Thursday, February 26, 2009

Our World Underwater 2009

Our World Underwater 2009, was held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL , Friday, Feb 20 through Sunday, Feb. 22.

What a whirlwind of activity!

In depth seminars and workshops ranging from camera equipment to learning visual cylinder inspection, started on Friday at 8am and ran throughout the weekend. Presenters were some of the dive industries most noted figures: Stan Waterman, Richie Kohler, Annie Crawley, Bob Sheridan, and the list goes on and on. Friday evening, all day Saturday and Sunday, the exhibit hall opened its doors to about 20,000 visitors walking the aisles to see 200 + exhibitors. Booths consisted of dive travel destinations, camera equipment, SUDS, a kids painting fair with Rogest, dive shops, dive equipment, marine artwork (my booth included) , the Tim Early Foundation, PADI, DAN,DEMA, Diveheart and many more than can be listed here. Dive Buddy stickers were placed with several of the exhibitors and handed out to passing visitors, member, Robert Silva, talked with visitors at his booth about his upcoming world record attempt to do the longest freshwater dive.
Friday and Saturday evenings were the scene of exciting film festivals with emcees Michel Gilbert and Nancy McGee, and President of OWU, Pat Hammer, gave out the annual OWU Achievement award to artist and environmental educator, Ron Steven, aka Rogest.
OWU was the brainchild of president, Pat Hammer and started out 39 years ago in the gymnasium of a local high school. It has grown to be the Midwest’s largest consumer dive show. Since 2010 will be the 40th anniversary, plans for the “biggest party ever” are already in progress.
Keep the weekend of Feb. 19-21, 2010 open and join in a great weekend winter getaway and pick up on great travel and dive equipment specials and help Our World Underwater celebrate their 40th milestone.

Monday, February 16, 2009

What inspires me to paint

As a child I always loved to draw, but had no opportunity to have any art classes until my Senior year in high school. (the Parochial schools I went to did not believe in art classes). Taking this one class was enough to give me some insight into wanting to paint and do pastels.

I grew up given the ideals that an artist is NOT a real job, so I pursued other avenues of employment, but kept drawing and filling sketchbooks for years. While raising kids, I worked as a visual merchandiser/window dresser for large department stores and the last seven years as a floral designer.This was enough to keep the creative juices flowing through my veins, but being an artist was still the main thought in the back of my head.

In 1991, I took up the recreational sport of scuba diving. Armed with an underwater camera, I take thousands of photographs to use as reference for my drawings/ paintings.
I quit my "real job" almost two years ago now, and have dedicated my days to painting mostly underwater scenes and creatures, although I also paint landscapes from my cruise to Alaska, a trip to Glacier Natl Park and Yellowstone and my own state of Wisconsin.

When I used to paint murals for clients, they would tell me that while they were describing to me what they would want painted, I would get this "look" on my face as they were talking. I would be "painting" the mural in my head at that exact moment, and could then come in, sometimes without even a sketch, and start laying paint without hesitation.

Inspiration to me is looking at something and feeling it "trigger" inside. It is an unconscious burst of creativity that I get when I see an object, landscape or sea critter.
It is a stimulation or idea that encourages me to do a painting.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Shark !!!

Sharks have been around for 400 million years. This is about 200 million years before dinosaurs made the scene.

Long before Peter Benchley's "Jaws" book and Steven Spielbergs film adaptation, people have had a fear of sharks. I can see why the fear is there............stories have been cultivated for hundreds of years about "man-eating" sharks. Yes, sharks can be dangerous and yes, they do kill, but they are NOT the man-eating killing machines that they have been made out to be. The oceans are theirs and any killing they do is for their own survival. Any attacks that are on humans are merely by mistaken identity or that they were feeling threatened.

When I dive with sharks, I see nothing but a beautiful, graceful animal. I am working on a series of small paintings dedicated to the sharks I have dove with. I hope that through these paintings, you can overlook your fears and see the beauty that I see through my diving mask.
Gray Reef Shark, 12"x12" Oil painting, $140.00. To purchase, email me at

Monday, February 2, 2009

Palette knife Queen Angelfish

While working on a new 12"x12" painting on Thursday of a Queen Angelfish, I had one of my larger bristle brushes between my teeth sideways. The brush was loaded with beautiful bright cadmium yellow oil paint. As Murphy's law would have it, I dropped the brush right smack dab onto my nearly finished painting. Instead of brushing out the blob of paint and risking smearing it around, I took a small palette knife and tried to lift it off. In the process, it made a very cool mark on the fish. Even though it would mean changing the order of how I had originally painted it, I decided to keep going with it and see what would happen. I ended up re-working the whole painting and am actually ok with the results.

I wish I had had time to take a photo of the first version before the brush fell on it so that you could see the comparison.

Queen Angelfish, 12"x12" oil painting, $140.00, To purchase, email me at