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Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Year Painting Challenge!

"Montgomery Morning"  
6"x6"
Oil on Board
$150
 
 
Okay, what have I gotten myself into??  Artist Leslie Saeta, host of the blog talk radio program, Artists Helping Artists, has sent the challenge out to paint 30 paintings in 30 days beginning January 2nd!  She's aiming for 200 participants and I've just made it 171.  She has encouraged everyone to blog about the challenge and how it's coming along.  She encouraged us to tell friends and family what we're doing.  So....I'll start today! 

My plan is to paint small paintings each day - about 4x4 or 6x6 - similar to this one of the ladies shopping at the Montgomery Curb Market.  This will still give me time to devote to larger studio pieces during the day.  I'll work over the next couple of days to figure out the subject matter I plan to paint.  I'm thinking figures and still life will play a large part in this because I really want to do more of this over the next year. 

I think it's a great way to start the new year off productively, creatively and with the support of fellow artists!  Please bear with me as I plan to post to my blog daily and also on Facebook! 

Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Winterglow

 
"Winterglow"

18"x14"  Oil on canvas
 
It's been awhile since my last post!  Life has been so busy with art shows and the holidays and working on commissions for Christmas.  I get palpitations just looking at the calendar for January and February and realizing there is so much to get done in preparation for the events of those two months...not to mention all I have to get done before Christmas!  So, I'm making a determined effort to slow down, take a deep breath, and take each moment as it comes; making a reasonable to-do list and taking time to enjoy the beauty of winter.  
 
One of my favorite things about winter is hibernation...pure and simple...cozy pj's, hot coffee, a good book.  Another is the subtle beauty of the winter landscape.  As much as I would adore painting snow, it's just not the reality in my neck of the woods.  I do love to see the effect of the sun on the leafless world around me, though.  This one, "Winterglow", was done with the goal of showing the evening light across the water and on this old tree filled with Spanish moss. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Faint Touch of Autumn


 
12"x 9"
 
"Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting
and autumn a mosaic of them all." - Stanley Horowitz
 
It's October and I've just now started to really notice some strong autumn color in my neck of the woods.  The weather this weekend was spectacular and perfect for plein air painting which led me to venture out yesterday for this small piece. 
 
Trying to achieve fall color in the trees and yet maintain a strong value pattern in the masses can be difficult since oranges and yellows are higher in value, but tree masses are darker.  Any tips on that are certainly welcome!  I guess the answer is to key everything up??  Oh, well...each painting is a learning experience and it's so much fun learning!
 
 
 
 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Great Workshop with Qiang Huang!

My painting from the second day of the workshop; 16x12

I just had to write and let everyone know what a wonderful workshop Qiang Huang gave us in Montgomery last weekend.  This very talented artist from Austin, Texas is also a very kind gentlemen and a giving teacher. 
 
I highly recommend his workshops!  He lays everything out thoughtfully and carefully; has great presentations; wonderful demonstrations; and an art business presentation as well.  He was generous with information and we all were just so thrilled to have him here.  It was a pleasure to get to know him and see him paint!
 
Although I am mainly a landscape painter, this foray into still life was so much fun.  I will be doing many more after this workshop!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Peace of Quiet *SOLD*

"Peace of Quiet"   20"x16"  *Sold*
 
 
I have always been enthralled by the sky.  It's like a "stop and smell the roses" experience for me.  Life gets so busy and crazy.  With our noses to the grindstone and our eyes on the road and so many distractions in this life, it's easy to forget to look up and see the beauty all around us.  I imagine God made sunrises and sunsets so beautiful, so that we could have a glorious beginning and ending to our day....a time to stop and and reflect on the beauty of this earth.
 
