Friday, December 18, 2009

A Fabulous Friday in Fall

8"x10" oil on RayMar panel, painted en plein air, alla prima, on November 13th (completed at 11:20am)...$85 including shipping. In trying several different painting ideas, I had pre-toned some canvas panels using alizarin crimson, cad yellow and ultramarine blue --- brushing the thinned paint on in a somewhat planned but otherwise haphazard way. Letting the toned canvas peek through serves to unite the painting. The pear trees, with their red foliage, contrasted with the evergreens nearby. As noontime approached, shadows were quickly disappearing. Although it appears that black paint was used, it was actually a mixture of ultramarine blue and burnt umber.
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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Live of a Tree -- revisited

11"x14" oil on linen panel, painted en plein air, alla prima, on November 6th, '08 (completed at 11:30) - $160 including shipping - contact me for purchase. Sandra and I painted at Mountain Cove Farm on this warm, breezy November day. The 1800+ acres were ablaze with the glory that is Autumn. Evergreens poked their heads through the warm red, orange and yellow hues and the mountains were shrouded early with a lavender mist.
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Monday, November 09, 2009

Looking Again....

10" x 8" oil on RayMar panel, painted en plein air, alla prima on November 5th (completed at 4:30)...$85 including me at for purchase.
Sandra and I set up our easels in her front yard on a simply gorgeous day with Autumn blazing all around us. Looking directly across the road, this small stand of trees caught my eye. I had seen them dozens of times before, but in looking again.....
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Monday, October 19, 2009

The Civil War in Four Minutes

Sometimes I'm asked why Southern people still talk about the Civil War. "It's over, forget it," they say. I explain that we remember it because our ancestors fought, and many died, almost 150 years ago. We remember it because it was fought here in the South - on the very land we walk on. We remember it not because of hatred, but because of heritage.

My great-great grandfather was a Georgia Confederate soldier then. He returned from the war and helped raise my grandfather. Maybe that's why I'm here today????? My great grandmother, who lived to be 101, once told me (as a child) that she remembered hearing cannon fire when she was 4 years old.

If you think about it, in the grand scheme of things, it hasn't been that long ago. We remember - lest we forget.

Please take four minutes to watch this video...

Saturday, October 17, 2009


10"x8" oil on RayMar panel, painted en plein air, alla prima on September 20th 2009 (completed at 1:05pm)...$85 including shipping...The annual "Battle of Tunnel Hill" Civil War reenactment weekend was rainy, muddy and overcast. But that didn't dampen the spirits of the artists who painted onsite both days. This painting shows one of the many sutlers who braved the elements.
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Friday, September 25, 2009

Meadowlawn Morning

8"x10" oil on RayMar panel, painted en plein air, alla prima, on September 8th (completed at 10:30am)...$85 including shipping....This was a rather interesting painting being somewhat of an experiment. I had pre-toned the panel using random areas of ultramarine blue, yellow ochre with alizarine crimson designating the focal point which was the stand of trees in the upper left. In the actual painting, my palette consisted of yellow ochre, indian red, prussian blue and white. I may have used a touch of ivory black in the greens. Using a limited palette in the toning process, then using another limited palette in the final painting is something I'll explore further.
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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tunnel Hill Battle paintout

It rained several days before and both days of the Tunnel Hill Battle paintout. But we were undaunted and painted anyway. Our paintout was part of the Worldwide Paintout sponsored by International Plein Air Painters.
I had other duties, so this is the only painting I completed. Here is a web album of other artists at work...
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Sunday, September 06, 2009

I love my Soltek easel!!

Several people have asked about my Soltek easel and how it works. I love my Soltek easel! I've had a half dozen easels - from a Julian French easel to a lightweight metal Winsor & Newton. But the Soltek is the Cadillac of easels.

(Click on the photo to see more details)

The Soltek sets up in about a minute. It holds stretched canvas or panels from about 5"x7" to larger than a 16"x20". It's totally adjustable as far as height, and even adjusts for uneven ground. There's a sliding mechanism in the legs that lets you adjust by the fraction of an inch.

The body consists of built in boxes that hold lots of brushes and all the paint you'd want to carry. It comes with a neutral gray palette that cleans like a dream. Nothing seems to damage it...not even high strength paint remover.

There are little "wings" that fold out on either side to hold used brushes, turp, etc. I use small rectangles of non-skid shelf liner to hold used brushes so they won't roll into each other. The non-skid liner also helps keep my palette in place.

