Sunday, April 22, 2012

Wine and Wildflowers Art Show

I painted this past Saturday at the Sunday School Assembly in Monteagle, Tennessee, as part of the Trails and Trillium event. The Sunday School Assembly is a historic community of Victorian era summer homes, located at a relatively high elevation, where Nashville residents can escape the summer heat. For this reason, this summer getaway is also known as "The Chautauqua of the South." That Saturday, the weather and location were a magical combination. In the morning and late afternoon, the ornate cottages and gardens were veiled in cool mist, transforming this Tennessee location in to a storybook scene from Victorian England. We painters had to emerge from the misty fantasy by 3:30 pm to prepare for the art show that evening—Wine and Wildflowers. That show was a success, raising $3,600 in paintings sales…in just two hours! Forty-five percent of the proceeds will go toward preservation of the Cumberland State Parks. The painting shown below was part of the show; it depicts one of the vistas in the Cumberland State Parks. 
"Savage Gulf" - 15x30
This is the largest landscape I have painted in oil to date. I first painted a 5x10 paint sketch from a photo. I then painted in the main blocks of color onto the 15x30 panel, using the sketch as a reference. Next, I painted details from the photo, stepping back frequently to get a better view of the whole. 

At the art show, a geology professor pointed out that I had paid sound attention to detail in the sandstone rock structures. For example, there's a small area of diagonally slanted layers that indicate the direction of the water current that had been depositing the sediments, many eons ago. The geologist appreciated that I had not "glossed over" that detail. I asked additional questions about the geological history of this land, and if I remember his explanation correctly, this valley had formed when underlying magma pushed portions of the sandstone crust upward, breaking off the edges and forming the cliff faces. So that explains the shape of the valley and cliffs. As for the colors, the orange-tinted rock sections are the more recently exposed rock faces, with iron oxide creating the rust color. The grayish-blue rocks have been exposed to the air for a much longer period of time; the long ages of weathering caused them to lose the orange tint. I appreciate the scientific insights that complimented what I had created from my purely visual observations!

"Warren Point" - 8x10 - Sold!
I painted this one 100% plein air. I love when I get finished on the spot and don't have to spend any time touching up!

"Rhododendrons" - 8x10
Also 100% plein air. I painted this one on the day of the art sale, during a few hours of partial sunlight that occurred late morning/mid-day.

"Duet" - 6x8
Also painted plein air, in about an hour. I finished at 4 pm, past the cut-off for finishing paintings, with barely enough time to get my paintings framed and set up in the show! Not to mention getting myself ready, and changing out of my grungy clothes…

Here are some photos from that weekend:
Painting an imposing rhododendron shrub, which nearly covered the entire front of a cottage.
I'm posing for a sweet lady who passed by and chatted for a bit....she is also an artist, and wanted a picture of me standing in front of the cottage behind me, which was once her summer home.
Framing paintings on my trunk. (photo by Claudia Williams)

Musicians scurry by with their music stands and equipment, preparing for their night of making music at the show, as we painters hurriedly frame our wet paintings in the parking lot. (photo by Bitsy King)
Sunday morning, I went back to the Assembly to take photos. 8:30 am sunlight pours over the rhododendrons.

Cottage photos from Sunday morning: