rik-rat corn pile

Friday, June 29, 2012

Some Grey Tree Frogs.

Tree frogs.  You hear them but rarely see them.  I got lucky the other day and came across two. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

I've Been Working on Ideas for a New Painting.

Sketch on Bristol paper.

the first sketch of the idea.
Every painting begins with some rough sketches.

Friday, June 22, 2012

New Painting!

"Chupacabra, MahaskaCounty"  22X30. Windsor and Newton Gouache. 2012
Here's another painting that I've been working on.  I'm pleased with this piece as well.  It's based on my legendary chupacabra sighting from last year.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A New Painting.

 13 X 24. Windsor and Newton Gouache. 2012.


Well, Well.  What do we have here?  I finally hunkered down, strapped myself into my studio chair, taped a paint brush to my hand, and finished up the final details of my most recent work  I'm happy with the piece (even though I have yet to come up with a title) and am ready and excited to begin working on a new painting for my most recent body of work.  Thanks for looking.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

My Foot Hurts.

Best Friends!

Bonsai Marigold and pepper leaf.
I stepped on glass about a month ago.  Its still in my foot and a hearty and painful callus has built up around the area.  Needless to say, it's pretty painful to walk and it's affecting my bloggability.  I can't get too many places and as a result am running a little low on blog fodder.  I'm getting the wound looked at on Monday and hopefully they'll cut the glass out and this whole mess will be over.  Moral of the story:  Wear shoes.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Let's See How Much Money I Can Waste.

I'll admit it, I'm obsessed.  For the past few weeks I've been walking to the train tracks with one thing in mind...wasting money.  All I want to do is smash change.  I don't want to spend my hard earned loose coinage on candy or pop, I just want to put it on the train tracks and make it worthless.

There's something totally wonderful about my most recent obsession.  A giant train runs over your coins, flattens them, and turns them into a new and wonderful object.  The sound three smashed quarters makes when you jingle them in your hands is hypnotic.  Each coin reacts differently to the weight of the Union Pacific...older coins are sturdier and produce a more satisfying impression and sound.  New coins, pennies especially, will shred under the intense pressure and leave razor sharp edges.  I've cut my hand while jingling the 2012 train track smashed pennies.

I have ideas for these objects.  The sounds they make begs me to turn them into some kind of a wind chime for my garden.  I have a drill, I know how to link objects together, perhaps I'll do that after a few more trips to the tracks.

Anyone who has followed my blog knows I've been obsessed with collecting smashed pennies from tourist attractions.  Now I can finally do it myself.  I dub this summer, The Summer of Loose Change and Heavy Trains, and its going to be a good season.

Enjoy your Friday.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

grackle nest.

Isn't this the most perfect nest you've ever seen? I'm pretty sure these guys are baby grackles.  Don't worry though, no babies were harmed in the making of this photograph. I found them by accident and my entire encounter lasted approximately 20 seconds.  The baby birds look so cute and fuzzy, I want one!  I'll bet they have bird lice.

sidenote:  adult grackles are one of the most annoying birds I've encountered in Iowa.  For several weeks straight (I assume while they were tending to this nest) two grackles would follow me around the garden, hopping from tree branch to tree branch, and yell at me.  I shit you not, the birds would yell at me.  I would look up into the trees and try and intimidate the birds away from me...nope.  The birds would stand on their branch, hold their ground, turn their heads sideways, and glare at me with their strange, yellow eyes.  Then they would yell at me some more.  They're beautiful, that's for sure.  But, oh man, they are very confrontational creatures.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


A few weeks ago, I won the regional Iowa Artists competition.  It was pretty great to receive recognition and win an adorable, tiny, blue ribbon.  After the regional show,  I was invited to hang the blue ribbon winner in the Iowa Artists State wide competition (in Decorah, Iowa).  There were about 100 pieces and I won this BIG ASS BLUE RIBBON!  And 50 bucks...(I just realized I have no idea where that check is).

I've never seen a ribbon so huge.  I'm happy that the people of Iowa responded well to my work and rewarded me with this BIG BLUE RIBBON.  My hand looks a little gnarled and creepy but that's ok.  At least it can hold a paint brush.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Artifacts, Iowa.

A bird point I was lucky enough to find.
A Madison Triangle, 2 broken Madison triangles, and a nice broken piece of pottery.

A thumb scraper and a broken spear.
I was sick with a 101 degree fever this weekend.  Yup, I was pretty much worthless.  I basically sat on my porch and looked at flowers and birds for hours at a time with a thermometer stuck in my mouth.  You can be sick inside or sick outside.  I chose to be sick outside.  Good times.

Because of my 24 hour flu, I wasn't able to get much done so the blog today is a catch up entry.  I found these artifacts about a month ago and failed to post them in a timely fashion.  I think they're all pretty great and I'm especially proud of my pink bird point arrowhead.  I found all of these pieces in fields that were tilled.

I hope you guys had a good weekend.

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Painting in Progress. Warning. Slightly Motivational Speechy.

I've been diligently working on a new painting.  I'm happy with the colors, composition, content, etc, etc, etc

In 2009, I received my MFA from Northern Illinois University.  Shortly after graduation I moved to Iowa and found myself in a pickle.  I was not inspired.  Everything I painted was shitty and I didn't know what to do with myself.

The whole thing made me really depressed and I decided to put painting off to the side for awhile and concentrate on pen and ink drawing.  The process of drawing was good for my brain.  I had to focus on the basics again.  Composition.  Value.  Line variation.  Content.  My drawings began to do all of the things that my paintings were not and my confidence returned.

It was time to paint again.  I am happy to report that I am finally back.  This is my 4th painting (in about 3.5 months).  I'm on a roll.  After three years I feel like myself again.  I learned something important over these three years, don't feel sorry for yourself.  If you start to feel sorry for yourself, draw.  Or do something else that makes you happy.  Just don't wallow.  Wallowing is for suckers.  And hogs.