Places to paint in North Georgia

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.

Spring comes around

Dogwoods on Canton St.

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

Cat Clinic

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.

The Fickle Pickle
The Stone House


Mac MaGees

The Marsh II —Dawn and Dusk

Dawn, 20 x 20"
Dawn, 20 x 20″

Over the last several weeks I have devoted my time to a smaller area of the Chattahoochee/Big Creek Estuary that I call the marsh. It’s right at the corner of Willeo and Azalea Roads. I worked on a large 20 x 20″ canvas to start with a view northeast and the sun rising, I call this Dawn. I didn’t want the high contrast of the morning light so I’ve been working mid morning and the light is rather flat but picks up the water as it goes back in steps perhaps a mile or so. It beautiful spot with marsh grasses in various states of growth from very green to a bleached out orange. There are several dead trees that decorate the area too. The Canadian Geese love this spot, so you’ll hear them the whole time you are there pronouncing their territory loudly to anyone who intrudes. This is the only area on this part of the river that has cattails and the they have an interest to me. I decided to paint a companion piece to Dawn the same size but later in the day. Of course I call this piece Dusk and it’s the same size. I started a few weekends ago looking for the right spot and ended about 50 yards north of the Dawn painting. I used a goose in each and the dusk version features later light and the bird standing one one leg with it’s head tucked in. It’s a very strong design element and I tried to place it so the direction would point back into the painting. I put another pass on this painting this weekend and have a bit more to but its pretty much set. I’m now shopping for frames that will look good with the thought that these paintings will hang on either side of a bed. I’m also considering making prints of these two paintings, there might be some interest in this bedroom art concept.

Dusk, 20 x20"
Dusk, 20 x20″
Cattails in the Rain, 9 x12"
Cattails in the Rain, 9 x12″
Cattails at Sunset, 9 x12″

While in pursuit of the Dusk painting I used an upright element to the left of the painting. I thought that this might be a good spot for a cattail so I did a few smaller studies of a group I found out off running path on the other side of the marsh. It was a rainy day Saturday and I started both views—one in direct (gray) light and the other backlit by the afternoon sky.  I got the first done and was rained on —I never have too much problem in the rain but my finished 9 x 12″ was so pelted with rain that it moved the paint around—so pretty much a wash! The second painting was going alright but I felt was getting a bit thick and the light was flat so I took a break. I reset up the other view, scraped it down and repainted it with much better results. Then I did the same on the other with a stronger but still cloudy sun setting.

Sunday I returned to finish off Dusk with the thought of using the cattail painting to help me paint the section I intended to use them in. Well—long story short I ended up just using the tall weeds that were there—thinking that the cattails would take away from the bird too much. I spent most of the day there, working on the mud in the fore ground —lots of darks, as most of it is in shadow in my version. I wanted to spend that hour or so at the end of the day sharpening up the lights but I had several hours to wait until sundown so I decided to do a small 11 x 14″ of Willeo Road as it trails up toward the Chattahoochee Nature Center. I noticed how it nice it was while working the first weekend here. So I set up right on the roadside and worked on this view—which quickly turned to a sunset.  I took a break for about an hour to finish Dusk and then spent about another hour putting some final touchs to the road view.

Sunset on Willeo Road, 11 x14"
Sunset on Willeo Road, 11 x14″

Next weekend I’m going to work on a 18 x 36 canvas and see if I  can get those banded colors of water and marsh that you can see from this vantage. I’m sure Spring will be the next big thing and I’m ready for it, but it’s been a wonderful winter painting here and I can say for the first time I’ll miss it’s light and subtle colors.

Back to the River for Winter

Reflections on the Flats Ed Cahill Plein Air
Reflections on the Flats. 9 x 12″

I’ve lived here in Marietta nearly twenty years now. It’s actually my second tour of duty here in Georgia, so almost thirty years in this lovely warm spot. Over the years it’s grown more hectic and crazy on the roads, thank God I have avoided most of this by working out of my house the last fifteen years. When I started painting plein air in earnest five years back I knew it would take a lot of work—a lot of brush in the bush time to get to the point I could call myself a professional. This certainly has been the case,with some bravery and ingenuity I might have sped up the process by several decades! There are many young men and women who have taken on the challenge to be professional painters along with raising a family and made it work—I salute them. To those considering it—it’s all a matter of what you expect of yourself. Work hard, have a plan and I believe you can do it. It will take a while but you will learn the things you must do and you will will be happier and more successful in the long run.

