WEEKLY FEATURE (Work in Progress)

This is my weekly update and discussion regarding my works in progress (WIP). It also serves as an incentive for me to work daily and finish the backlog of paintings and plein air pieces I started in the field with the Michigan Plein Air Painters. The Michigan Plein Aire Painters (MPAP) are an inspirational collection of talented artists that meet every Saturday at Kensington Metropark in Milford Township, Michigan. Other sources of my work include references provided to me by friends and associates who have given permission to me to use their photos.

I want to share my art and my methods with anyone who is interested and may benefit from my experiences. So here is my art and how I do it! Please…send questions about technique, materials, etc. via my contact page and I will try to address them.

Each week, as I work on the featured painting, I will update images and add comments. As I finish each painting, they will be installed into one of my permanent galleries. Then I will begin another painting and show stages and share tips and techniques as I go. As each new painting is started, the former painting will be removed. However, if you wish a digital copy sent to you of any Weekly Feature subject, use my contact page and I will email a copy to you. A log of past Weekly Features is shown below. Thanks for visiting! Peace!

Previous Weekly Features

  • June 30 - July 14 - “Marina at False Creek and Granville Bridge”, Vancouver, B.C., Canada


Current Project: Western Diamondback Rattlesnake Acrylic, 8”x 10” on canvas board

[Post: July 21, 2019]

A friend of mine, Dave V., provided me with wonderful photo references of his time in Arizona. As one who specializes in animal care and husbandry, he has a special eye to capture things that others may not see or know where to look for them. This is one great shot of a Western diamondback rattlesnake that I will take you through in steps as I paint it in acrylics. Thanks for following my posts and feel free to email questions via my contact page on this website. Digital file copies of previous posts and progressive painting stages are also available using my contact page. No charge.

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I mixed a gesso ground of cadmium medium red and hint of cadmium yellow deep hue to create a warm undertone to my series of three paintings in Arizona.


 (1) This is an acrylic, 8”x10” canvas board. The subject is a Western diamondback rattlesnake, beautiful in color and potentially dangerous.While this is not the very early stage of blocking in shown above, I honestly had not planned for this to be tracked online and pick up my development at this stage. Generally, I will establish the lightest and darkest areas and make sure those shapes are addressed immediately.


(2) I have kept all my initial blocking in work fairly rough trying to leave myself a clue as to where certain key features will go knowing I will come back later and tune them up! You see here that the intricate camouflage markings are my goals during this stage of painting.


(3) The biggest challenge here is the complexity and geometry of the scales and twisting torso. Not only are the serpentine curves tricky but also the foreshortening of the details as they are impacted by the change in direction as the coils writhe around. I pay close attention to the directional linear patterns and the larger shape patterns that are present. More detail is slowly added to the branch in the foreground while keeping the focus of the background a little more blurred.


(4) FINAL: After adding the sharper detail of the foliage and brush in the foreground, additional contrasting “crackle” is dabbed here and there to indicate the tiny white wild flowers in the vicinity. Edges that overlap in the body of the snake are slightly contrasted with darker or lighter tones to help separate the bends and curls. This is my final and I have decided to stop working on this and move on. I welcome your questions. Thanks!


My final painting of this Western Diamondback Rattlesnake will soon be installed in my permanent gallery under the “Wildlife” tab.

Next post: Sunday, July 28, 2019 - I will show all the development stages of two 3”x3” acrylics of a pair of flowers for decorative desk or tabletop presentation. Please drop by and leave comments/questions using the contact page. Thanks for stopping by!