The Birth of Old Growth

I thought you might like to see my studio painting process. To document, I took each picture after 5 hours/one day’s work over about 10 days.


I wanted to use orange. Tough color. I wanted to use a specific orange. Caution orange. IMG_5696

I associate this color with “environmental protection” or “safety”, obnoxious enough to make you forget about relaxation as you attempt to enjoy whatever “environment” you are (protecting yourself) in. Think hunting season and orange vests. Think orange nets that cordon off flood zones etc.


Anyway, I found my orange, PO43 (Pigment-Orange #43)

Then, to really get into an orange mood, I dyed my hair….now I am ORANGE.   IMG_5711

And ate a bunch of food in the Orange Family (orange is good for your eyes). IMG_5724

Toned the canvas. I am working on oil primed linen. It is wonderful!! IMG_5714

I have in mind to make a piece for the upcoming  Durango Arts Center show, The Natural World: A Fragile Harmony, so I’m using some studies I made on a recent trip to the area as a jumping off point. IMG_5727

Darks for Drama.


Blue sky? Naturalism? Realism? What color scheme will speak to my intent? What is my intent? IMG_5731

More information might help me figure that out… IMG_5733

Ok. Up til now I’ve been playing it safe, following an idea, and I’m bored with this painting! So, since I don’t like it I’ll need to try another route. I break up the grid. IMG_5738

Whoa, whoa, whoa..I am seeing cartoon faces and little stick people, got to get through the”schizo” phase of the process. Got to occupy this place. Must take big leap of faith and obliterate. Such is the process. IMG_5767

Now we’re cookin. So, it may look really crazy, but it actually “feels” much  better (to me). Painting is all about feeling. IMG_5768

Now, we’ll see if they let this one in…



Old Growth (Dolores in Toils), 40×40 inches, oil on linen, M. Milstead, 201

Ye-haw! We are in. Go see this surreal orange landscape at The Durango Arts Center in Durango, Southwest Colorado (closed Sun and Mon). The show is up until September 20, 2015.

7 thoughts on “The Birth of Old Growth

  1. Yep! I think you need another summer of abstraction. You should publish a book on how you do it. Honestly, I have never understood, nor cared for it until I saw your show of all the huge fabulous paintings that I could ‘fall into’ I was so mesmerized. You GO GIRL!

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