Iroquois Warrior soon to be completed

Thanks everyone for liking and supporting my portrait work. I am currently working on a fantasy portrait…done from my imagination and references to Paul Kane, the pioneering Canadian artist(about 1840-1870) who travelled west in order to sketch and paint the first nation people before they were overun by manifest destiny.
The fantasy painting is of an Iroquois warrior. I am interested in this because when Alexander MacKenzie was exploring westward along the Peace River (…1780) his paddlers were all Iroquois from the East. When they got to Ne Parle Pas Rapids, near Hudson Hope, several paddlers decided to stay in the area because the trapping was so good.

The beaver were depleted extensively in the East and one of the paddlers was named
Testestowich. That family still lives in our area to this very day!! My home stomping ground….Peace River area of northern B.C. And Alberta.

The warrior looks very fierce and I am glad the Iroquois fought alongside the British in those days. I would hate to have to fight such a warrior.

The face has so much character and reflects the warrior society of those early days of exploration.

I should have this finished in a week or so. Unlike my other works, this is not commissioned, so it is available for sale when completed.




Over the last year I have discovered graphite pencils and colored pastel pencils. This is after 71 years of painting and drawing.

In the past I have done portraits with soft pastels(not pencil pastel)and the outcome was satisfactory. After experimenting with this new approach to portraiture and finding out a way to present all 21 tonal values that the human eye sees (not just the 7 tonal values that the best camera will take), I was pleased. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it was the enthusiastic response from the viewing public that convinced me to continue.

There are many forms of art…from the early renaissance masters, impressionists and modern pop and abstract art.

I have always been attracted to realistic art because it requires knowledge, training, discipline and patience and these pencil approaches are no different. To achieve realistic results will easily take over ten hours for a 12×18 inch portrait because I am employing the techniques of chiaroscuro and verdaccio from the Renaissance period as well as showing all 21 tonal values.

It is the widespread approval of this new art style that I deeply appreciate. It is great to be on the same page as so many people and to share the love that the old masters’ put into their paintings. After 500 years their approach is still a winner.

So thank you everyone for the encouragement…I really appreciate your kindness and support for this old style of realistic painting.


Forgive the lack of communication for the past few years.

There was a serious family illness that kept me from my artwork, but things are better now.

I have had three painful experiences in my life.

Several years ago I had a wreck with a horse that broke 4 ribs and collapsed a lung. I managed to get out of the mountains and into emergency and recovered after several months.
That fox that I tried to smoke out without harming her or her babies backfired and I wound up with some serious burns. In a previous blog I went into detail and showed some photos of the burns. Fortunately, my painting hand that was burnt is still functional.
This one happened in October, 2017. I used to hunt for meat with my horses (moose) in the old days when there were no quads. Now there are quads and side by sides everywhere, lots of access roads and hunters and too little game. Also, at age 77, I found that I couldn’t stay in the saddle for very long without hurting. My old hunting buddies have passed on, are in ill health or have retired in southern places. Realizing that I would be spending a lot of time on my own in the mountains, I stocked my pick-up with everything necessary to get me out of a jam. I would be hunting on my little quad and be super cautious even though I had a Res-Q-Link device and a cell phone.

Guess what happened in October? It was almost dark, snow was down and I got ambushed.

Going up a steep slippery slope the quad, without warning, came back over on me. It just tossed me to one side and landed on its side inches away. I was in terrible pain, but no limbs were broken. I had cell service and a buddy came to my rescue. This time only one broken rib and torn shoulder muscles.
This experience created some soul searching. I have made two contributions to society. For 25 years I have helped people overcome serious emotional problems with clinical hypnosis. Check I do not intend to retire because it is valuable therapy that is ignored in the north.
The other contribution is my love of realistic art, that started with the cowboy artist Charlie Russell. A year ago, I decided to specialize in portraiture. I had been a street portrait artist when younger and was always fascinated by the intricacies of the human face. Although my western and wildlife art was well accepted, I found that portraits were like a special gift…something more meaningful and personal to the person. A moose is a moose is a moose…but the human face is unique and very challenging…in fact it is the most demanding of all art forms.
So I started working with graphite pencil and colored pastel pencils and to my delight, I found that the result was very pleasing. Especially when done from photos, the art becomes a lasting memory. By producing a hand-made piece of art, I am doing my best to exceed the modern camera imagery.
After that near fatal quad accident, I was inspired to do more portraiture and less risky mountain travel alone. Finally I am no longer hurting and I appreciate that I am still here to make these contributions.

