Mabry House Spring, 18x24, oil on canvas board, SOLD

Mabry Farm Revisited: Painting with Friends Holmes & Kapasi

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 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, 24x12
Easter at Mabry, 24×12, Oil on Mahogany Ply

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 Mabry’s give me access to these spots and I take advantage as much as I can.

Peachtree, 9x12
Peachtree, 9×12

I was amazed by the garish blooms of this tree. 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, 18x24, oil on canvas board, SOLD
Mabry House Spring, 18×24, 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 a show. This house was built in 1919. All the Mabry’s like this and it sold the day I painted it. 

Mabry House Sunrise, 12x16, oil on linen
Mabry House Sunrise, 12×16, oil on linen

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, 12x12, oil on linen
The Tomato Barn, 12×12, oil on linen

I paint a lot 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 upfront 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 Cahill painting horse barn
Spring Pastures, 8×16, oil on linen

Mabry is all about the horses and they board a few dozen. This front pasture features an 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 (below) has a lot of his characteristic knife work and electric color. 

by Leon Holmes
by Leon Holmes
House & Garden, 8 x16, oil on linen Ed Cahill
House & Garden, 8 x16, oil on linen

One of four houses on the farm, this is a typical 50’s rural bungalow with awnings over the windows and a 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 happen to have it in my pack while overworking 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. The second time was a charm.  

View to the Padock
View toward the Paddock, 12×16, oil on linen

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, 11x17, Oil on canvas
A Shady Rest, 11×17, Oil on canvas

The unusual size and 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 makes those posts nearly bright red at the top —the rusted red roof chimes in.  

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