Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sending Holiday Greetings Your Way

Tuscan Poms and Grapes
Oil on linen
It has been my tradition to paint or draw my own holiday card image since I was in college. Some years I have ideas in the summer months and have the cards at the printer's in October. Most years I am painting at the last minute and the printer worries that the cards won't be ready Christmas week. As with most people I know, I don't send out as many cards as I once did. I am sure most people think that sending cards will become a thing of the past since so many send email messages now. I still believe that people enjoy receiving a "hard copy" of a greeting. You can look at them more than once, they don't take up memory space on your computer, and they can be shared with others without having to type or click a key. I like seeing the family photos that many send.
My image this year is from a table setting in Tuscany. While going through my photographs to find something to paint, I came across my shot of the bowl of fruit. Very simple, and yet I immediately thought of the symbolism of the pomegranate for abundance, fertility, and good luck. It has been used for centuries as a decoration in many cultures especially Mediterranean countries. All this to say, I wish for you and your family a year ahead of prosperity, happiness, and peacefulness in your heart. If I can be of any service to you this year, please contact me. I cherish the relationship I have with you.
Remember that there would not Christmas without Christ.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Painting Classes

Mike working on his watercolor Imke and Maren with their still lifes

I couldn't resist sharing a few shots from my weekly classes at Townsend Atelier since we finish up this week. The students this session were so dedicated and easy to teach. Mike had private sessions in watercolor painting on Mondays. He is an excellent draftsman with graphite (pencil) and wanted to learn to use color with watercolors. He really has developed his skills quickly. Tuesdays the morning "beginners", because most have a background in some form of drawing or graphic design, have sped through some still life paintings. Some with natural light and some had spotlights. The afternoon painters chose a landscape theme for this term and have painted their way through the seasons, finishing with a snow scene. We love our open space at the Atelier where we can arrange easels and setups in different ways. I can't believe the second session is coming to an end. Time flies when you are having fun painting!
New sessions begin January 10 & 11. Many of you know I have spent winters in Florida for the last eight years. This year I am going to try to "stick it out" here. It's not easy for me. I am sure I have S.A.D. So to prevent any downward feelings on these cold dark days, I have decided to have lots of color in the classes! We will use flowers of all sorts and sizes as subjects during the next term. I love to paint close-ups and also floral bouquets. So if you are craving some brightness in January and February, Peggy is taking registrations now! Don't feel you have to be experienced in painting flowers. We will start off with the basics. I will get back to landscapes in the spring, maybe a garden or two? And hopefully take a few of you outdoors with me painting. Until then, I hope you are enjoying the holiday season!
Colorfully yours,

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Studio News

Red Kimono
This is more of a newsletter today. I have several things that I want to share with you!
Join Reflections Gallery and the artists of the Tennessee Watercolor Society for the opening reception of "Color Zone", on Thursday, November 4 from 4:00 - 7:00 pm. My painting "Red Kimono" is part of the exhibit. I chose one that had a color in its title. Also, this one is pretty colorful on its own. It will be interesting to see all the different interpretations of the theme. The reception will even have color themed goodies. Reflections Gallery is located at 6922 Lee Highway, Chattanooga. Phone: 423-892-3072.
I just received notice that I have been accepted as a member of the Women Painters of the Southeast. This is a group of, of course, women painters, many of whom are friends of mine. I am excited about joining this group and being a part of their prestigious exhibits.
The weekly painting classes at Townsend Atelier are going strong for the second six weeks session. I have some very nice students who show a lot of promise with painting! We enjoy each other's company while exploring the techniques of painting. The winter session will begin in mid-January. Contact Peggy at Townsend Atelier for more information. Remember: Art Classes make excellent Gifts for that special someone!
Next week right after the Tuesday morning oil class, I will be traveling with friends to Ft Myers Beach, Florida for the Paint the Beach-Sandcastles to Shrimp Boats plein air festival. This event will coincide with the 24h Annual American SandSculpting Championship. I know you have seen these events on television or maybe you have seen one in real life? The sculptors work on the beach and create unbelievable sculptures from the beach sand. So, I am sure there will be lots of interesting things to paint. Along with the paintout, there will be a sale of the paintings for the public Friday through Sunday.
And...a plug for a friend of mine! AndreeTerry has a writeup this month in the Georgia magazine. She is the owner of Andree's Essential Soaps in Athens, Georgia.
Andrea developed her soaps and lotions for her mother when she was receiving chemotherapy and found her skin would get very dry from the treatments. Andree kept making her soaps and lotions using the finest essential oils from around the world after her mother died. Then she too discovered she had breast cancer. Fortunately, it was caught in plenty of time and she is fully recovered. The business means even more to her now as she works to share her products
with other cancer patients. You certainly don't have to be a cancer patient to enjoy her lotions, soaps, and moisturizers. Check out her website to learn more about her wonderful products.
Thanks for allowing me to cover a lot of ground in one blog. I do appreciate your readership and feel free to share the link with others. I still want to write a bit about traveling and painting in Tuscany and now add to that: Ft Myers Beach!
Enjoy your weekday-

