Ocean Sunset

This was my second painting, but also my first. When you paint with oil, most painters have several projects going on simultaneously as oil takes so long to dry. So, you paint one coat or one stage and let it dry before continuing. Again picking a subject that is close to my heart, I found this sunset in a magazine. Growing up in Bradenton, Fl. we went to the beach often. In fact, while watching a sunset on the beach is when I asked my wife to marry me. So I have some great memories at the beach. I was unhappy with the way the sun turned out in the landscape but it mirrored the subject, closely. It was difficult to make the sand look wet, as the water rolled on top of it. This was my first lesson on how the sun reflection projects across the water. Putting that white foam in the water, after the wave was difficult to make life like. When I sent this painting to my wife, I wrote a love letter that corresponded with the landscape. I shared some of our great memories at the beach. Her Aunt and Uncle graciously purchased this painting and the other canvas and head them professionally framed. They gave it to her for Christmas, from me. These landscapes helped me to realize the peace and happiness painting brings. It takes my mind outside of these prison walls and into happier times with the ones I love.

Man and Dog On Hunt

This subject came from an old calendar. It caught my eye as I was just learning to paint. I thought silhouettes were a good subject matter. I thought it would be an easy paint. Well it wasn’t as easy as I thought. Blending the colors of the sunset and making the tall grass look crisp was much harder than I thought it would be. As I painted this landscape, I talked to my wife and kids frequently. Throughout the weeks, Leann made it clear she had no desire for a man with a gun hanging in her home. So I reached out to some close friends and asked if they would be willing to receive some of my art, I don’t think they fully knew what they were committing too, but they graciously said yes. This is my first subject I have painted twice. The first one close friends in Texas purchased. I thought of them as I painted it, thinking they would enjoy it. This was the first painting I ever sold. In the first landscape, the dog looked more fat, and was unhappy with that, so I corrected that on the second one. I thought painting a second time, would make it easier, but that wasn’t the case as I struggled blending the sunset. I wanted it to reflect the sun and not look like a rainbow. I had suggestions from other inmates to leave off the gun, but I liked that aspect of it. While painting this, I learned how to be careful in mixing and blending colors, as it can easily be made into mud, a mixture of colors all mixed together. Not sure which version came out better, but I enjoyed both, and learned a lot while painting them.

Country Church in the Field

This was my very first painting. I befriended an older gentleman, Mikey, while incarcerated in Terre Haute, Indiana: “A paraplegic lifer”. He is called a “lifer”as he has served 16 years of his life sentence. A hobby he developed the last five years was painting. He is a recreation employee and spends most of his days painting down in the recreation center. I helped him from time to time by pushing his wheelchair, helping him set up his paint canvas and suypplies, or to get his mail sent out. He invited me a few times earlier in the year when I first came in to paint with him. However, I had no interest in painting. Well nine months later, I decided to give it a try. He loaned me the brushes that I needed, and gave me a few canvases and I helped me to get started. I’m not an artist, or a good drawer. I learned to use a projector to trace the hard lines of the image I paint. Mikey only painted in oil paints, so that is what I have also learned to use. Mikey worked side by side with me for the first two months teaching me techniques and strategies. I learned a lot, but even more, I learned to have a new love: painting. It started out with wanting to give a tangible gift to my wife and children. The subjects I choose to paint symbolized memories that I have of us. My wife and I married 16 years ago. The first home we owned was in East Bradenton, Florida. This landscape reminded me of much of the surrounding area where we spent our first year. I learned much about mixing colors and perspective by painting this landscape. I greatly enjoyed this project! Upon completion I varnished and mailed it to my wife with one other canvas. I understand that someone else likes it too and am honored that it has been printed.

Brilliant Sunset

My friend Mikey had hundreds of subjects. They included cut outs from magazines over the years, pictures, and postcards from his friends and family. This particular subject was a postcard. It caught my eye for several reasons. First, I loved the orange sunset. One of my closest friend’s favorite color is orange. We helped him to plant a Church many years ago, and “Orange” was the theme of that “Uncommon Church.”
I debated on where the image was taken and have concluded it might be on the east coast. I decided for the first time not to paint exactly what I saw. In this postcard, on the side of the mountain there was a hotel pertruding out from it. On the shore line, there were other buildings and a cell phone tower, as well as what looked like a barge in the water. I didn’t include any sign of inhabitants and kept this landscape “pure nature.” It reminded me vividly of Haiti, specifically of Kay Jamel in the evening time. I greatly enjoyed painting this landscape and learned the power of the sun and its reflection. The typical colors I’d use for water are blue and green, but yet this time of day the water resembled orange and violet. I enjoyed painting the palm trees poking out of the side of the mountain where the hotel was located. It brought back many of the happy memories I had while serving in Haiti for over a decade and the many days we spent at the surrounding beaches. My father in law purchased this painting and proudly hung in his house. He said he hopes someday it will be worth millions, funny. Sorry to disappoint you dad, that won’t happen. Hope to sell some prints of it though.