Sunday, November 12, 2017

News from the Studio 11/12/17

Hello my friends,

We are just under a week away from the National Oil and Acrylic Painters' Society Small Works Exhibition at Cathy Kline Art Gallery in Parkville, Missouri!

I have one painting in the show, called "Overcast Day", and it will be available for purchase at the gallery through the end of the year.  Please contact Cathy Kline at 913-449-4460 or to inquire about purchasing.

Overcast Day
oil on panel
8x10 inches
Available at Cathy Kline Art Gallery, Parkville, MO
I am so honored to also have the opportunity to do a painting demonstration at the NOAPS Small Works show.  I will be joining my friends Adam and Andrea Clague on Saturday, November 18th at Cathy Kline Art Gallery, and the 3 of us will be doing painting demonstrations from 11:00 am until 3:00 pm.  Join us!

I will also be recording my demo as I did at the NOAPS exhibition in Fredericksburg, TX and posting it to YouTube.  Stay tuned, and if you missed my demo from RS Hanna Gallery, you can view it right here:

And speaking of Fredericksburg, my work is also available for purchase at RS Hanna Gallery through the end of the year.  To see my available pieces, click here:

Please contact Shannon Hanna at RS Hanna Gallery at 830-307-3071 or to inquire about purchasing.

I have been working on some new YouTube videos to be posted soon.  My latest will be a first in a small series of videos on drawing, and a few important lessons on understanding some the fundamental principles of representational drawing.  This first video will be about drawing the value sphere, and what exactly the importance of the exercise is (so you don't think it's just an arbitrary and meaningless exercise in drawing a ball).  I will also be recording videos on portrait drawing, drawing with toned paper, and the benefit of master copies.  Stay tuned, I've been busy but I fully intend on doing videos on all of those topics.  It just might take a while!

I am currently working on a few different paintings.  One landscape piece, and a rare still life effort.  Rare for me, anyway.  Here is the latest piece I finished recently of a view of Galilee, returning to my Holy Land-inspired pieces:

oil on linen
10x20 inches

I am hoping this painting will be available soon in a small exhibition that Cathy Kline herself invited me to participate in at her church.  More information on that will be available soon!

That is all the news I have for now.  Please visit my Facebook Page to see more of my work, and contact me at for more information or to inquire about purchasing other works.

Friday, October 13, 2017

YouTube Vlog #15 - The NOAPS Exhibition at RS Hanna Gallery

The latest vlog is up, and here I talk a little bit about my trip to Fredericksburg, TX for the National Oil and Acrylic Painters' Society Exhibition at RS Hanna Gallery.
I had such an awesome time walking around Fredericksburg, checking out the shops and the Main Street RS Hanna location, and of course checking out the show and doing my painting demo.  I met some really great people and enjoyed chatting with them.  I don't know when I will be back to visit the gallery, but probably not before the end of the NOAPS show.
A huge thanks to Shannon and Teresa once again for being so welcoming and kind.  It was a pleasure meeting both of you, and I hope you can sell some of my work while I'm away!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Painting Demonstration at RS Hanna Gallery

Hey friends!

I just got back from Fredericksburg, TX a few days ago after a great trip to visit the National Oil and Acrylic Painters' Society exhibition at RS Hanna Gallery.  While I was there, I had the opportunity to do a little 2-hour painting demo, and I recorded the whole thing for your viewing entertainment!  I've condensed it down to just under 7 minutes for those of you that have no patience to watch a 2-hour long video.  Hope you enjoy it, and I will have another blog entry about my trip soon, so stay tuned for that.  In the meantime...

Friday, September 22, 2017

YouTube Vlog #14 - More on Inspiration

Hey friends!
Today I have a new vlog on YouTube, and I'm talking once again about inspiration.  Particularly, how do we as artists stay inspired and motivated when we are in a position that could lead to the dreaded "painter's block" situation?  How do we stay motivated and prevent a slump in our creativity?  My answer:  Stay productive!  Do little drawing and painting sketches every chance you get, read some good art books, watch some good art videos on YouTube, go online and look at/study art by your favorite artists, etc.  Whatever you do, don't just sit there and wait to be inspired.  Keep art on the mind and allow yourself to find new inspiration in these things.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

YouTube Vlog #13 - Current Projects

Hey everyone,
Here is the latest vlog, just showing what new paintings I've been working on lately.  Including some of the pieces I've entered for the National Oil and Acrylic Painters' Society Small Works show in Parkville, MO.  I'll be getting the official notification of (hopefully) acceptance at the end of this month.  Also, please check out RS Hanna Gallery's website to see my available paintings and contact the gallery to inquire about pricing and purchasing:

Saturday, September 2, 2017

News from the Studio 9/2/17

Hey there my friends, here is the latest from the studio:

  • The National Oil and Acrylic Painters' Society show at R.S. Hanna Gallery in Fredericksburg, Texas has officially kicked off.  The unfortunate news, however, is that they had to postpone their First Friday Art Walk demos and festivities for September 1st because of the hurricane's aftermath, and the flooding in Texas that has caused many issues with travel.  I had planned on being there this weekend for the September Art Walk to see the show and do a painting demonstration.  But due to the cancellation, I will be heading down there for First Friday, October 6th.  I plan on doing my painting demo at that time, and hopefully will be able to do a live stream video via YouTube.  I will keep you all posted on that as it gets closer.

  • I have submitted entries for two more exhibitions this fall.  Both of which are juried shows, so I will post updates soon as I am notified on whether or not I am accepted.  The first is the 11th Annual State of the Arts Juried Show in Prairie Village, Kansas at the R.G. Endres Gallery.  The other show is the National Oil and Acrylic Painters' Society Small Works Show in Parkville, Missouri.  Stay tuned for news on both of these shows!
  • Here are the latest works in my Imago Dei series:
oil on canvas
24x20 inches

oil on canvas
36x24 inches

oil on canvas
28x22 inches
  • Cocoon is available at Jones Gallery in Kansas City, and both Glide and Contrition are currently available through my studio.  Please contact me at to inquire about purchasing.
That is all the news for now.  Stay tuned for more vlogs coming up on YouTube, as well as news about fall shows and future works.  

Thursday, August 31, 2017

YouTube Vlog #12 - Zorn Palette Demo

I posted this latest vlog a little while ago on YouTube, so here it is if you haven't seen it.  It's a follow-up to my previous one where I showed you my palette and some of the colors I use.  In this one, I do a very basic color-mixing demo using the Zorn palette just to show you what kinds of variations of colors, tints and such that you can get with such a limited palette.  And in particular, I wanted to show the sorts of things you can accomplish with black (for those of us who have been taught to avoid black on our palettes).  Hope you enjoy!

Friday, August 18, 2017

YouTube Vlog #11 - My Palette


Here's my latest vlog on YouTube, where I show you my palette o' colors.  I have a whole bunch more, but what I show you here are my most frequently used colors for portrait, figure, and landscape painting.  I am planning a follow-up video where I demonstrate a little color mixing, but for now I hope this is informative.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

News from the Studio 7/22/17

Hi friends, here is the latest from my studio:

  • In case you haven't seen my announcement on Facebook, I was accepted for the RS Hanna Gallery representation for their Fall Showcase from September 1st - December 31st!  I got the notification late in June, and I have been incredibly busy getting ready for the show since then.  I would truly appreciate your prayers as I get ready for the exhibition.  I've been a little stressed and overwhelmed by all of it, and just hoping that it is a worthwhile thing.  Plus, I am planning on making the trip down there in Fredericksburg, TX for the September 1st opening.  All of the expenses and preparation have been a lot of work (and money), but I'm hopeful for a good outcome from this experience.  
  • To be honest, that is pretty much all the news from the studio I have.  But I have also just posted the latest Vlog #10 on YouTube, where I talk a little bit about the RS Hanna exhibition, and I get one of my paintings ready for the show with a varnishing and a frame.  Here is the latest vlog from the studio:

