Thursday, December 13, 2012

Pheasants Forever cover

I do a lot of work for this magazine and really believe in what they do, I created this painting for their 30th anniversary. They are a great organization and the projects I get to do for them are usually loads of fun. If you want to join or just check them out, click here.
Hope you like the painting. I think I will be offering prints for sale of this one.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Nielson ratings (The ChristmasTrain)

The Christmas Train: A True Story by President Thomas S. Monson  (Illustrated by me) cracked the Nielsen BookScan Overall Top 100 Chart today at #83 across ALL BOOKS non-fiction and fiction combined.
Juvenile Overall Non-Fiction #5
Juvenile Overall Non-fiction Bio/Autobiographies #1.

This is pretty exciting for me, this will be the first time I've had a book that I illustrated (that I'm aware of) on this list. I suppose the author has a fair amount to do with the whole thing but at least I have some coat tails to hang on to and drag along for the ride... woo hoo...

Friday, October 12, 2012

Jenny Phillips CD's

I have worked with Jenny Phillips the singer songwriter on several projects, this is one of the latest ones. As always she is great to work with and her music is very inspiring, check it out here. The painting was from a recent book, she liked it and wanted to use it for this cover, It's always nice to reuse images and keep the proverbial ball rolling.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Christmas Train is here

The Christmas Train is available at Amazon, soon to be in stores as well. I consider it a real honor to have been chosen to illustrate this book. The paintings turned out well and I really love the story. The publisher (Deseret Book) Sent tons of photos of Thomas Monson and his family to use as reference for the paintings, It was sort of an inside glimpse of his childhood and family life. For the most part the book looks great, there are some color shifts that always happen in the printing process so I have learned as an illustrator not to get too attached to the color in your paintings. Anyway, its out and I hope you all go out and buy copies for all your family members, I know you will love it, after all the author is really good and the illustrations aren't bad either.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Cover for Upland Tales

This is a painting I did a while ago, traditionally I might add. The editor of a magazine I work for on occasion called the other day and asked it I had an image that could be used for their youth magazine, after thinking about for a while and looking through my files I came across this painting I originally painted for a Farm Bureau christmas poster, I changes the farmer and added the child pulling the sleigh, the pheasant tracks, moved things around a bit to accommodate the magazine header and this is how it turned out. They like it, I'm going to get paid for it again and the world keeps turning...
I hope you like it too.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Updated painting

It seems I am never satisfied with my work and  if I have the time, cannot resist making changes, in this case I think the changes were warranted and make for a better image. I changed the temperature and value in a few places trying to control the composition a bit, added the wood in the foreground, put a shadows on the wall,  cleaned up a few details here and there to fill up the narrative. All in all I am more satisfied with the results. I'm sure there will be more changes in the future. The wonderful thing about working digitally is that the changes are effortless, well, maybe not completely but at least easier than starting over or painting out things in oils. I am looking  forward to the next painting in this sequence and hope you stay tuned.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

New Project without a name or publisher

I'm a firm believer in working on personal projects between paying jobs and this is my latest, I am fascinated with the subject matter, and the story behind the painting. The book or story, I call it my Cave Man book, is about the domestication of wolves to dogs, My character (Kuak) finds himself befriending a wolf that eventually becomes a valuable part of his life and survival in an incredibly harsh land and time. This painting is the last one in the book that portrays man and dog together not as enemies but as companions that need and depend on each other. The text on the page reads: "As the sun set on another day, together, Kuak and his dog Eira, both with full bellies, sat quietly by the crackling fire, warming themselves from the chill fall air and resting from another successful hunt.  They had come along way together, and this night, as another season approached, they wondered what the dawn of a new day would bring".
This is the first book I have written (way harder than I thought it would be)  and am still working on the story, I am in the process of showing it around a bit and hope to find a home for it.
Hope you like it as much as I do.


Thursday, July 19, 2012


Surprise, surprise... I needed to paint this guy, every once in a while I just need to paint a pirate, call it a fix or whatever you want. They call to me from some dark place in my head and I have to submit to the itch. Anyway, I like how this painting turned out, I am  trying some new brush and mark making techniques, you probably can't tell but it's new to me and I like how it looks. The painting is based on a photo of Alan Moore ( the author) he is  scary looking dude and would have made a scary pirate so I turned him into one, the rings are his, the braids and other pirate garb are not. It seems that I see pirates all around me, I think it is time for another Pirate book or something to get this out of my system.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Latest FTR Poster

The Friends of the Teton River let me create a poster for their annual river party, I've been doing this for many years and alway enjoy it, the challenge is to come up with something new and a bit different. This is the poster for this summer, I enjoyed painting it, I would as always make a few changes in the painting  and probably at some point will but all in all I like it and think it makes a nice poster. I hope you like it as well.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Christmas Train finished

