Saturday, November 8, 2008

Got back Wednesday from spending three days painting in the Smokies. It was wonderful - the color was amazing, brilliant golds just surrounding you. My biggest problem was deciding on a subject to paint. The painting on the bottom shows it, too. Too much going on, not simplifyed as it should have been.

The one on the top I did in Cades Cove, racing the sunset. Being in the valleys was a problem: the mountains shade them, so you only have a couple or three hours in the middle of the day when it was full daylight there. Cades Cove was good because it was so open. I painted next to the road, and I think the tourists going by thought I was one of the attractions, like the deer and the wild turkeys. Just some exotic species to photograph. ("and here's the crazy woman we saw, who was painting the slide, please-") I even got video taped by a park ranger for a podcast they were planning for how people use the park.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Tannehill paintout Alabama Plein Air Artists

This is one of the paintings that I did Saturday at the Tannehill paintout, and I think it's the best one. The light was wonderful and the leaves were luminous- only the gnats and the yellowjackets were a problem.
Pam C. painting the same view.

Pam again. I really admire her determination to learn to paint, and to learn to paint well.

Glenda Adams working away, painting the mill. Barbara Davis chose to hide in the bush, for some reason. We had a great turnout, and I so enjoyed seeing my friends to catch up on all the news of their art doings, and their families and children. Glenda has THE most adorable grandchild ever. (well, we tell her that, anyway-).
Off to the Smokies that afternoon. Made it as far as my Dad's house in North Alabama and spent the night. He was happy to see me, I think. Spent the night and was off the next morning to the mountains to paint and do some leaf peeping.

Painting with the Tuscaloosa women's painters..

Our local painting group went to Moundville, Al, and painted out last week. This is what I turned out that morning. The weather was glorious, and we had a very good turnout. I'm not sure if I like this one or not. The golden green of sun shinging through leaves is hard for me to get without it turning into a sort of bilious green.
We had a terrific meal afterwards at Miss Melissa's Cafe. Wonderful food, great prices. Then I began to look for my keys. And I looked. And my friends looked. Finally someone had to take me twenty minutes back to my house to get my extra keys. It turns out someone else in our group had thrown them in her purse, thinking they were hers. I really was thankful that my friend Pam was there to ferry me back and forth to get my keys. I was also grateful that I wasn't 300 miles from home. I made sure I had an extra key to hang around my neck on my trip to the Smokies- just in case.

Monday, October 6, 2008

back from a workshop...

"The Ford" 8 x 10

"In the Cool of
the Morning" 8 x 10

Went to a workshop with Anne Blair Brown up in Tennessee last week. Had a great time,
she is a wonderful person and a great instructor as well.

We're already feeling the influence of fall- the leaves rustle with a dryer sound, and there are hints of orange creeping into the landscape. It was perfect fall weather for painting- we were down in Leiper's Fork Tennessee, just south of Franklin. Lots of lovely rolling hills and barns, bright yellow soybean fields. I turned out two decent painting out of the five or six I did.

Anne has an interesting method of painting, underpainting the most vertical surfaces bright yellow or orange, more shaded places in blue or purple. Then, overpainting with the more local color that you see. Somewhat similar to what I saw Lois Griffel do in her workshop, but much more subtle. The main thing I liked about Anne's work was the brushwork she does- it is beautiful, descriptive, like a kind of shorthand. Here's her website:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

And a new painting

I've been on a painting jag the last couple of weeks, after a long dry spell. Here's one from one of my photos taken on a recent trip to Colorado.

It's a six by eight oil.

I've really been looking closely at my compositions, and trying to do little compo sketches before working. This one is a combination of a tunnel, and maybe compositional lines that lead to the center of interest. Has only four or so main masses, that's a good thing. I think it's missing having enough darks in it, though. I need to make a note of that for next time.

Serendipity- the right place at the right time

This morning, I grudgingly dragged myself out of bed, examined the bags under my eyes, and forced myself to get dressed to go meet my painting group. I sooooo did not want to go today.

But I went anyway. We were supposed to meet in the historical district here in town.

I was the first one there, and I set up and began painting. Eventually, three other members showed up- we have around 12 in the group. The woman who owned the house drove by and spoke to one of the other painters, then asked me if I was going to sell my painting.

Well, of COURSE I was. She gave me fifty bucks cash , and I gave her an eight by ten that otherwise would have sat in the stack in my closet. And then, her husband asked me to paint their lake house as well.

