Nothing is more rewarding than painting outdoors in the open air or as French painters referred to "en plein air." It is the only way to truly capture a scene as it is happening -- and by happening, I mean catching a moment in time while the sun continues to race across the sky moving the highlights and shadows through the scene.

For a naturalist, it is pure pleasure to be part of that experience.

The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is a joy to visit and to paint. On a recent trip when the sky was an amass of clouds creating dappled shadows across the entire canyon and sunlight bouncing against the walls and rock structures, the view became an artist's dream landscape.

It was impossible to catch everything, so the quickest method to apply my oil paint was using palette knives to spread the paint.

What a joy to capture my interpretation of beauty.

View from Cape Royal, 30x40, oil

French Fishing Boats, Barfleur Harbor, 16x20, oil

During the summer, we were fortunate to spend a few months in France. One of our all-time favorite places is Barfleur. In his later years, Paul Signac made it his home and made several sketches of the harbor, as well as both oil & watercolor paintings.

Barfleur is a small commercial harbor with a lot of activity.

What a thrill to try to capture the action.

Honfleur is a tiny fishing village where the Seine empties into the English Channel. This is the home of Eugene Boudin and the harbor continues to attract painters.

Honfleur Harbor, 16x20, oil

Fishermen's Apartments, Honfleur, 12x16. oil

Eau Potable, 8x10, oil

Grand Canyon: A New Day Begins, 24x20, oil

In early May, we visited the Grand Canyon to find some wonderful locations. I love painting early in the morning or in the late afternoon, when the sun is low on the horizon. In the morning as the sun slowly rises, it's a great time to paint because there are few people so you have the spot to yourself. You can see in my painting that down in the Canyon there was still vapor before the sun could burn it off.

The U.S. National Park Service held an art competition in Utah to celebrate their 100th anniversary. The artists had 3 days to complete plein air paintings in the parks. From those paintings, they selected a few for a traveling exhibit. My painting, Canyon Ridge, was chosen and toured around to show the beauty of our national parks.

Canyon Ridge, 24x24, oil

Grand Canyon, 16x16, oil

The North Rim of the Grand Canyon has many, many wonderful views to paint. Hiking out to the edge can sometimes be difficult, especially when hauling an easel, canvas, and paints. But it's all worth it when the view is so rugged and dynamic.

As I grew older, I realized that all of a sudden I developed a fear of heights. This was so strange for me because I used to backpack in the mountains and climb. I now force myself to stand on the edge of a cliff and paint. I feel like I'm successful if looking at one of my paintings makes me dizzy. This is how I challenge myself.

The two pieces above began as plein air paintings and were completed in my studio. When you're out in the fresh air, you try your best to paint as much as you can -- but as the sun travels across the sky, the shadows move and the light changes. In addition, the weather can also change forcing you to scamper back to your base camp. Many times you have no choice but to finish the painting in the studio.

North Rim Morning, 8x10, oil

Jardin en Sud de France, 9x12, oil

It was such a joy to spent time in the south of France. One day after returning from Renoir's home in Cagnes-sur-Mer, I set up my easel in the backyard garden. Anyone admiring his paintings would want to try his palette -- specifically, the blues he used in the shadows. I can't tell you how much fun it was completing this memory.

In a small seaside village in Greece (Nafpaktos, formerly known as Lepanto), we stumbled upon a statue of Miguel de Cervantes. The monument was honoring his participation in the 1571 Battle of Lepanto. From this, I thought of creating a joyful painting of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.

This painting was something quite new for me -- a sort of semi-abstract -- but that's what I was thinking about for this man of La Mancha. Something that was fun, reflecting an eternal optimist on a mission to redress all manner of wrongs.

To Dream, 16x20, oil

Three Sisters, 9x12, oil

Monument Valley, 9x12, oil

Last Light, 8x10, oil

Secret Canyon, 12x12, oil

Dappled Waters, 11x14, oil

"Monument Valley, Riverbed"

by Edgar Alwin Payne, was reproduced for an educational, Masters Show.

Each invited artist was to produce a copy of a painting by a famous artist.

Edgar Payne's artwork is a favorite of every landscape painter.