Mabry Farm

Snow Down South

Glorious Snow 8 x10″ Painted at Mabry Farm

This has been a cold winter here in Atlanta—and it’s not over yet! A month or so back we got the most snow that I’ve seen in Atlanta in twenty years. Everyone stayed shut up in the house waiting for it to melt but I was so excited to paint real honest to goodness snow that I spent two days walking up to Mabry Farm from my house in two feet of wet snow and painting as much as possible. The first painting is a small 8 x10″ of one of the trees in the lower pasture covered with snow. It was early and very cold and  new snow was still blowing around when I set up it —wonderful!  No one would ever suspect this image came from anyplace in Georgia. I used a very limited palette of White, Ocher, Ultramarine Blue and a special color —French Earth, a very warm grayish green. I’m not real fond of painting small paintings but I liked the way this one worked out and eventually used it for our Christmas card.

Horse coats 9 x12 painted at Mabry Farm
Leveda’s Barn 18 x24″

The next two paintings I painted on the same day concentrated on the horses, all dressed in coats for the weather. The larger, a view of Levada’s barn and the pine trees covered with snow. I did some work later to this painting in the studio—usually not a good idea.

The driveway up to Mabry Farm 9 x12″

The next day I was back over to do a view of the thawing driveway up to the Mabry’s tomato red barn. I was pleased by the composition and when I was done I broke everything down and headed back out to the pasture to see what I could do. Laying the fresh painting on the crusty snow to dry a bit I got busy on another—to my surprise when I turned back I noticed one of the horses licking the fresh paint off the board—A huge smudge right in the middle of the painting! Well, I chase him off and had no other choice but to break everything down again and return to the mornings spot and repaint it. Later in the day I found a fresh batch of virgin snow in the middle of the muscadine vineyard on the other side of the farm. By this time the light was perfect and I was able to capture those beautiful blue shadows as they cast off the vines and the small white house on this section of the property.

Snow in the vineyard 9 x12″ Painted at Mabry Farm

Everything quickly melted but it remained cold and after the new year I was back over to the river and pleasantly surprised to find ice and snow along the shores of the marsh and river. It’s very interesting in this one section because a small creek flows parallel to the main river and you can see through the trees—now devoid of leaves to the other side. So you get a nice background blue and several layers in front with trees and brush and more water. Of course I’ve done dozens of painting here but the snow and ice really changes things up and made it look all new. I just love this area for it’s constantly changing color and light.

The View Thru 12 x12″ painted on the Roswell Riverwalk


Snow & Ice 12 x16″ painted on the Roswell River Boardwalk

Apiary at Marbry Farm and more

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve updated my blog. I don’t get a lot of response so it comes late on any list of to dos. It’s been a busy Spring with several competitions and a trip to Apalachicola, all dedicated to painting and selling as much as I can. I’m doing much less ad work and more painting —which is what I want but like much in my life I tend to back into things and this is no exception. I’ve had very little success in winning anything but I have sold quite a bit of work—weather it ads up to much money and replaces my graphic design work is questionable. I work hard at painting and little by little progress and improve —I hope. Like any skill of merit it take practice, practice and more practice. With painting it never ends—the more you know, the less you know.

Going back a few month is hard for me. The older I get the more I tend to file away my past into volumes in my dimly lit brain.

I’ll start with more work from Mabry Farm. This Spring I found out the the original farmhouse and the acreage around it has been sold to a developer. They have not done any clearing yet but plans include the demolition of the 1914 farmhouse that I am so fond of. Consequently I’ve been instilled with the idea of the getting the word out with the thought that someone may come to rescue! We’ll see…in the mean time I continue to paint it.

The Last Spring at Mabry House 18 x 36″
Under Oak Shadows 12 x16 A view of the back of the house as the oak trees just started to leaf out
Hidden Horse 9×12
I’ve been using a big 2″ sash brush as of late—perfect for grass and trees

Lately I’ve spent a lot of time painting views of the the bee hive or apiary —as it’s called. My wife recently needed local honey for her ailments and I was amazed at the wonderful taste of local honey that I naturally acquired from the only source I know. I now wonder why I have not spent more time painting this rather interesting collection of boxes out in the light. I’m making up for it.