The past few days have started out great...crisp fall air, beautiful sunshine, hope and promise...and then, well, things happen and the day starts to unravel and let's just say it's not like I thought it would be.  I've propped this one on the mantel and I'm hoping it will help put me in a better frame of mind.  When I paint the skies, one of my hopes is that it will take the viewer to a peaceful and thoughtful place.  This artist is the viewer in need of a lift today!  Peace to you, too!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Trio

 
"Trio"
8"x24"      Oil on Canvas     $600
 
This painting of a trio of cows is currently showing at Stonehenge Gallery in Montgomery.  I was inspired by the light on that hot summer day and loved how the cows gravitated toward the shade just like me! 
And how can you not love that look cows give you that says "who are you and what are you doing here?"! 
It's hot here in Alabama today...not at all like fall.  Hoping you find some lovely shady spot!
 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hit or Miss!

"Distant Thunder"  20x16  $600
 
This painting, "Distant Thunder", is one I'm thinking of entering in an upcoming show depicting what we see so much of around here this time of year...a rain shower far across a field.  You can smell the rain, but it may or may not make it to your side of the street! "Hit or Miss Showers" the weathermen call them. 
 
Ironically, sort of like entering art shows.  You never know what the juror will want to include in the show.  It's hit or miss. You pack up your art...and your heart...and submit them hoping for "acceptance".  There are a lot of shows coming up in our area soon and lot of my artist friends will be laying it on the line again.  I just want to give them a dose of encouragement and support and tell them to never give up.  Keep painting, drawing, sculpting and submitting.  Whatever you do, do it with your whole heart.  There's a quote I often think of when competitions roll around although I have no earthly idea who said it: "Don't take your failures or your successes too seriously!"  A good dose of humility and comfort for the hits and misses!
 
 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

S-t-r-e-t-c-h!


Doing some stretching today on this work in progress...out of my comfort zone...using an entirely different palette of pthalo blue, Indian yellow, cadmium yellow medium, permanent red medium, raw umber, alizarin crimson and white.  This palette is one used in a Nan Cunningham workshop a few years ago, so I thought I'd give it another go.  Man, it's like moving the furniture!  You get so used to the same mixtures and it can be so refreshing to shake things up.  These peaceful sheep...a sharp contrast to my color shake-up!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Going to the Chapel...And Painting the Reception!


About a year ago, I began to get requests to paint at wedding receptions and it has been so exciting to do these events!  I have to admit, at first I was scared to death!  I mean, it's a one-shot thing...you don't get to re-do this one!  I think what makes it so special is that it is done from life at the event and years from now, the couple can look back and see guests just as they were and know it was painted right then & there.  It's also fun entertainment for the guests who stop by to find out what in the world I am doing and then return later to see how it's evolved.  They love to spot themselves in it, too!  I really enjoy interacting with the guests - especially the children who love to be painted into the picture. 

This past Saturday I had the privilege to paint at the reception of the daughter of friends I used to go to church with.  Some friends of the brides parents gave this as a gift to the couple which I thought was a great idea!  I saw so many friends from my former church and met lots of people. 

I get to the event about an hour before all the guests arrive and start painting the "still" features - windows, flower arrangements - that will be included in the painting.  Then before I know it the guests are coming in and I start painting like crazy to include as many as I can!  Finally, the bride and groom arrive and they take their place in the painting.  The band is playing and people are laughing and dancing; the painting is falling into place and what usually starts out a bit on the anxious side for me turns into a real party and I'm singing and dancing a bit myself! 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Open Acres *SOLD*

"Open Acres" *SOLD*
12"x16"  (at the Museum Store at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts)


I've been working hard lately on several commissions and also preparing for an upcoming show at Stonehenge Gallery in Montgomery.  So, while I have paintings coming out of my ears, I can't post them because they're surprises!  One batch waiting for opening night; several others that are gifts and one that has just been finished, but the client hasn't even seen yet!  So that leaves me posting one that is not completely new - painted earlier this year - but new to the blog. 

I have been reading a lot about Claude Monet this past week and just watched not long ago "The Impressionists" a BBC production.  Highly recommend it if you're interested in the Impressionists!  It's left me with even more of a craving to be painting outside.  With so much studio work to do, I haven't been able to get out and paint as much as I would like. In the meantime, I'll look at this one entitled "Open Acres" and let it take me outside.  

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Afternoon Break*SOLD*


"Afternoon Break"  4"x4"  $100.00

I've been working hard on several commissions lately and took just a little break this afternoon to paint this small skyscape.  I haven't painted one of these small ones in quite a while and I have to say it's one of my favorite things to do.  I hold them in my hand while I paint and this one had a close call as it tumbled and came close to ending up face down in a puddle of cadmium yellow deep! 

The weather is pretty nice today...a rare thing in August...so I am about to bust to get outside and paint from life!  Signing off and heading outside!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

100th Post - all about Montgomery!


This is my 100th post to my blog, so I thought I would post a little something different to honor my town, Montgomery, Alabama, which constantly inspires me with its  history and beauty.  These are just a few of many, many paintings I've done of Montgomery landmarks, traditions and people.

Starting with the small group in the upper left hand corner, you'll find players on our home team, the Montgomery Biscuits; the neon glow of the Capri Theatre in historic Cloverdale; a scene from a baseball game at the beautiful Riverwalk Stadium, home to the Montgomery Biscuits; and folks getting their fresh vegetables and fruit and flowers from the Montgomery Curb Market, a longstanding local tradition.

In the upper right hand corner, you'll see the Harriott II, our riverboat on the Alabama River; lower right - the trolley car aka "Lightning Route" in downtown Montgomery (the cars have changed colors since this was painted!); and last, but not least, in the bottom left hand corner the view down Dexter Avenue in downtown which has been the scene of so much history!  Jefferson Davis took the oath of office as the President of the Confederacy on those Capitol steps in the distance and Martin Luther King preached a stone's throw away. 

I don't work for the Chamber of Commerce, but I could.......I'd rather paint!

Friday, July 27, 2012

TEAM USA! *SOLD*


"Flying the Flag"  7"x4"  Oil on Board   *SOLD*

To entertain my little niece on long trips, I love to search for American flags with her.  We'll have a contest to see who finds the most and it's always entertaining to see exactly where they fly.  Of course, you see them at schools, post offices, libraries, but also at McDonald's, car lots, mansions, trailers and on pick up trucks.  Patriots come from all walks of life and it always does my heart good to play this little game. 

Waving the it proudly today in honor of the athletes from the USA competing in the Olympics, this flag was found on a house down the street from my mother.



Monday, July 23, 2012

Follow the Sun *SOLD*


"Follow the Sun"  7"x5"   *SOLD*

One of my favorite movies is "Calendar Girls".  It's hysterical, the scenery is gorgeous (very paintable landscapes!), some of my favorite British actresses are in it, and it celebrates something that usually doesn't get much celebration - aging!  That's right, aging!  In one scene, horticulturist John Clarke, the husband of Annie, recites what he has written in honor of the women of Yorkshire and thereby decrees another big player in the movie: the sunflower..... 

The flowers of Yorkshire
Are like the women of Yorkshire.
Every stage of their growth has its own beauty,
But the last phase is always the most glorious.
Then very quickly they all go to seed.
Which makes it ironic my favourite flower
Isn’t even indigenous to the British Isles, let alone Yorkshire.
I don’t think there’s anything on this planet
That more trumpets life than the sunflower.
For me, that’s because of the reason behind its name.
Not because it looks like the sun
But because it follows the sun.
During the course of the day,
The head tracks the journey of the sun across the sky.
A satellite dish for sunshine.
Wherever light is, No matter how weak,
These flowers will find it.
And that’s such an admirable thing.
And such a lesson in life.

...so whether you're over the hill, on top of it, or just eyeing it suspiciously from below, here's hoping today finds you embracing life at whatever stage you happen to be - something I have to remind myself to do pretty often!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Happy Ice Cream Month!

