As I sit at my computer I’m planning the weekend’s painting excursions, this week and for that mater the entire month has been busy with not only painting but work as well. I’m a graphic designer by trade—actually own a small advertising business and cater to car dealers. My father was a dealer and my grandfather too so I have a pretty good background. Over the years we have had a lot success that I am thankful for, but it takes most of my time during the week and I would rather be painting. I just can’t say no to fairly lucrative work that comes rather easy for me. I do feel that part timers like myself are a bit overlooked. In my case I’m spending 30—40 hours painting a week in addition to my other work. I have a tremendous advantage that I own my own business and that I work out of my basement. Without the time and effort of commuting and a boss telling me what to do I feel I can devote myself very well to both. I suppose I’ll do nearly 150 paintings this year—not bad. Sure would like to give full-time a go though! —enough said.
Last weekend I got up early Saturday for the sunrise up top from Mountain Park. In the afternoon I went to the High Museum for the Fantasy Car Show with good friend Dr. Munir Kapasi. I even made a little movie with my iphone. Sunday I spent the whole day on Vickery Creek in Roswell. This time I walked south from the bridge to an area that I have not seen. It was beautiful, with rocks and a set of rapids. Almost too nice and I was overwhelmed. I had some trouble with the first painting —too much going on and then to top it off I did a 12 x24 in the afternoon. Both needed some studio work and Monday I spent most of the day working on them. The 12 x24 features a figure, actually it had two but Tuesday I took out the male figure and left a rather pensive looking female in. Not much reaction to these paintings from my group of “critics” so I did not post the first at all. The 12 x 24 is below. What do you think?
I’ve been busy with my show for the last few weeks framing and getting everything ready. If you live in the area it’s at the Art Place on Sandy Plains Rd. in Marietta till the end of August..
This last weekend I was up early both mornings to get out before family commitments. It work out very well with a few paintings that have that summer morning feel and a lot atmosphere. The first is a river scene painted over near a spot I’ve painted quite a bit before. Last time I noticed this view only a few hundred feet from the park entrance. I had to set up on the road so I was dodging cars while stepping back to get a look the whole time. The color here is very close to the real thing and the greens are a real challenge. Water and reflections are always impressive to viewers and I do an OK job on it. Over the years I’ve learned to go with the direct reflection of the view —just a mirror image and then ad some surface with objects or ripple reflections. I rough it in and then use a big brush to pull straight up or down. It’s a bit of a trick but when water is very calm it’s accurate. When the wind picks up though it reflects off the sky and this is much harder and less interesting as a rule. So I stick with the mirror image unless I’m painting the rough ocean. Again this sort of image is right in the majorities wheelhouse and I got a lot of good reactions from passer byes. In the end it’s the L shape composition and the distant levels that make this really work.
Sunday I was up early again and drove to and industrial park off old Highway 41 in Marietta. This is a spot that features a rail yard and the backs of old warehouses crowded with equipment and interesting junk. I like this sort of thing and I’ve been here twice in the last month. The first time I did a view of the rail yard that just did not work and another of a loading dock that I thought was dynamic but ended up with very little punch. This time I centered a view on the railroad crossing and the tree near it that because of the trimming had a very triangular shape—almost like a bookend. This worked well and enhanced the contrast of the early morning greens and the closer darker tree. I finished up with some power lines knifed in that reenforced the composition. After this I stopped a close-by diner for some lunch. Real southern food—not very good for you, but good! Chicken fried steak, coleslaw, collards, and corn bread. On my way out I spotted this old Chevy truck and a smoker they were using. So I set up and did a little portrait.
If painting were a sport I’d certainly be a true weekend warrior. In my mind standing up for eight hours at a time, back and forth hundreds of times to get a longer look just might qualify for exercise. I have to remind myself to take a break and drink some water or walk around a bit. This week I should have gone for dip in the lake while I was up at Allatoona on Saturday. It was a glorious day and all I had to do was take off my shirt and jump in.
I drove up HWY 92 out of Woodstock about twenty miles northwest and then straight north on Old Alabama Rd. to Lake Allatoona. This is the red headed step child to Lake Lanier, but it’s closer. After a search on Google I decided to give the dam a try but I never got that far. I found a day use beach and was lucky that I remembered to bring some cash because they charged me four bucks to get in—It was worth it though. The view was enhanced with sailboats from the near by yacht club. The first is a long view farther north through a channel up past a dock and a group of trees, I stuck some of the many kids in that were having a good time. Might have needed a second tree in the front—I thought the little girl was enough but…
Afterward I walked back to the car with the first painting and noticed the abstract pattern of the lake behind the pine trees and the forest beyond. I found the best spot to take advantage of this and set up for a 12 x12″. This one went together quickly and again I just had to include some of the bathers and picnickers to give it the flavor that it had.
I was pleased with both and also with the new Centurion Linen that I used for the boards. I bought a 60 x 6 yard roll from Jerry’s on the web and it was delivered in four days—for free plus 25% off. Nice slick surface that I really like and for me makes all the difference. Let’s me slide the brush around and the oil primed surface is so much less absorbent than gesso. Let’s face it, this is not a cheep vocation so you must look for the best equipment at the best price. I’ve settled into making my own boards and this saves me a lot of money and I’m use to using canvas but I just love the look that the linen gives me. It’s a bit more but I think it’s worth it.
Sunday I headed to the river and ended up over near Willio Rd. in Roswell. I’ve been here quit a few times before and the reason is there is a good deck you can set up on with view up and down the river. You do have to put up with fisherman though—they think they own the place but in the end usually warm up to the weird guy painting. I did a view looking south with one of the scull boats very common and then I did a close in view of the woods directly across the river. This was a bit different for me without anything but the water and the trees. I had to work hard , but in the end I think it’s the best of the weekend.
I 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.
This 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 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!
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 Cottage
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
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
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.
Several 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 made 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 plein 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 dozen 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.
This 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.