I love to do them, but don't always have the time. Either way, please ask!

My favorite commissions end up being more like collaborations. Of course I love painting mountains or fish just because the feeling strikes me, but sometimes clients come up with ideas I'd never have. 

For example, recently I was asked to paint 50 tiny trout:


50 tiny trout??!? That's ridiculous! But I had so much fun with these I painted up some more and did a limited print run with my friends at Clove & Creek in Kingston.

I've also painted plenty of individual trout for clients. This trout was the first trout a client's fiancé ever caught while fly fishing. The client shared with me the photos of her presenting the painting to her husband-to-be at their rehersal dinner the day before getting married. That was just ridiculously adorable. Who doesn't like that?


And sometimes people write me and say: I'd like a brook trout, a brown trout, and a rainbow trout. I want them 7" x 5" each, and to all be facing to the right. I can do that too:

People also ask me to paint landscapes. (It's not all trout!) This was for a client who wanted something in a bigger size. That was basically all the direction I got. I wasn't sure what to paint until I walked outside one evening and saw the most intense burst of light reflecting back on the clouds of the western sky.

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Last, but not least, people will ask me to paint them something a little less serious than a moody landscape or a trout. (Maybe something more in the style of the kids' books I make.) I love doing that too! I've been doing the holiday card for my friends over at Cafe Grumpy for a few years now. I'll leave you with last year's card. If you have an idea for a commission, please don't hesitate to ask!





Trout @ Clove & Creek April 1st


Trout paintings at Clove & Creek - 73 Broadway, Kingston, NY.

Opening: April 1st 5-8pm. Show runs through July 1st.

I think I've put it best what these paintings mean to me in my recent comic on Hyperallergic, but the short version: I spend a lot of time fly fishing. It's kind of how I flush out my brain between projects, during projects, or when I'm not sure what that next project will be. So each of these fish are more than just a bunch of brushstrokes on paper. They are in and of themselves a sort of fossil-record of how my brain works through problems. 

Here's some more of the trout in the show. Most are brook trout I catch in the West Kill right behind the Spruceton Inn, where I live. A few others are brown trout from the rest of the Catskills. Most of these paintings are in the life-size AKA 8" - 18" range.






Every once in awhile it's really fun to stop worrying about working in sizes that fit my 11" x 17" scanner, and to just go nuts painting all over someone's walls. 

Two months ago, I was asked by two expectant parents if I could paint "something fun" in their soon-to-be nursery in their new apartment in TriBeCa. The "something", they said, could be anything. So I thought. Thought about what it would be like to be a baby growing up in Tribeca--about as far as you could get from my studio in the Catskills in terms of scenery/lifestyle/access to Chinese takeout--and decided it was actually pretty obvious:

The baby needed its own personalized NYC - ABCs. 

So I got to work sketching and consulting with the clients. I wanted a mix of what I love about NYC. (And love to paint.) And what they love. The mix is pretty hilarious. Like J being for Joralemon st. (An inside joke.) 

Here's the mural in its entirety. A-J is on one side of the nursery's long wall:

K-Z goes along the other:

Some of my favorite letters include, C... for dog. And by "dog", I mean the family dog, Carlin:

P is for pigeon. Normal, very NYC, right? (But I also wanted P to be for pizza.) So...

R is for rat... pizza rat!

I tried to incorporate some of my favorite NYC landmarks. Now this kiddo is going to know all about Frank Lloyd Wright and the Guggenheim museum before he/she thinks G is for something like giraffe! 

And will probably LOVE donuts. I know I wanted to eat the pink paint I used for the frosting while i was painting it. (How did Wayne Thiebauld not eat his cakes???)

But my favorite letter ended up being Y. Which it turns out is REALLY hard to think of for NYC. (The historical Duke of York staring down at you seemed pretty spooky.) So I took serious artistic license and made Y, you. Not you-you. You-the-baby, you!

And one last note about my process: For projects like this I prefer to sketch everything out first. This way I can run the looks and concepts by the client. This mural ended up being a lot of sketching, but it was fun revisiting my old hometown. Plus these made a great gift to the parents-to-be.

As I went, I would do the line work in black ink first, then follow up with acrylic paint. And somehow, through A, to B, to C, to D, etc. I didn't spill ANY paint on the floor or walls. I'm still not sure how I did that.

Like this mural and want me to make one for YOU? Drop me a line!

Here's one I did for a family in Brooklyn a few years back too.


The baby was born healthy and beautiful and clearly a fan of art from oh such  a young age.