Wood-stained Xmas train.



Engine with old Santa bust. Topping the smokestack is a battery from the bike odometer.


Engine and electric coal-car.


Battery Car


Battery wiring.


Liquid Christmas Spirits


Candy Car: to be filled…


Passenger Car






Train dressed out for the holidays.


The Yule-Car filled with cheer.


The Frosty Freeze, with magic hat can make endless living snowmen.

This train set is a creation of John Belt, who runs a subsidiary Santa’s Workshop out of his pro-grade “hobbyist” wood shop in Wichita. St.Nick can always rely on John for wonderful wooden toys. I traded a bit of custom sculpture (molds for a Santa and Elf that ride in the cab of the Engine, not yet added here) with John for an unfinished train set. The set was so nicely made that I couldn’t bring myself to paint it. Instead I sanded it down to a 220 grit, mostly just cleaning the wood of invisibles like fingerprints, so the various wood stains would sink in evenly.  John tells me this is the first set to be stained rather than painted. Probably also the first conversion from coal to electric.


Lights up just in time for snow.


Lucky is feeling festive.


Yule get Lucky!

Got the lights up just in time for our first real snow of the season. Lucky is decked out with holiday cheer under the Yule-tree. The lights are all new and mostly LED. The big pine out front is a clean white, which the picture corrected to blue under the warm light-pollution-lit storm. (LED’s started as one new strand in-line with all the old lights, put on in reverse for the first time -aarg!- so they all came back off and back up so it could plug in and night fell and the new strand made all the old lights look yellow, so down it all came yesterday and all new LED’s went up, Third Time is a blahblahblah). Maybe next year, or maybe if the weather breaks; the big pine’s old lights could go on the house-hugging Juniper, bcs: more seasonal shwag to come…


Broad Canyon Fire:#2  24″ x 48″ Acrylic on Panel. 2016

The first Broad Canyon Fire painting was dark and had the sun in it; this one glows with sunlight but does not have the sun. This image views the fire from the side, while the former is a view of the fire just before passing through/under it. This was the logical companion/complement to the original painting, and a strong enough choice to stand with the original work. It may be that these two works are as far as this series can go and retain pure authority to the subject and themselves and each other. Each must have its own necessity or it becomes derivative.

The artspeak is likely just an attempt to be able to quit, as the process of transparent washes and semi-opaque layering is burning through my creative patience; i.e. this takes forever and requires allowing the painting to pass through many stages of layering to build to where it finally comes together- and it is difficult to keep this all in balance and not lose focus on the whole for the parts for the days-long processes to effect a subtle change upon a subtle change to move the work along. Yet global warming says I’ll have the full sunroom for awhile yet before I have to move the trees and plants back in off the deck, and so the theme of beautiful armageddon under the global warming sun can push me further than I would like as well…plus, they are really something in real life and my love/hate of the process may just have to suck it up as this is about making Art. The finished paintings have a life of their own, which is rare; and respecting this is an artist’s responsibility to work toward the quiet and invisible thread of direction that seems to bring itself into being.


Broad Canyon Fire. Acrylic. 24″x48″


some sense of the perspective; near = fire/sunlit crazy smoke you are about to pass under, far is miles and miles of smoke heading to distant mountains.

Redo of the last post with an image 5x denser; the sun is now red and the vaseline view is clarified.

This is ten days of painting, but who’s counting…


Broad Canyon Fire. 24″x48″  Acrylic

This image is way off, yet it links to facebook with all the colors correct and it is correct in the blog upload library. All other versions I’ve brought into the library are similarly off when selected for display. For one, the sun should be glowing crimson; and everything else you can guess is way off from there. Second- blurry / vaseline smeared. Hardly worth putting it up.

Version 2

Bluebirding Storm on easel.

On a late afternoon bluebird house expedition (house is just left of center) this storm brewed up over the mountains and shot out a large arm reaching over the ranch to blot out the sun. Rain misted the air under the vast arm turning the sky beneath it a brilliant gold, while a premature twilight of the cloud’s shadow swept the landscape. The breeze fell away and the stillness was broken by the booming of thunder resonating from beyond the horizon.

It was a landscape that challenged me to paint the mood of it, and after spinning in pre-art miasma for a few weeks I finally toughened up and got to painting. The painting is in acrylic and 12″x48″, a new format for my work as my new camera has a panoramic feature. This brings a whole new challenge, as the light changes dramatically across the expanse.


Bluebirding Storm