Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Blue Moon 2011 Online Sale

Shown below are the paintings I put in the Once in a Blue Moon Show, a fundraiser for The Land Trust for Tennessee. "The Spotted Calf" sold, and the three framed paintings from this group are available for online purchase here: . As with the "real life" show, 45% of these purchases will go toward supporting The Land Trust for Tennessee.

Click any image for a larger view.

"Narcissus" - 8x10 - Preston Farm in Leiper's Fork - framed view
"The Red Barn" - 9x12 - Preston Farm in Leiper's Fork - framed view

"McEwen's Barn" - 6x8 - McEwen Farm near Williamsport - framed view
"Narcissus" - 8x 10 - Preston Farm in Leiper's Fork - unframed view
"The Red Barn" - 9x12 - Preston Farm in Leiper's Fork - unframed view
"McEwen's Barn" - 6x8 - McEwen Farm near Williamsport - unframed view
"Raven's Point" - 8x10 - Fiery Gizzard near Monteagle
"The Spotted Calf" - 6x6 - Windy Acres Farm in Orlinda
"Sunny Day" - 8x10 - Windy Acres Farm in Orlinda
"Sunset at the Farm" - 6x8 - Preston Farm in Leiper's Fork
"Sunset at the Lake" - 6x8 - Shawnee Waters in Gallatin
"Sinking Sun" - 6x8 - Preston Farm in Leiper's Fork
Contact me if interested in framed views of any other paintings on this post. Also be sure to check out all paintings available at the online show.

Thank you to all who have contributed to this fundraiser to preserve the land! 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Recent Land Trust Property Excursions

Thank goodness for conservation groups like The Land Trust for Tennessee. This group has protected 60,000 acres of scenic and historic lands in this state. What a tragedy if these beautiful open spaces were to become crowded with concrete and commotion! The painting group I belong to, The Chestnut Group, is partnering with The Land Trust this coming weekend on October 22-23 to raise money for the Trust. This fundraiser, which includes live music, catering, and an art sale, is called the Once in a Blue Moon Show. Stop by if you can! For more details, call Beth Thomas at 244-5263.

The areas shown below are protected by The Land Trust, unless otherwise specified. I took the photos, except for the one that shows me painting the moon; that photo was by Chestnut member Bitsy King. I admit, this blog is morphing into a painting, drawing, and photography journal!

Click any photo to enlarge.
Painting atop a hill with a magical, 360˚ view of rolling countryside.

A hilltop view of McEwen barn

Moonrise over the hill. I'm down in the corner, painting the moon.

The following series of photos are from the living area of Hyde-Away Farm. This farm encompasses 200 acres of fields and woodlands. The Hyde family have a hidden-away home, guest house, and accommodations nestled in the woods. 
The driveway leading to Hyde-Away Farm

The guest house, aka the "bunk house."

The outdoor "living room" and fire pit. This is a view from the little round window on the bunkhouse.

I love this bathroom! Outdoor, stonewalled shower included.
Here's where some Chestnut members had their lunch break after painting at Hyde-Away Farm. Looks fun, doesn't it?

The properties below are not Land Trust protected, but they are neighboring areas too beautiful not to photograph and share.

Quaint, storybook farmland

How Americana is that?

Another scenic farm

Now we are at Aubrey Preston's Farm in Leiper's Fork. I LOVE this place!! The equines get up close and personal, whether they're staring at you as you paint, nosing through your paint bag, or nibbling on your arm. The first time I painted on this property, a little brown donkey picked up a wet 4x5 painting and tried to walk off with it! Little thief!

Somehow this painter can still concentrate on her painting.
I also call Aubrey's farm "The Donkey Farm…"
…for obvious reasons!
Here's a photo from a place with gorgeous views and a funny name: Fiery Gizzard.
I'm painting from Raven's Point, off the Fiery Gizzard trail

Here's another incredibly scenic area: Lost Cove, near Sewanee, TN. All photos are from my paint-outs from the last few months to present, except for this one, which is from August 2010.

There are dozens more Land Trust Properties, but I wanted to include a few highlights from my paintings activities of the last few months. It's breathtaking to see all these panoramas and quaint vignettes in one swoop, and to realize that it takes effort and vigilance to keep these areas in their natural state.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Beauty Worth Saving

This post is a photo log of my recent hike to Cummins Falls. Although this post is more about nature and photography than painting and drawing, there is still some connection with art. For about a year, this dazzling spectacle was in danger of getting sold to a real estate developer. The entire area was potentially going to be the site of a subdivision. By now the TN Parks and Greenways Foundation has secured the funds needed to purchase the property, which will become a protected state park. Some of those funds came from art sold by my local painting organization, The Chestnut Group. (So there's one bit of connection between this blog post and art!) Also, there's a good chance I'll eventually create some studio paintings based on some of these photos. So for now, I hope you'll enjoy just the photos! I took all of the photos except the ones showing me hiking, and those were taken by my friend Xiaolun.

Thank you to all patrons who donated money to protect the Falls, to Governor Haslam for the generous grant that made the purchase possible, and of course a huge thank you to the TN Parks and Greenways Foundation.

Click any photo to enlarge.

 A view of Cummins Falls from the edge of the gorge.
Now this is a swimming hole!

The rope tied around the tree is for hikers to rappel into the gorge…
 …like this.
The alternate route is to take a longer hike that zigzags down into the gorge. Then you follow the river along the gorge, either wading in the water, or walking on the bank.
It's a longer way to get to the falls, but very scenic.

Getting close…

Looks like paradise!

This was a MUCH easier hike than the time I hiked to the Falls in February, when there was snow on the ground, and too many pounds of paint gear on my back. If you haven't already seen that post, you can read it here.

 I'll include a verbal account of getting up-close to the waterfall, since it was way to wet to take my camera that close.