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Treat Yourself to Eye Candy!

Through the Poppy Field
oil on linen
8 x 10
It's not only time to buy sweets for the little ones, it's fall fix-up time! (Can you tell I watch HGTV?) You have guests for the holidays and parties coming up, you need something new in just the right size and color to liven up that room! This Friday, Oct 22, I will be doing a painting demonstration along with several other regional artists at Artistic Gifts & Framing, Dalton, GA. Donna Hilley, the owner, has lined up an outside street fair of sorts. We will be taking small works on canvas and paper, most unframed, for your gift list! I know when I rearrange things at home, I change out paintings and photos and a few throw pillows for a seasonal look. I am taking some of my little "jewels". Donna has lots of wonderful mouldings that would look great on any artwork you choose. If you don't see something that completely grabs you, commission a piece for that special place or someone. I am back from a wonderful week in Tuscany and really inspired to paint now! Hope to see you Friday!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Ciao, ya'll!

Packing up for the Tuscany Workshop week. My bag may be overweight this time. I am carrying my pochade box, tripod, paints, and panels with a week's worth of clothes. Whew! Looking forward to the rolling hills covered with vineyards. We may have rain one day, so already thinking about interiors at the monastery and views out the windows. Don't know if I will be able to post from there or not, but do know that I will be painting, painting, painting! Hope all ya'll have a great week coming up too.
Ciao, ya'll!

Saturday, September 4, 2010


July 4
Watercolor on paper
22 x 15
A new painting for the Tennessee Watercolor Society's Region III members show at Gold Leaf Gallery, Chattanooga. You know me and southern architecture. Here is a doorway in Charleston while we were there over the Fourth of July weekend. My husband wanted to surprise me with a trip for my birthday (July 4) and we both love Charleston. It is a wonderful place to walk. But not in July. It was extremely hot without a breeze even though it is on the coast. We did very little walking except in the evenings and early mornings. This painting is in a champagne wood frame with white mat. It would brighten up any space. I am hoping that it makes you smile and think about holidays like the Fourth you spend at home with your family. Doesn't it say, "Come on in and get an iced tea, the BBQ is cooking in the backyard."?
The TnWS show will open on September 11 with a reception from 5 - 8 pm during the Gallery Hop 2010. Most galleries and studios will be open on that day from 2 - 9 pm with special shows. I will be hopping around too, I hope, as well as painting a demo at Townsend Atelier during that time.
If you are out hopping, come by and see us at Townsend. There will be information about classes and workshops. The open studio drawing class will be sketching a model. See the space- I love it. It makes me feel like I am in a New York City loft studio. BTW, Townsend has a red door also. I think red doors are good luck in China or somewhere. Who cares? They are great to paint.
HOPPING to see you Saturday!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Opportunity Knocks