  • I am planning on showing a few new pieces from my series called Imago Dei at Jones Gallery for the August 4th First Friday, so if you are in the Kansas City area, I hope you will come on out to the gallery and say hello.  I'm really hoping this new series of figure paintings will have some positive responses.  I am hoping to get 2 or 3 at Jones Gallery for August.  I am sending 2 of them to RS Hanna for the September opening.  Here are the latest in the series:
oil on canvas
36x24 inches

oil on canvas
24x20 inches

oil on canvas
20x16 inches

  • Keep tuning in to my YouTube channel for upcoming vlogs!  I still have plenty of ideas to come soon, including more from my art library, First Friday vlogs, my RS Hanna journey, and other vlogs with tips and techniques for all you oil painters out there.  Please check out my channel and subscribe!

More to come soon!

Friday, July 7, 2017

YouTube Vlog #9 - Stages of Oil Painting Part V: Final Touches

Today I posted the fifth and final stage in my oil painting creation process on YouTube.  In this stage, I simply put the finishing touches on the figure using some glazes and scumbled highlights.  I also brought the background to a finish using a number of abstract paint application techniques (more glazing, palette knife, impasto, etc.).  Hope you enjoy this final installment of my Stages of Oil Painting vlog series!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

YouTube Vlog #8 - Stages of Oil Painting Part IV: 2nd Color

Hi friends,

The next vlog is up!  This is my fourth installment of my Stages of Oil Painting, and this one is on the 2nd painting, or 2nd color stage.  Here, the colors of the figure get a little more specific, and I've expanded my palette from the previous limited "Zorn" palette to include some crimson and some ultramarine blue and some dioxazine purple.  Although, I am using these colors sparingly and keeping the application thin and translucent to allow for some of the 1st color to show through.

Stay tuned for the fifth and final stage coming soon!  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy part IV:

Monday, June 26, 2017

News From The Studio 6/26/17

Hello friends,

It's time for an update from the studio, so here it goes:
  • Today was the final deadline for members of National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society to apply for representation at RS Hanna Gallery from September - December.  They extended the deadline an entire month, so I've been waiting that long to find out if I've been accepted.  We'll be hearing from them later this week.  I am nervous either way, because if I'm rejected it'll be a huge bummer.  But if I'm accepted, then I have a lot of work ahead of me to prepare for it.  This is one of the biggest leaps I've taken in a while, and probably my biggest to date.  I need prayer!
  • I am working on so many projects right now, it's a little ridiculous.  I have a new series called Imago Dei, which is a series of figure paintings.  I am also going to be working on a few small works to submit for a NOAPS small works exhibition coming up later this year as well.  I'm really hoping to get into that exhibition because it is going to be showing at my friend Cathy Kline's gallery in Parkville, Missouri.  The trick is to create some particularly outstanding small paintings.  If there's one thing I know about small works, it's that they have to stand out to be noticed.  They have to be exceptional, and that's what I think is going to make this a tough exhibition to get into.  Of course, that's true of any show, but a small works show for sure.
  • So speaking of my Imago Dei series, I've had a bit of a frustrating experience today.  But, I suppose I should welcome myself to the club.  That is, the club for artists who have had artwork censored from Facebook.  Apparently, I am so good at figure paintings that Facebook decided to remove an image of one of my Imago Dei paintings today.  And here it is:
Imago Dei - Balance
oil on canvas
36x24 inches
  • I've decided I'm going to let Facebook have this one... for now.  I may upload it again later, but what for?  I realize full well that works of fine art such as paintings and sculptures depicting the nude figure do not violate their community standards regarding nudity.  It states that explicitly, in fact.  But I am not the only artist to experience this.  Lo and behold, just as I had to deal with this today, I was scrolling through Facebook and saw another artist dealing with the same thing.  And then another artist.  What's the deal, Facebook?  You like censoring art now?  Whatever.
  • Anyway, moving on... in case you didn't notice, I have begun to revive my YouTube channel, and I've posted a bunch of new vlogs over the past several weeks.  They are all posted here on my blog.  And if you haven't yet, please go over to my YouTube channel and subscribe so you can be among the first to see my new vlogs as I post them!  I am currently working on a short series of videos discussing my Stages of Oil Painting, in which I show you each of the different stages that I go through to create an oil painting in the traditional, indirect approach.  They are pretty brief overviews of the process, and not full tutorials on how I do the painting.  I have also recently started a series looking at my art book collection, and talking about which books I recommend for artists, and why they are so resourceful.  This is just the beginning.  I have several more ideas for upcoming vlogs, so please subscribe!!
  • Remember First Friday coming up in the Crossroads in KC on July 7th!  Again, I am showing at Jones Gallery at 1717 Walnut.  Stay tuned for future updates, as I have another First Friday opening in the Crossroads coming up in January 2018 that will be literally only a block away from Jones.  More to come later on that show!

