Back to McFarlane

Farm FenceI just committed to doing the McFarlane Art for the Park show in October, so this weekend I spent two days painting there. S aturday I worked on a 18 x 24″ of the farm house from the front left side. This is a big painting for plein air and I brought it back Sunday for some additional work. The next one ( up top) is a 12 x 16″ view of the magnificent fence that crosses the property and is such a signature of this wonderful place. The other two are 9 x 12′s —one of the Spring House plus a view up towards the meadow both done quickly at the endSpringHouse714 of the day. I now have six from the park painted this year plus a few more from last year to show and hopefully sell!Through the GateUnderthe GinkoTree

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hilton Head in oil…paint

Sunday Morning Hilton headThis last week I went to Hilton Head SC with my daughters and son and son-in-laws and fiances and grandchildren and dogs and of course, my wife. It was our annual summer vacation and we always spend it on the beach. This year we went to Sea Pines a spot we like because it’s close and that makes it easy on the kids in the car. My son Ed and his girlfriend Erica made it extra special by announcing their engagement—not a surprise but we were all please to be part of the big moment when he knelt down and asked her.

I’m not much fun on vacations anymore all I do is go painting and this year was no exception—I think I did twelve painting in seven days. Quite a few right on the beach, with people all around and lot’s questions. But I’m used to it now and I will not avoid what I want to paint just because of a crowd. Half the time they are part of the picture.

I will post them in chronological order with a few omissions. I was busy every day and tried to capture all the facets of the island from the beaches to the inland waterway. Later on I’ll ad some comments.

Sleeping Cat HiltonHeadAfternoonMorningontheBeachSunset on South BeachGatorPond2  Three Hour TourWild BeachIntercoastal

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

So many houses – so little time

Naylor HallI love to paint house portraits. Especially 1800′s style southern classic revival homes. I’ve done so many that I’ve become an expert at the form. The way the fluted columns set outside the corners of the roofs, the classic “golden rectangle ” proportions and white on white clapboard. I love the way they reflect the lavish lawns that so often surround them making them green at the bottom and lavender as they reach for the sky. This one was painted about a month ago in Roswell on Canton Rd. It’s Naylor Hall and is now used for wedding receptions  and special occasions. This information is from the website.

“Built in the 1840′s by Barrington King for H.W. Proudfoot and his wife, Euphemia. Mr. King, son of Roswell’s founder, employed Mr. Proudfoot as a bookkeeper in his newly constructed Roswell Mills, which would later become famous in its own right for its production of Roswell Grey cloth used in Confederate uniforms.

Reportedly, in anticipation of Sherman’s march, huge supplies of Confederate uniforms were taken from the mill and secretly stored at Naylor Hall. In the summer of 1864, the Proudfoot’s home was heavily damaged by Federal troops. After occupation, Proudfoot began to rebuild. He remained with the mill, and in his home, until his death in 1871.

In the late 1930′s Colonel Harrison Broadwell purchased the property, naming it Naylor Hall in honor of his wife’s family. He also added the columns, the handcrafted woodwork, and the portico encompassing the original structure.”

Like so many homes in the Roswell downtown area it is tied to Civil War history and fortunate to have been cared for and restored over many generations and many owners.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Atlanta History Center

Smith Family FarmThis last weekend I drove down both Saturday and Sunday to the Atlanta History Center. This is the location of the Swan House, a magnificent neo classical house designed and built in the early thirties. It features a huge cascading fountain in the front yard that ties the whole structure in the hillside. I’m not a fan of of “neo” anything as a whole but this IS one romaticly beautiful place and worth the trip alone.  And there is so much more to see  SwanHouse Hudson at the Swan House and do. I painted a straight on view of the house —sort of a homage. Not much in the way of composition but with the back light the whole front was bathed in a wonderful reflective green glow of the grass. In the afternoon I moved around to the back of the house for this view of an vintage Hudson sedan they park near the back entrance. I took a look inside and was amazed at the level of detail in the ceilings and a very graceful and romantic winding staircase. It would be a nice place to set up and do an interior.

