What an incredible weekend for plein air. Pretty much perfect weather, fantastic locations, a well organized event, and some success. I’ve been working up to participating in paint outs and this was my first opportunity to compete. A thanks to Emily Ryals and the Marietta/Cobb Museum for putting together a nice competition which was well received with about 25+ painters participating.
After a reception on Friday evening I walked around the square prospecting for good set up spots. I then jumped in my car and drove over a few blocks to check out some of the private homes on the list of suggested sites. I was fascinated by the houses, one in particular on McDonald street secluded by 8 ft Azalea hedges with a beautiful entrance gate and driveway. Later that evening I went through the the list closer and was delighted to find the exact house. What I really wanted was some Spring color—and I figured it would more abundant in a suburban setting.
It was cloudy Saturday, after checking in about 9:30 at the Museum I drove over to McDonald street. The owners were just leaving as I arrived —The house, called Ellwood (not Oakmont—I mixed this up) was recently restored by Lynn and Hans Rechsteiner. It’s a New England style Victorian home built right after the Civil War. The grounds were immaculate and after exploring the property I was drawn to a small smokehouse with a stacked stone wall and a beautiful Banks rose. I quickly did a small sketch as is my practice and got to work with a rough in. I was surprised by John Gurnsey (http://johnbguernsey.blogspot.com/) one of the judges of the competition and a gifted plein air painter. He was out looking around for good spots—later I found him working right down the street . This neighborhood has a fine collection of post war southern victorian mansions and some charming bungalow style homes.
I was so enamored by the location that a I did a second painting in the afternoon of the side yard that has very unique keyhole picket fence. I chose to go vertical with this view after a horizontal sketch so to include a huge serpentine pin oak in background. I used my very large 3” brush for most of the foliage and was rewarded with the sun coming out and lighting the scene perfectly. This painting was misnamed in the final show it should be “Impressions of Ellwood”—it’s a very romantic painting with a bit of Whisson influence. I have no good photos of it so I will ad it later. Satisfied and done for the day I returned to the museum and headed home.