It was very kind of Northwest 50Plus magazine to publish an article about me and my burn art. You can find the article (and a sample of my work) by clicking on the following link:

You can also currently see the full three page spread online by clicking on the January 2019 edition, and "flip through" to pages 14 - 16: Northwest 50Plus January 2019. 

 Click here to read the article:


woodburning pyrography donwhite

I’m pleased to announce that my piece “Every Tuesday” not only sold at the art exhibit, but it sold the very first day – before the artist reception even began that evening (last Friday). As required, the piece will hang in the exhibition for the two months of the show (Radius 25) before the buyers may take it home. 

One of the gallery workers at the Bush Barn Art Center said the buyers felt an emotional connection with the image, reminding them of a family member and his habit of going to a local diner for friends and coffee. It's always a joy to know that your art has been "adopted" by someone who connected with your work. 

I saw several new artist friends (from Artists in Action) and their supporters, along with a good turnout of Salem art patrons. Mine was the only pyrographic piece in the exhibit, and it was the first time many had seen serious art done in this medium. So I had the joy of explaining the "creative fire" of making fine art using merely wood and a very hot stylus. 


Image of a pet Sheltie burned onto pine

This is Haimish. “Haimish” (or Hamish) is the Scottish version of “James,” which (in the kindest sense of the word) means “follower.” It is also Yiddish for “friendly,” which is appropriate because this beautiful Sheltie dog has been a friendly follower in his family for many years. This portrait is a mixed media work of burn art, with (artist-quality) colored pencil, on about a twelve inch square cut of pine. There is something so fitting about using burn art to render animals, because the natural feel of the medium compliments such natural subjects as animals -- particularly wildlife.

Four antique images of pets
Artistic renderings of pets (even hunting animals or prize livestock) is a tradition that goes back as far as the beginning of fine arts. And there is no shortage of artists willing to render pets in all kinds of mediums, from bronze sculptures to cartoon-style images. If you wish to have a painting done of your beloved animal, I recommend my friend Jodeen at Conjure Fine Art. I've seen several of her works, and she's made many pet owners very happy with her pet portraits.


An abstract image of a Grizzly bear

Here is an abstract grizzly head, twelve inches across, burned onto crosscut basswood, naturally framed with its original bark edge.  

The inspiration from this piece came from the popular Zentangle © pattern art, and the book TangleEasy Wildlife Designs. Using the animal outlines in this book, and the suggested pattern designs, you can let your imagination run wild with ways in which to create your own ornate styled animals. 

I’m still trying to decide whether to add some color to the image, though many artist friends say the piece works well as it is. If I do add some watercolor, it will likely be some subtle fall hues (e.g., reds and oranges), which are my favorite by far. 

Usually abstract art intimidates me, but it was freeing to forget about having to accurately portray a bear, and just follow my whims with lines, curls, and random contrasting patterns. In my opinion, however, it does help to follow the contours of the shape (a bear head in this case) with several of the design elements, to help give dimension to the piece. 


Booth filled with art at outdoor arts and crafts fair.
We had a great time at the Canyon Art Fair in Mill City last weekend. I was grateful to sell a few art pieces and some copies of my book on the Pilgrims. The weather was less than cooperative, however, with breezes blowing my artwork down several times. Fortunately, none of it was damaged. I cannot say the same, however, for a fellow artist whose oil landscapes were blown to the ground, with one of them punctured right in the middle.

By mid afternoon the storm clouds came, with the wind blowing the rain beneath our (borrowed) canopy. The kind director of the art fair told the vendors we could leave early if we wish. This is not usually allowed, for the sake of late-arriving art customers, but a few of us took her up on her compassionate offer and began packing it in.

About the time my wife and I got everything in our Subaru Forester, the storm began to fade, and the sun revealed itself once again. I looked at my wife and pointed at the sunshine. “I’m NOT taking it all out again,” she said. So we didn’t. I slunk away, apologetically, leaving behind most of the other artists and crafters.

Despite suitable promotion, I'm sure we all would've liked to see more foot traffic in this out-of-the-way location for an art fair, but the scenery was beautiful, we made new friends, several locals came out, and it is always exciting to be around other artists.

Canyon Arts Center, home of Santiam Hearts to Arts Association
We got to chat it up with various painters, metal artists, glass workers, authors, chainsaw carvers, a potter working at his wheel, sketch artists, and many other creative and talented folks. How often does that happen? I was surprised at how many artists they attracted for the occasion.

Though far from any urban (or even suburban) populations, the Canyon Art Center has a lot going for it, including the loyal support of local art lovers and many artists determined to share their passion in the middle of the tree-covered hills of Oregon.


Colorful psychedelic image of a butterfly
With the recent loss of two famously creative people, America is having long-overdue conversations about recognizing depression, and greater openness about mental health issues and the availability of help (and there’s a LOT help).

The tragic loss of these two (one a fashion designer, the other a food and culture writer) also reminds us of the ongoing discussion of the relationship between creativity and depression disorders. The relationship can be exaggerated and romanticized, but it is true that artists, writers, entrepreneurs, scientists, and other creatives have a higher incidence of depression. But the news isn’t all bad.

First of all, there is far more help for depression today than there has ever been before. Secondly, depressive disorders can actually enhance your creativity in at least these four ways: 


Melancholy moods seem to encourage people to see the world in new ways, bringing enhanced alertness, and openness to experience. The contemplation that comes from pain opens our eyes to see details most people miss. For example, professional comics who work through their depression are masters at poking fun at the odd, laughable behaviors the rest of us never knew we had.


Those suffering from depression, whether occasional or chronic, ask more questions. People who are content rarely ask “why?” or search the world for solutions. Author Henry David Thoreau (who arguably spent too much time alone in the woods) is an example of someone who was determined to live a life of wonder, investigating the worlds of nature and humanity. And the world is richer for his quest. 


Image of a smiling man balancing rocks outdoors. At the heart of depression is a discontent, which can drive us to find more answers. It should come as no surprise that many science and health professionals deal with depression, which becomes a fuel that drives their research. And when artists creatively work through their personal challenges, the world becomes richer in books, plays, music, films, and fine arts.


Those who struggle with mood disorders often have a greater ability to empathize with others’ problems. Our own blues can make us hypersensitive to other people, enabling us to effectively connect with them through art. This is why writers who deal with depression can create such realistic, true-to-life characters that seem to pop out of the page.


See a mental health professional or doctor. They know how to help. (That’s what they are there for.)
Get moving! There is a real connection between our bodily health (exercise and eating better) and our mental/emotional well being.
Spend time with people. Resist that tendency to isolate, and find ways to get involved (even if you don’t feel like it).
Talk about your feelings. Don't leave them bottled up, but be open about your issues.
Get outdoors. Humans were created to experience nature. Camping, star-gazing, or a walk in the park can do wonders for your mood. 
Be a help. When you contribute to the lives of others, you put your own problems in better perspective. And the joy you offer to others somehow returns to you.
• Turn off social media! It creates the illusion that everyone else's life is better than yours. Social media also trains people to become isolated spectators in life instead of real participants.
Meditate and practice gratitude. While “thinking positive” is not a complete answer, it’s an important part of the whole. “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things” (Philippians 4:8, NIV Bible).
Realize you're part of a BIG club. You’re not alone. Countless others with similar experiences manage to find joy and purpose in life — and you can too.

“Life is beautiful in spite of everything. . . . There are many thorns, but the roses are there too.”
(Russian composer, Tchaikovsky) 


Image of the "Jolly Green Giant."The “green man” motif has been around for a long time, with countless versions. I don’t know his origin (no one does), but I suspect it has to do with our natural love of nature, and feeling at home in our natural world. You’ll find different versions of him carved in medieval churches and other centuries-old buildings across Europe. One of the modern manifestations is the friendly “Jolly Green Giant,” who has been convincing American children to eat their vegetables since 1928. 

I was happy to find a home for my Green Man recently at a local art fair. At the same event, I was also happy to see another version of him by a chainsaw woodcarver. It was beautiful, and I wish I had taken a photo of both our friendly green creations side by side.


It was very kind of  Northwest 50Plus  magazine to publish an article about me and my burn art. You can find the article (and a sample of my...