously included this image and a description that it was done for Frank Cost, our Dean in the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences at RIT.
     It really made my day. According to the notification, my work was one of 185 chosen out of over 7000 entries this year.
     I seldom work on projects I feel are worthy of submitting to Illustration competitions but I thought The Aviator had the lift to get off the ground, and it did.

I also want to let you know that I have given my web site a bit of a face lift. You can get to my site from the navigation bar above or just click here. This is based on a lot of new information I've been reading lately. It's surprising what a little activity can do to get people to look at my work.
      I've added quite a few works that many people have not seen in a long time, or maybe have never seen. There are two new categories including some of the work I've done for Educational projects and those done for Scientific/Medical projects as well. Over the last few weeks of work on this new iteration of my web site, I had the opportunity to look back over the past couple decades and discovered that I've done a huge pile of work for some really great clients. During the upcoming weeks I plan to add one more category for the Corporate work I've done -- be watching for it.
     So, I'd be real happy if you could take a look and let me know what you think.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Trout Live in Truly Amazing Places

I'm sorry for the delay in posting another entry on my blog but we have been very busy around Whitefish and Libby.
Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of this week Sharon, Sara, Jay and myself took a short trip to the Philipsburg, MT area. It was an absolutely wonderful experience for me. I got my first chance to fish Rock Creek in an area about 25 miles from the town. The creek itself is considered one of Montana's Blue Ribbon streams, making it one of the best in the country!
     We headed south to Missoula and got on Interstate 90 east(If you take it far enough east you'll end up on the NYS Thruway) to Drummond, then south on US 10A to Philipsburg. At Philipsburg we turned onto Rock Creek Rd.(MT Rte 348) and traveled west for about 15 miles, until the pavement ended and the road came to a Y. We turned left at the Y onto Co Rd 102. The landscape seem a little barren and is rolling mountain terrain with many pines of different sorts. Once we reached the stream the landscape closed in but was very scenic.

Trout really do live in amazing places...

This rock wall drops to the stream which is behind the line of trees at the bottom of the picture.

     We were invited there by Sara's great friend, Shannon Ostrowski, whose family owns this beautiful cabin on the creek about 10 miles up the dirt road and a short walk from "Huffman's Hole" on the stream.

They also own these great little bunk houses for guest like us. Sara and Jay used the top cabin, Sharon and I were in the middle one and Shannon was in the bottom. There was plenty of space for all our gear and a nice comfortable bed. The cool mountain air was especially good for sleeping.

This picture shows a small portion of the trail leading to the stream. Shannon told us that at certain times of the year, Spring especially, the creek runs very high and overflows the banks. This is a small bridge for one of those overflows.

As I emerged from the trail through the woods, this is the sight I was greeted by. Not too shabby a scene to look at.

The 2 larger pictures show the views upstream and down. There were lots of opportunities to fish around the small channels entering the main stream. Most of my time was spent in the areas of the upper left picture. You can see the clarity of the water in the lower left picture, sparkling clear. Sharon caught me casting in the other picture above.

     In this section it is common to find Cutthroats, Rainbows, Cutbows (a hybrid) and Brown trout. The majority of my catch was the Brown Trout but I did land several Cutbows and a very colorful Cutthroat Trout. I used lots of different flies but I did best on a size 16 Elk Hair Caddis. Size 14 and 16 beadhead Hares Ears nymphs, beadhead Prince nymphs and San Juan worms worked well below the surface. I also got lots of short strikes on hopper patterns and Orange Stimys. I landed 15 to 20 fish during my fishing time and lost at least that number as well. The size ranged all the way from a whopping 4" up to 14". The best fish I caught was on the "Night Bite" with an Elk Hair Caddis. It was really just luck because at that time of day and low light conditions, you can't see your fly on the water. If you see a rise in the general area you think your fly is in you must strike and hope for the best. It was an 18" Brown Trout which was in full color. What a fish!
     The most unfortunate part of my fishing experience was that I came back with no pictures of the fish I caught. The stream is VERY slippery. As a result, I didn't want to take the chance of taking my camera out on the stream and then go for an unexpected swim.

We had a great time on Rock Creek and Shannon and her Grandparents were the most gracious of hosts. They really made our time there special and most memorable!

On our way back to Whitefish we made a quick stop in the town of Philipsburg at the most incredible candy shop called The Sweet Palace. If you can think of a type of candy they made it. I thought we were in the Montana branch of Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. Of course, we had to take home our share and buy Johnny a gigantic gummy snake, red licorice scotty dogs and a supply of multicolored candy dots.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Beauty in Very Small Packages

A couple days ago we went to Blankenship, again, to fish. What a surprise! About 5 miles out of Columbia Falls and doing about 70 (the speed limit in Montana IS 70mph), I happened to spot several clusters of Indian Paintbrush. I know, going that speed I should keep my eyes glued to the road. They were very close to a spring that is along side the road and spouts gallons of crystal clear water constantly. There were a few cars behind us so I decided to stop on the way back from fishing.
     I had to do this to take advantage of an unusual sight this year. We haven't seen many wildflowers yet. As a matter of fact, the previous evening, I read an article in the Daily Interlake at Kristen and George's house about that very issue. The thinking of experts is that because they had such a late, wet and cold spring this year the wildflowers are either late to bloom or will not bloom as prolifically as in past years. The article also mentioned that the Beargrass is not expected to make its usually showy appearance either because it was a banner year last season. Beargrass plants bloom approximately every 7 years, so we may have to wait awhile before we see it again, at least in the Whitefish area.
     So, I felt I had to take the inspiration of the small cluster of blossoms I did see and do another painting. We are going to Libby later today and may see more over there. I can only hope.
     More to come...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Watch Mom AND Your Step

It doesn't happen very often, but I was in the right place at the right time! Traffic was stopped for the never ending construction on Going to the Sun Road and this young mountain goat was standing on a cliff next us. It is shedding its winter coat. It's amazing how these creatures are able to move with such agility in an unforgiving environment. There are lots of these animal in Logan's Pass and surrounding areas. They seem fearless around the huge number of humans who invade their home every day during the summer months when the road is actually open.

     Being such a great sight and pose, I knew I had to do a drawing of this cooperative little creature. So, here it is.
     More to come...