Friday, June 12, 2015

Flowers in December

I love painting from life. Everything is so clear and there is never any question of the light source or the form. The colors are genuine and the reflections accurate. The artist literally has to take a three dimensional subject and create a two dimensional painting. It’s challenging, exhilarating and most of the time satisfying. 

This piece, “Flowers in December” was first painted as a small 7 x 10 inch work. The flowers were fresh, a gift I received from my sister this past Christmas. It was stunning and I didn’t want to leave it while we went out to our mountain get-a-way. We packed it up and took it with us.

I put them in front of a window I use for still life set-ups and fell in love. I loved the way that the pine cones are treated in the arrangement. They are on the same level as the lofty roses and lilies. Pine cones are flowers, not the showy, snooty made-for-pictures roses, but an everyday beauty. The beauties that no one notices, except of course designers and artists. I loved the red and green against the cold mountain and the warm white of the lilies against the cold, cool white of the snow. I loved the challenge of painting the long pine needles, the short spuce needles and the carnation that sat center stage. I loved the simplicity of the shelf with the blue reflection against the complexity and noise of the arrangement.

The small painting took only a few days. The large work, much longer as I reflected on each and every petal. But then that’s how I like to paint. Ideas can be fast but the more I look, the more I see and feel. Enjoy.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Painting Creation Workshop July 17-19, 2015

Painting en plein aire at Shrine Mont.
Come join us! The workshop is designed to help students see and explore the natural world through painting. Beginning with the premise that learning to see is intertwined with learning to explore, and ultimately to express, this class will take students out in the field to paint in “plein aire”. The students can choose between watercolor or oil paint and will start with basics and work through the process of painting a complete work. This year our Painting Creation Workshop will be one weekend, starting on Friday afternoon and ending on Sunday. We will meet Friday and scout out the places we will be painting, taking notes on possible color schemes and compositions. Saturday morning we will head out to our first spot and dive in. Evenings will be spent relaxing or listening to the music from the Shenandoah Music Festival. Shrine Mont is a place where you can release creative energy, commune with fellow artists, worship, rest, exercise in fresh mountain air and eat nourishing food. How can you beat that? To sign up:

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

About Nature

For years I have wanted to combine my paintings with words from others that have influenced my work. People of like minds who speak about the connection between God, nature and creating; people like Robert Henri, Mary Rogers, Cezanne and Winslow Homer; people like Mary Oliver, who see the beyond the ordinary, in the ordinary.

This morning, at waterside, a sparrow flew
to a water rock and landed, by error, on the back
of an eider duck; lightly it fluttered off, amused.
The duck, too, was not provoked, but, you might say, was

This afternoon a gull sailing over
our house was casually scratching
its stomach of white feathers with one
pink foot as it flew.

Oh Lord, how sing and festive is your gift to us, if we
only look, and see.—Look and See, Mary Oliver

My goal as an artist is to be a visual poet in the manner of Mary Oliver. To see “beyond the the obvious to hear the song that is all around us, every day.

In this book, “About Nature”, I focus on the connection between my work and these influences. It’s divided into season sections that repeat, forming a continual revelation. The work is largely drawn from my home state of Virginia but not limited to one area. It shows the wetlands of Belmont Bay and the lilies from the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. There is of course, much from the western Appalachian area that draws me outside every summer. And there are my bird paintings, which started as a way to simply learn what I was looking at. There is very little cultivated landscape, mostly wilderness. It is there, when I am on my own, early, that I am transformed time and time again.