Aquabord Seminar in Sedona


The Northern Arizona Watercolor Society (NAWS) in Sedona, AZ recently invited me to present a seminar on how and why I use Aquabord™ for my watercolor paintings. I’ve been painting with watercolors for nearly 15 years, and started using standard watercolor papers. About 7 years ago, I read an article about Aquabord as an alternative surface and decided to give it a try…I’ve been using it ever since!

The NAWS seminar was part of the society’s regular monthly meeting and over 50 watercolor artists turned out on a beautiful Sedona morning. At the beginning of my presentation, I asked the group how many had used Aquabord, and a few hands went up. At the conclusion of the seminar, I asked how many now thought they would give Aquabord a try and nearly everyone enthusiastically raised their hands.

So, what’s so special about Aquabord as a watercolor surface? Here are just a few features:

  • Aquabord is an acid-free clay, textured surface coated on to a hard board – very similar to a fine 140-lb watercolor paper. The hard board makes the clay surface durable with no chance of tearing or wrinkling.
  • You can apply paint wet-on-wet, wet-on-dry, dry brush or glaze
  • Colors remain bright and dry lighter
  • You can use frisket, scrub the surface or even sand it for a finer texture
  • Unlike traditional watercolor paper, you can remove paint by scrub brush or angular brush for the appearance of fine lines or highlights
  • You can remove all the paint if necessary right down to the white board – easy to erase mistakes
  • Once your painting is complete, you varnish the surface – no mat or glass is required, just slip it into a frame

I’d like to thank NAWS for their invitation to speak to their group. For more information about NAWS go to their web site:

For more information about Aquabord, go to their site:


In the interest of full disclosure, I am NOT a representative or paid spokesperson for Aquabord or its manufacturer (Ampersand™). I simply find this product to be the best surface for my style of detailed watercolor painting.

Here are a few photographs of the seminar and some of the attendees:




Posted in Associations, Events

First Place Award Announced

I’m delighted to let you know I recently received the First Place Award in the third annual ART in pARTnership III juried fine art exhibit and sale. This exhibit is sponsored by the Arizona Art Alliance, a state-wide group of nearly 20 of the most prestigious art groups in Arizona. Two of my recent works were juried into the show – “Spring Break” and “Cactus Wren in Cholla Blossoms”. The “Cactus Wren in Cholla Blossoms” painting was awarded the first place prize.

First Place - Cactus Wren in Cholla Blossoms

First Place – Cactus Wren in Cholla Blossoms


"Spring Break"

Spring Break


At the artist's reception

At the artist’s reception

I’ve recently been experimenting with oil instead of my usual watercolor medium. The Cactus Wren painting was my first serious work in this new media, and I think I’ll be using oils more and more over the coming months.

The exhibit continues through October 26 at the Holland Gallery of Fine Art in north Scottsdale (34250 North 60th Street, Bldg. B, Scottsdale, AZ). I hope that many of you will take the time to visit this exhibit and enjoy a wide selection of the work of some of Arizona’s best artists.

Posted in Events, New Works

Two New Paintings

Few things in nature signify more promise for the future than a bird’s nest full of eggs. As their embryonic lives progress, you begin to see small cracks in their shells, and finally young chicks emerge. A new generation is born.

I’m fortunate to live in an area where it’s relatively easy to find bird’s nests built around the limbs of Palo Verde trees or hidden in the prickly arms of a Cholla cactus. These nests inspired me to create the painting below entitled “Spring Break”. If you look carefully, you’ll see a small “break” in one of the eggs that will soon produce a new chick.


And, speaking of Cholla cactus, my second new painting entitled “Cactus Wren in Cholla”, shows the state bird of Arizona coming in for a landing. Its blurred wings tend to illustrate just how careful he must be to avoid becoming impaled on the sharp spines of the cactus…somehow they always seem to avoid that disaster.


Summer has recently incinerated the southwest desert, and as I write this, the temperature is edging toward 118-degrees! It’s a good time to stay cool indoors and work on new paintings, so be sure to check back soon to see what’s new.

Posted in New Works

Spring Show in Sedona

The Spring Exhibition of the Northern Arizona Watercolor Society recently concluded, and I was honored to have had two of my paintings juried into the show. The show was held at the Sedona Arts Center Special Exhibition Gallery in Sedona, Arizona. The awards reception was held on Friday, May 19th under sunny skies with many artists and patrons enjoying great food, wine and art.

Internationally recognized watercolor artist Iain Stewart judged the show’s entries and selected the various prize winners. My painting “Burrowing Owl” was selected to receive the “Blick Art Materials Award” and included a generous gift certificate for art supplies at Blick Art Materials.

"Burrowing Owl" - Blick Art Materials Award Winner

“Burrowing Owl” – Blick Art Materials Award Winner


Buckhorn Blossoms

“Buckhorn Blossoms”


Iain Stewart - Judge

Iain Stewart – Judge, Awarding Prize

Posted in Associations, Events

Holland Gallery Artist’s Reception

The Arizona Art Alliance held an artist’s reception last weekend to celebrate the opening of their “Art in pARTnership II” show which runs through October 28 at the Holland Gallery of Fine Art in northeast Scottsdale.

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I was fortunate to have my painting of “Leonardo” juried into the show. It was a wonderful opening with many beautiful paintings and other works of art. I felt honored to have Leonardo in such great company.


Me & Leonardo.


Chatting with Mike Brady, CEO/President of the Arizona Art Alliance.

Thanks to everyone who was able to attend, and I look forward to seeing many of you again at my next show in Sedona…stay tuned for another post about that show.


Posted in Uncategorized

New Painting & New Exhibit

“Leonardo” is a beautiful Jaguar with an unfortunate history, but fortunately with a much happier future. Born into captivity, this wondrous creature was raised in a cage and trained for the entertainment industry. To make him easier to handle, his canine teeth were pulled as were all of his claws. When his trainers tired of him, they sold him to a small Arizona zoo where he endlessly paced in a 10 x 12 foot cage with little care. Finally, the zoo no longer wanted him and Leonardo eventually found a loving, caring home with Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center in Scottsdale, Arizona.

And, that’s where I first encountered him enjoying the late afternoon sunshine. Magnificent is too small a word to describe how regal Leonardo is, and I hope my painting reflects some of his majesty.


After completing my painting, I submitted it to the Arizona Art Alliance to be evaluated for exhibit in their “Art in pARTnership II” show. It was juried into the show which opens on October 1 and runs through October 28 at the Holland Gallery of Fine Art in northeast Scottsdale. An artist’s reception is scheduled for Saturday October 8 from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. I hope you’ll join me for the reception and have the opportunity to meet me and enjoy my painting of Leonardo.

Today, Leonardo has complete medical care, a large grassy enclosure and perches to rest on while he watches his world go by. His raw paws have healed, his diet is designed to be eaten without the need for his canine teeth, and short of being truly free in the wild, he lives a life of comfort.

For more information on the Arizona Art Alliance and their “Art in pARTnership II” exhibit, visit: For directions to the Holland Gallery of Fine art, visit:!directions-and-contact-us/c181j/.

For more information on the wonderful work being done at Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center, visit: Leonardo even has his own web page on the site:


Posted in Events, New Works

A Black Labrador Named “Griffin”

Recently a friend and very talented artist, Bob Miller, mentioned that he was helping organize a fund raising event for the local not-for-profit Westminster Village Foundation in Scottsdale, Arizona. The Foundation raises funds for Westminster Village, a not-for-profit life care retirement community, which are used to assist residents and provide scholarship funding for employees.

To help the Foundation’s efforts, they sought items that could be auctioned during their annual “Foundation Gala.” Bob and I decided that I could offer to paint a pet portrait for the winner of the open bidding event during the evening’s festivities – and that’s where “Griffin” entered my life.

