Sunday, April 19, 2009

Chickamauga Trio Preview

SH-H-H-H! Here's a preview of my commissioned paintings for the new Bank of Chickamauga branch which will open soon (next week?). The "Chickamauga Trio" is finished and at the framer. I apologize for the little bit of glare because I tried to light them with spots in the studio. Each is 36" x 48". The scenes represent the historic area around the town of Chickamauga, Georgia. Chickamauga was the site of the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. A National Battlefield is just north of the city. A house in town was used as a hospital during the war. The streets there are named after civil war generals. The train depot is now a history museum. The original bank is still in use and takes up a corner of town. The town still looks the way it did years ago with the addition of nice streetscaping and parking. It is friendly small town with quaint shops and restaurants.
Lee & Gordon's Mills is located a few miles outside of town. The old mill is used to grind corn into mill and is open on Saturdays. I always thought it should have a water wheel on the outside, but it is underneath the floor.
Let's just hope that the paintings are what they expected! I will let you know how they look after being framed and hung.

Now that they are out of my studio, I am ready to get back to plein air painting for awhile. Wouldn't you know that today was rainy and cold? We went downtown Chattanooga to see the 4 Bridges Art Festival. Thankfully, the artists were in the pavilion. I think there were 150. I truly admire them for being tent artists. That is a hard life on the road with no guarantees of sales and the uncertainty of the weather. This year the festival charged admission and charged for parking. I will be curious to hear how the sales were from some of my friends and also how the money collected will aid the sponsor, The Association for Visual Artists, of which I am a member. Maybe next year I will volunteer to help. I am usually out of town when it happens. Sorry to say, we didn't find anything we couldn't live without, but loved looking.

I am looking forward to the Sketching Callaway workshop coming up next weekend. The mountain laurel, native azaleas, and some early rhododendrons should be in bloom. We will sketch Saturday and Sunday using different media and adding color with watercolor pencils. I also suspect that the huge poppies will be there again in the vegetable garden. Saturday night there will be a concert by the Atlanta Symphony. An extra treat! Here's the contact if you are interested or know someone who might:

During June, I will be directing the Visual Arts portion of the Alabama Institute for Education in the Arts. I have been writing new curriculum for this year using a different artist as a focus each day. So, here's a quote from one of them that touched me this week:

"It is very hard work to turn out anything that looks like a good painting."
- Georgia O'Keeffe, 1887- 1986

Back to Work!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

O Canada!

Imagine setting up your easel to paint in a sunken garden with masses of spring flowers and weeping willows cascading over a pond running under a stone bridge. You hear the Canadian national anthem "O Canada" being sung by the wait staff of a restaurant nearby where whiffs of grilled steak permeates the air. It is a comfortable 70 degrees in late March. Life is good!

My adventure in the Artists in the Gardens weekend of Epcot was wonderful. Despite the windy day we had on Saturday, the early Sunday morning rain, and the lack of shade in the afternoons, I had a difficult time choosing what to paint. When I first received my assignment, I thought, "What's in Canada that I would want to paint?" Little did I know that the area is based on the Butchart Gardens in British Columbia. The original sunken gardens were developed in a limestone quarry. Of course the gardens and grass in Epcot were "Mickey" perfect. An ideal setting for a plein air artist, if you can paint and talk to mulitudes of people at the same time. :>) That is really the fun of it all, meeting the guests and talking about your art and art in general. Children are especially curious and ask great questions. I was fortunate to have four paintings go to new owners. I even painted under shelter Sunday when it was pouring down rain!

My "art buds" this year in Canada were Dorothy Gardiner from St Pete and Linda Pence from Gainesville, FL. Both are wonderful artists and old pros at painting en plein air at Epcot. We shared a great host, D.J. Gibson, who normally works in management. He helped with our setups and getting us where we needed to be on time. The three days went quickly and I am so glad that we were able to paint through Sunday this year. Last year, we had stormy weather that called off Sunday afternoon painting. If you have a chance, you should definitely go to WDW during the flower festival months of April and May. You won't be disappointed!

For you painters, I tried out my new Anderson easel that swivels. It has telescoping legs like my Soltek. I think it weighs 7 or 8 pounds and is very easy to put up and carry. It worked great for my watercolors this time because I could lower it and sit down to work, stand and paint upright, or swivel it flat to add detail. The only problem was adding an umbrella. I will have to work on that! I worked on Stratmore's Gemini paper which has a softer tooth than Arches. It took the washes well and worked fine for outdoors where you usually have to really pile on the paint to keep it from disappearing.

Wishing you a season of beauty and good scents!