Sunday, December 16, 2007

Warmest Season's Wishes

From Our House to Yours
May your Christmas Season be warm, colorful, and shared with others!
Bill and Durinda

Caylea Williams Wins First Art Award in Turkey Contest

This is my pretty Princess Caylea who came to the art opening at Hollis Gallery. Today in the Chattanooga TimesFree Press the award winners for the Turkey Coloring Contest were posted and Caylea won Third Place for the 2 - 5 yr olds. I had saved her our copy of the turkey to color when she came to visit a few weeks ago, but she said she had already colored one and her mom had entered it in the contest. Caylea received a gift certificate from Wal-Mart. She loves to draw and create her own "books" with stories she writes. I predict lots more awards in her future!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Class Luncheon for Mountain Classes

Our last classes met Wednesday before the holidays and the January break. At noon we traveled to the home of Anne and Peter Platt. We were greeted by a very festive Tally. She invited us in for a wonderful lunch. The two classes of watercolor and oil enjoyed seeing Anne's eclectic art collection and sharing upcoming holiday plans. Thanks to guest artist Wanda Lacy who snapped this for us. I will miss you girls in the next few weeks while I am in Florida! Keep Painting!

Tennessee Watercolor Opening

Opening night at the Tennessee Watercolor Society Region III's show at Raymond James, Chattanooga.
Left: Harriet Chipley in front of my painting.
Center: Region III director, Helen Burton
Right: Betty Jo Smith with her painting
The reception was very well attended with TnWS members, their guests, Raymond James staffers, and their invited clients. I enjoyed seeing the artists and also meeting new ones. It will remain on view until April.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Tennessee Watercolor Regional Show

This is my watercolor painting "Clouds Over San Gimingnano" that is currently on exhibit with the Tennessee Watercolor Society Region III show. This is the Chattanooga regional members show with twenty-seven members participating. Statewide, the society has over two hundred members. The theme of the show is "Square Off". All the paintings selected are in the square format.
My painting is 22 x 22 on cold pressed Arches paper matted to 30 x 30 with a wood frame. It is based on one of my Tuscany stays in San Gimingnano looking out my hotel window. For you watercolorists out there, I created the textures in the tiles using salt and letting it crystalize.
The exhibit is in the Raymond James & Associates main office, 537 Market Street, Chattanooga, Tennessee and will open on Tuesday, December 11 with a reception. It will be available for viewing during office hours: 8:00 - 5:00 daily. The works are for sale. I hope if you are downtown, you will stop by and see the show! I got a preview when I took my painting in and it is very diverse in technques and sizes. If you need directions or have other questions, email me or call them: 423-756-2371.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Thankful Memorial Episcopal Church

I couldn't resist sharing this church with you this week. Thankful Memorial Episcopal Church is located in the historic St Elmo community of Chattanooga on where else? Thankful Place.

Thankful Treasures

This week I received an invitation to submit to an art show titled "Treasures." I have given some thought to this title. I thought about jewels, gold, silver, fine wines, sport cars, etc, a lot of "things" that people treasure. What have I painted that would represent a treasure to me? Then, it really came to me.

What I treasure the most is not a cache of "things." What I treasure the most are my loving family and my wonderful friends. You can't pick your family, but I think I picked a good husband, even though we were both very young. I was blessed with Christian parents who encouraged me and helped me in any way they could. My son and daughter are both caring individuals with lovely families now. My other blessings are in my friends, some I have known for decades through schools and teaching jobs. Others share my love of art and are so supportive of my career. And others are happen chance, they just come into my life and it seems we have known each other for years.

So forgive my sentimental message this week. I hope you have a very happy Thanksgiving, sharing with your family and/or friends. In the rush to get ready for dinners and reunions, think about what you treasure the most. I bet it is the same as mine.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Acrylic vs. Oil vs. Watercolor vs Pastel?

