Friday, April 21, 2017

"Introduction to Drawing and Painting the Dog" - workshop, July 18th and 19th, 2017

"Tierra Dulce", oil (detail)

I've drawn and painted animals for years and have been putting them in my paintings more and more frequently. I'm delighted to have been asked to teach a two day workshop on drawing and painting dogs this summer.

I'm told we have a dog model who is very good at "stay" and "lie down so we can draw and paint you". This would not be my own dog, though (see painting above). We'll also be studying dog anatomy and talking about taking and using photography.

The workshop is on Monday, July 18th and Tuesday, July 19th. It's open for registration at Scottsdale Artists School and you can enroll and find out more about it at this link.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

National Weather Service Biennale 2017 - "Dust Devil" Drawing

"Dust Devil in a Pick-Your-Own-Field"
40" x 32"
Charcoal and Carbon Pencil on Canson Board

I just shipped off my big drawing to the upcoming National Weather Service Biennale in Norman, Oklahoma.  I'm excited to be in this show for a lot of reasons. I've been experimenting with large drawings for several months and it's exciting to see one get accepted into a national show. Plus, it's a big departure from my usual subject matter (figurative oil paintings).

I had to write an Artist's Statement about this drawing for the show. This is what I wrote:

  • I was in a pick-your-own pumpkin field in Arizona with my three young children on a late October day. We were startled by a sudden narrow spiral of dirt that began to whirl in the rows of withered stalks, climbing higher and growing stronger as we watched it float and churn toward us. There was nowhere to go and it happened very fast. We huddled together and covered our faces as it passed through us, blowing dirt through our hair and blasting our skin and clothes with little stones and leaves. Our visitor left as quickly as it came, leaving us energized, as if we had tobogganed down a snowy hill together, breathless and grateful for a safe landing.

It's a little embarrassing to be sending a drawing of a small dust devil and writing about my experience with it to an exhibition in one of the world's capitals of tornados. People from Oklahoma really, really know the horror of tornados. I think tornados are some of the scariest things on the planet, although tsunamis are right up there as well. I strongly suspect that the brave people from Oklahoma would scorn a little dust devil.

A dust devil seems mercurial,  unexpectedly sudden and random, no long scary music buildup, no watching the heavy sky darken and churn while you beat on the storm cellar door hoping Auntie Em will let you and your little dog, too, inside. It just zips cheerfully through the bright sky, throws some dust and debris around and then dissipates, a little message sent via air mail that anything can happen to shake you up, even in the middle of a warm, boring day.

The show opens on April 23, 2017 at the National Weather Service at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma. For more information click here.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

"Sight Unseen", Abend Gallery show, opens Feb. 24th, 2017

I'm excited to be in a new group show at Abend Gallery in Denver that promises to be an exciting event. "Sight Unseen" is a collaboration between noted artist and curator Alia El Bermani and Poets and Artists Magazine, an online creative exploration of contemporary art and artists hosted by artist, writer and curator Didi Menendez.

My painting "Here and Now" will be featured in the show, which opens February 24th.

"Here and Now", 20" x 16", oil

Around 80 of the country's most notable figurative artists will be showing work as part of the show. The common thread is an attempt to look beyond the surface of things to find hidden meanings and explore new concepts.

Personally, I've been experimenting more and more with a looser paint application and layering. For me, it is a much more tactile and meditative process which has frequent surprises.  

There's a beautiful catalog of the show available from the Poets and Artists website:  

You can order a copy of the show catalog at this link.

For more information about the show or to purchase my painting please email Abend at