Tuscan Door
Oil on linen
There are some subjects that I never tire of. Doors and windows, flower fields, street scenes, and marshes really appeal to me. I am not much on greenie green landscapes. Summer is not my time to paint outdoors unless it includes architecture or flowers. So, I am painting a series of Tuscan and French doors and windows right now. I don't care if my subjects are "romantic" to some people. I like to paint things that I can live with on a daily basis. I want to give viewers the sense of, "Ahh, I would like to be there right now." The difference between a television show and a painting is: you can't turn the painting off if you are tired of it.
So this post is two fold: One, this painting is from my Tuscany workshop last fall. Plans are underway to go in October this year. You have the opportunity to go, tour, paint if you like, eat local cuisine, drink local wine, and enjoy the company of like minded people. My feeling is, you never know what may happen by putting things off that you really want to do. Contact for registration and do something you've always dreamed about.
Two, this painting will be up for auction at the Arts & Education Council's Art-a-ma-jig on Thursday, July 22 at Tanner Hill Gallery, Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Arts & Ed Council sponsor lots of projects in the area. The Young Authors awards I attended this year to see my oldest grandgirl accept a medal for her poem and be included in a published book of works by children from schools across the area. You have an opportunity to support this organization by attending and purchasing original artwork. If you are interested in biding on this painting, email: and let them know.
A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song. -Maya Angelou
Are you listening?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Your World of Art Interview on Charter TV

Cameraman Josh Brown, Charter TV
Donna Hilley, owner of Artistic Gifts and Framing, with Ron Arnold

D with Ron Arnold, host of Your World of Art
Just so you'll know, I was taped for a segment on Your World of Art, a Charter TV show. Donna Hilley of Artistic Gifts and Framing, my gallery in Dalton, Georgia, arranged to have the interview at her shop on June 23. Ron Arnold, the host, and I stood in front of one of my paintings in the gallery and talked about my beginnings as an art student and later as an instructor and professional artist. I tried to be at ease, after all, you are being asked about yourself, nothing you shouldn't already know, right? Ron also interviewed Heidi Ingle, an art teacher from the Dalton area. I went first- gulp! We went straight through, no stops or retakes. You know, it is pretty easy to talk about your work, but making your life sound interesting- well, that is something else entirely. So, I hope I didn't bore anyone to sleep, or maybe if I did, I hope you see images of French cottages and poppy fields in your dreams. That's what I try to dream about.
The show is airing on Charter Cable TV channel 17 (at my house) and maybe channel 22 in other places. I have caught it around 8 pm nightly. It should run during the month of July. I think the whole concept of spotlighting local and regional artists is really kind of nice. We try to promote other things, why not the artists and craftsmen as well? BTW, Ron is a photographer and shows his work at Reflections Gallery in Chattanooga, another gallery of mine. Check out Heidi's cute animals in acrylic. She has been selling at the Chattanooga Market on Sundays. It is always a pleasure to meet other artists and talk "shop". I hope the interview will encourage children and young people to think about following their dream of becoming an artist someday. And, give inspiration to those adults who have always wanted to paint or draw, but just haven't started.
"Life is a great big canvas; and you should throw all the paint on it you can." Danny Kaye
What are you waiting for?


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Memorable Weekend

Frankie Willis, my newest collector with Golden Dreams
My setup at the
stone bridge on Sunday

PAG painters

Bambi, Phyllis, Durinda & Sandra

(We've been painting together for years)