Many times I am asked which media is best for plein air (on location) painters: oil, watercolor, acrylic or pastel? I think there are advantages and disadvantages of each. I love oil for the creaminess and the smoothness of blending. Of course, oil is messy, dries slowly and takes more equipment. Watercolor on the other hand, uses the white of the paper, dries quickly, less weight to carry around and is the least messy. Then there is pastel, which requires paper and pigments, usually an easel and in my case, can be messy. Acrylic would seem to be the most ideal medium to take outdoors since it mixes with water and dries quickly. It can be painted on paper or on canvas, most likely you would carry an easel.
I have to confess, I am bias towards watercolor and oils. I don't mind having green fingers and smudges on my clothes from the oils. There is something I like about blending the edges of distant treelines and smoothing the clouds in the sky. I like the spontaneity of painting with watercolor on paper because you can be so portable with it. I tend to draw more for the watercolors and sometimes that can be a problem if you are pressed for time.
I have tried acrylics outdoors and just can't seem to adjust to their quick drying time. I also find that the colors dry darker, which is a problem painting outside with any media, except watercolors, that tend to dry lighter, I think. Pastels are the purest pigments so their color is the truest. It just seems that you need a good many colors with you. If you don't know what you are doing, you can create a lot of "muddy" colors by overpainting too much. They are dusty and you have to be careful how you transport them.
So I think the best solution is to match your personality to the media. If you are used to sitting down in your studio, then plan to take a chair and an adjustable easel. Otherwise, invest in a sturdy easel that will hold the size canvas or board you prefer. Try working outside in your own backyard first or a nearby park where there is shade and flat terrain. Once you get accustomed to packing your supplies, the rest is just painting!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Autumn Art Show at Mountain Mirror Gallery

You are invited to the Autumn Art Show Opening on Friday, November 9, 6:00 - 9:00 pm. The gallery will be filled with wonderful paintings by the Studio artists who come weekly to paint. The show will feature acrylic, oil and watercolor paintings and will remain on view until December 15, being refreshed with new works as others find new homes.
The Mountain Mirror Gallery is next door to the Lookout Mountain Mirror office on N. Watauga Lane. The easiest way to get there is to stay on Scenic Highway to the business district. The Mirror is directly behind the Post Office, Twigs, and the Mountain Day Spa. Turn at the Mountain Cafe and it is the second building on the right. There is parking on the street and a lot right beside the gallery.
Thanks to Billy Parker, owner of the Mirror, for allowing us to use this space for our studio classes and gallery. We hope that he will have works in the gallery that night too.
I am so honored to work with these lovely and talented ladies: Evelle Dana, Sarah Fowler, Anne Platt, Jeanne Rudisill, Charlotte Wardlaw, Lisa Whittle, Ann Currey, L. J. Huffaker, Jan Michaels, Betty Moses, Barbara Murray, Wendy Williams, Margaret Sexton, Rita Bickerstaff, and Estelle Skoretz.
We are expecting a crowd, so come early for the best selection! If you need further directions or have questions, email me:

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Ginny's Sunflowers

I wanted to share the painting that my friend, Ginny Stiles, did from last week's posting of Searching for Subjects. Ginny and I met in Sarasota a few years ago and enjoy seeing and painting with each other at least once a year. Mostly we keep in touch via email. Ginny is a wonderful watercolor artist and teacher. Recently she has experimented with acrylics. This is an acrylic. Since I have been "playing" with acrylics lately too, it has been fun to share the joys and woes of trying a new medium. I am seeing what I can do with acrylic underpainting for my oils. Still not sure if it saves time or not. I think Ginny has adapted very well to the acrylic. Beautiful painting, Ginny!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Starving Artists Sale

Believe it or not, my husband wanted to see the Starving Artists Sale at the Trade Center on Sunday. Seems he had either seen it advertised on tv or heard a radio ad. We took our princess Camryn and went to see the show. I had never been to one before, so it was interesting! Rows and rows of large "oil" paintings for $99! Of course, I knew they were giclees (prints) on canvas and some may have been enhanced, although no one claimed that they were. But for a large giclee, $99 was a good price. I am sure that Monet, Picasso, Renoir, Thomas Kincaid and yes, Bob Ross, would have enjoyed some of the profits from their images, but at least they were selling.
I remember my painting mentor, Wayne Wu from Taiwan, telling us that in China and Taiwan they had factories where workers would paint. Each had a specialty: skies, trees, grass, etc and they passed the canvas around until it was done. Someone was in charge of signing it. So I tried to notice the signatures. They were very similar like A.Benton or A.Harris. So, my question is, who is starving? The workers in the factories are employed, the printers have a job, the canvas stretchers, the loaders and shippers, the wholesalers, the retailers?? Even the frame makers in Mexico are employed. The good news is: people are buying art, albeit giclees, to decorate their homes. There is still hope for the non-starving artists in the world!!

