Okanagan lakeshore all the way to Switzerland.

24″ x 60″ acrylic on canvas  “Okanagan Birch #5”

this big painting is headed for Zurich – to my brother’s place. It is kind of a part of the Longview series – as it has that feeling of close tree detail with scraps of the far landscape peeking through. But not quite the acute 1:4 or  1:5 ratio of horizontal format. Chris needed a specific size for his new place.

I have been photographing the stages all the way through – so there will be a video of the complete painting sequence coming. It is even cool for me to see the process develop and emerge in this format.

From this…
birch start_03

to this.birch full 24x60

It is interesting to me to review my process. People ask me, especially students, do I “see” the finished painting before I begin. I guess I do…but always allowing for changes and revisions as it develops. I will repaint the whole set of trees and branches to create a better contrast or subtle transition – as the background landscape takes shape. Working with the color relationships and values.

With a piece this size I have been working on compositional drafts in my sketchbook and smallers paintings for months. I have all the reference photos and pics that I need at hand. I have most of my paint basically mixed up.

I am not making a major composition decisions or changes once I begin. And as you will see in the coming video – there are layers and layers of underpainting and glazes that I plan and anticipate within my process. So sometimes it seems like the dark areas are light and light is dark – but I know from experience that it is just a technical application stage to go through. That’s where the “vision” has to stay strong.

When  a student asks me – do I paint the background first or the light areas last…? I cannot answer. My process (in acrylic) has me flipping back and forth to revise and reinforce things all over.


I have to say it is nice to be back just working in the studio – where I don’t have to answer questions or explain my process to observers. My painting techniques have become somewhat intuitive and is hard to talk about or pause to consider. I guess that’s why the “sequential process” videos are even interesting to me. I work very quickly once I am in full swing – and it gives me a record of my own choices, changes and refinements along the way.

The reasons for those choices – are the benefits of practice & experience.


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