I now have more focus on portraits than ever before…it is a thrill to see the shape, form and colour turn into a pleasing image and gift for someone…and people consider it valuable enough that they are willing to pay a reasonable price for it.
Really glad to be here, pretty healthy,. and my painting, drawing hand still works and my eyesight is good.. Also, it is wonderful that people appreciate my art. How good can it get!!!


BacktrailWe live in semi-wild country and a few years ago in the spring there was a mother fox and three kits prowling around the house.  I was concerned that our cat might be breakfast for them.  I found their den only fifty yards from the house and there were bones and feathers everywhere…poultry, not grouse.

I did not want to hurt them but I did want them to leave.  The old trappers that I know would would have just smoked them out of the den.  I got some gas and old oily rages, probed the den to be sure they were not home and started to smoke it out.  As I was doing this, a thought crossed my tiny mind that perhaps I should use diesel, not gasoline. Naah, I’m a pretty careful guy…what could go wrong?

To make a long story even longer…EVERYTHING WENT WRONG…I was on fire.  No panic, I rolled once and expected the flames would be out. WRONG! I rolled a second time, letting gravity take me down hill and now my hair was on fire.
As an ex-paramedic, I knew better than to run.  In confusion I stood up with a burning ring of fire all around me. I admit that at this point, I was screaming in panic.

Then I grabbed at my jacket, which was zippered tightly and just flung this huge fireball of a jacket into the bush…it had burned through.
I ROLLED  AGAIN…no more flame.  I lay on my chest smelling like spring branding.  Now the bush was ablaze! Mother fox and her pups were just coming home and stopped a few yards away from me, wondering what the heck is going on!

To make a long story even longer…My wife grabbed the garden hose to fight fire while I staggered to a phone to call 911.

In E.R. THE MORPHINE DID NOT TOUCH THE PAIN!!! I was totally expecting the morphine to lessen the pain. Nada. At that moment, I recalled a burn surgeon in my clinical hypnosis class many years ago that used hypnosis in E.R. on burn victims. I was so amazed at this that I learned his technique. I had no idea if it would work and never expected to be using it on myself.

Within 5 minutes I was totally out of pain. A month later, in physio, the nurses would not believe that I was not suffering,,,they wanted me to take Demerol, which I refused because it was unnecessary.  I used hypnosis on the recovery and the skin grafts they were considering for my right hand and wrist… were not needed!!!

My right hand and wrist took some time to return to normal function, but I can still paint! This spring, she is back, but this time I grabbed my paints and brush, not a gasoline can.  I decided to put her in a winter setting for obvious reasons.




Every November 11 in Canada, we remember all of the allies that never came back from the world wars. Without these guys, you and I would be speaking German, Italian or Japanese as our second language. We owe them so much…it’s amazing that… somewhow we won the second world war. Women and Negroes also had to sacrifice to get on the voters list.

Yet…every election that I know of…be it presidential or municipal, always has a poor turn-out. It is understandable that people lose faith with so many corrupt and greedy politicians and prefer not to vote.I urge you when the next election comes your way, put aside your cynacism, try to choose the less corrupt of the candidates and go vote. You owe it to all those boys who never came back and every other minority who had to fight for the right to vote.

On a lighter note, I wonder if the renowned writer and conservationist Andy Russell named his son after our Charles Marion Russell. Andy lived in the Pincher Creek area, a part of the country where the memory of Charlie Russell lives on in myth and legend. These guys are all shaped by the same eastern slopes of the Rockies. Andy’s son, who is now 70 years old has done remarkable research with Grizzlies most of his life. One of the things he learned from his dad, on the ranch, was to put down lame and diseased cows in the early spring so that when the Grizzlies came out they would have a ready feed and not molest the healthy cows and calves. It worked. I am sure the Russells of Pincher Creek were admirers of Charles Marion.