The winner of the bidding on my pet portrait was Jessica O’Shea who shares her life and home with her husband Daniel and their best friend Griffin. Griffin is a beautiful Black Labrador, and Jessica shared several photographs with me of him. We then settled on the most expressive one which I used as a reference for my painting.

Today, Jessica dropped by my studio to view Griffin’s portrait for the first time, and she was ecstatic. “It looks just like him,” she said as I opened the packaging. All in all it was a great experience to help the Westminster Village Foundation in their fund raising efforts, and to provide Griffin’s humans with a portrait of their beloved pet. Thanks also to Bob Miller for including me in the group’s efforts.

For more information on the Westminster Village Foundation and Westminster Village, please visit their web site at:


Jessica O’Shea holding Griffin’s portrait


Posted in Events, New Works

Arizona Art Alliance – “A Group Effort”

The Arizona Art Alliance – an organization comprised of thousands of artists from more than 20 Arizona-based art groups – is sponsoring an exhibit of nearly 100 works of art entitled “A Group Effort – Creations From Different Points of View”. I feel very fortunate that one of my paintings – “The Bandit of Cranberry Lake” – was juried into this highly selective exhibit. The exhibit will feature a wide variety of mediums including: 2-D and 3-D artworks, jewelry, glass and sculpture. The exhibit was juried by the Chandler Arts Commission.

The Bandit of Cranberry Lake

The exhibit will be held in two gallery locations in Chandler, Arizona: The Vision Gallery and the Chandler Center for the Arts. The show dates are July 8 through August 27 with the Artist’s Reception scheduled for Saturday, July 9 from 1 to 4 p.m. at both locations.

My work will be exhibited at the gallery of the Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 North Arizona Avenue, Chandler, AZ (on the northwest corner of Chandler Blvd and Arizona Avenue). I would like to invite everyone to attend. It’s a great way to beat the summer heat and enjoy some of the finest art Arizona has to offer.

Posted in Associations, Events

West Valley Arts Council Exhibit

The West Valley Arts Council (WVAC) recently sponsored the “Tails, Scales & Feathers” exhibit featuring “animalistic” art of any medium showcasing all types of animals with tails, scales, feathers, claws, paws, etc. I was fortunate to have two of my paintings (After the Hunt, and Love in the Desert) juried into the show which opened on June 2 with an artist’s reception at the WVAC gallery in Surprise. The exhibit runs through July 14 and is a perfect way to support the arts in the West Valley. So, please drop by and take a cool stroll through the gallery and enjoy the wonderful artwork.


“Love in the Desert”


“After the Hunt”


Part of the overflow crowd attending the artist’s reception on June 2.

WVAC in Surprise, Arizona is the only regional organization that focuses on all disciplines of the arts. It has been central to creating what is recognized as a “high quality of life” for West Valley residents, and is the only multi-disciplinary arts organization of its type and scope in the Valley. For more information about WVAC and show hours, visit their web site at:

Teaser! Look for a future post about my painting “Bandit of Cranberry Lake” which was juried into an upcoming exhibit sponsored by the Arizona Art Alliance…more information to come.

Posted in Associations, Events

Arizona Art Alliance Exhibit

I am honored to have two of my paintings (After The Hunt and Helen’s Lily) juried into the upcoming Arizona Art Alliance’s “Interpretations” exhibit and sale in Surprise, Arizona. The show opens March 2 and runs through March 30. Show hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and is located at the WHAM Gallery at 16560 North Dysart Road in Surprise.

I would like to invite everyone to join me for the artist’s reception on Saturday March 12 at the WHAM Gallery from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wine and refreshments will be served and awards in several categories will be announced. It should be a wonderful evening in a beautiful gallery.

I hope to see you at the reception on Saturday March 12.

After The Hunt

After The Hunt

Helen's Lily

Helen’s Lily


Posted in Associations, Events