The Reception at Pinky's Parlor

Sandra at the river
I don't know what possesses two reasonably sane people to drive to middle Georgia on Memorial Day weekend, setup to paint outdoors in 90 degree heat with pending thunderstorms, but all it took was a "ya'll come" from friend Phyllis and off Sandra and I went. The event was sponsored by Plein Air Georgia in Flovilla. Yes, Flovilla. I had no idea where it was. It is between Atlanta and Macon. We actually were in the Village of Indian Springs. There is a state park which contains the mineral springs that the Indians thought contained healing powers. The village was in its heyday during the late 1800s until 1920s. Without telling you too much history, it is now restored with a cafe, museum, shops and gallery, rental cottages, and gardens.
So what do you do at a paintout? First, you register and the canvases or paper you think you will use that day are marked or stamped on the back. That insures that you do something on the spot and haven't brought a painting you did earlier or in the studio from a photograph. Then you have a time limit to submit your paintings for judging and a display. Our deadline to have work framed and submitted was 3:00. Whew!
The three of us, Sandra, Phyllis and I painted in or near the botanical garden. I setup on the hillside near a small stream with purple iris lining it. I tried out the new MatteFinish Alkyd paints from Gamblin for my underpainting. Working with them on my linen boards went well. They do dry out quickly on your palette in the heat. After lunch at Pinky's Parlor, I again painted in the same area, this time an arbor with a wooden bridge.
Twelve painters from different areas of Georgia presented one or two works each for the reception. Pat Burns won First Place for her Mossy Tree and two other awards were given. Phyllis had made up the "I Survived" awards for the people who were first timers painting en plein air. I always say painting outdoors is not for sissies. Besides the sun, the wind, the bugs, the animals, the kids eating ice cream, you also deal with folks who just naturally are curious about painters. "Do you know Thomas Kincaid?" a sincere bystander asked Phyllis once. "No, do you?" Well, I am sure that sweet Phyllis had just the right thing to say back, but I would have been tempted to say that.
At the end of the reception, it was such an honor to have Frankie Willis purchase my two oil paintings as well as Sandra's and Phyllis'. Frankie is the one who has brought Indian Springs back to life. What a wonderful support for the local vendors and families. Her insight into recreating the village and establishing the gardens makes the area well worth the trip. You can stay in the state park, the Indian Springs resort, or rent one of the cottages in town. I guess a bonus of being a painter is getting to see interesting places and meeting other artists. It sure helps to have friends who enjoy the same things you do!
Now go make some memories!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Dual Identities

1942 Frogs and Fish
Cordon Art Netherlands
M.C. Escher (1898-1972)

This image by M.C. Escher is one of his tessellations. It looks simple to us, but he studied the shape and placement of different motifs to make them tessellate. Escher is perhaps best known for his optical illusion images of stairs that go both ways, etc. What I admire about his work is that he never gave up. He kept exploring possibilities and giving himself challenges. In his lifetime he made 448 woodcuts and linocuts and over 2000 drawings. He kept working even when his work wasn't that popular. If he were alive today, he would be amazed that he is such a world renown artist.
Many of you know that I am an art teacher as well as painter. I will be presenting two lessons tomorrow in Demopolis, Alabama for teachers. We will examine the connections between the academic subjects they teach and the arts. Well, I can only hope that the teachers tomorrow will see the connections between what they already teach and what art can add for their students.
As a painter, reading about and researching artists for lessons always gets me motivated. When you think about some of the conditions that some of these artists lived in, and yet they still persevered and kept creating their art. Most did not attain wealth or fame during their lifetime. Picasso, Dali, and Monet being a few of the exceptions. And the best part, they kept working in their own style, no matter what the "trend" of the day was, their art represented them. I think that is a lesson for us irregardless of what we do for a career or hobby.
So keep working!

Monday, April 19, 2010

New Homes and Gallery

Poppy Walk
oil on canvas
24 x 30
Italian Alley
oil on canvas
10 x 10

oil on canvas
16 x 20
I am pleased to announce that I will be represented by Artistic Gifts and Framing in Dalton, Georgia. Donna Hilley, the owner, chose four oil paintings for her gallery: French Barns, French Farm, Bonjour!, and Oriental Lilies. The gallery is off Cleveland Highway in the Vista shopping center next door to The Spiced Apple. I hope you will drop in and see not only the artwork she carries, but also the gifts and other handmade items. Donna will custom frame your new artwork purchase too!

Field of Poppies went home with new owners at the Boyd Buchanan School fundraiser Saturday night. It is always an honor to have someone choose your paintings for their homes or businesses. I hope the new owners will enjoy the painting for years to come and thanks for supporting the school!

