Thursday, November 11, 2010


Sunday morning found quite an abrupt change in the weather and me freezing in a field in mid-Ohio. It is surprising how much warmth I found in this scene. My chilly memories are too fresh, but now I see that I was searching for the hot spots in this scene. Time to head for home so I could vote on Tuesday...not that it did much good, in my case.

Thanks for 26th state!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Crossing the wide Ohio River on a very long and narrow bridge from Kentucky into Indiana, I was pretty sure I was high above the water, but the fog prevented me from seeing 20 feet in any direction. Pure delight greeted me when the fog lifted and I saw the quaint & pretty small city of Madison, Indiana. I felt like Dorothy landing in OZ. I painted the grounds of the Lanier Mansion while the townspeople busied themselves with Saturday errands and Halloween preparations. Some of them had lived there all their lives and loved Madison, even though they realized it was too quiet for others. I love quiet and hope to get back there someday to paint some of the many-hued buildings and homes...maybe even some of the inhabitants.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


At Foxhollow Farm Center in Crestwood, Kentucky I painted their fall row crops. It was difficult choosing which subject to paint; horses, beef cattle, lovely farm buildings, maple tree allee. Like many of the places I visit, I could have spent weeks, if not months and years painting the landscape. These are some of the people who are raising organic food using biodynamic methods so that we can eat local and build our health along with that of our land. My hat is off to them. I did find a few corners of my laden car to stuff in some of their wonderful products.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Elvis Presley's mother, Gladys, bought her son his first guitar at Tupelo Hardware, which is just behind the paint store and Main Street scene I chose to paint here.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


I arrived in Birmingham, Alabama early Sunday morning. I wanted to visit the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute downtown, but it did not open until 1pm. As I sat in my car making phone calls & shuffling papers I watched the parishioners arriving for service at a big and very familiar looking red brick church across the corner. It was another perfect sunny southern fall day and I thought I should set up my easel, but opted for coffee instead. When I returned to the museum later I caught sight of the church sign. It is the 16th Street Baptist important and symbolic center of African American life and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950's and 1960's. On a September Sunday morning 47 years ago the Klu Klux Klan bombed this church killing four young girls. The tragedy was broadcast on TV screens all over the world. As a high School junior I had followed the developments of the Civil Rights Movement and the facade and story of the building was indeed familiar to me. I spent an enlightening afternoon in the museum and I recommend it to all visitors. I left with a more mature perspective on history...really from the birth of the city to present times.

The core reason for embarking on this trip was the workshop taught by Kim English called Plein Air Painting the Figure in the Landscape. For three days Kim helped us one-on-one as we struggled to paint quick poses one after the other; we'd paint for ten minutes, wipe off the canvas and start a different pose. It was difficult and exhausting work for all the participants. Luckily I brought some skills in figure drawing, value, color and composition to the class because my paint mixing and application skills were nil. Nevertheless, Kim helped me a great deal. He would come around to everyone's easel several times during the day and tell each student one way they could improve their painting. This was just about all I could grasp at one time and it proved to be a highly effective way to teach.

My painting Boy in Tuscaloosa Garden represents a ten minute pose, but I cheated on this one and used the remains of the shrubbery from a previous pose...just scrubbing out the model and replacing it with the next pose. So, it is a 20-minute painting. The other two days of "plein air" painting had to be conducted indoors due to tornado watches & warnings. We worked from two other models and kept right on building our skills!

The workshop was conducted and hosted by 2 southern ladies who love art and have been having these great workshops for quite some time, allowing students from all over the country to learn new techniques and expand on their old ones. Thanks for making us feel welcome, Sara & Leska. You are Tuscaloosa treasures!

Saturday, November 6, 2010


There's a lot of smoke in the Great Smokey Mountains and some of it is barbecue. A fine October Friday morning gave me some quiet space to paint this charming group of trees against the mountain backdrop while down the valley the community prepared for a weekend of Harvest Festivities. This is a 9 x 12 made on UArt 500 paper with an assortment of soft pastels in many brands. It is my 21st state!

Friday, November 5, 2010

West Virginia

YES! All 7 of the hoped-for states were painted in my whirlwind trip through the south. I was mostly blessed with good weather; dodging wind and tornados and a mighty brisk Sunday morning in a windswept Ohio field. Details will follow; I'll post each painting, but it may take more than 7 days.

On my second day out I painted this pretty scene & twin span bridge over the New River at Hawk's Nest. There were only three ways in to this vantage point; cable car, boat and 7 miles of rocky, steep, partially washed out, one-lane mountain "road". Guess which one I chose...duh. I managed to steer the Prius clear of any damage and happily did not have to back up to let fishermen in huge pick-ups pass. West Virginia sure is a beautiful state...plenty of rocks and mountains and hollers...infinitely paint-able places and their fishermen are gentlemen. Next time I'll know about the cable car so I can avoid the white knuckles. What's a road trip without at least one time...and I had several...when I asked myself, "What was I thinking?"

A lonely mute swan was cruising the quiet waters while I painted.