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.