On Sunday I painted a view of the Smith Family Farm which in it’s entirety has been relocated from and area outside of town. About six buildings including a quaint farmhouse, a dog trot barn, a slave cabin and more. I painted a view from the barn looking at the house. My wife has a thing for sheep so when I heard them on baying all day Saturday I decided to make an effort to capture them in paint. This worked out well with a L shaped composition and key change from dark to light. The only problem I had was the lack of wool on the shorn sheep.

Later in the day I wondered down into the gardenS for this view of a small waterfalls on the property. Not much water flowing and I think I took this about 40 minutes to far…sometimes I just cant accept a quick effortless painting— just have to  make it hard.

All this, and by the way they have a museum too!


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A quick update

The Falls at Vickery Creek

Painted w/Leon Holmes after a few cocktails

Painted w/Leon Holmes after a few cocktails

Over the last few weeks I’ve been painting quite a bit but have no time for the blog. If you’re like me you’d rather see the work anyway so I will upload some the paintings I’ve done. The first group were done with Leon Holmes on his last day here in the US. We spent the day at Vickery Creek here in Roswell along with a great dinner at Salt in Roswell, finishing up with a nocturnes afterward.

The is second group of two plein airs were done on Hembree Rd. in Roswell. There is a stretch of somewhat undisturbed rural beauty consisting of a few early home and a small farm. This is a spot that has been on my list for sometime now.

Hembree Road Farm

Hembree Road Farm

Hembree Road Cottage

Hembree Road Cottage

Painted on Labor Day Weekend in Mountain Park

Painted on Labor Day Weekend in Mountain Park

Memorial Day weekend I spent a a day out at Moutain Park painting this 8 x16 of the lake and Sunday near the railroad tracks on Canton Rd. for this view of a concrete factory

An escape from trees and greens

An escape from trees and greens



Last Saturday I drove out to Dacula GA for the third installment of the Gwinnett Parks Plein Air. A lot of driving, even more walking and a bit of painting produced this 12 x16 that takes a bit of a turn for me in that I used a small knife for a lot of it. I’ve been meaning to try this for some time—finally got the nerve.

A very rare long view here in GA

A very rare long view here in GA

This last week I’ve been working on paintings for the Atlanta Zoo’s Art Gone Wild Event. I will put a post together on this after the auction on Saturday night.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Leon Holmes takes on America

HolmeBoatSeveral years ago I became acquainted with Leon Holmes through the Plein Air Artists site run by good friend, Don Maier. Leon is from Perth, Australia on the far west side of that faraway continent. I’ve always admired his work and his knack for self promotion. It’s not over the top or offensive, just rather smart. He spends most of his time now in Munich Germany smitten by a young gal that he is now engaged too. I’ve often invited him to stay with me if he was ever in the states and he took me up on that late last month on his way to the Forgotten Coast Plein Air Event.

I picked him up at Hartsfield/Jackson Airport on a Monday night the 30th of April and put him up for a few days before he left for the show in Apalachicola. Of course, I wanted to go along, but it’s an invitational and no one invited me! Leon met Lori Putnam at the similar Art in the Open Festival in Ireland last year. She thought he might enjoy it and she was right. We’ve been back and forth with emails for several months arranging the details and came up with a plan . Since I could not attend, I found a fellow painter David Boyd who lives just South of Atlanta who was also attending and we LeonOnSawmade arrangements for Leon to catch a ride with him down to Florida. In between we spent a day getting some painting boards made. Using my new table saw we cut up several sheets of mahogany ply and instead of covering them with canvas as I do, Leon opted for sanding them and using a few coats of warm colored shellac. I’ve heard of this but never tried it— It certainly was easier and cheaper.  I was busy but I work out of my house and even though we didn’t get much chance to paint together we had good time working on the preparations for the show. Of course I was insanely jealous—10 days painting along the Gulf Coast in Florida! It’s something I’m working toward—maybe next year. Everything worked out well and we were able to drive down the night before and drop him off at David’s house in Newnan. Boyd is a heck of a painter —I knew all about him because I’m a pleiMahoganyPanelsn air nerd and discovered his blog and web site years ago. He uses a mix of brush and knife in a lot of his recent work that gives it a unique look. If it’s possible he’s even more of a maniac than I and has had a lot of recent success—rightfully so. I hope to get down to Newnan for a painting visit soon.

So I packed Leon off to Florida and got back to my everyday work. Each day I checked in to the Facebook page and the web site for news about the events going on. Leon was an instant hit of course. His easy, relaxed manner and creativity won the day, and then there’s that hat! After winning the Quick Draw he proceeded to paint nearly two dozLeonLagrangeen works and sold most of them. Honestly, I think he shocked a lot of the more established painters. Dave too did very well and when they reluctantly returned home I made my way down to pick Leon up for his return trip to Europe.

Of course, he was as excited as I was for him. We spent that morning painting in Newnan before we left garnering even more success when the owner of the house we painted bought both our paintings on the spot. So we both were flying high as we got back to Marietta in the afternoon. The next day I played hookie and we went painting at the falls on Vikery Creek. After dinner and a few beers in Roswell we both did night street scenes just down from the restaurant. Wednesday I arranged a ride down to the Airport for Leon and about noon we parted with a handshake and a hug. It was my pleasure to meet Leon— thankful to call him a good friend and hope to see him next year.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Savannah in the sun

Forsyth Park SavannaThis last weekend I visited Savannah for the first time (5/2-4) Looks to me like a huge oversight. It’s Charleston without the snoots. My wife and I drove down and stayed in the Hilton while watching our newest grandchild Matilda while her mother and and father attended a wedding in near by Blufton SC. We went down Friday and came back on Sunday so I only got in one full day of painting but still did three and a fourth was left for some studio work.

What an interesting place, with park like squares spaced every few blocks on a grid pattern. Thousands of places to paint including the riverside with all it commercial traffic. Saturday I walked down to the river and set up looking west to catch one of the big container ships that dock there and unload their cargo. I caught a big orange example under the beautiful  delicate suspension bridge that frames the city. While I was painting I had several people stop bye and gave out a few cards.  A few hours was all I needed to catch this view and I moved on to a street view of some of the tunnels reaching back into the city from the old wharfs along River Street. The weather grew cloudy here and I put up with a bit of rain but finished this view as the sun broke back out to stay. As I worked on this a group of photographers worked with a B&B band on photo shoot in the tunnels and several times they broke into songs rocking out and amazing me with a four girls singing back up for a guy with a great falsetto. This painting ended up being a bit dark—still playing with it.

Later I hiked to Forsythe Park —on a recommendation that it was the nicest in town. Well, my vote would go to Chippewa Square with the Daniel Chester French sculpture of James Oglethorpe. Forsythe is actually a park anyway. While there I just had to paint the famous fountain and I was trying to finish up when I got told to leave because the place was rented out for a wedding. I pulled over to the side and watched as a good looking couple vowed up. Lather I heard that this was only one of 47 weddings in town that day! That evening when I got back I set up on the balcony of the hotel for a quick 12 x24 of the sunset over the city, I’m still working on this painting.  A woman I met Saturday called me on my cell Sunday morning as we were packing up and said she wanted to buy the boat painting so I met her outside the hotel—paid for half my trip! I’m playing catch up here as a few weeks have passed since but I can tell you Savannah is one place I’ll return too.  Savannah—Orange & Blue

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Weekend Work

Morning Light at McFarlaneYesterday a woman came up to me while I was out painting and said “Oh how blissful —you must be so relaxed” Well, not really—it’s work. I look at it that way. I have long way to go to get to my objective. Painting is rarely relaxing for me. I’m working out problems, getting things roughed in, trying to catch the light, finishing up. In essence, plain and simple I’m working. I love it, but it’s not relaxing. Many people don’t understand this, other painters do. This kind of attitude makes it easier to sustain my level of commitment, I have a job to do and I’m going to get it done—the best I can.

This weekend I painted at least 20 hours. If I was doing it full time I shudder to think the hours I would put in. The weather has been glorious —so make hay while the sun shines! Saturday I went back over to McFarlane Park with a composition I did a sketch of last week when I was there early in the morning. The shadow of the fence leads you right up to the brightly lit farmhouse bracketed by those huge ginkos. This is 12 x15 and I think I took it just a bit too far, the shadows are bit dark too. Not so with the the other I did later in the day, a view up Farm Road featuring a white fringe tree. The color of this tree was a phosphorescent pale green—striking! And the little 9 x12 went together quickly and just the way I saw it.Farm Road


Later in the day I repainted one that I started a week back. It’s a view though a gate towards the stable on the property. It’s 12 x12″ and I used an oval  composition with the branches of the overhead tree and shadows below completing the circular flow. Although better than it was, is not as impromptu as I like, that’s hard to master—I’m working at it!

SLove Shack 2unday morning I wanted to do a construction scene and I found this almost new diesel shovel near by at a new home site. It ends up being a portrait with not much composition involved. Still I enjoy doing this kind of thing if only for the color and change of subject. In the afternoon I drove over to Mountain Park with the idea that the clouds would be pretty good. I  worked on a rather large 18 x 24″ for nearly five hours. I was thinking it was done but when I got it home it just had no life to it so I’ll drive back over and give it some more light next time. The clouds were the focus of this  and I was a bit too subtle here. Just got to hit ‘em over the MoutainParkCloudshead with it. Might of been better to go vertical with it but I could not set up far enough back.

Fellow painter Leon Holmes is coming in this evening from Munich on his way to FLA for the Forgotten Coast gig. It will be fun to meet him. I’ll catch you up next time.

King of the Hill

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

McFarlane in the Spring

Spring at the FarmNearly two years ago I was looking for places to paint and ended up at McFarlane Park in Cobb County. Since then I’ve spent many sessions recording how this quiet unspoiled landscape looks at all times of the year. With spring in full bloom and a show planned for October I went back over to this farm park to see how it looked. I was greeted by a mix of flowering trees, red bud, dogwood and cheery all in their prime.

I was attracted to the red bud, a wispy dark barked tree with intensely redish purple blooms. The white fences that surround the front acreage are quite wonderful and frame up views and accent others. I set up and worked on a view down a path to one of the out buildings, a stable like structure with white clapboard. Just a perfect bit of structure to ad to this colorful landscape. I worked on a 12 x15″ — an odd size but I love it. A bit bigger than 9 x12 and little more square, Just about everything I do this size works. The problem is framing it. I had one made at JFM with a linen mat and I used it in the Marietta show. I’ll need to buy several more before my shows in August and October.

McFarlaneDogwoodAfter about three hours on this view I set up a did a 9 x12 vertical of a magnificent dogwood on the property. I love dogwoods but struggle with them because they have  delicate bent limbs and are sparsely flowered. The lace like appearance is easy to cover up with too many booms. You have to be very careful to not overdue it. I’ve painted the one in my back yard many time and am still not satisfied. Later in the week I tried again on an evening after dinner. Still not sure this is successful—at least I’m aware of the problem.

TTwilight Dogwoodhe following weekend 4/11-13 I was back over to McFarlane on Friday morning with a old college friend Kathy Gray-Farthing who was in town for a Photoshop conference and had the morning off to paint with me. It was great to see her and we painted the same building from the opposite side. This time the forest floor was covered with a carpet of Blue Bells  and occasional Yellow Corn Flowers— Quite mesmerizing. I got a good start on it Friday but we had no sun so when the next day it was gloriously sunny and warm I went back over and put in some more hours on in.