Tepee This summer I took my tepee and spent 5 days in the mountains alone…in an area south of Tumbler Ridge.  These mountains are mind-blowing…just south of the Wapiti river.  My idea was to get a little time in doing pleine aire painting.  When Charlie Russell met Phillip Goodwin in a cramped New York studio, they became close friends and Charlie invited him to visit in Montana.  At Charlie’s cabin on Lake McDonald they spent time painting outside.  This was a new experience for Charlie and I suspect that Goodwin and pleine aire painting helped improved Charlie’s sense of colour.

There are many contemporary western artist who do all their work in the studio with a wide array of photos for reference material. Plein Aire allows you to do small, quick,  colour paintings of an area and this can be expanded upon later in the studio.  I always take a photo of the subject that I am rapidly painting.  I am always amazed that, in this day and age of digital photography, the camera continues to lie about tonal values and colours. Sometimes the photo looks nothing like what I see and paint.

Five days alone, mumbling to yourself, is enough to make you really appreciate your fellow humans. When I was young, I ran an experimental trapline for the game branch…live trapping , measuring and monitoring beavers.  This was in the days before two-way communication in the bush…even before chainsaws!!  I was alone with my beaver for 2 weeks at a time. Then a native would show up with my next two weeks of grub…and leave just as quickly. This is called being “bushed”. Over the course of the summer, I found that beaver are really good conversationalist…Tom Hanks had a similar situation in his movie “Castaway”. You’ve got to talk to somebody…it’s when the beaver answer back that it gets scarey.  Imagine that…the slip of an axe and there is no way to get help.  That’s how it was done then.  I was 19 years old, a university student studying wildlife biology…1963.

There are difficulties painting in open air in the northern Rockies…bugs and bears.  Right off the bat there was fresh grizzly sign, so I moved my cooking area 100 yards from my tepee.  The Defender shotgun is part of my painting gear.  I saw one grizz across the valley but it all worked out.  The bugs were a different story.  Have you ever tried to paint with flies up your nose and mosquitoes swimming in your acrylics? REALLY FRUSTRATING… especially when they land on your panel that you are trying to paint on and wiggle around doing their own little bit of creativity on your composition.!!

It was a good trip.  There are areas in the valley that are semi-arid prairie and I got several ideas for more Charlie Russell paintings without having to drive 2 days south to Montana in order to simulate his landscape conditions. In fact, the whole Peace River valley is amazingly similar to the Missouri.  We even have prickly pear cactus on the southern slopes. That’s the amazing thing about B.C. We have  just about every type of topography available in North America…from the grasslands of the Chilcotin to the rain forsests along the coast.

Anyways, it was good to see people again.


I am Charlie Russell’s biggest fan…ever since I was ten years old.  Now, because of my involvement in painting scenes from his life, I dug deeper into his life than before and really learned to appreciate his wife, Nancy or “Mame”. Charlie Russell’s art is amazing and Nancy, in her own right, was equally amazing as a person and as a business woman.

As I googled Charles Marion Russell some other names came up of great interest. Another Charlie Russell known as the Amchatka bear man. He is the son of  Andy Russell, guide, outfitter and outdoor writer who lived in the Waterton lakes area.  His son grew up in that beautiful place and now at age 70 is a famous conservationist who has done a lot of important research on Russian brown bears.  It’s curious that these Russell guys all lived in the same approximate area, separated by the 49th parallel.  They all made contributions to ecology and wildlife in their own particular ways.

I plan to talk about, and paint, some of Charlie Russell’s friends.  The Trigg family that lived next door and embraced Nancy wholeheartedly when much of Great Falls disliked her…  Joe De Yong, who spent ten years, not only as an apprentice to Charlie but also as a close friend…  Olaf Seltzer, the plagarist and opportunist who exploited Charlie Russell in so many ways. I have tried very hard to be open-minded about Olaf but I still don’t like this guy… Con Price, a trusted buddy and so many others who influenced Charlie’s life…especially the Eastern illustrators Crawford and Marchand.

Finally I would like to tell you a little about myself and my horse and bush experiences. Hope you like it.