Horses & Honey 12 x16 —in the Spring a hive is set out to “capture” queens in search of new domiciles
Bee Town —my favorite of this set of work, stressing the town like feel to the hives
The Clover Field 12 x12″ —isolated by a fence to avoid horse feeding, this is bee food to the hive in the background. Jim Mabry can be seen here too.
The Beekeeper 12 x12″— Jim Mabry harvesting some honeycomb
A big 12 x24 done recently of the entire apiary —this is on an old trailer so it can be moved and also is isolated from the surrounding woods to avoid the the bees moving away.

Season’s Shifting

I’ve come to find a few people read this—so I should keep up . It was an extremely dry Fall here in North Georgia and even though I was worried about my shrubs dying it made for a very colorful and paintable season. All the usual suspects were visited at one time or another. Starting with Mabry Farm. While Colley Whisson visited last summer I took him on a tour of my favorite place to paint. He took loads of photos so you might see a Mabry Farm painting from him eventually. While giving the tour I noticed a small spot that had gone without my attention and a few weeks later I spent a nice quite few hours painting this working woodshed. Someone had been busy here and the ax was still in a log—although I moved it out into the light. This is 8 x16″.Woodshed Ed Cahill Plein Air
I guess the next weekend was Halloween and on that Friday I was over again looking to catch a view North- one that I’ve painted before. My intention was to do a big 18 x 24″ but when I looked in my trunk all I found was a 12 x12 and a 8 x16 board so I walked around the pasture and finally centered on this view. October Pastures Ed Cahill Plein AirI posted it on the En Plein Air Face Book page and a few days later Bob Barr from Plein Air Magazine emailed me about my “Halloween” painting. ?? Sorry Bob, I didn’t paint any ghosts or goblins. After a bit of a mix up we figured out he was talking about this 12 x 12. The story is here:

Parting Shot: Halloween Weekend, Donkeys, and Dark Underpaintings

That same weekend I took some hours Sunday to revisit Mountain Park. As soon as I got there I was attracted to this view from the spillway of the poplars as bright orange as orange can be with a fantastic reflection and a nice contrasting cool blue background. This one almost painted itself. Mountain Park Fire 12 x16Mountain Park Fire Ed Cahill Plein AirJust a few weeks ago on perhaps the last good color weekend I was back over to Mabry for this view—Mabry Oaks 12 x16, of the huge oaks behind the old farmhouse. Mary Oaks Ed Cahill Plein AirThis is another spot that I had not taken advantage of  before and I found another view here —Red Oaks 12 x12 that I started and finished up a few days later. Red Oaks Ed Cahill Plein AirThat same weekend I was driving around and noticed a Ginko tree on the side of the road. It reminded me of two giant examples that grow in the front yard of McFarlane farmhouse so I drove over and was delighted by this view I call Ginko Glow 12 x24″.Ginko Glow Ed Cahill Plein Air

The rain finally came and with it no more leaves and a dramatic shift toward winter here. The light changes cold when there are no more leaves to filter it and the lower sun is brighter now. Time to shift again and look for views that take advantage of it.

Featured in Outdoor Painter online Newsletter

Can’t say enough about the nice job Bob Bahr at did putting together a little story about my favorite place to paint— Mabry Farm. I’m fortunate to live so near this painter’s goldmine and also thankful that people are interested in the work I do there. There are places like Mabry just about everywhere, as plein air painters we have a way to experience and express their importance.