Today I finished the last illustration for my newest Christmas book, "The Christmas Train" I am not the author just the illustrator. As usual I had a  great time working on this book. The story is a nice reflection about a young boy and his discovery that giving can be more satisfying than receiving. The story takes place in 1937 so I had to do some research to portray the era, I did my best and am happy with the results. I love illustrating picture books, the sequential nature of picture books suits me and I hope I have many more opportunities to do all the books that are in my head. Here is one of the scenes from the book.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Texas book signing for COWBOYS

Well, the visit to Texas was great, I got to meet some folks from one of my publishers and I was happy to spend a bit more time with David Harrison, the author and writer for the Pirates and Cowboys books. We signed a ton of books and had a great time, met some interesting characters and came home save and sound, not bad for small town boy. Here is a photo of David and  Me ( I'm on the left) and one of the wondering characters who stopped by our booth. Well, back to work on the next book, this one is another Christmas book, I'll share images soon.

Monday, April 9, 2012


Here are a couple of reviews of the "COWBOYS" book. Reviews are scary. I worry about a bad review. What if the reviewers don't like the illustrations, or say something about my technique that is painful to read... oh well, after all these years I've come to realize that not everybody is going to like what I do, thats ok. I try to make paintings that I like, that's all I can do, if they like it, great, if not, well I guess I'll try to do better the next time, if there is a next time. These reviews aren't too bad, I think they like the paintings but I'm not completely sure.
Here are the reviews:
Publisher’s Weekly
“In a companion to Harrison and Burr’s Pirates (2008), first-person poems from the perspectives of several cowboys create a candid portrait of life out west, following a cattle drive along the Chisholm Trail. Harrison’s work includes traveling songs with a lullaby lilt (“One thousand miles/ of burnin’ sun,/ swollen rivers,/ stampedes, wolves/ three thousand cows,/ fifteen men,/ one thousand miles to go”) and upbeat poems in peppery dialect: “Ha!/ My granny’s quicker’n you/ and she’s eighty!/ Reckon that grizz’d/ be pickin’ his teeth by now.” Burr’s dramatically lit, realistic digital artwork nails the determined expressions of hard-working cowboys while creating a character in the sweeping prairie landscape. Readers who long to ride and wrangle should be entranced.”

Kirkus Review
“Free-verse cowpoke ruminations on the trail to Abilene, with paintings of long-horned dogies and grizzled riders beneath big skies. Saddle up, pardner, leave the bunkhouse (where "[bugs gnaw plugs right outta your hide") behind and look fer dusty days, freezing nights, rattlers, storms and meal after meal of beef and beans from Cookie. Harking back to cattle drives of yesteryear, Burr portrays leather-skinned figures with near-photographic realism. "You need sand in your gizzard / to wrangle wild cows, / chaps for fendin' off thorns / or horses with a taste / for cowpoke leg." They pose in full regalia, branding a calf, mending barbed wire, gazing up at the stars, trying desperately to stay on horseback amid a stampede, lazing around the chuck wagon, riding at last into town and ruefully bidding hard-earned wages goodbye at a poker table. Two saloon floozies at the end, a dark-skinned trailhand ("I'm on a journey of my own / figuring how it feels / to be free") and a spirited filly in blue jeans left back at the ranch to fulminate are the only ones here who aren't typecast Marlboro Men. So git along, there, anyone with a mind to share cowboy dreams in romanticized, Old West style.”


COWBOYS is out. Some reviews are in and one interview has been done. Sylvia Vardell's blog, "Poetry for Children" has an interview with me this morning about "Cowboys". It's always interesting writing about the process of creating a book, in this case collaborating with David Harrison again. If you scroll down on her site you can read David's interview from yesterday. I'm not a writer ( I'm sure you've noticed) so to verbalize what I do is sometimes difficult, the process of my daily life as an illustrator becomes intuitive after 23 years of doing it and I guess I really don't think too much about it anymore. So it's nice to be asked specific questions that I have to think about, and then try to come up with intelligent answers that are somewhat coherent. I appreciate any opportunity that comes my way to promote the projects I work on and this Sylvia's blog interview is a big one. If your interested in reading the interview you can click here to go to Sylvia's site. If your interested in buying a couple dozen copies of the book for everyone you know, you can click here. Thanks again for visiting, your interest in my work is humbly appreciated.
thanks again,

Saturday, January 14, 2012

New Book

I am working on another book for Jenny Phillips the singer/writer. I thought I would post one of the paintings from the book, it's been a while since I wrote anything, I've been busy on projects and family stuff. Jenny's projects are always fun to work on, she is great to work with (very creative) and I am amazed at her business prowess. The book will be out for Mothers day.
Hope you like the painting.