New works went out to Reflections Gallery in Chattanooga last week. I sent a series of sunset marshes. Other new works from a series of Italian streetscenes went to Ringgold Art & Frame as well as Poppy Walk, another in my series of poppy fields. More to come! I have lots of ideas for the series based on my three weeks in France. Not to slight my Italian poppy fields, I will be using some of those references for paintings too.
"Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." -Pablo Picasso
Hope you have some art in your life!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Lasting Memories

Field of Poppies
Oil on canvas
16 x 20
So every chance I get to refer back to my photographs and notes of France, I take it. My daughter asked for a painting for the Boyd Buchanan School fundraiser. Of course I have paintings that were finished and framed that I could have chosen, but I wanted to get back to my "zen zone" of painting the wild poppy fields. This is the one I selected for the auction. I hope it will find a good home. The auction is Saturday, April 17, at the school. I am working on a couple more of the fields this same size and smaller works of Italy scenes.
If you would like to see the "La Dolce Vita" show on line here is the link for il chiostro. If that doesn't work, just try . I would appreciate you voting for my painting The Brass Shop Doorway (watercolor) as one of your 3 favorites. You simply email: and write VOTE for the subject. Then in the message list your favorites by name and artist. If you love Italy, you will love this show! Workshops are being booked now, so if you are thinking about going with me in October to Tuscany, get your name in! I will furnish you a sketch journal and IF I should win as one of the top favorites from the show, you could be in for a surprise too!
"A landscape is always something other than the reality it portrays. It is essentially a product of the mind." Charles Burchfield
Now go think good thoughts!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


My Mickey Award shot by my 5 yr old grandgirl
Blossom showing my art set up

Front: Barbara Perrotti, Dorothy Gardiner :Back Durinda, and Diane Johnson
at the Artists' Reception on Thursday night

English Doorway, oil on canvas, Sold

The Artists in the Gardens weekend was LOVERLY! The gardens were awesome and that is quite a feat given the cold weather that Florida has had this winter. I enjoyed seeing my art friends at the reception and lunches as well as painting in the "United Kingdom". The Epcot cast members take great care of us, providing water and sodas throughout the day. Friday and Saturday the weather was perfect and then Sunday it clouded up and poured later in the afternoon. We were packed up at lunchtime and didn't go back on the streets. I had a few sales, which is always an added bonus, and talked to some really interesting guests. The children are the most fun. I had two young boys who came right up to me and said, "I'm an artist too!" I just loved that!

If you get the chance, visit Epcot during the International Flower and Garden Festival in the spring. The plein air artists are there only the one weekend, but there is lots going on throughout the festival. I am so honored to have taken part in my fourth year and hoping for a return in 2011!

Now, go play in your yard!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

On the Woad Again....

In the UK gardens at Epcot in '08
My husband thinks the neighbors don't know I live here, it seems like I have been gone more than I have been home this year (true). We are leaving today for Disneyworld and the Artists in the Gardens weekend. Each spring Epcot hosts the International Flower and Garden Festival with all kinds of gardening exhibits and beautiful flowers in the World Showcase. This is my fourth year to be invited to paint plein air in the park. There will be sixteen artists scattered through the countries painting on location. It is always a fun weekend meeting guests and visitors in the park and getting to paint in such a wonderful location. The UK has the English cottages and gardens full of color. Last year I painted in Canada and it was equally as pretty. I can't wait to see what the horicultural department has done this year with the landscaping.
For your artists, I will be taking my Anderson easel. It has a swivel back that will lay flat because I will be taking my watercolors. I can either stand and paint or sit by adjusting the height. I will be using my transparent colors - no cadimums or earth colors. My Art comber is going again too. It holds everything in the basket and has the chair that pulls out. You never know when a quick rain will pop up in FL and it is good to have a place where everything can go plus it has wheels so it is easy to transport. A good sunhat, sunscreen, and I am ready to woll- eh, roll!
Wishing you a magical week!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sharing Words of Wisdom

David Leffel with his portrait demo
I had the opportunity to attend the David Leffel workshop on Longboat Key in February. This is my second workshop with David. There were six of us who were returning students. Needless to say, the level of artwork from the students was very high. I guess every field has its superstars and groupies. I read where Einstein had a following. David certainly has his groupies. He turned around once while helping another person and saw me- notebook in hand writing down his every word. I learn so much just from listening to him explain the method of painting. My favorite quote of his is "Painting is a very logical way to putting down what you see." Yes, he makes it sound and look so easy. We all know that it isn't, but we strive to get better.