"The Grass is Always Greener"   15"x30"

In honor of National Ice Cream Month, I'm posting a cow painting that is currently at Stonehenge Gallery in Montgomery.  I absolutely love painting cows and, heck, I'm pretty partial to dairy products, too!  This may start a theme this month...this is just coming to me now, so forgive my rambling, but I'm seeing paintings of ice cream cones, sundaes, etc, in addition to some fresh cow paintings.  But, at the moment, I suddenly want some ice cream.  See ya later!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Virtual Paint Out and a Good Tomato *SOLD*


6"x 6" - oil on board  *SOLD*

An artist friend of mine, Phyllis Franklin, had a great idea about doing a virtual paint out today!  So several artists agreed to paint and share their work today from start to finish on Facebook.  It was a lot of fun and you really feel like your getting a "group painting" experience!  Great idea, Phyllis! 

I painted this heirloom tomato I picked up at the curb market...okay, delicious, is all I'm saying!  They have such pretty red and green coloring and, oh, my, they are just yummy!  When an artist buys beautiful food they get to enjoy it twice.  Maybe I should name it "Two-Timin' Tomato" - what do you think? 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Patriot Games *SOLD*

"Patriot Games" *SOLD*

I painted this last year after the 4th of July and it has been sold for awhile, but I just wanted to post it again for Independence Day!  These folks were spotted across the road from me last year at the annual Pike Road 4th of July Parade (Pike Road, Alabama) which is just the perfect thing to attend if you want that good old small town Americana feeling.  Horses, dogs, bikes, cute kids, pick up trucks, fire engines, you name it....all decked out in red, white and blue.  You're either flag-wavin' or fan-wavin' or both! 

My family has been going to the parade and participating in it for years.  One of my favorite memories is my niece tap-dancing the entire parade route in an Uncle Sam costume in the July heat.  She was determined!!

I'll be there this year, too...camera in hand!  If you're there, keep an eye out for future paintings.  You might just recognize yourself in one!


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Second Chances


This weekend I was doing some plein air painting and came up with one that was a "scraper".  Even if you're not familiar with plein air, you probably know what that means!  Well, like anything else in life, you can look at it two ways.  Wasted time, wasted paint, wasted canvas OR (and this is preferred!) an opportunity to learn in some gorgeous late spring weather and a nice toned canvas ready to be used for another painting! 

So, that's what this is.  My "second chance" painting this week!  This one is a scene from Lake Martin, Alabama and it's 14"x11" entitled "Light on the Water". 

So, moral of the story - scraping down something you've worked hard on can be painful, but starting over can be beautiful!  Love to all of you and thanks for looking and reading!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Cool as a Cucumber *SOLD*

What a perfect Saturday morning!  The weather is great...unusually cool temperatures in Montgomery this morning met me on my trip to the Montgomery Curb Market for fresh corn, tomatoes, cucumbers and squash.  Sunday dinner will be something to look forward to! 

Now....time to paint!  Have a great weekend!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Simple Summer Pleasures *SOLD*

"Memoir" 8"x8"
My hydrangea bushes are full - and I mean FULL - of beautiful blue and lavender blooms!  They're gorgeous and I just had to paint them even though I don't do a lot of florals.  I put them in an old aqua colored mason jar - I love those things!

So, summer officially kicks off this weekend and I can't wait!  My studio already looks like summer is here with paintings of the lake, the curb market with all the bright fresh vegetables and fruit, and plein air scenes of the countryside...and now a few paintings of hydrangeas!  Hope your summer is filled with beautiful days of flowers, fireflies, homemade ice cream, swimming pools, hammocks, tall glasses of iced tea....ahhhh, you get the picture!! ;)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Bang, Bang, Boom!

