Thursday, February 26, 2009

Frog Gothic

I painted "Frog Gothic" (16 x 20 inch in oil) several years back, but have never posted it on my fine arts website because I keep my commercial work separate from my fine art. So, folks, here's a chance to view a work never before seen by my viewing public!

I created the work as a commissioned piece for an eastern Oregon potato farmer's wife.
Her only instruction was that she and her husband be "frogs" and to somehow indicate that they grew potatoes for the frozen french fries industry.
The famous (and often parodied) painting "American Gothic" by Grant Wood immediately sprung to my mind --- because french fried potatos, like Wood's painting, are such an icon in American culture today.
And so here they are, dour expressions and all. The farmer's wife looks like she has thoughts of hitting her bespectacled hubby with that potato she's holding.

After I completed this painting, I began inventing other frog characters and eventually did literally dozens of original frog cartoon window art over a period of about four years for businesses in Milton-Freewater, Oregon to help visually unify the town for the annual Muddy Frogwater Festival. Eventually the city took over my concept and expanded to wooden frog statues. Some of my window art was still in place as of 2008, though the colors were fading. I also created several "frog" T-shirt designs for the chamber of commerce and individual businesses.

The painting "Frog Gothic" is just one example of the commercial work I do in addition to my fine arts paintings. I welcome commissions and can be contacted via email at

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Using latex wall paint, I created this ceiling mural of an early evening full moon in a den/family room.
There is a fireplace in one corner of this cozy room and a comfy twin recliner faces the fireplace and is right below the view shown in the photo above.
The mural subject was the homeowner's idea. Originally he wanted several aspen branches cris-crossing overhead, but as the painting progressed, he and I both concluded that "less" is "more" and the aspen branches became just the suggested few seen here. I used violet, brown and cream paint to create the branches and leaves--not thoroughly mixing but rather going with the limited mixing that occurs during the application of the paint to the ceiling. Touches of the cream with a dash of orange-ish red created the moon glow around the edges of the leaves. The effect is either spring or fall evening.
The rest of the mural (not visible in this photo) is evening sky - the kind you get on a full moon night when there are wisps of cloud vapor that create an almost cottony texture (you can see some of that effect in the photo posted here.)
The ceiling perimeter is trimmed out with a wide crown moulding stained a warm golden tone to show off the wood grain. The crown moulding serves to transition the mural (especially the aspen branches) to the walls.