This year David amazed us by doing a self-portrait. He painted most of it on Thursday night with an audience after teaching all day. I thought it was pretty amazing then. When he worked on it a little the next day in class, it was truly amazing. Just little twinks of brushwork here and there and it really came to life. David has a new book of his many self-portraits. He encouraged all of us to do self-portraits yearly. I haven't done one in years. Something else to strive for. I think I need a few more lifetimes to get everything in I want to paint and do, don't you?
Now, to get ready for the Artists in the Gardens weekend in Disneyworld next week!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Mix and Mingle

God's Gift to us this week

Showing my mini-tonalist painting in progress

Silver teapot with fruit ala Abgott

With Anne Abgott in Sarasota

No, this is not a social get together invitation. This is the concept behind Anne Abgott's watercolor paintings. It is so much fun to discover the local artists in Florida. Anne teaches one day workshops all over the place. I first saw her work in the Florida Suncoast Watercolor Show at Art Center Manatee. The show was up with the traveling American Watercolor Show. Anne is a recent signature member of the National Watercolor Society. She has a book called Daring Color. So when she had an opening for a one day workshop painting silver and fruit, I signed up! I have been painting scenes from Italy in watercolor lately and was curious how I could use the transparent palette that Anne used to get those rich darks in my shadows.

Then came the opportunity to study the luminous landscape with Deborah Paris for a week. Deborah is originally from Florida and now is a Texan. She "went to the dark side" a few years ago switching from plein air pastels for which she was well established, to painting Tonalism landscapes in her studio. Tonalist painters include Inness, Turner, and Whistler. Now why was I interested in Tonalism? Again, it relates to my collection of imagery that I someday want to paint. I have these images of sunsets and sunrises, storm clouds, and fog from Venice to Ringgold that I just wasn't sure where to start. Ah, using the layering of glazes, I just might be able to obtain that subtle shift in color that I was seeing. Deborah has a real emotional connection to her subject matter that comes through for the viewer. It was a lot of work, a lot of art talk, and good company for a week.

I know it appears as if I am a workshop junkie this winter! I have happened upon a few artists that I have interest in their techniques. It is the immature artist who ends up copying the style and subject matter of another more well known artist. Who wants to be an art clone? As an instructor myself, I always pick up ideas about teaching, new materials, books they recommend, and colors that I haven't tried. Sometimes it turns out I learn what NOT to do! But mostly I have great respect for artists who share their knowledge with patience. It is also good to be a student again once in a while. It reminds me to slow down and remember to explain things as I go.

It isn't a Gift, if it isn't shared.

Now, go share with someone and Happy Valentine's Day to all you lovers of art!


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Love what you do

Approaching storm, south Lido Beach
North Siesta Key Beach, in progress

There's a commercial now for Blackberrys that uses three different scenarios of people overcoming obstacles, a musician, a clothing designer, and a young couple. In the end they are all triumphant and the slogan is "Love what you do." I found my ADD mind saying,"Do what you love." We all know you can't always do that. Sometimes you have to do things you don't really love or like because that's just the way it is. But you can love WHAT you do. Painting is like that. If you don't really care about what you are painting, it shows. When you paint what gives you chill bumps, other people can feel it too.

People have asked me if I find it difficult to sell a painting if I really like it. When I am working on a painting or a series of a subject, I live with that image. It is the last thing I think about at night and the first thing I think about in the morning. What does it need to communicate my idea? What is my next step? How much more work is left? Then, wah-la, it is finished. The point is made. I am onto the next image. Painting is really more about loving the process than loving the product. Once the painting is complete, it is ready for someone else to love. I have a "new baby" to care for.