Today kicks off Jubilee Cityfest in Montgomery!  A great weekend of music, fun, food and fireworks!!  I am so excited to be the artist for this year's poster which depicts the fireworks display over the Alabama River with the riverboat, Harriott II, in the foreground and the Montgomery skyline off to the right.  Jubilee ends tomorrow night with "Bama's Big Bang!", the state's largest fireworks display and I named the painting "Bang! Bang! Boom!"  These weeks leading up to Jubilee have been a 'blast' for me...I know, I know, a really lame pun...but it's true!!  There's SO much good and exciting about Montgomery; I hope everyone who can will come to downtown Montgomery and see it for themselves!!  Happy Weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Warming Up!

Here's a painting of our beloved Montgomery Biscuits...for those not from around here, yes, that's a baseball team!  It's heating up in Montgomery and the Biscuits are warming up in this painting.  I love to paint the players and usually end up spending more time taking pictures than actually watching the game.  More to come!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Painting for PW!

When I found out last month that Ree Drummond aka The Pioneer Woman (cookbook author, Food Network star, blogging queen, and artist in her own right through her gorgeous photography) would be in Birmingham for a book signing, I was thrilled! I'm a huge fan (live vicariously through her!)! As a thank you gift for all the wonderful recipes like brisket, malted milk chocolate chip cookies, guacamole, cheese grits (just to name a few!), I painted her adorable and beloved basset hound, Charlie!
She was so thankful and sweet and I really got a kick out of it! My mother went along with me and we had a blast!
Thank you, Ree! I don't know how you do all you that you do! (She homeschools four children in addition to all this other work! Amazing lady!)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spring Greens of Huntingdon College

I did this 8"x10" plein air painting this past Saturday on the campus of Huntingdon College in Montgomery. It's such a peaceful campus...especially during spring break! ;)
It didn't start out so peacefully because I got the first bee sting of my life before I even set up! Ouch!! After that subsided a bit, I could focus more on painting.
Great weather...perfect for painting outside!


Thursday, March 22, 2012

On the Easel *SOLD*

Here's one that has been on the easel and off the easel for a couple of weeks. I move it from the easel to the living room to another room...looking at the light, changing things here and there. I've used some glazing techniques on this which is something I don't usually do and it's been interesting to see the effects. I wanted to achieve the sense of humidity that we get here in Alabama.

I'm taking it with me to Art Talk tonight at the Montgomery Museum. This is a great program where local artists meet every couple of months and discuss and critique each other's art. They'll let me know if I'm on track!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Ready for Harvest *SOLD*

Another painting of my friend's cotton field. I had such fun painting there back in the fall and got lots of good material for future paintings! It was one of those perfect fall Saturdays - cool in the shade, warm in the sun, pimento cheese picnic by the river, football on the radio on the way home. Ahhhh.....
My goal in this one was to hopefully have the viewer feel like you could walk into the painting.
This one is larger than what I usually paint at 30"x30", so that was fun, too.



Saturday, February 4, 2012

Groundhog? What Groundhog?

Who cares what the groundhog says when it's 75 degrees on Feb. 4th? Sun is shining, flowers are blooming! Crazy - but I don't hear many folks in Alabama complaining!
This painting (4"x4") is named "Pink Petals" and is currently available (along with a couple of other florals) if you're looking for a Valentines gift...flowers that never fade!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Big Sky

I think I'm through with this one...not sure just yet. I have painted at this location about three times now. There's a slight hill and I'm at the bottom and I'm always struck at how huge the sky is there. I can see sky all over and I feel so small! There's always a good breeze and I can hear cattle in the distance every time. It's just very peaceful. I wanted to convey that feeling you get looking at a great big sky, standing on the edge of the ocean or on top of a mountain. Life is good! :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

2012 Painting - Inside & Out!

One of my goals this year is to really increase my painting time outside - no matter what the weather! Last year, I let the heat get to me and I chickened out a lot. This year, rain, heat, snow (yeah, right!), whatever, I plan to be outside a lot more. I was outside today most of the day painting - loving these warm January days! There's really nothing like it! Happy 2012!
"Sun on the Storm"
12" x 16" - oil on canvas