That's all the news for now.  Again, wish me luck this week on that RS Hanna Gallery representation!  Thanks everyone, more to come soon!

Friday, June 23, 2017

YouTube Vlog #7 - Library Tour Part I: Techniques of Genius

Hello again,

Today I posted my first vlog in a series on my collection of art books.  In each video, I will be discussing one or two books out of my library, and how they have been resourceful in my art career.  In this first one, I have two that I'm sharing - One on Velázquez, and the other on Rembrandt.  But these aren't typical books about their work.  They also get into their technique, and give us insights into their painting process, and how they thought visually.

 Knowing art history is more than simply knowing about the lives and works of old masters.  Being familiar with how these masters worked can help us immensely when it comes to developing our own technique.  Hope you all find this vlog helpful, and if you get a chance, be sure to check out these books for yourself!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

YouTube Vlog #6 - Stages of Oil Painting Part III: First Color

Hello my friends,

I have finished the third stage of my figure painting vlog series, and it is up on YouTube now.  This is the first color, or "first painting" stage of the painting in which I apply the first layer of color to the figure, and I talk about how I went about it in my latest video.  Check it out below, and stay tuned because I have probably two more stages left to finish.

Plus, stay tuned in a few days for my first vlog highlighting some of my favorite books in my library (for all you art history nerds).

Here is the latest in Stages of Oil Painting:

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

YouTube Vlog #5 - Stages of Oil Painting Part II: Grisaille

Hi everyone,

A new vlog is up, and this one is Part 2 of my stages of oil painting.  This one is the grisaille.  For this stage, we start to set the values of the figure in place for the upcoming stages of color application.  The grisaille is done completely with tones of gray, and in this vlog I tell you all about how I do it.  Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

YouTube Vlog #4 - Stages of a Painting: The Underpainting

Hello again friends,

The latest vlog is up on YouTube!  So one question I get a lot is what my process is for building up a painting from start to finish.  How long does it take me?  How many layers, and so forth.  Well I thought I would show you through a short series of videos - each one showing you each progressive stage in the process.  So this first one is all about the underpainting.  Here, I explain what the underpainting is and how I get my start on it.  Hope you enjoy, and please subscribe to my channel so you don't miss anything!  More vlogs to come!

Click here to subscribe to my YouTube channel!

Monday, May 29, 2017

YouTube Vlog #3 - Nelson-Atkins Museum Tour

Hello friends,

I just posted my latest vlog on YouTube.  For this one, we're going to one of my favorite places in Kansas City, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. 

The work of the Old Masters has always been an influence in my work, and one of my favorite things to do is to visit the Nelson and gaze/study these master works up close.  I always enjoy learning new things from these pieces every time I pay them a visit.  So today, I'm taking you all with me!  And hopefully you can be as inspired by them as I am with this quick video tour of some of my favorites.  Enjoy!

Friday, May 19, 2017

YouTube Vlog #2 - What Inspires Me?

Hello again, friends!

Here is my second YouTube vlog... This one on inspiration.  What inspires me?  How do we get inspired to create?  One way I find is to never allow yourself to become idle.  The act of creating itself may be all the inspiration you need.  And if not, there are plenty of ways to seek it out.  I will most likely be making multiple videos on this question because there are truly multiple things in which we can find inspiration. 

News From The Studio 5/19/17

Hello friends!