This next weekend begins the Gwinnett Parks Plein Air Challenge, a show that I’ve participated in twice without finishing in the money. It’s a long drawn out affair that last all summer with four sessions at parks in Gwinnett culminating with a show and final    judging in September. With not much else going on locally I still was eager to give it another go. Lot’s of very good painters will be competing and a win would be a great achievement. We’ll see. I’ll post my first work from Alexander Park next week. Happy painting.



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cobb/Marietta Museum Paint Out—Third time’s a charm

I’ve been doing plein air for about three years now, maybe just a bit longer. The third Marietta/Cobb Museum Paint Out was held this weekend. The museum is small but has a great staff and utilizes many volunteers. They have quite few exhibitions every year along with organized competitive shows one for all art including sculpture and photography called Metro Montage. The other is their plein air competition. This is the third time I’ve participated and I’ve finish third two years in a row.

If you’ve been following the blog you know I’ve been painting Marietta for the last few weeks in anticipation. I like these competitions, they bring out the best in me which is strange because I’m not an overly competitive person—as a rule. The night before I was on Google driving around the square and some of the neighborhoods finding possible spots to paint. I even did a few small drawings to work out some compositions. First prize was $150 —so not a lot + museum membership for a year. Well, I’m already a member. None-the-less I was very nervous the night before and hardly slept at all. Up at 6:15 I was at the museum by 7:15 to get my substrates stamped. As I walked in I ran into John Gurnsey. I took a plain air class three years ago from John and he’s a full time professional, teaching painting all around town. At that point I summed up my chances as slim for top prize. John was just on his way out with his boards and we just chatted about a few possible painting spots and then he left. Inside I ran into Charles Scogins, another accomplished painter—two strikes! I decided to paint a view of  of a row of the stores around the square. I used one of the drawings as start for the painting that I planed on a 12 x24 inch board. This is a unique size and always impressive —if executed properly. The weather was poor, it rained the night before and it was overcast almost the entire day. My plan was to paint the far southeastern corner with the Antique Store at the far end and a few small shop to the west. I set up right on the square and with my drawing in mind I straightened the stores to a face on view  bleeding the tops off the  board. This allowed me to do an almost plan on view and made the drawing much easier. I planed some light and shadow to emphasize a few areas, I also intended to put in two vehicles, two of the large trees and few walking figures. Very ambitious but with all the planning I was well prepared. I usually use vine charcoal to do a preliminary drawing. It’s soft and easy to just wipe off if you need to adjust it’s also more tonal and quick to use than a pencil. After my charcoal I roughed in with a light dark wash of oil. At this point who should show up but Shane McDonald. Shane is one of the best painters I know and he actually won the first Cobb plain air —strike three!

Pressing on now with just a bit less confidence I stuck to my game plan. Instead of playing with the tree shadows and the light off the cars I concentrated on the wet street reflections and the warm interior lights of the stores. As I said, I usually start with a shadow color of every object I paint as a rough in. I use a lot of alizarin crimson and ultramarine blue at this point mixing in just a touch of yellow or ocher to get a black. With a few variations I use this for the darks and varying greyed values either warm or cool—red, blue or green for the rest of the objects. Some times I’ll change key with lighter tones in the background to get some atmospheric effects working. This is not intuitive and it’s hard to work out sometimes. Obviously blue recedes —but some times I go with alizarin (Gurnsey influence)  As with a lot of things this is not written in stone. So…back to the painting I mixed up the lighter versions of the colors to put in on top of those nice darks. I brushed them in using the base for shadows here and there. All of the sudden I lost that nice dark rainy look! Dang! The only option I had was to really lighten the one patch of sky I had to make everything appear darker. Short of repainting the entire panel I  had no choice. Almost a straight white—ooph!