Search for Subjects

On a recent drive to Ellijay to buy apples, my husband and I came across this field of sunflowers just south of Chatsworth. It was the kind of scene you would expect in the valleys of Italy or France where I have painted. Last week in oil class, Evelle had photos she had made of a dirt road through a field taken not far from her home that she is painting. For some, objects that they own make the best subjects. The point is, subject matter for painting is all around us. Painting something or someplace that has meaning to you will be more fulfilling and interesting, not only to you, but to the viewer.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Fun, Food, and Friends at Hollis Gallery

Here are some shots of friends and guests at the painting demo on Friday and the Tuscany themed reception on Saturday at Hollis Gallery. I enjoyed seeing and meeting everyone and feel very blessed to have such supportive friends, both old and new. Thanks Ya'll for making me feel so loved! Thank yous especially to Sandi and Keith Abney, owners, and Sandra Babb who helped with the photography. The show will be up until November 16 so I hope that you will have a chance to come by.
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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Varnishing a Painting

Last week in oil class, Charlotte brought a painting that she wanted to rework. The painting had not been touched for a couple of years. It is a lovely study of a Monet landscape. I suggested she use a retouch varnish before applying paint.
The procedure to apply retouch varnish is the same as applying varnish on a dry painting as a finishing coat. Retouch will give the paints a better surface to accept new paint. It brings out the color which has dulled since the oil in the paint has dried and leaves the paint less glossy.
Always clean or dust the surface with a lint free rag, like an old diaper, or a clean flat brush. If the painting looks dirty, you can wash it gently with a mild soap (I like Ivory) making sure to dry it thoroughly.
Apply the varnish with a flat brush. We poured the varnish into a shallow bowl and used a brush made for varnish because it has softer bristles. Paint broad strokes, don't go back over and over in the same spots, you want an even coat. Allow it to dry.
There are different brands of retouch and picture varnish. They are pretty much the same. Some artists prefer the glossy and some the satin. I have sometimes mixed the two. Lately I have been using a product called Soluvar for the final varnish. It is glossy. Damar varnish has a reputation for yellowing after a while, especially over the lights and whites. It is still the most used final varnish.
If you have an older painting that has a coat of final varnish that you would like to "bring back to life" you can take the varnish off with a light rub of turpentine or mineral spirits.
I have never done this before, and I probably would recommend taking the painting to a restorer or experienced frame shop.
If you have any questions, the manufacturers of the products are usually available. I would check their websites.

Monday, October 1, 2007

A Touch of Tuscany at Hollis Gallery in October

A selection of oil paintings based on my recent trip to Tuscany will be on display at Hollis Gallery, 1401 Williams Street, Chattanooga, TN, October 9 - November 16. I will be in the gallery painting on Friday, October 12. A Tuscany themed reception will be Saturday afternoon, October 13. Hope you can come!

Double Primary Palette

Some years ago I started working with a double primary palette in watercolor and in oil. For the benefit of the new class members and others who struggle with color, I will explain the colors and the reason behind their choices. Sometimes I am amazed that people have taken classes where the instructor did not talk about laying out a palette and color mixing. Everyone has their own system but I find if I lay out my colors the same way each time, I can find them easier and mix faster.
The pure white goes on the top center of my palette. I squeeze out more of it than other colors. On the opposite end, goes my black, if I am using it, and a row of earth colors: raw sienna, burnt sienna, burnt umber and raw umber. I always look at my subject: what do I need? The earth colors are useful for mixing. I can make greys and nice greens by adding them. Next I do a row of the warm colors down the side beginning with the lightest: Lemon yellow, cadium yellow medium, yellow ochre, cadium red light, alizarin crimson. Permanent rose is one I may add if I am working with violets or lots of shadows. The cool colors are together on the last side starting with the lightest blue: cerulean blue, cobalt blue, ultramarine blue, then the greens (again, what am I painting that I need greens I can't mix?): permanent green light, sap green, and viridian or hooker's green. For a landscape palette, that is all I will need to mix lots of greens, shadows, and sky.
What makes it a double primary palette? There are two values of each primary here: a lighter or cooler value such as lemon yellow and a deeper or warmer value: cadium yellow medium. Same with the reds: lighter cadium red light and deeper alizarin crimson. Blues: cerulean blue and ultramarine blue. You could use just the lighter colors and mix the darker or you could use just the darker and mix them lighter. It is just a matter of convenience that we have so many colors to choose.
I am working in my studio today to finish a few of the Tuscany paintings for the October show at the Hollis Gallery. I will shoot my palette (before it gets used) and post. After my head clears of hilltops, vineyards, and cypress trees, I will explain the colors and how to mix them without creating "mud".

Friday, September 21, 2007

Oil Class

This is the first day of the oil painting class on Lookout taken by Meg Patton of the Mountain Mirror. Seated: Sarah Fowler, standing: Durinda, Evelle Dana and Anne Platt. This week, Charlotte Wardlaw joined us. We started a still life of sunflowers that Sarah brought us. When painting from life, I begin with "massing or blocking in" the local color or mid-tone color that you see. Then mix the color darker, usually with its complementary color where you see shading and then finally mix the color lighter. This seems to go faster than building on the darks. Everyone had a very good start. I also recommend working more on the live objects since they will be different or even gone in a few days. We will finish the paintings next week, using the pitcher and other flowers plus our photos.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A Touch of Tuscany at Hollis Gallery in October

My paintings inspired by my summer trip to Tuscany will be on display at the Hollis Gallery in the Southside area of Chattanooga in October. On Friday, October 12 in the afternoon, I will have my easel set up and paint in the gallery. I was thinking sunflowers or wine bottles, any suggestions? On Saturday, October 13, there will be an open house with snacks from the Tuscany area. I hope that my paintings will bring back good memories to those who have been there or spark the imagination of others who haven't had the opportunity yet. So plan to drop in during October and see the new works, and especially come by the open house and visit with me.

Have a wonderful week and enjoy the cooler weather!

Lookout Mountain Art Classes Underway

The art classes on Lookout started Wednesday, September 12. This is the afternoon watercolor group. We are glad to have Barbara Murray join us this year. Here is the gang: Betty Moses, seated; LJ Huffaker, Ann Currey, Jan Michaels, Barbara Murray, and Wendy Williams. They are such wonderful ladies and artists. I will post a photo of the morning oil class when I can get it uploaded! Anne Platt, Sarah Fowler, and Evelle Dana started Wednesday. We have a couple of spaces in the morning class and a wait list for the afternoon class. If you or someone you know are interested in joining either one, let me know! Watch for an article on the classes in the October Mountain Mirror and an open house later in November in the studio/gallery space.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Gallery Hop News

Here are Sandi Abney and her brother Carl in Hollis Gallery. The Gallery Hop was a big success. I was in the gallery that afternoon and we had a steady stream of people visit. I am sure the crowds got larger after we left. Bill and I had dinner at St. John's closeby and then "hopped" around ourselves. I enjoyed seeing other artists and their works. Especially exciting was seeing Sandi's son Keith's new gallery on River Street in Coolidge Park. Everything looked great! Chattanooga is a great place to see all types of original art by local, regional and national artists.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Gallery Hop in Chattanooga

This is a new painting that is in Hollis Gallery for the Gallery Hop this Saturday in downtown Chattanooga. Sandi Abney owns the gallery in the Southside section of town. I have known Sandi for many years, she is a Georgia girl too. Her son, Keith, has opened another gallery in the Coolidge Park area on the North Shore. Sandi paints landscapes and florals in oil and Keith does very contemporary city scenes and abstracts. I am "into" large scale florals right now. I hope that someone else is "into" them as well and takes this one home! Hollis Gallery is located at 1401 Williams Street next to Niko's Restaurant.
I will be the featured artist in October with scenes from my Tuscany trip this summer.