Here is the latest from the studio:

  • If you haven't seen yet, I have begun to revive my YouTube channel with new video content.  I am hoping to keep it up on a more regular basis, and I already have a long list of ideas for upcoming vlogs.  They are simply going to be on a variety of things including tips and techniques, art history, demos, and discussions about various art topics.  I'm also planning on including video trips to the Nelson-Atkins museum and First Fridays in the Crossroads in KC.  It's going to be an adventure!  If you missed my first video, check it out on my previous post.  And please go and subscribe to my YouTube channel!  My next vlog is called "What Inspires Me?" and will be posted very soon.

  • I am busy working on a new series of paintings called Imago Dei.  My previous series Light Up The Darkness is on hiatus for now.  I intend to return to it sometime, but a creative wave of inspiration (speaking of) came over me and led me to this new series of figurative pieces.  Many of these paintings are going to be nudes or partial nudes, and I have written about my thoughts on nude paintings before on this blog.  My thought is simply this:  A nude painting should be more than just a depiction of the body, unless it is an academic piece or a study.  Like any work of art, what is its statement?  For this series, I am painting what I believe to be the beauty of God's ultimate creation - the fearfully and wonderfully made human being.  But unlike the classical works of the past that saw the human being and his form as being god-like itself, my paintings for this series are going to incorporate an element of distortion.  This represents the fact that although we are God's ultimate creation and beautifully made in His image, we are still in an imperfect state.  As a result of original sin, we as humans are not yet who we were originally meant to be.  For me, this series is an exciting exploration of that tension of being perfectly made, yet living imperfect lives.
oil on canvas
18x24 inches

oil on canvas
20x16 inches

oil on linen
28x22 inches

oil on linen
30x24 inches

oil on linen
36x24 inches
  • The National Oil and Acrylic Society (NOAPS) has offered what sounds to be an amazing opportunity for its members, and I am hoping to be selected for it.  The RS Hanna Gallery in Fredericksburg, Texas is going to be representing 60 NOAPS members from September through December, 2017.  Selected artists will be showing 3-5 works at the gallery for those four months, and will apparently have a large amount of First Friday and tourist traffic during that time.  The gallery will be promoting the exhibition through some major nationwide art publications and other media.  One of my goals for this year is to finally seek gallery representation outside of the Kansas City area, and I figured this would be a great opportunity to start trying.  So if you would please pray and wish me well on this opportunity, I would appreciate it!
  • Hey!  One thing I have failed to promote much at all are my current listings on Ebay.  I have 24 original paintings from the past few years listed, many of which are smaller works.  Please check them out!  They are among the lowest priced paintings I have available.  The link to my Ebay is under the "Links" to the left side of this page.
  • My Go Fund Me campaign is still going!  Again, please consider a donation to help me out with my medical expenses.  Truly, every little amount with which you are able to help me out is a burden lifted, and I appreciate it all.  Plus, there just might be a painting in it for YOU!  Please check out my Go Fund Me page, and share it with everyone you know!

That's all the news for now.  Please stay tuned for my next YouTube vlog on inspiration, and for new works coming soon!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

YouTube Vlog #1 - My Studio Tour

Hello friends!

Today I want to share something new that I've been thinking about and working on for a few months now.  I thought it was time to start investing a little bit more effort and time into my YouTube channel.  I've had my channel for years, but haven't put any new, updated content on it for quite a while. 

So I'm working up several ideas for vlogs that will cover a number of different art topics.  My first one is a tour of my studio.  Future topics will include:  My library, drawing/painting demos, materials, palette, art terms, art history, etc.  Hope you will enjoy them!  Here's my first new vlog:

Stay tuned for more!  -Ryan

Saturday, May 6, 2017

GoFundMe - Ryan's Bogus (Gallbladder) Journey

Hi friends!

So as you may have read in a previous post, I recently had an awful gallbladder attack and had to undergo surgery to remove it. 

As it turns out, the one thing I was dreading is just about as burdensome as I was expecting.  I am talking about the medical expenses, of course.  After insurance, I still have quite an amount left to pay off.