Closing up in a breeze. The palette fits perfectly into the box, the "wings" close over it, and the "mast" folds down to lock it into place. With the touch of a finger, the legs telescope back into themselves and I'm walking to the next painting site. There is a wide padded shoulder strap that can be positioned in several ways, as well as holes where I use a bungee cord to hold a roll of paper towels. It also comes with a clip that lets you attach a wet painting or panel to the closed easel for transport back to the car.

It can even be used as a table easel. The box shelf can be positioned horizontally or at any angle that's comfortable.
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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Worldwide Paintout 2009 in Tunnel Hill, GA

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As part of the International Plein Air Painters' World Wide Paintout, the Art Alliance of North Georgia is sponsoring the "Tunnel Hill Battle Paintout" during the annual "Battle of Tunnel Hill" Civil War reenactment on September 19th & 20th. For driving directions, see more information in the sidebar to the right. And for photos of last years event, see the web album at

Bethlehem Blooms

7"x5" oil on RayMar panel, painted en plein air, alla prima, on August 26th (completed at 10:30am)...$35 including shipping...Bethlehem Gardens in Varnell, GA, is 7 acres of growing things, lovingly planted by the hand of Ms. Ruby. She cares for her gardens and 39 cats (yes, 39) with the thought that all living things are by the hand of God. She graciously invited us to paint among the potted plants and flowing fountains. And after about two hours, she surprised us with freshly sliced cold watermelon. Ms. Ruby is a Southern lady indeed.
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Thursday, August 27, 2009


Painting en plein air is like bowling...there are hundreds of things to think about (all at the same time). In bowling, the object is to knock down all the pins. In painting, the object is to ---- well, there's the kick. Does the artist render the painting as an identical twin of the object being painted? The artist may chose to do that, but there are hundreds, thousands, millions of other possibilities. Changing the background, the foreground, the colors, the shapes, adding or omitting items, moving things around a bit (or a lot) - there's just so much to consider when doing a painting.

There are also choices of subject. Do I paint the whole world? Or just one little corner? Or just one flower? Where do I set up my easel? Where do I stand? Or do I sit? Or perhaps crouch to get that perfect perspective?

Did I remember to consider the sun's movement across the sky when I chose the subject and easel placement? How will the subject remain lit as I paint? Or will the tree shadow encroach too soon? Will my canvas/palette be well lit but still in shadow during the painting process? And if not, where did I put my painting umbrella? (There is broken sun/shade falling across the canvas in this photo...which made painting more difficult.)

Choices --- every artist makes hundreds during the creation of a single painting. A photograph captures just what the lens sees - no more, no less. A painting is filtered through the eyes and mind of the artist, which makes each original painting a unique piece of artwork.

And original art makes a unique gift. Christmas is coming (again) this year.
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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Song Singing

10"x8" oil on RayMar panel, painted en plein air, alla prima, on August 25th (completed at 10:00am)...$85 including shipping...Falling water has such a soothing sound, like a continuous and never ending song. We painted at Prater's Mill, near Varnell (GA) this morning. I've never seen this water blue, even under the bluest sky. The uneven dam allows the flowing water to make unusual waterfalls.
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Saturday, August 22, 2009

"Worldwide Paintout" in Tunnel Hill, GA

It's less than a month until the annual "Tunnel Hill Battle Paintout". See the sidebar (to the right) for more information and directions.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Namesake - SOLD

6"x6"x1 1/4" oil on gallery wrap canvas, painted en plein air, alla prima, on August 18th (completed at 10:30am)...SOLD....The historic tunnel that gave Tunnel Hill (GA) its name is a breathtaking monument to the determination of the human spirit. More information can be found at You'll also find information about the annual Civil War reenactment held in Tunnel Hill.
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Saturday, August 15, 2009

not my favorite activity...