It'sRaininginMariettaI also did a few sketches the previous night of the famous fountain on the square. Google images are a great tool and I noticed that the ones I liked were all very close shots so I set up for number two right in front of the fountain. I moved it over to left a bit and made it the largest object in the painting. To the right was smaller statue that I was intending to  leave in silhouette and a crepe myrtle—not yet leaved out. Busy fountain, busy tree behind…I realized that this was not going to be one of the two that I was allowed to put in the show. Still I enjoyed working on it as the afternoon wFountain on the Squareore on and the weather tried to improve. A young guy named Peter talked to me for almost an hour as I worked this one out. I actually don’t usually mind that just so long they just talk and I don’t have to listen to carefully. So I finished up this 9 x 12 and went to lunch at one of the restaurants right on the square. My next idea was to do view from the railroad crossing up to the square. This was another idea I worked out the previous night. I planned to do an 18 x24 this time so I was pushing it with a start time around 2 and a 6 PM deadline. The weather was getting worse instead of better and I was having trouble getting this view to work with the charcoal. I  switched to a 12 x 15′ board and hung in there until the skies opened up and washed my charcoal off—even then trying with just paint, but it was too much so I threw in the towel.

The first day ended with getting back to the museum and and turning in my days work along with checking out the other paintings. Lots more than i thought, some very good but I was confident I was in there with my 12 x24. I got home before five and had a glass of wine and some dinner. Lather that evening I got my frames and tools together so I could take care of that after painting Sunday. I decide to barrow my wife nice new wagon to transport it all and then I hit the sack early.

Sunday I was up a 5 unable to sleep any longer. if possible the weather was worse! At least it wasn’t raining but the wind was wicked and cold. I drove to the museum checked in my boards and then got in the wagon on a search for some spring color. On the home the previous afternoon I saw some nice blooming trees along Cherokee Street northwest of town. After about an hour of driving around looking for alternatives I ended up there. With no preliminary drawing I was a bit lost and I finally parked myself in front of a small cottage with a few early blooming dogwoods. I really wanted to do a backlit subject but the arching shadows of elaborately  designed Victorian gingerbread took control of my brain! I’m queer for that stuff. Amidst a 40 mph wind and about 30 degrees I worked on my best linen board. With a super dark rough in underneath my lights were garish when I put them in plus all that gingerbread —what a mess. But I came to my senses around noon. I actually got out my Gamsol and poured it on the board and wiped it clean. Three hours wasted and only three hours to go!

Turning around I noticed the house behind me was lit up like a Christmas tree. The right side all light, with a dark garage in the back that made it even brighter. The color was arresting too, a dark straw orange against the bright green of the newly leaved bushes and fresh grass, plus a few just blooming dogwoods and a stairs that came down from the porch to act as a center of attention…perfect! It was very similar to the Magnolia House painting I did two weeks previous only a bock from this location.  I painted with a purpose and delighted in the colors and structure. I had some issues with the stairs but in the end covered them with a bush. I spent the last hour putting in some shadows and highlights on the grass and branches of the dogwoods and laying a pink haze above them —not actually there but it really worked. The linen surface is so smooth and it takes some getting used to but you can really do some wonderful effects with the side of your brush.  Scraffitio works the best on this surface too and I finished up with a bit here and there along with my name scratched into the corner.

Back to the museum I got the two good ones framed up, came up with a few titles and drove home. 6:30 was the reception and I arrived fashionably late. As I walked in the gallery was packed and I bought a glass of wine and made my way around the first room. The second painting in was the second award winner. A nice bright painting of one of the street corners—I was a bit confused. Certainly not a bad painting but not the quality I was expecting of a winner with this many good painters. You can never tell—every judge is different. I moved on, just then Jane Springfield, a friend and fellow painter came up and said—”Congratulations Ed!” Well I knew I didn’t win second place. She tugged me into the back gallery, there was my second painting with a blue ribbon next to it.

I knew it was good but as I said you never know what the judge thinks. I was happy—still am. Later that evening my daughter showed up with my grandson Cole, whom I adore. We went for ice cream after to celebrate.  A very busy but wonderful weekend.805CherokeeSt.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment