Acceptance
       
     
Birth of Bluebeard
       
     
Canyon Conscience
       
     
Draw
       
     
Driftwood
       
     
Jack Knife II
       
     
Slim Angel
       
     
Slim's Stroll
       
     
Spider Rock
       
     
Slim N' Jack
       
     
Jack Steed
       
     
United We Slay
       
     
The Lady Finds God
       
     
Horsetooth
       
     
Om
       
     
Acceptance
       
     
Acceptance

16x20
acrylic, watercolor paper, graphite on stained birch panel

Slim Pickens sits atop his horse, Gentle Ben, and accepts the arrows of fate bombarding him. This piece represents the freedom in accepting trials and triumphs as they come, rather than trying to force a certain outcome. What's meant to be is meant to be, and I've found that it's best to take it as it comes with a calm and grateful demeanor.

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Birth of Bluebeard
       
     
Birth of Bluebeard

24x48 inches
acrylic, watercolor paper, kraft paper, graphite on stained birch panel

Bluebeard emerges among the towering pillars of a desert landscape grasping his double-barrel shotgun. He is mysterious shape-shifter, always taking on different forms while pushing the boundaries of my artistic expression. This piece represents how ideas and inspiration seem to bubble up from the landscapes that surround me, I only need to keep my eyes open and my sketchbook handy.

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Canyon Conscience
       
     
Canyon Conscience

24x48 inches
acrylic, kraft paper, graphite on stained birch panel

Slim Pickens sits atop a canyon wall, pondering the depths below and the soothing waters of the river that carved its cliffs. His hands are open along with his mind, which takes in the beauty and grandeur of this time and place. At the center of my being, I've always imagined a cool, blue center that is unshakable and this piece represents that visually. This calm is fueled by being present and grateful, two skills that I always try to improve.

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Draw
       
     
Draw

6x24 inches
oil, watercolor, watercolor paper on charred and stained maple panel

Slim Pickens stands with his six-shooter holstered, ready to draw and fire with lightning speed. His demeanor is calm, cool and collected, but his blood is boiling. This piece represents the calm decisiveness that I strive to achieve in my artwork. I don't want to draw my pistol too early, but I always want to make sure that it's cocked and loaded, ready to spring into action when inspiration strikes.

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Driftwood
       
     
Driftwood

12x60 inches
acrylic, watercolor paper, kraft paper, soluble copper on stained birch panel

Bluebeard floats through a desert landscape, a ghostly vestige free from the constraints of this physical world. This piece demonstrates how ideas and creative inspiration seem to appear out of thin air, as if they've been floating through the ether for millennia in search of a creative hand to grasp at them and try to express them in some way.

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Jack Knife II
       
     
Jack Knife II

24x36 inches
acrylic, watercolor paper, graphite on stained birch panel

Jack Knife takes form as a composite of deep blues and purples, culminating from an array of black drips, which represent negative thoughts and actions. This piece shows how negativity can compound upon itself in my mind, potentially driving me into a pit of self-doubt and self-pity. Jack's left eye is under a patch because when I was three, I ran into a tree and damaged my left eye, forever altering the way I see the world. I've accepted this accident as part of what made me the person I am today, and in a strange way, I'm grateful for it. It taught me the power of being grateful for the amazing gifts I've already been given, rather than wishing things were different and feeling sorry for myself.

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Slim Angel
       
     
Slim Angel

36x36 inches
acrylic, watercolor paper, kraft paper on stained birch panel

Slim Pickens takes a moment to play in the snow, making an immense snow angel with his lanky limbs. This piece represents the importance of not taking myself so seriously; that no matter what, it will all work out and it's often not worth the worry. I was inspired to create this piece after a romp in the snow with my 3 year old son, Ivan.

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Slim's Stroll
       
     
Slim's Stroll

12x16 inches
oil, watercolor, watercolor paper on charred and stained birch panel

Slim Pickens stretches his legs during a stroll in the shadow of Devil's Tower, a towering monolith of rock in eastern Wyoming. His gingerly pace and long stride help him cover some distance while clearing his head. This piece represents the value of taking a walk to clear your mind, a practice I've always enjoyed.

