Warehouse Theatre Reception

The first five paintings of Portraits of American Teens were a perfect fit for The Warehouse Theatre’s  lobby. Here are some photos from my artist reception. Had a great time meeting new Greenville folks and catching up with friends. What a nice surprise when my oldest daughter who lives out of town showed up for the reception.


Teen Series at the Warehouse Theatre in Greenville

Packed up  the painting series “Portraits of American Teens” yesterday for the first exhibit at the Warehouse Theatre.   I hope my visitors don’t touch because the paint is still wet although all the hard work paid off. I finished the painting of Violet just in time. In fact, I had to hang the show on Monday and was still painting on Saturday and would have been painting on Sunday if it wasn’t Mother’s Day.  Yikes!! Talk about cutting it close.

I think they look great in the space. Don’t miss the artist reception next Friday night, May 26th at 6 pm. Hope to see you there.




I am thrilled to be one of the accepted artists from 9 different southern states to be part of Artfields 2017. This was also the first year I applied, so it was doubly wonderful when I got the news. My painting “Francesca” will be exhibited in the Seven Monogram Boutique which is located at 130 East Main Street. If you don’t know about Artfields, it is one of the premier Art Shows in South Carolina to honor artists of the Southeast with a weeks worth of celebration, events and competitions from April 21st – 29th. It is held in a the small town of Lake City, where the whole town basically becomes a living gallery.

Hope you have time to check it out!


_mg_7819_lowres_altlighting Grace is the fourth subject in my current body of work Portraits of American Teens. She is a young woman who I met through my daughter Megan when they took classes together at the Fine Arts Center. Although Grace is the typical teen who loves to laugh and goof around with her friends, this is not the side of her that struck me most and what I really wanted to capture. Rather, it was her strength of character, work ethic and just like her name says, her grace.

I discovered these personality traits during our first chat session at Barnes and Noble where I sat down with Grace, her mom and her little sister. We talked about a number different things including school, dance,  family and faith. I learned that she is a very dedicated dancer and has been dancing since a very early age. Dance was actually a family affair as she and her sisters spent hundreds of hours in the studio each year. It only made sense to do a photo shoot in this environment.

When we took the photographs, Grace’s little sister came along which helped immensely. Friends and family members sometimes assist me during these photo shoots as they can interact and engage the sitter in a more personal way allowing me to capture a more authentic view.

My biggest challenge during the shoot was the lighting. The studio  was off campus from the main dance building where I originally thought we would be. The main studio, where I wasn’t allowed to shoot, had clerestory windows and white walls. This studio was dark, not very well lit and had some really weird yellow paint on the walls. So what do I do in these situations? I change my original thoughts and adapt. Even though the location was different than I originally intended, in the end, I really liked that strange yellow.  It added some interesting contrasts to the cool color of her skin and leotard. Even though the location of the shoot changed, I was happy with the end result in the painting. I think I was successful in capturing what I was after in telling Grace’s story.  

Just Delivered

I thought I would take a break from posting about my project “Portraits of American Teens” and show you my most recent commission, especially since it’s a departure from the oils I have been working on. This piece was done primarily with colored pencil with a little pastel.

Gavin and Cole are twin brothers who live in Michigan and this portrait was commissioned by their grandmother for her husband’s 70th birthday. I just delivered it a few days ago to another happy client. I always feel very blessed when I am able to create a piece of art that has so much meaning for families. It truly is special to be able to share in their experience. I was also able offer a giclee of the portrait to pass on to another member of the family.

The pose was perfect for capturing the boy’s personalities as well as their special relationship. Cole, the twin on the right has cerebral palsy. Gavin’s arm around Cole captures the special bond that exists, yet also portrays Gavin as Cole’s protector.

For my primarily colored pencil pieces, as this one is,  I adopted using pastels for my backgrounds after participating in a workshop by fellow portrait artist, Judy Carducci. She does amazing pastel portraits and uses a sponge to wet the pastel after blocking in the back. I have experimented using various sponges and sometimes big brushes which add cool textural and abstract effects.

Trapp Twins

Gallery Representation in Greenville

One of my goals this year was to start to create a presence in Greenville, SC,  my current home town. After living here for three years, I have done a few juried shows here and there, but that’s about it. It was time! No, that’s not true . . . it was overdue!

I have been looking for a place where my work could be seen year round, preferably in downtown Greenville. I have been searching for gallery representation for a while and finally found my answer, the Artist Guild Gallery of Greenville and it’s right on North Main; 200 N. Main to be exact, right next to the Hyatt. It’s a good fit for me right now. All of the artists are juried in and we share in the running and decision making of the gallery. I am looking forward to getting to know this friendly and eclectic group of artists.

Two weeks ago it became official. Artwork was hung, pieces labeled, and the name tag was placed. Hope you will check it out. This is just one more step in creating roots here in South Carolina.

Finished Painting of Francesca

Finally getting around to uploading this painting, although it was finished months ago.

The sculpture was a blast to paint and I have never used so much yellow ocre in my life! Throughout the process, I was surprisingly having to bump up the intensity. Then came adjustments to the orangeness (is that a word?) of the skin tone on her right side, viewer’s left. Yellow, more yellow. . . then more yellow orange.

Compositionally, I love how the sculpture cradles her body and also contains some interesting abstract value shapes. The development of hard and soft edges allowed me to pull the focus to the front of the sculpture and to Francesca who was contained within.

I hope I captured a few things that struck me most about this lovely young woman. Francesca seemed to be wise beyond her years. She was comfortable in her own skin. Even though she was unsure of where her interests would lead her, she looked to the future with anticipation. If only we all could have such an easy going nature! I would also describe her as creative, friendly, and poised.

Last I knew, she was living in the state of Massachusetts, although I hope that some day our paths will cross again. It would be lovely to know where life has taken her.


The Eyes and Mouth Capture “It”!

Although all drawing needs to be accurate to get a good likeness, so much character and personality are found in the eyes and mouth. Subtle adjustments in these areas can make a huge difference, taking  a painting from resemblance to “you captured him so well!”.

Here are some close up photographs of the painting “Ethan” taken during the it’s progression. You can see how the small adjustments change the character ever so slightly but very importantly in these areas.

Ethanmouth2 Ethanmouth1 Ethanmouth3

Photo Diary of Progress – Ethan


Sorry about the color changes in the photos. It’s due to the different lighting conditions when I took the shots. During the painting of this piece, I changed the lighting in my studio and the last photo was taken in outside light. I tried to adjust the colors in photoshop with limited success.