My Favorite Place to Paint: Ed Cahill

Mabry Farm Revisited

I spend so much time here that I have to occasionally update my work. Last week Cobb County announced that the construction of the access road back to a portion of the property that the county now owns will start. This is big news for the association that has been trying to raise money, but I think in the end the county had some funds from the SPLOST 1% tax increase and decided to use it here. I hope things go well.  Spring is a wonderful thing at the farm and the weather has been cool and dry. The flowering trees—pear, peach, dogwood and bushes have been extra special this year. I’ve done several paintings of the original farmhouse this season and many other areas where the color shows TheFarmHousethe best. I’m getting better at plein air horses and I will not give up until I’m a master —any day now. Finally, I’m always inviting fellow painters to join me in the fun and this Spring my good friend Doctor Munir Kapasi along with visiting international plein air superstar Leon Holmes spent a  some time here. With the access road construction the general public will have an opportunity to visit this little slice of rural Georgia that has kept it’s charm and beauty—all thanks to the Mabry family.

Easter at Mabry FarmEaster at Mabry. 12 x24″ oil on Mahogany ply. Inquire.  This view of the main pasture on Easter Saturday has all the pinks and yellow greens of an Easter basket.  The horse named Cowboy is one of my favorites of the dozen or so that spend most of their time doing just what you see here. Peach trees of several different varieties bloom at different times and with varying colors. The Mabrys give me access to these spots and I take advantage as much as I can.

PeachtreePeachtree 9×12 oil on linen. Inquire. I was amazed by the garish blooms of this tree. A dark but vivid pink with small dark, almost black centers. The day was cloudy and it helped me make some sense of it, centering on the contrast of the pink and the black branches.

Mabry Farmhouse SpringMabry House Spring 18 x 24″ oil on canvas board. Sold. This is a view I’ve done before but a bit bigger this time. The dogwoods in full bloom contrast against the charcoal siding and make for quite show. This house was built in 1919. All the Mabrys like this and it sold the day I painted it. 

SunriseatMabryHouseMabry House Sunrise, 12 x16″ oil on linen. Available. After a swarm of interest from the Mabry family I did another small 12 x16 of the view a week later. You can tell the dogwoods are past their prime. Started in the afternoon, this was very dark and backlit but I came back over the next morning and revised it to this fresher and brighter front light version.

Tomato Barn Ed CahillThe Tomato Barn. 12 x12″ oil on linen. Available.  I do a lot of paintings this size—the square forces me to go off center in composition. If you drive into Mabry Farm to buy tomatoes or honey in season this ware you go. It’s an honor system and in season they have an array of produce you can buy, but mostly good homegrown tomatoes. Mr. Mabry built this place himself and it’s an interesting patchwork of wood up front that has weathered differently. I caught it on a Spring afternoon with the dogwoods and shadows playing along with all that red. 

Spring Pastures Ed CahillLeonsMabryPastureSpring Pastures. 8 x 16″, oil on linen. Available. Mabry is all about the horses and they board a few dozen. This front pasture features and old utility building built about 50 years ago. One horse is hard to paint, two are easier! I painted this one afternoon when Leon Holmes was here, his version (above) has a lot of his characteristic knife work and electric color. 

Home&Garden Ed CahillHouse & Garden 8 x16 oil on linen. Available.  One of four houses on the farm, this is a typical 50’s rural bungalow with awnings over the windows and large garden—just taking hold here.  A repaint of a painting that I did a year ago, didn’t like and sanded down to reuse. I hapen to have it  in my pack while over working on the view of the other old farmhouse and decided to give it another crack. A good plan if you have a painting that for some reason does not work. All the bones were there and I just used it as a preliminary drawing. Second time was a charm.  

View to the PadockView toward the Paddock, 12 x 16 oil on linen.Inquire. Summer has arrived and with it a green hell! You get used to it here and learn how to mix a wide variety of the color that dominates the landscape. As the season progresses it calms a bit with less yellow. Again here—two horses are better than one.

Made in the shadeA Shady Rest, 11 x17″ Oil on canvas. Inquire. Unusual size and unusual canvas board for me (a gift from Leon) Also a play on a subject closer to the interest of another painter friend, Dave Boyd. This is the porch of the old farmhouse filled with interesting objects collected over the years. Lots of reflected light make those post nearly bright red at the top —the rusted red roof chimes in.