So I am calling on you to help me with this burden with my new Go Fund Me campaign!  But I don't want you to think that I'm just asking for money.  It is actually really hard for me to do that even in situations like this when I know I need to.

So I want to sweeten the deal for YOU.  As incentive for your donations, I am throwing in a very special offer to the person who donates the highest amount to my campaign.  Please watch my story here:

I sincerely appreciate every donation.  Every little bit helps a lot.  I hope you will consider making a donation to help me out, and you may do so by checking out my Go Fund Me page here:

Thank you all so much, and God bless!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Upcoming - Images Gallery Juried Exhibition

Hello friends,

Just a quick note to announce that I have been accepted into Images Art Gallery's annual juried exhibition, which opens with a reception on Friday, April 21st from 6:00 - 9:00pm.  All 3 of my entries were juried into the show, so I'm hopeful it will be a great show.

This year, Images Gallery has posted all of the juried entries on their website, which you can check out at

Last year, I was very blessed to have been awarded with the Best of 2D prize, which came as a total surprise to me.  For as long as I've done the Images show, it's been a tough one.  I almost didn't do this year's show, but I decided to at the last minute (literally about 2 days before the registration was due). 

As for new work, now that I am starting to feel better after my surgery, I have been able to feel comfortable enough to get back in the studio and work on stuff.  So keep watching out for more, friends.  I promise it's coming!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

News from the Studio (Or "Chronicles of my Cholecystectomy") 3/14/17

Hi friends!

This is going to be a fun update.  A lot sure has happened in the past 10 days, so let's get to it.

First, let's talk Blue Springs Art Show, and then I'll get to the other stuff.  The Blue Springs show was held back at Vesper Hall in Blue Springs, Missouri on March 4-5, and it went really well!  I went into it without any expectations as usual.  But I managed to take away 3 awards that weekend. 

My self-portrait was the 1st Place Portrait winner, and my painting The Crusader took 2nd in the Opaque category, as well as 2nd Place People's Choice.  All in all, it was a successful show yet again for me, and I couldn't be happier about it.

And now comes the real story of the past several days for me.  And it all started that Saturday night of the Blue Springs show, March 4th.  After a delicious meal at one of my favorite restaurants, I began to feel a slight stomach ache.  This is something I had felt before, and I had a bad feeling it was going to get worse as the evening progressed.  Although, in times past, it would turn out not as bad as I expected, so I still had hope it would be okay.  Still, as the night progressed, and while I was at the awards reception at Blue Springs, the ache in my stomach also began to progress.  By the time I was home and did my nightly before-bed routine, the ache in my stomach started turning to pain.  Real.  Awful.  Pain.  That pink Pepto-Bismol stuff that I tried to take did not work.

By 11:00pm, I was nauseous, and throwing up.  You would think throwing up might help with the stomach issues, because whatever was in there that was making me feel so awful was no longer there.  Nope.  Not the case.  In fact, it seemed as though my stomach pain was even worse at that point.  So the game was over.  It was emergency room time.

So there I am at the ER with my mom until sometime after 3:00am Sunday morning trying to get the pain under control.  They gave me an IV with some fluids, and medication.  In exchange, I gave them some of my fluids for them to run some labs.  Nothing serious came up, thank goodness.  But I still had no idea what was wrong with me.  My mom just happened to throw out the suggestion that it may be my gallbladder.  The ER doctor said, "Yeah, it's possible."  But since they decided not to even do an x-ray, it was hard to say. 

They told me to stick to a "bland" diet and to get in to see my doctor that week.  So I did on Wednesday.  Now, I really like my doctor because he doesn't mess around.  If I need something done, he gets it done, or puts an order in to have it done quickly.  After my quick appointment with him, he was almost about to admit me right there.  But we decided that I could come back first thing the next morning for an ultrasound to get to the bottom of this.  But he was pretty certain it was my gallbladder too.