Boardwalk Map

Back to painting. You can go back many post and see that I’ve pretty much figured out the places I’m most comfortable painting in this area. It’s a process of exploration, and experience. I want to get painting as soon as possible —I want to be productive, so I look for places with nature and some place to park. The Chattahoochee near Roswell is great this time of the year—long views and plenty of atmosphere. And it just got considerably better. This last week they opened a mile long stretch of boardwalk that not only parallels the river but at one point cuts across through the flats area between Azalea Drive and Willeo Rd. I’ve heard that this cost well over a million dollars —money well spent! They did a wonderful job and with the way they build decks now —not with much wood, it aught to last a good long time. The only problem is parking, you must either park at the Nature Center or at the parking lot on Azalea Drive both of which are are not great. The Nature Center is not open all the time and the Azalea Drive parking lot is about a half mile from the boardwalk and is full most of the time. You can sneak into the St. Francis School parking lot at the corner but it’s also more than a half mile away from the entrance.

Complain, complain! Really nothing to complain about. It’s glorious and has view of the river on one side and the flats on the other. Hundreds of paintings here but not easy ones! The brush is dense even in the winter and you will have to edit a lot—again, nothing to complain about. For the next several months I will be spending lots of time there—you are welcome to join me. Not knowing of the opening I started a few weekends ago at the fishing park further up Willleo Rd., this is a spot I’ve painted many times before. A great place to catch the sunrise over the ridge and reflection off the river. I was up early and set up near 8AM on the hill behind the parking lot with a view across. The water level is way down so there was a very interesting shape to the mud flats as it winds out to the river. I wanted to catch that early light and color, but I also had in mind a big 18 x24″ for this view. I thought it might be a good idea to do a quick 9 x12″ first and then take my time on the larger one using the small one for color reference. So this first one is the 9 x12″ that I did Sunday morning 12/11.

Chattahoochee Sunrise 9 x 12″
December Sunrise
December Sunrise 18 x 24″

The next is the 18 x24 that I worked on later and finished up the next weekend. I was not happy with all the excess Dioxide Purple. This a color that I tend to overdue when I have it on my palette. I should just eliminate it but I am always mixing purples and it just saves so much time! I also use Naples Yellow a bit too much—again, It’s just too easy to over use that lovely cool yellow and both are hard to disguise.

Chattahoochee Impresions Ed Cahill Plein Air
Chattahoochee Impressions 18 x24″

I’ve had some success working bigger lately. I like 18 x24 inches when I have everything thought out and the time. Sometimes they don’t even take any longer as with this view from Willeo Road looking North-East. I also used a branch hanging down in front to give me something in the foreground—it seems to work in this one. This was painted before we lost lost the leaves and is a great illustration of why this area is great to paint. You have some distance that you can work with—gradually blueing things as they go back.

Sunset at Riverbend
Sunset at Riverbend 9 x 12″
Winter on the River
Winter on the River 8 x16″

This group of smaller paintings the first a 9×12 painted along the main stretch of boardwalk near the Wellio Rd. (top of page) the other around sunset looking southwest in early December and the third a 8 x16″ painted soon afterwords. The last two were painted perhaps only fifty feet apart—This shows you the diversity of views available here. I like the winter color in the 8 x16, and this view lent itself to the panoramic crop.

This last weekend was Christmas but I got a few good days in before and the weather was unseasonably warm. On the 22nd I got over a bit late in the afternoon to the boardwalk. I set up right at the elbow that start’s the walks section out over the flats. This crosses over a meandering swap like area with a treeline and the river behind it. I did a 12 x12 that day looking straight into the setting sun. I was pleased with it but I saw a potential for a bigger painting and the next day I brought over a 20 x 24″ that I had—with a nice pale red ground. I got in place around noon and worked until almost five—or sundown, this time of the year. The last hour was spectacular!

Cool Reflections
Cool Reflections 20 x 24″

My plans are to do some closer in views next working with the brush and the muted winter colors.

UPDATE 1/4/17

Light on the Flats
Light on the Flats 9 x12″

A few more from the river last week. I met Allison Graham Doke, Shane McDonald and Anna Jones Ladefoged. for a session on Friday. It was cold but bright and everyone enjoyed themselves. I did a small bright 9 x12 first then set in on a 12 x16″ as the day progressed. Everyone else had things to do but I hung in and proceeded to frustrate myself a bit on this view of the marsh through a tree screen. It got a bit muddy and messy so I scraped most of it off and went back over the next day to finish it. A totally different experience on Saturday with no bright sun at all—again I worked hard to repaint and came up with this. Might still require a bit of work!

Gray Day Geese
Gray Day Geese 12 x16

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.  

Sloan Street

Over the last several years I have spent quite a bit of time on Sloan Street in Roswell. The road reaches back east towards Big Creek ( or Vickery Creek, as some call it) from Atlanta Rd. and is about a mile long. Many of the houses are original and date back to the 1850s —before the Civil war. I usually park at the mill and hike up the street looking for targets of opportunity.

House of the Barking Dog
House of the Barking Dog

On Valentines Day and I was up early and over to Roswell where I found myself in front of this older yellow home with this slouching metal roof. I’ve scouted this spot before so I wasted no time setting up. It backs up to the creek with the ridge behind it about a mile away. With the slight back light gave it a greenish tint against the blue behind. The dog in the painting started barking about 10 minutes in and kept it up for hours. I felt bad about the neighbors on a Sunday morning trying to relax but, I was as stubborn as the dog put it out my mind. Finally a guy came out, he said to me “just let him sniff you and he’ll settle down” So I went up to the mixed beagle and reached down reluctantly—he gave me sniff and scampered over to a tennis ball then came back and pushed it through an opening in the fence. I threw it a few times for him until he appeared to have enough. He sat by the fence for the next hour as I finished up but never barked again.

Sloan Street Symmetry
Sloan Street Symmetry – Purchase Here
Corner Unit

This last Sunday was cloudy and I found myself back over and in front of this classic bungalow. I had to watch that I kept the tone a shade or two under the brightness of the sky or it just would have no weight to it at all. This house features a curious post and beam fence only about a foot off the ground. I guess it’s all for show because it’s not stopping anyone or anything. I stuck with the straight on view to play up that symmetry, many times a rendering at three quarters is just too much like a real estate sales photo. I tried to find some information about this house online but found nothing. The two chimneys certainly date it to the last part or mid 19th century.

The Bricks

On the Mill side of the street near the corner with Atlanta Street are two rows of apartment style housing called the Bricks.  They were built by Roswell King, the founder of the town in 1840 to house his textile mill workers. Supposedly these are the oldest style apartment homes in the South. They remind me of row hoses you might see in Philadelphia or Boston. Many have now been rebuilt into upscale expensive town homes. The two paintings here show the attractive warm white they have been painted—but I’m sure they were brick red at one time.
The mill, which is a block south of Sloan was burnt to the ground by Sherman. The Bricks and the houses on Sloan St. were spared and although most of the appear to be built a bit later they are none the less the oldest domestic homes in the area. Most are one story bungalow style, some still with metal roofs. The side streets too are populated with these hardy little homes that have seen generations grow up and grow old.

Roswell Greys
Roswell Gray
Sadleback_Ed Cahill
34 Sloan Street —the Mill House

The paintings below were painted in 2013 and all are 9×12″, a size that for several years I painted almost exclusively. Since, I’ve found that it takes me no longer to do a 12 x16 so I do less this small size. I’ve been accused of “Fence Porn” and I admit I do love a good fence. The trick I have learned recently is to paint them a little more suggestively now. You don’t have to get every picket in there. Best to leave them a little out of focus too. Working on the shaded house porches is my favorite part—when you can get that sun off the roof working with the shade you really get a nice feeling of light. In plein air painting it’s about the most important element.
If you’d like to try your hand at a few houses I’ll give you a couple of more tips. Use a very large flat to start —heck use it for a good long time. It’s much easier to do straight box shapes like walls, windows and doors. The sharp edge of the brush is like a ruler. Colley Whisson taught me to cut a 2″ flat down from the ferrule with a single edge razor blade —just a bit both sides. This gives you a razor edge. He says it’s like customizing your brush for the work you do. Give it a try with and old brush first —be careful not cut yourself. Also, I spend a lot of time on the darks, basically the whole painting, other than the sky is dark. All the shadows, all the upright surfaces. I use a fast drying medium that sets up pretty quick with thin paint so when I go at it with my lights I can go right over them – no problem. Use some nice thick paint for the lights. The sun lighted sides of the houses, foliage and grass—mix a bunch up and break up the colors with several close shades, cool and warm. Finally, just about every house reflects tremendous light, white ones especially. Get those greens shinning under the eves and you’re on you way to a nice painting!

Some times in the heat of the summer I just use mineral spirits instead of a medium because your brushes can get stiff but other that Archival Oils Odorless Lean is all I use. A caveat would be that you must clean your brushes promptly. Go home at the end of the day use a brush washer and mineral spirits then I soap out and oil every bush that you use—you don’t want this medium drying in a good brush.

Sloan Street Charmer
Sloan Street
Around the Bend

Other than the classic southern shotguns and dogtrots there are a few attractive colonial two story homes tucked in between like the two above. They too look mid 19th century but I have no information on them. As I mentioned, this area is very trendy now and unfortunately have, like the one in “Blue Backyard” below been completely updated and are unrecognizable from when I painted them just a short time ago. The house in the painting at the bottom with the dog on the porch burnt to the ground last year and has yet to be replaced. 19th century architecture in general is vanishing fast, so get out there and do your best to preserve some history!

House portraits can get you some work too, I’ve picked up several commissions from folks walking their dog or strolling by and noticing me. It’s way to pick up a little cash and get better at what you do. I’ve managed to get quite a portfolio of work that has some beauty and also some historical value. I suppose it’s not everyone’s cup of tea— but that’s what makes art and plein air painting so neat. Every painter has his own likes and interests.

BlueBackyard_Ed Cahill Blue Backyard

Dog on the Porch

The Oxbo

Sunset on Oxbo Rd.
The View from Oxbo

As Big Creek meanders through Roswell GA in loops back on itself to form an oxboSnaged. Oxbo Rd. intersects Atlanta Street and runs east along the creek for several miles. This is one of the older sections of town and has escaped the development that has affected most of Roswell—for now at least. I was drawn to the simple forms of old homes here, mostly two bedroom small bungalows looking like they were built in the 30s of 40s. There are a few parks in the area too and a month or so back I did a painting of this snag along a rain swollen area of the creek that almost resembles a canal. I started paintings of the houses in an area that is now being redeveloped right on Oxbo about 500 feet from the corner with Atlanta St. There is a small driveway on the right that you can pull over on and park. I took advantage of this to do two paintings of the these rather small but interesting houses. They have their own charm and both feature some color that makes them stand out.
This first house sits on Pleasant Hill Rd. an it’s painted a bright red. It has a huge oak tree beside it and the painting is about the tree as much as the house. I started this 12 x12” and put in several hours then returned and put in another few hours just finishing up last weekend. It’s bathed in sunset light and has a lot of shadows. The very blue winter sky as a backdrop was hard to control but instead of playing it down I played it up and it makes for quite a shocking red/blue color combination.OxboRd.
This other view across to Maple St. features two houses on 8 x 16 board. I spent a few hours on this early one Saturday morning on one of the coldest days of the year. I used the Zorn palette —black, white, yellow ocher and cad. red for this. It was a good idea at the time and only spent a few hours on it using the rest of the day on another project. When the painting dried it had very little life to it, so last weekend I decided to give it a few more hours. This time I use Oxbow full palette and worked on in the late afternoon. It’s almost directly opposite the red house so it was backlit with the sun picking up on the side of the houses, picket fence and some of bare trees. One house is a pale yellow and the other very dark so this gives it a nice contrast. While working I had a visitor —Mark Reed. Mark explained to me that he actually owned both of the houses in the painting—what’s the chance of that? We talked for a bit about the area and he then he left as I finished up. Later that day he texted me and said he wanted to buy the painting for his wife for Valentines Day.
Although not in the the Oxbo neighborhood I worked on few other paintings the last few weekendsMercury Murauder including another 8 x 16″ that features a very cool art deco gas station—Roswell Auto Tech on Atlanta Street about a block north. The owner is always parking vintage cars out front and a few weeks back I did a small 9 x 10 of a vintage red Mercury Marauder behind his shop. This last weekend I was attracted to a bright yellow old Ford F-100 parked on the North side. A few sessions and some careful work made for a few colorful paintings. The one with the truck with the center of interest to the far right—unusual.
I spend a lot of time in Roswell, perhaps one day I’ll find a gallery that will display my work. I’ve been to three so far with little interest but I’m going to keep at it. All I can say is that the local people are starting to take some notice.Yellow Truck