Newest Princess

This is AuBree Elaine Cheek, our newest GrandGirl born September 5th in Chattanooga, Tennessee to my son, Kevin and Stephanie. AuBree weighed 8 lbs 9 oz. We are very thankful that she and mom are very healthy. She even has curly hair (like Dee Dee's) ha.

It's hard to explain how you feel to someone who hasn't experienced grandchildren yet, but they are truly a blessing in your life. Bill and I are very thankful for our other two princesses, Caylea and Camryn, from daughter Caron.

Sorry this post doesn't have anything to do with art or travel, but family does affect your feelings and well-being. Now, back to painting!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Tuscany Photos

I am finally getting through my photographs from the trip to Tuscany with Fred Wessel and Jeremiah Patterson. This is a group shot taken by Hing Wah (in the beautiful shawl) who pasted herself in! Missing of course, are Fred and Jeremiah, don't have a clue why! It was a very fun group and I hope to keep in touch with all of them. Fred led a tempera painting workshop that is his specialty. His love of the Renaissance is contagious and his paintings are amazing. Jeremiah does exquisite watercolors. He uses a layering technique in his plein air paintings that he shared.
Will post their websites later for you to see their works. If I hear from the other artists in the group, I will post theirs as well.
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Friday, August 24, 2007

Lunch with Lynn

My friend Lynn Winningham (fellow artist and art educator) and I had lunch at the Mountain Fountain last Friday. She invited me to stop by her home and see a painting she had purchased from my studio last year. Lynn has a lovely home filled with original art. She is a wonderful watercolorist.
She doesn't live far from the "new" studio/gallery space on the mountain where I will be teaching so I hope to see her more often this next week.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Classes and Workshops

My fall art classes will be in a new space on Lookout Mountain, Tennessee beginning Wednesday, September 12. Oil/acrylic painting will be from 9:30 - 12:00 and Watercolor painting will be 1:00 - 3:30. The studio is next door to the Mountain Mirror office on Watauga Lane. I am looking forward to working with returning students and meeting new ones. I plan to have the classes outdoors some this fall painting on the mountain! Email me for registration information.
I have two new workshops to share with you. I hope that you can join me in my Artist's Travels this year!

Spring workshop: Sketching Callaway, April 4 & 5, in beautiful Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, Ga. We will create a journal of sketches, watercolor paintings and notes about the garden with the help of the staff horticulturalists. The azaleas should be in full bloom! Registration will be with Callaway Gardens at a later date.

Summer workshop: Durinda and Friends in France. Two weeks at a lovely country house, all expenses included (except airfare) to paint, sketch, relax, shop and sight see. Instruction for plein air painting in the French countryside will be in watercolor and/or oil painting. Registration will be with La Bonne Etoile. More information will be posted later.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Welcome to my artist blog!

Welcome to my new artist blog! I will be posting my works in progress as well as new paintings that are available for purchase. Since I love to travel (who doesn't?) I will keep you informed of my locations and painting schedules. This year, I am primarily developing a series of my works for galleries, exhibits, and collectors. After having my own teaching studio for three years, I felt the need to get back to my original plan (after leaving the art department of McCallie School in 2002) of working on my own. I will keep you informed of the progress!

My new working studio is located in the historic town of Ft Oglethorpe, Georgia in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. It is a beautiful area of valleys, lakes, ridges, and the Tennessee River. I will be offering painting workshops this fall locally. I love to paint en plein air (on location). Many times I use these studies to paint larger works in the studio. I have so many now that will make wonderful paintings, scenes from Paris, Venice, Tuscany, as well as New York City, Florida, and other areas of the southeast.

I hope that you will stay in touch. I will have news of upcoming shows and classes, paintouts, and other events.
Back to Painting!