Showing posts from 2016
My upcoming book on oil painting and nature will have many paintings that were edited out of my 2010 book, A State of Change. These have not been seen before.

My paleoart images of the White River Badlands fossil beds reconstructions of sabertooth cats, three-toed horses, and titanotheres has just been published in the beautiful book The White River Badlands: Geology and Paleontology, by Rachel Benton, Dennis Terry Jr., Emmett Evanoff, and H. Gregory McDonald, Indaian University Press (Bloomington & Indianapolis) 2015.  I just received a copy in the mail, and it is a richly designed book full of the latest research on the 30-35 million-year-old fossil beds of South Dakota. See my earlier post on 6/5/16 about how I painted these mural images for the museum.

Oil Painting Book Cover

I am experimenting with book covers for my upcoming guide to oil painting (see earlier posts), and here is one idea. It is a large oil on panel painting of a rare melanistic mountain lion, with a deep black color, in a desert canyon. I first heard reports of a black mountain lion by a friend who saw one near Tilden Regional Park in back of the Oakland-Berkeley hills, Contra Costa County, CA. Black mountain lions are apparently somewhat more common in South America.

Oil Painting Classes Coming Soon!

Field sketching, oil painting in nature, landscapes, en plain air, these are all ways of doing art that I have enjoyed for decades. I have been planning to teach art for a long time and am finally organizing to do just this in 2017. Locations will be announced later, but will likely include such beautiful places as Mono Lake, Death Valley National Park, Mojave National Preserve, Joshua Tree National Park, Lake Tahoe, and other areas. I may be traveling to certain cities as well to teach field courses, including the Bay Area and Las Vegas.

I will be offering online courses as well to compliment these field courses. So stay tuned to this blog for future details.

My new book project is a how-to instructional guide to oil painting landscapes and natural history subjects. I have always been fascinated with traditional methods, and this book will delve deeply into the secrets of the many landscape traditions from centuries ago to modern times, plus a scientific understanding of materials.


Paleoart is a fascinating field, one of my favorites, where imagination is used in heavy doses along with scientific accuracy to try to reconstruct scenes of past life and landscapes. I enjoy the challenge of researching the fossil record, paleontological studies, and comparing them to living ecosystems and wildlife in order to bring ancient scenes to life, whether a century in the past or a hundred million years ago.

I painted this mural in oil on canvas years ago for Badlands National Park, working with park staff who provided me with detailed material to work from. It was a fun project. I favor working in oil paint to achieve a glow and luster of color that is still hard to match in digital media, such as Photoshop-created art. My background as a Paleontology Major at the University of California, Berkeley, helped inform how I researched the project, and my graduate work in scientific illustration at the University of California at Santa Cruz gave me many methods to choose from in …

Art and Conservation

A lot has happened since I first published A State of Change: Forgotten Landscapes of California (Heyday) in 2010. The book came out in paperback as a second edition recently, and I wrote and illustrated a children's book, The Bay Area Through Time (Heyday 2015).

I have some other book manuscripts I'm working on, including a guide to oil painting from Classical methods, through California Impressionists, to today's practice of plein air and studio painting landscapes. Also a book on the Ice Age of California, full of mammoths, sabertooth cats, and giant condors.

Since 2009 I have been working with friends and colleagues on desert conservation issues in California and Nevada, and just this past month we incorporated into a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization: Basin & Range Watch. I am happy we can take the next step towards protecting the vast Mojave Desert landscapes that I first visited in 1986. We will be seeking to host workshops, educational talks, and other events …