Plein air in North GA, dodging the weather.

This last weekend I drove up to the Wurl house in Sautee to check on a few things and rake the leaves. Well..blow the leaves, thank God cause there were plenty of them. On Saturday I set up in the field next to the old Hardman Farm. This are is now a Georgia historic trust and encompasses about about two dozen restored buildings and some beautiful land right off State Road 75 across from the famous Nachoochee Indian mound.   Most people breeze by on their way into Helen but this has always been one of my favorite North Georgia sites. I did a very large painting of the valley many years ago that hangs over my couch now and a plein air of one of the outlying houses last year. The show stopper is the Hardman farmhouse. Built in 1869 it is an Italianate/Victorian design with striking red roofs and a wonderful cupola atop with arched windows and matching shutters. It also features and a very long covered and elevated walkway from the main house to the kitchen in the back. This entire area is now managed by the trust and is not yet open to the public. I quickly found — setting up out in the field next to the house drew a bit of inspection from the manager. He was very nice though and gave me his permission to continue along with his card if anyone else questioned my presence. This will be quite a nice area to tour once they are up and running and I will be sure to return for some more painting.

As far as the picture is concerned. I have a small frame that I hand made and this small panel was made to fit it. It’s just a 7″ x 11″ masonite gessoed board but even at this small size I spent a good four hours trying to get a bit of the detail in.  I always off center house when painting them but on this view I think the entire house might have worked better as the cupola certainly catches your eye forcing it all the way to the right.This weekend was cloudy too and although the light was almost non existent I played it up as much as possible. It deserves a bigger canvas and with some nice photos taken and this little sketch I might have enough information to attempt it.

I stayed over on Saturday night and after some more yard work headed out to paint on Sunday morning. I set up just south of the house along GA 356 for a view of Fred’s Famous Peanuts. I shy away from this type of scene normally but I was taken by the huge red leafed oak dwarfing the building and the Fall season accessories decorating the store. But about an hour in I was forced to quit when the temperature dropped twenty degrees and the sky’s opened up with rain from Sandy. Sometimes you can just work through with oil paint but too much rain affects the board accepting paint and in this instance I gave up and loaded up my car for an early trip back to Atlanta.

Things got a bit nicer as I drove back along picturesque Hwy 115 and just before I got on 400 I decided to pull over for this view of a hay barn. Again I try to not center a building on the canvas but in this case it was bracketed with other structures so I thought it would not be too much of a problem. Another picture of a barn? Yes I think so in the end, although I was pleased with the rendering all done all about two hours on a 11″ x 14″ canvas. If I would have had any light at all it might have been exceptional. I finished up and drove back to Atlanta listening to the football game on the radio.

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