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Spider Rock
       
     
Spider Rock

24x48 inches
acrylic, watercolor paper, soluble copper, graphite on stained birch panel

Spider Rock is a 800 ft towering monolith of rock in the Canyon de Chelly in northeastern Arizona. I first read about it in Blood and Thunder by Hamilton Sides (an INCREDIBLE epic of the American West) and was taken aback by its power and the stories that it inspired. In particular, the Din'eh (Navajo) held it in high regard as the home of one of their holy people, Spider Woman. According to legend, Spider Woman was the one who taught the Din'eh how to weave their beautiful blankets and lives atop Spider Rock. In this painting, I placed The Lady atop Spider Rock, her calm posture and cool demeanor emanating to all below.

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Slim N' Jack
       
     
Slim N' Jack

36x36 inches
acrylic, watercolor, watercolor paper on charred and stained birch panel

Slim Pickens and Jack Knife hunt each other in a never-ending cycle of good vs. evil that is a story as old as time. This piece represents the struggle to maintain balance in my life and how difficult and upending that can feel. Life is a continuous cycle of trials and triumphs that challenge me to become a better version of myself. It's a series of mistakes and lessons that can feel triumphant and helpless, depending on the day. But it's the strife that keeps life interesting.

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Jack Steed
       
     
Jack Steed

30x40 inches
acrylic, graphite on stained birch panel

Jack Knife sits atop his trusty steed, Schwarz, as he contemplates his next move. This was a piece that I relied heavily on the process, with little planning beforehand. The result is a highly expressive piece representing the seemingly insurmountable power and might that negativity can have in my life. It is a reminder to rise above it and see it for what it's worth.

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United We Slay
       
     
United We Slay

30x40 inches
acrylic, watercolor paper, India ink, soluble copper, graphite on stained birch panel

The whole gang (Slim Pickens, Jack Knife, Bluebeard, The Lady) join hands and appreciate the awe and grandeur that Devil's Tower possesses in its towering pillars of rock. This rock formation in northeastern Wyoming has always been one of my favorite places on Earth. I've climbed it's face to stand atop of it in wonder and always felt that it held a distinctly powerful presence. The Native Americans felt the same way and it inspired the Kiowa to tell a story of seven sisters who were being chased by a giant bear. They cried out for help to their gods, who responded by thrusting this monolith of rock from the ground underneath them into the sky, where they were beyond the bear's deadly grasp. The bear continued to try and claw its way to the top, creating the enormous grooves and striations that define Devil's Tower. Eventually, the seven sisters were committed to the sky to live among the gods and they compose the constellation Pleiades, depicted in the upper right corner of the painting. To the left of the summit of Devil's Tower is Ursa Major, better known as The Big Dipper and literally translating from Latin to mean "big bear". This piece was created on my 33rd birthday and holds a lot of meaning to me. It represents my journey and how I am most powerful when I acknowledge and accept all aspects of myself with a heart full of gratitude. United, we can slay anything that we encounter.

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The Lady Finds God
       
     
The Lady Finds God

24x36
acrylic, copper, India ink, watercolor paper on stained birch panel

The Lady stretches out her arms, taking the peace and grandeur of the God that she has finally found. This painting represents the quiet strength that the women in my life have taught me. Those women, my wife, moms, sisters grandmothers and friends, have shown me the true power of the female spirit. That it's not about ego and trying to prove yourself to the world; it's about submitting to something bigger than yourself day after day. It's about sacrifice for the greater good. And it's about helping on another and lifting each other up. Most of the women that I've learned from are anchored in their faith, which is why I included the cross on the mountaintop. You can see these crosses on top of all the mountains in Germany, where my wife and I first fell in love.

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Horsetooth
       
     
Horsetooth

36x60 inches
acrylic, watercolor, watercolor paper, graphite on stained maple panel

I've been greatly inspired by the distinct rock formations that have surrounded me throughout my adventures and my current home in Fort Collins is no different. Horsetooth Rock towers above the landscape, its distinct shape lending itself to folklore about its origin. In this piece, all four of the characters from Tall Tales (Slim Pickens, Jack Knife, Bluebeard and The Lady) play on the rocks in various ways, a tribute to the many adventures that exist to enjoy the landscapes that surround us. This painting also demonstrates how I feel most complete when staring at a geological wonder up close. There's a certain solemn strength to the mountains and they've always called to me.

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Om
       
     
Om

24x36 inches
acrylic, kraft paper, graphite on stained birch panel

Seeking to harness the power of enlightenment, Slim Pickens performs some meditative yoga atop a pile of rocks. The orange layers of energy vibrate around him as he takes a journey inside his own mind. This painting represents the power of meditation and how you can alter the space around and inside of you by exploring the depths of your spirituality.

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