Monday, July 27, 2009

Poppy Fields Aglow

The Studio is filling with French poppy fields this summer!

Besides teaching workshops in professional development this summer, I have been working on a series of paintings based on my stay in France last June. The painting on the left is an 8 x 10 that recently sold at the Art-a-ma-jig auction for the Arts and Education Council in Chattanooga. This scene is the same field where my classes painted one afternoon. My plein air study there was Poppy and Pea Field. The center painting is a farm close to the edge of the village where the classes painted the first day out from a distant view. I did a very small oil study- 4 x 5- and then walked back one afternoon to see the barns closer. The poppies here were scattered amongst the hay field. This painting is French Barns and 20 x 24. The painting on the right is another section of the pea field. This painting is larger: 24 x 30 and on gallery wrap canvas. I love working in a series. One painting gives you ideas for the next. I have another on the easel currently, another drying, and more to come.

The interesting thing in these paintings is working with the complements of red and green. Greens I love. There are so many mixes you can do with greens. Reds are harder. They turn other colors like orange, pink, or violet. You also have to be careful not to layer reds over greens or greens over reds because that makes brown!

Having the experiences of painting on location before painting in the studio brings back the memories of the place, the feeling of being outdoors in the sun and wind, hearing the sounds and smells around you. I feel like I can close my eyes and be back there again. This is what I strive to capture on canvas- that feeling of the moment.

As I am finalizing plans for the Plein Air Journaling Workshop in Tuscany in September, I am looking forward to capturing many more memories to share.

Enjoy your summer days!


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Arts Infusion in Alabama

Top: Tina Cherry, assistant; and Durinda
Bottom: A classroom full of teachers
Last week I was in L.A. (Lower Alabama) to teach for a workshop on Arts Infusion. I love that title! We met at the lovely Troy University of Dothan. Teachers from two schools in Dothan, Grandview and Fain Elementary, came for four days of training in presenting the arts along with their regular subjects. We began with a study of Texas artist David Bates who paints people and places that he loves. Our first production was a collage showing a favorite place or memory. Tuesday we worked with Leonardo da Vinci and his work with portraits and inventions. The photo shows the teachers' faces they drew using a grid method of drawing. Wednesday was the study of Jacob Lawrence and his depiction of the scenes and people of Harlem where he lived.
Teachers created paintings with tempera (remember that?). What fun!
It can be out of your comfort zone to paint or draw if you don't ordinarily do anything like that. I was proud that each of them, including their principals and program directors, attempted the productions. I think the arts are VITAL to a child's education and providing them the opportunity to communicate through the arts is so important. We want our children to be creative thinkers and problem solvers. Their world is going to be so different than ours, who knows what problems they will face in the future? Let's give them the tools to be creative!!
Check out for more on teacher professional development this summer.
Spreading the Gospel of Art....

Bank Notes

Bank Grand Opening
Durinda, Pam VanZant, Bank of Chickamauga Branch Manager; Larry Kuglar, Director, President & CEO of SouthCrest Financial Group, Inc and First National Bank of Polk County
Friday was an exciting day as the Bank of Chickamauga held its Grand Opening of the new building. I was so honored to have been selected to create paintings for the space. It is a beautiful building. I had the opportunity to "see" it from the blueprints before it existed and watch the stages as it was built. Pam VanZant, the Branch Manager, gave me sample swatches of the furniture and wall colors. She even had a tiny wall of brick built so I could see the colors in it. Having a brick wall in an interior space is an unusual accent, and I loved the idea of bringing the colors and textures indoors. It really warms up the space.
The paintings depict scenes from the historical area of Chickamauga: The Train Depot, now a museum; the Lee and Gordon's Mills; and the original downtown Bank of Chickamauga. I chose a fall color scheme to fit with the interior colors and to tie the three scenes together. My friends at Ringgold Art and Frame did a super job with the framing and I was happy to see Raye Brooks one of the owners of RA&F there for the opening.
It was fun to see man other people I knew in the area who came by for the opening and the ribbon cutting. I also met the contractor Dan Baker and several others who were a part of the project. Visitors enjoyed hotdogs and ice cream under tents outside and received gift bags.
If you get the chance, drop by the bank on US 27 south in Chickamauga and take a peek!