“Fisherman Three” at Lyons Share

Come see this and other new paintings at Lyons Share Gallery

http://lyonssharegallery.com       251.928.2507   330 De La Mare | Fairhope, AL 36532


Fisherman Three, 30″x40″ oil on canvas, $1200

Tales from a commissioned artist: III

The Choice of Joy!

What is a portrait? Is it a faithful rendition of a sitter’s face, neck and a portion of the chest? Is it an image of how the subject wants to be seen by the world?…  Or is it a moment in a child’s life as they are asked to look at the camera and stop fidgeting?

My favorite portraits are paintings that express a moment in a subject’s life….. or better yet, a moment captured as a subject lives. Who are we?  How do we express ourselves? How do we move? In what space are we most comfortable?

This painting of Watt Key’s children can barely be called a portrait. One of the 3 children even has her face turned away from us! And yet I persist in calling it a portrait. The eldest daughter demonstrates a model’s instinct for drama as she glances over her shoulder. Her younger sister follows her lead and the boy-child plays the classic “catch me if you can” game with the waves.

They are expressing the joy of living and after 400+ photos and 2 hours I was lucky enough to snap this picture.  The children are fully engaged and without pretext. The warmth of the sun and the cool water combine with the cry of the gulls.  The children crash on the shore and flow back into the bay like the waves. The kids are supreme in their domain here. Capturing this moment is an epic moment in my experience as an artist. I am grateful I was allowed such casual candor in telling this story.

When doing commissions, I take my own photos. My trick is to make the photo session as relaxed and playful as possible and to create or facilitate interaction between the subject and their surroundings.  There are many magnificent portraits depicting the sitter gazing at the viewer and I would never suggest these paintings lack depth, exquisite beauty and drama.

I believe, however, that our greatest contribution to ourselves and others is our frequent expression of joy. So next time you are asked to do a portrait, what would it take to make your clients smile, laugh or cry with joy!


Portrait of Watt Key’s Children, 30″x40″, oil on canvas

Tales from a commissioned artist II

This is a painting of Cynthia and her daughter Erin dining in a plaza in Italy…. or is it?

I met with Cynthia and Craig to discuss a painting commission chosen from the many photos they took on their Italian vacation. It was especially memorable because their daughter was able to join them. After we went through the stack of photos and chose promising ones, we narrowed the choices to three views of a plaza in Florence…. one that mostly looks like the painting, and 2 others with details of cascading flowers, the far building and diners. I loved how the shadowed buildings to the right direct the eye to the sun drenched east-side of the plaza. It suddenly struck me that this painting could include Cynthia and Erin with the other diners.

We arranged for Erin to join us for an afternoon photo-shoot with her mom and a glass or two of wine. I seated them with patio furniture using the plaza photo as reference for lighting. The wine flowed as I shouted encouragements. “Be natural”, “Again, with feeling this time”, “Use your other smile”. Finally I had some shots to work with. I thanked them for being good sports and my wife drove me home:)

In painting the image, I had to compose multiple images together. The lighting of all the “detail” photos was consistently from the right and behind the subjects just like the main photo.

This is important. I choose to paint objects becouse the lighting on them is beautiful, I don’t make it up. You will be rewarded as you begin exploring the unfolding romance of light and  its star crossed lover, shadow.



“Italian Lunch” 30″x40″ oil on canvas

Tales from a commissioned artist:I “raison d’être”

This is going to be an ongoing series of stories or mere snippets about the commissions I have painted, the people I have painted them for, and the tales of the ensuing drama of painting and meeting a clients dreams, hopes and expectations. Many artists loath the process of  painting commissions for the “constriction” it places on the artistic process. But….

“what else is POSSIBLE:)”

What if we, “I am talking to you artists out there!”, saw a customer’s request as an opportunity to play with a subject matter in a different way than we would normally play with it. This is my mental trick I play on myself when painting a commission. I am given a “box” with particular things in it. What are the possibilities? What is  the clients reason for wanting this painting… a memory from childhood, a treasured moment? What is the emotion sought by the client? Love, peace, humor, nostalgia, pride? Is there a story? How does this extra information and point of view the client shares change how we might depict the subject?


This is, or was, Debbie’s Barn. It was nestled between her childhood home and the family’s fields. You may perceive that it has seen better days. If fact, it was to be demolished soon and she wanted something to remember it by. I got directions and permission and photographed it early one summer day. I painted it boldly and loosely. I added touches of orange for color balance and to hint that the barn was in the autumn of its life. I also invested a sense of play and joy. Knowing Debbie, that was a big part of her childhood and I can only imagine the adventures she had as a little girl growing up on a farm!


Debbie’s Barn, 24×30, oil on canvas

House Portraits on Dauphin Island, AL


Oldest House in Dauphin Island and it just might be HAUNTED!! Check out what Gulf Coast specters has to say about it. http://www.gulfcoastspecters.com/id1.html . I did not personally experience anything weird during my 2 hour visit to the home. This is a beautifully restored home dating to 1890 I believe and owned by Rex and Camille Turner.


Anybody who has been to Dauphin Island will recognize these condos. You wil see them on the Right after you cross the bridge. Judy and Dude Maston have dubbed their’s the “Condominimum” !

Fresh Paint

Dog Wood Blossoms, 30″x40″, oil on canvas, $950


Water Lily, 24″x36″ oil on canvas, $800


Amalfi Coast, 30″x40, oil on canvas, $950

Shrimp Trawler, 24″x30″, oil on canvas, $750


Rooster Strut, 24″x36″ oil on canvas, $800

Serving Sweet Tea, 24″x30″ oil on canvas, $750

62nd Arts and Crafts Festival Fox 10 interview

Check this out! This is an interview conducted by Cherish Lombard of Fox 10 News. We talk about the featured painting for the festival, its inspiration and we work on a painting of a sunflower. I have never seen myself paint before. This is a painting in progress with a cool time lapse!  Check it out!!!

http://fox10tv.com/2014/03/12/fairhope-arts-and-crafts-festival-this-weekend/OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Official Artist of the 62nd Annual Arts & Crafts Festival in Fairhope

I have been chosen to represent the Arts and Crafts Festival this year to been held in Fairhope Alabama ,  March 14, 15 & 16, 2014. I have created  paintings for the consideration by the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce…..  I would like to express my gratitude to my Maker and Scotty, my Wife,  and my family and friends and students and  community for their enduring generous support of my passion to create art.  This would not be possible without the collaboration on the part of all parties above.


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