So I came back the next morning, Thursday, and did just that.  My doctor told me he would get the results of the ultrasound within minutes, so I didn't even need to leave the building before I could come right back up to see him and get the verdict.  Sure enough, I got a call to come up to the office.  And sure enough, I had a gall stone.  A BIG gall stone.  And my nurse said, "Yep, he called it, didn't he."  To which I replied, "Yeah, although the funny thing is my mom called it right from the beginning at the ER."  My mom and I have both seen this before with my dad several years ago.  Same exact pain.  Same diagnosis. 

Well, my doctor was ready to admit me right away and get this taken care of.  But there was one small problem.  The hospital was full, and they couldn't get a bed for me.  If I was to go through with the surgery, it wasn't going to happen until 8:00pm that Thursday evening.  They had me in a room hooked up to another IV and getting more fluids and having more labs done.  This went on for a couple of hours before the surgeon came in and told me the situation.  I could wait until 8:00pm, but still not have a bed, and just stay overnight in an uncomfortable ER bed or something.  Or, I could go home and sleep in my own bed, and come back again bright and early at 6:30am Friday morning and have the surgery and go home later that same day.  So I went with option B.  And in hindsight, it was the right choice.

So on Friday March 10th at around 9:30am, I had my gallbladder removed.  And since then, I have been recovering.  Which has involved sitting on my butt, watching TV, getting up and walking around the house on occasion, regaining my appetite, and taking my happy pills.

The surgery itself was an interesting experience.  I'd never had surgery before.  There was a time when I was a baby that I needed anesthesia for some dental work, but this was my first real surgery.  It was strange.  The last thing I remember was being wheeled into the operating room.  They instructed me to stretch out my arms, and told me to start taking some deep breaths as they placed an oxygen mask over my face.  That's it.  I went completely out sometime after that.  Then my first memory of waking up was in the recovery room, feeling ridiculously groggy, and falling in an out of sleep, but trying to stay awake.  Feeling as though almost no time had past.  It's a weird feeling. 

Anyway, that's what I've been up to for the past week and a few days.  Stay with me, friends!  I'm looking forward to getting better and getting back to work.  And, frankly, eating some good food again.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

LUTD - The Temptation

Hello friends!

Today I finished the latest piece for Light Up The Darkness.  I wanted to do something that was about temptation, and the nature of temptation.  One of the things that makes Darkness such a powerful force over humanity is its ability to entice us.  Darkness is not necessarily something that wants to scare us.  It wants to suck us in and manipulate us into thinking that what is inherently evil is good.  Among God's 10 Commandments, I actually think one of the hardest to keep is "Thou shalt not covet..."  The fundamental part of falling into temptation is our tendency to covet that which we desire, but don't have.  The greatest weapon that Darkness has is its ability to use our weaknesses against us.  But our greatest weapon against Darkness is the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, and our God-given capacity to resist evil.  We stumble.  We break promises.  We give in to the thing that hurts us and others.  But we can rise up, and stare Darkness in the face, and say, "You have no power over me."

The Temptation (1 Corinthians 10:12-13)
oil on linen
24x36 inches

Friday, February 24, 2017

News from the Studio 2/24/17

Hello my friends,

I have some good news.  It may be mostly just good news for me, but I hope it will be good news for this blog and those of you reading it as well.  As the Lenten season begins next week, I will be taking a much needed break from the horrendous chains of the social media platform known as Facebook.  On the one hand, it is probably my greatest tool for promoting my work, and it's going to be challenging without it for 40 or so days.  But on the other hand, it has gotten to the point where I am almost sickened by it every day I log on.  I actually find that the days I'm not on Facebook at all are the genuinely good and productive days.  In that sense, it will be quite easy.  I sometimes think about how much I miss the days when social media didn't exist. 
So, my Lenten hiatus from Facebook means I will happily be able to spend more time productively keeping this blog page up to date.

The Blue Springs Art Show is next weekend, March 4th - 5th.  And of course, I am participating.  It is back again at Vesper Hall, 400 NW Vesper, from 10am - 5pm on Saturday, and 11am - 4pm on Sunday.  As it goes, I will have two paintings showing.  I hope to see you there!

