Home; Changes and Challenges in Art

The Boy and I got home on August 19th, 2012, after 15 days on our road trip. Though we were happy to be home, with his mom (my wife), in our own beds, with our dogs and cats, we were sad to not be moving and seeing anything new.

I love the south west landscape, and I loved the south west landscape art I had seen. I started going through my photos. I found a couple of favorites, took up my paint brush and began to translate the images to canvas.

Rain Near Santa Fe - SOLD
Rain Near Santa Fe – SOLD
Red Wall and Gate to the Jemez
Red Wall and Gate to the Jemez
24″ X 12″
$150.00 11X14

My first few attempts were OK, but I felt they were too weak, and didn’t convey the sense of rugged, harsh beauty I saw in those powerful scenes. I saw an artist named Louisa McElwain (video here) who painted with palette knives and even paint trowels. Sadly, she  passed away in February of 2013.

Her work spoke to me the way I wanted to speak to others! So I tried a painting with some palette knives.

Sierra Blanca from near Ft
My first palette knife painting, Sierra Blanca from near Ft Stanton

I loved the results! I was hooked. This new technique thrilled me. It’s so bold and lush. And I loved painting the desert and mountains with my knives.

into the badlands
into the badlands
My second knife painting

There was really only one problem. I live in Northern Michigan. Art lovers here aren’t really into South Western art. Unless they’ve been there, northerners have little appreciation for desert scenery. So I needed to find a way to get my art in front of people who enjoy the New Mexican or Coloradoan landscape.

I contacted some galleries in Albuquerque. Turns out that they prefer to show the local artists, the ones that are known in their area. These galleries have native New Mexican artists lined up, waiting to get their art on the walls. They’re turning most of them away. They don’t want a Michigan artist that nobody in New Mexico knows.

I started this blog to tell the story behind my art, and to share my Road Trip paintings not only with my Michigan friends, but also with an audience outside these Northern Realms.  I hope you’ve enjoyed it so far. I’ve gotten more likes and followers than I’d dreamed, and in the process I’ve discovered some great blogs, awesome bloggers, and the great new places they write about!

I’d be thrilled if you could share this blog with anyone who might be interested in the road trip, the paintings, the South west, or all of the above!

In the meantime, I’ll keep hitting the road, painting the scenery, and sharing with you!

Thanks for tagging along!

Coming soon: an Eastward trip along Lake Superior!

Miner's Castle in the Evening 16 x 20  $300.00
Miner’s Castle in the Evening
16 x 20


  1. Haha, that’s sort of the same (but opposite) problem I may be looking at out here. I’m a Yooper transplanted into the Southwest and love painting Lake Superior scenes lately. I’m not sure how they’ll go over out here… although people in the desert do love their water. So we’ll see…

      1. We moved to the Phoenix area from Marquette six years ago for my husband’s new job. I really love the sunshine out here. 🙂 We still have our place up there and spend a couple of weeks up there every summer. That town has so much personality, and I miss a lot of things about it… just not those long, grey winters! Ideally, one day we will split our time between the two places, but for now we are here full-time.

      2. I’m quite sick of the winters.
        I just did Art on the Rocks this weekend. Oddly, I sold more south west paintings than Marquette area pieces. I hope you have the same luck, though inverse!

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