Some days, the universe works in your favor- I guess it's true, success is 90% showing up.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

and more cherry trees

Went with one of my painting groups on Thursday to our local botanical garden, and was again beguiled into painting the cherry trees. I have to say I'm not thrilled with this one. On a scale of one to ten, it's a five. Trying to deliver such a seemingly simply subject, while it is really...extremely complex. Lots of interweaving of foreground,'s tricky to make it believable.
I've been cleaning out my studio the last couple of weeks. Yes, that's right, weeks. What a disaster! I had too much stuff, and it was weighing on my mind and keeping me from painting. I actually destroyed about 20-25 old paintings- I can't keep everything forever, and these had outlived their usefulness It was time to let go. So I took a can of spray paint and defaced some, and the others I will burn. A sacrifice to the gods of painting. Now I'm feeling lighter and happier when I go into my space, and I'm feeling like being creative in there. As Martha says, it's a good thing.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Finally, a warm sunny day-

It was wonderful weather Sunday morning- 65 degrees, sunny, a little breeze. I had permission from a local restaurant, the Cypress Inn, to paint their cherry trees out front. Need to learn to do a tiny sketch first to warm up- I'm not happy with the giant backwards "N" the trees in the background make! I'm thinking major tree surgery will be required on this one.
The second one I really like- it's one of those rare ones that photos not as well as the original. I have a bunch of Raymar panels that I bought, with a fairly rough surface. I'd forgotten how hard it was to photo that!
On the heels of our good weather came bad- lots of severe storm warnings through the night. I managed to stay awake till midnight, when it seemed most of it would go south of us. Left the window (unscreened) open about 8 inches so I could hear the local tornado siren if it went off. So this morning I wake up, and my cat has left me a delightful "present" in my bedroom- a dead bird. Oh, thanks, you shouldn't have, really.
My daughter had told me she had seen the cat taking leaps at the bird feeder (hate I missed seeing that one-) so apparently, she finally managed to connect on one of her leaps. I'm glad house cats aren't six feet long, or they'd be stalking US.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

mini portrait

I thought it might be fun to try some mini portraits- this one is only 5 x7. Technically, I guess it isn't a portrait, it is just a painting. I wasn't too worried about anything like a real resemblence, I just wanted to paint faces. This one, now that I see it on the computer, is going to require a couple more strokes before I'm satisfied with it. Fun to do, will try some more of these.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Spring is lurking out there-

These little guys are starting to sneak into my flowerbed, managing to bloom despite the pounding rain we got yesterday (or was it Saturday?). Anyhow, I am thinking about doing a small series of these little 5 x7 s of single flowers- I enjoy them a lot, and they are so much less stressful than a whole flower arrangement can be. Not too happy with this photo- the darks on the flower did not come out quite right.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Plein Air painting, and a missed meeting

I did this one down by the river a couple of weeks ago- I love to paint

"nekkid" trees- their wonderfully twisty shapes are so interesting, and so hard to paint! This 11 x 14 took me a couple of hours.

I'm reaching that point in the year where I'm thinking, OK, enough with the browns, greys, and yellows- it's time for some color. Talk to me again in August- I'll be sick and tired of greens! Never satisfied!

I missed a good paintout with Alabama Plein Air Artists up in Decatur, Alabama, due to my car being in the body shop. Robin Roberts and Donna Chieves sent me some pictures of what I missed. If anyone knows who the people are, email me. I think the redhead is Robin, but I'm not sure. Love the red barn!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Quick trip to Florida...

So I took a break a few weeks ago, and went to Florida to meet my Alabama Plein air friend, Glenda, and finally get to meet a friend from, Linda Blondheim. We had a wonderful breakfast, and I was so happy to be with painting friends and looking forward to painting with them. So the first thing I did when I left the parking lot was smack into Linda's sister's car, giving her a big scrape mark on the side . With a State Trooper sitting right by the side of the road watching me. It was a genuine "oh, S**T !!!" moment. Fortunately, Linda was wonderful about it, and the State Trooper, I have to say, was a very funny guy. It was (almost) a pleasure to get a ticket from such a nice person. I hugged his neck for NOT giving me a reckless driving ticket. Ever had one of those?? It's the gift that keeps on taking- runs your insurance right on up there.
Anyway, these two were done indoors the next day- we had a terrific thunderstorm while we were holed up in Linda's cozy studio painting. Linda was a wonderful hostess, and I learned a lot about making a living as an artist from listening to her. She is one smart cookie, and has a great sense of humor.