Framing is not my favorite art activity. It doesn't come in 3rd...or even a distant 5th. But it's a needful thing when you're an artist. I could just take my completed paintings to a frame shop and drop them off after choosing a moulding. But I'm a "hands on" type of artist. So I'm involved from the time I order a panel or stretched canvas until the completed painting is framed and hanging on a wall (preferably a customer's wall).
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Friday, August 14, 2009

A Path Early

8"x10" oil on RayMar panel, painted en plein air, alla prima, on August 13th (completed at 11:00am)...$95 including shipping....This was painted at the historic Varnell House, built in 1847, in Varnell, GA. For awhile it served as Federal headquarters during the Civil War and was struck by "minnie balls" during several skirmishes in the area. As I stood at my easel on the old path leading up to the house, I could imagine the history taking place here over 150 years ago.
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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Like We Did Last Year

7"x5" oil on RayMar panel, painted en plein air, alla prima, on August 11th (completed at 11:00am)...$35 including shipping...The trellis has been there, sitting as it is, for years. It has been taken down, straightened, and repositioned. Yet it still leans. It is its habit to lean.
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Saturday, August 08, 2009

From Ancestral Places

8"x10" oil on RayMar panel, painted en plein air, alla prima, on August 1st during the annual "Cherokee Days of Recognition" at Red Clay State Park near Cleveland, TN.... $85 including shipping....
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Thursday, August 06, 2009

Cherokee Garden

8"x10" oil on RayMar panel, painted en plein air, alla prima, on August 1st while early fog obscured the mountain and nearby meadow. This small garden is part of the replica Cherokee village at Red Clay State Park near Cleveland, TN. Its vegetables are the "three sisters" - corn, beans and squash. Sunflowers were an added treasure. Purchase this original painting for $85 including shipping.
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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Let the Sun Shine

10"x8" oil on RayMar panel, painted en plein air, alla prima, on August 1st (completed at 10:25am)...$85 including shipping...This was the second plein air of the day at the "Cherokee Days of Recognition" held at Red Clay State Park near Clevenland, TN. This sunflower stood in a small garden near the replica settlement.
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Saturday, August 01, 2009

today at Red Clay

I painted at Red Clay State (TN) Park today during the annual "Cherokee Days of Recognition". These were shot in (bad) indoor lighting, but at least you can see that three paintings made their way home with me. I'll get better images and post them soon with the accompanying explanations/stories/thoughts.
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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Finding the Way Through

8"x10" oil on RayMar panel, painted en plein air, alla prima, on July 28th (completed at 1:20pm as lightning started flashing)....$95 including shipping...I recall a science teacher once saying that water finds the path of least resistance, not unlike some of us. We had started painting around 8:30am at Barnsley Gardens near Adairsville, GA, when the sun was perfectly seeking out corners in the ruins. As we ate lunch, the clouds began to bank and we knew we wouldn't have much time before the rains came. Being overcast, the colors were muted and subtle, yet still wondrous.
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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Red Earth

4"x6" oil on sanded panel, painted on July 14th around 10:00am ... Just before time to pack up after a morning of painting, I picked up this little sanded panel and put down some paint. The rough surface slurped up the paint and I could feel it wearing down my brush. It's an interesting surface...don't know if I'll use it again...but interesting.

The trees were glowing as the sun raced across the sky. Paint quick, quick, quick.
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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

out of town...

Just letting everyone know that I'll be out of town from the 16th until late on the 22nd. I'll be posting paintings soon after I return. While I'm gone, please feel free to check out past posts. Also should be interesting.

Willow and Weeds

7"x5" oil on RayMar panel, painted en plein air, alla prima, on July 14th (completed at 9:35)...$35 including shipping...While painting at Crown Gardens and Archives, an artist can find inspiration everywhere. This willow caught my eye as the sunlight filtered through its flowing branches. More information about Crown Gardens and Archives can be found at
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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What Kind of Day...

7"x5" oil on RayMar panel, painted en plein air, alla prima, on July 9th (completed 9:35am)....$35 including shipping...I let the shapes of the tree and grasses dictate the direction of this little painting. Upon closer investigation, the reflected light at lower right/center appeared as the center of a breaking ocean wave.
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Monday, July 13, 2009

A Different Kind of Day

8"x10" oil on RayMar panel, painted en plein air, alla prima, on July 7th (completed at 10:30am)...$85 including shipping...The morning began soft and dream-like. As the sun rose over the mountain, shadows deepened and colors popped. I saw the gravel road as a stream, so I painted it as such.
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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Morning Stretch

7"x5" oil on RayMar panel, painted en plein air, alla prima, on July 7th (completed at 8:18am)...$35 including shipping...The clouds were changing colors faster than I could mix the paint and put brush to canvas. Nature painted the sky and this mere mortal painted a canvas.
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