My series of paintings, Light Up The Darkness, is still going.  Going slow, but it's still going.  I am working through a lot of ideas for paintings in my head, and I have found that I sometimes like to change my mind about things midway through a project.  So these paintings sometimes go slower than usual.  But here is a tiny glimpse of what I am working on right now:

I have also recently finished a new commission.  A few years ago I painted a portrait of this young man named Mason:

Most recently I painted his brother Logan, who is now a high school senior himself.  I will be able to post the finished piece later, once I have handed it over to the family.  But I do have a small peek of it I can show now:

I had a fun time painting this one, and Logan did a pretty awesome job sitting for me.  And speaking of Mason, it was awesome to hear that he began Marine Corps boot camp back in September.  He dealt with some illness that delayed the process, but I am happy to say that after the grueling final test known as the Crucible, Mason became a United States Marine on Thursday morning, February 23rd.  I may just have to paint him in uniform at some point.

By the way, I would love to paint a commissioned portrait for you or a family member/friend.  It is a perfect way to celebrate a high school senior in the family, as with Mason and Logan.  But I am ready, willing, and happy to paint any portrait for any occasion.  I use all professional high quality oils and canvas (linen or cotton) to ensure it will last for generations.

On that note, I wanted to mention a special portrait commission that came to me last year from a mother wanting a memorial portrait of her daughter.  And what a pleasure it was to work on this one.  Sometimes, it's all about capturing a good memory and essence of a loved one, which is what this special portrait was all about.  With permission, I am happy to show it to all.

oil on linen
14x11 inches

More to come later, my friends!

Monday, January 23, 2017

LUTD - The Latest Works

It's a new year, and I have some new work to share.  Actually, one of them is a few months old.  I just haven't posted it on the blog yet.  But the other one is newly finished today.

Both of these are part of my Light Up The Darkness series, and I actually think it's appropriate that I post these two particular pieces in the same blog post.  One of my intentions for this series is that some of these paintings would be responses to previous paintings.  I want to convey the idea of a spiritual battle with this series.  My hope is for the imagery to go back and forth between Darkness having an upper hand, and the Crusader responding in faith and boldness.

I painted Lament in mid-November, and my intention was to make it an extremely dark piece that would get to the heart of the battle between good and evil.  It is simply what you see - a remorseless figure of Darkness mocking the faithful Crusader as they behold a scene of brutal persecution.  It's no secret that Christian persecution weighs on my heart, and I often feel helpless to do anything about it.  I pray about it.  I try to spread news of it when I see stories about it on social media.  And I think to myself, "What more can I do?"  I can't fight ISIS head on.  I often feel like my voice is too small to make others care about it.  So I wanted to portray that sentiment in this painting by putting the Crusader in a position that basically embodies that kind of helplessness to do anything about the horror that is happening.

Lament (John 15: 18-25)
oil on linen
30x24 inches
So how do I respond to this image?  The scripture passage from Ephesians 5 that inspired this series says not to participate in the deeds of darkness, but to expose them.  It means responding in faith and fight darkness until there is no darkness left.  To love what is righteous and hate what is evil.  I believe God has called us to be crusaders for righteousness.  He has called us to rise up and shine light on the evil deeds of darkness.  To expose them for what they are, and not be afraid to use our voices and our gifts as means of communicating and spreading the gospel.  That is precisely what this series is about.  And I believe Christ is my Good Shepherd and Protector for the battle.  So I began thinking about images for this.  A Protector.  One with strength and majesty, and one that would terrify evil.  And then it dawned on me.  I recalled a quote that I read from a book called Manuel for Spiritual Warfare.  The quote is from St. John Chrysostom, and he is talking about the Eucharist.  It says in part,

"For this reason, we must return from the Table like lions breathing fire, having become terrifying to the Devil."

A lion.  Something I had never painted before.  This was going to be my symbol for a holy Guardian in the battle.  And while He's not breathing fire in this painting, I have not ruled it out for future pieces.

The Guardian (Psalm 121)
oil on linen
36x24 inches

The scary thing is, even when we are bold in faith, Darkness still likes to play games with us.  The battle continues...