We sat on one of the lower tiers, on an otherworldly "couch," with the back made of rushing water, and the seat made of rushing arcs of water as well. We then moved further up to sit on another foaming, thundering white "couch," staring goggle-eyed as it exploded around us in curling, furious white foam, rushing down from our legs and creating the sensation were racing down a raging white current—yet we were unmoving. 

We eventually arose and continued up the cascade steps of the waterfall, reaching the high, mossy wall of the gorge, over which the main mass of the waterfall was endlessly plunging. We had to pass under a skinny sheet of sprinkling water to stand against the wall, but those "sprinkles" nailed the skin like bullets. I tried to touch the white, main body of the waterfall, but I couldn't. Even the sparser edges of the waterfall were hard and driving, and I felt like I would lose my fingers or break my arm if I reached any further in. So we stayed near the stinging rivulets that flanked the central waterfall, sitting on a dark, mossy rock shelf, and looking out at the gorge through the misty curtain.

I decided that even if I couldn't get under the main body of the waterfall, I could at least get behind it. I started sliding along the rock "bench" carved into the wall, getting scarily closer to the roaring wall of white, very careful not to touch it, until I was completely behind it. All I could see in front of me was streaking white; water moving so fast that it was a constant, dangerous blur. At that time Xiaolun decided to go back to the swimming hole area, so I remained alone in this roaring chamber of cool mist until I had my fill.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Supporting The Battle of Franklin Trust

History buffs in the Nashville area may be interested in the art show/fundraiser that kicks off this Thursday. The art group I belong to, The Chestnut Group, is partnering with The Battle of Franklin Trust to put on this fundraiser. There will be paintings of Civil War action, portraits of quaintly dressed characters, rustic farm scenes, and more. Many of the paintings are based on a Civil War reenactment that took place last March, providing a dynamic variety of painting subjects. After I dropped off my paintings for the show, I took a look at the huge collection of paintings bundled together in the room, ready to be hung the next day. It was like looking at all the presents under the Christmas tree. There was an eye-pleasing array of subject matter, from 19th-century plantation scenes, to armed horsemen charging across a field.

The show will be at Carnton Plantation in Franklin, Friday through Sunday, with a pre-show for artists and patrons on Thursday. I'm entering nine paintings in the show, and I have posted my favorites below.

This dapper and well-armed gentleman posed for a photo at a Civil War reenactment at Carnton Plantation. It's not every day you see someone wearing both a bowler and an ascot!
"The Dandy" 9x12

I painted this mother duck and ducklings from a photo I took at a barn at Harrison House farm. The farmer warned me not to get too close or she would attack. I hope I captured a little of her hostility in this painting.
 "The Protector" 8x10

I painted the adult duck and the background from life. The duck actually held still long enough for that! I  added the ducklings from a photo. (Here's a secret: the ducklings I added actually belong to a mother of a different species...I have sacrificed biology for the sake of art.)
"The Outing" 5x7

This horse belonged to one of the actors at the Battle of Franklin re-enactment. The steed was so mellow, I was able to paint most of him from life, and then touched up the painting from a photo. I asked the owner for the name of this battle horse … and it's Wimpy!! But there's a hero somewhere in his timid little heart.
"Battle Horse" 6x8

These regal peacocks gave me great poses at Harrison House farm near Franklin. I painted them from two different photos. I like the frame I chose so much, I decided to post it along with the painting. (Frame supplied by Lyle Teague Moulding in Hendersonville)
"Bejeweled" 6x8

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Colorado Trip 2011

Last week I returned from a vacation in Colorado. I visited with my family, ate lots of food, hiked, and found some time for plein air painting. On my first plein air outing, we pulled off along a highway in Rocky Mountain National Park, not far from the city of Estes Park. I painted this 6x8 canvas in about an hour, which is unusually fast for me. I started at 6 pm-ish, when the sunlight is starting to slant and become richer in color.

Sunny Rockies - 6x8

After packing away the first painting, I continued riding up the mountain highway until we reached a high look-out point. I had to hurry–the sun was sinking quickly! I painted the 5x7 shown below.

Lonely Peak - 5x7

A couple of days later, I painted another one from a roadside pull-off in Rocky Mountain National Park. Backlighting is my friend! Backlighting gives sharp definition to monochromatic vegetation, and backlit mountains have a soft, hazy look that increases the sense of distance. I need to put a little more blue in the sky. I was so intent on maintaining strong contrast between sky and mountains, I nearly wiped all the color out of the sky.

Evening Sun - 8x10

One day I painted mountains from my parents' house outside of Loveland. Below is a distant view painted from their back porch. The double-peaked mountain to the far right is Long's Peak, and the blurry, mostly unpainted town below is Loveland. Toward the end of this painting, I about had a heat stroke from the sun pouring through the windows of the back porch. It seems ironic for a Tennessee painter to get overheated painting a Colorado mountain scene…

I also painted a scene that was a little less rugged than the others. This is the garden behind my parents' house. I love the flower in the lower right; it has both lavender and blue petals on each flower. As I worked on this painting, it felt like a juggling act. There were so many elements to keep in the correct relationship with one another, especially as far as position and value. 

Summer Garden - 8x10

That's it for the paintings. Now here are a few photos I shot during my explorations in Rocky Mountain National Park. (Unless I'm in it...then someone else took it!) Click any photo to enlarge.

A mallard drake preens himself at Crystal Lake.

Backlit aspens along the trail, which is starting to get snowy.

Snow formations over the lake.

A nice view!

The trail gets snowier...

...and soon there's no trail at all.

Just because the trail ends, doesn't mean the fun has to end!

 Sliding down!

A young elk gives me the deer-in-the-headlights look.

Then he strikes a thoughtful pose.

Sunset over the Rockies.