It’s inevitable, Spring can’t be stopped. And who would want to? But this winter was good for me in the marsh and on the boardwalk. Now things have changed and I’m looking in framilliar places for the things I love about Spring. Dogwoods, red buds, sunny grass reflecting on eves and longer warmer days to paint.
I’ve spent several weekends on Canton Street chasing blossoming trees and strong light. This first one is The Cat Clinic —nothing to do with cats but lots to do with green in all it’s variations. Right below a view of the Fickle Pickle—a very busy restaurant in an old mid
19th century home. The Stone House—another Canton Street landmark that I did just recently—more light than usual, it being on the bright side of the road. A small 9×12—Spring on Canton Street. featuring dogwoods and lots of reflective color. And the obligatory font on view of MacMagees—my favorite watering hole.
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 the 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. 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.
Peachtree 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 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.
Mabry 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.
The 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. 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.
House & 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 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.
A 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.
Nothing like going to the well once again for what you know works. I believe it’s a good idea to reinforce your strengths. Over the years I’ve developed techniques that work for me and I try to use them again and again. I also have my “go to” subjects and redbud trees in bloom fit into that category. The intense purple against the bright Spring green has a real wow factor that is hard to dislike.
This Saturday I wandered over to McFarlane Park —another go to, and spent the afternoon amidst the early Spring growth. In truth, the color is a bit early here but bright days without work to do are scarce so I was over with my viewfinder walking the paths of this delightful place looking for opportunities. Last year at about this time I was fortunate to catch a redbud in full bloom. When they have a bit of room around them they can get like a bright brush of crazy color and the painting was one of my more successful. This time the garden club that maintains the grounds decided to prune this purple monster back a bit so it was not as showy. But there were several others—a bit stringy, like they get in the undergrowth and I stacked them up with the stables in between for this square composition. Almost the same view as last years, just a bit closer in. The tree is back lit a and the shadows and branches reach out to the viewer. I like this approach with flowers, it tends to give you more of the feeling of being there —a trick almost. It wraps you in the color and emotion of the view.
Sunday was glorious too—but I had a date at the car show with my little grandsons, and that, apposed to a blooming tree only happens rarely. I will, of course be sneaking back to the park as much as I can as the season unfolds.
Issues with my web site and blog have finally been resolvedthanks to my daughter Jennifer, whom is my web rock star—Thanks, as always Jen. The new website is cleaner and html based so viewers (few) should not have any ipad issues ect.
This is the first week of Spring and I am always drawn to flowering trees like a bee. Monday afternoon I took the afternoon off and hiked down the hill for this early spring view of the small stream that crosses Running Fox Dr. I’ve painted here several times before—most with good results. I was attracted by, of course the water but also the chartruse glow of new growth in the light contrasted against the still faded pinks of the poplars. This doesn’t last too long and I was glad to record it before the green turns darker and the whole view changes in character. Plein air has that ability to capture fleeting moments like this and I believe that is why I’m so enamoured with it. Like poetry instead of a novel—in a few hours you can express the fleeting emotions of a view.
After the weeks work I was rewarded with another fine Spring day on Saturday. I drove to Roswell looking for a view with the blooming pear trees and was rewarded with this almost canned composition looking up one of the roads off Alpharetta Hwy. towards the First Baptist church on Mimosa Street. I kept the church high key with blues and purples as my darks and used only only a few darker tones up front on the trees to the right. I’m doing a lot of knife work on my painting as of late—certainly gives them a different look. Most likely it’s transitional as I get more comfortable using it. I drove home around three and had some time so I did a quick 9 x12 of a the Chinese Magnolia that grows across the cul-de-sac from my home. The blue sky had clouded over so there was no light. I might take this out for another go if the weather improves—must be soon though these magnolia blooms don’t last long.
The new website allows me to sell my work now and if you see something you like look for it there. If not just email me at email@example.com