I have to go now, I hear one calling...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Paint the whole world on an 8 x 10

You know who you are! You go outside with your paints and easel and BAM! Everywhere you look it is beautiful. Great light, great sky, glowing colors... it looks so good you just want to paint it all! But wait! You have to put it on an 8 x 10! What's a painter to do?

First, what attracts you most? What do you really want to paint? The sky? The trees? The grass? The water? The alligator? (no, really!) With your idea in mind, use a viewfinder, even cheaper, use your fingers and make a viewfinder, a keyhole, if you will and look JUST at the area you want to paint. Forget the lovely flowers on your left or the white bird- an egret?- that keeps strutting in front of you sticking his neck WAY out. Go away, distraction! The light will change in less than 2 hours and you have to get to work!

Make a sketch if you can, of just the large shapes. OK- you are going to put that on your canvas. Draw with charcoal or thinned paint. Go for the big blocks of local color. Here's your mantra for the day: SQUINT! Reduce the landscape into large masses of values and color. Get the essence, not the entirety ( I made that up!) Sure, it looks simple. The guy behind you is thinking, "I can do that". Yes, he can. That's why he is watching you and not painting himself. He "thinks" he can. He hasn't tried it.

Wow- that part took almost an hour. You still have to make it look like a landscape. Put in your lights. Put in your darkest darks. Hmmm, all you have to do now is tweek the midtones and then a few highlights- a tiny dab of sunlight here and there.

Time is growing short. The light has started creeping onto areas that were dark before. The shadows are much shorter. You are getting warm. A bee lands in your paint. Of course, he is in your most expensive imported white paint. You can paint around him. Naw, better flick him out. He looks like a ghost bee now on the ground. Maybe he can rub off the paint in the grass. Why did he want to dive in it in the first place??

You hear a rustling behind you. The looker is back. "Hmmm," he says,"I can see what you are painting now. Not bad." Thanks, you mumble, scraping off your palette. Note to self: in a little more than 2 hours, I painted "my world". Here's my world and welcome to it....

Sunday, January 10, 2010

F-f-f-un Painting in F-F-F-Florida

Painting at the Myaaka River
Marc Hanson's Demo at the Beach

That's not snow you see there, it's sand, but we look like we could be painting at the Antarctic! Marc brought the cold weather from Minnesota with him so we could experience his same painting conditions. All week in SW Florida it has been 20 - 30 degrees colder than normal. Factor in the wind from the gulf and it feels even colder. Susie Covert called us the "Guerrilla Girls" for braving the out of doors.
Marc was here for a one week workshop in plein air painting through the M Gallery. He has a show there this month also. This was not a workshop for true beginners. We dove right in to working with value, composition, and brushstrokes. Marc kept us working with a timer. Some pressure, huh? Actually, it really kept you thinking about the painting. After all, "our job is to create a good painting" one of the many reminders Marc gave us. His other often quote was,"It is getting warmer, don't you think?" Not! At least it was a way to paint like the midwesterners without having to be there!

The teacher in me was really pleased at Marc's presentations and demeanor. He really tried to encourage us to think about what we were expressing and not just paint what was there. Jack Beal used to call it, "See, Put." You are in control, not the weather, not the paints, not the brushes, etc. My favorite painting of the week was at night- eeks- on a dock looking across the water. Talk about shivering! It was pretty amazing to watch and listen to him talk about keeping the values close. I like my painting looking across at the skyline and can't wait to try more- when it warms up, of course!

It's a wienie bit chilly out this am. After it warms up some, I will retrieve my paintings from the trunk of the car and try shooting a few to post. Marc gave us some advice on that too. Hope I can retain all this knowledge when I am out painting later this week. I am inside with my watercolors right now. Ahhh- it's warm here in the kitchen....

Now go play with some paint!