Sunday, July 22, 2012

Plein Air Memories

Over the last week I have been  creating an archive of work I have done over the many years and  in many places.  Most of the pieces are studies done in plein air and in my studio.  I thought it would be interesting to share some of my artistic adventures through these studies.  So here goes.

I will begin with the plein air work I did while I lived in Franklin, Tennessee.  In October of  2001, Kim Barrick came to me with the idea of starting a plein air painting group that gave back to groups that helped preserve the landscape.  That group became The Chestnut Group.  They are still going strong today. The members paint all over middle Tennessee and have shows, paintout, and workshops. Sales at their events help support The Nature Conservancy and Land Trust organizations. Many of the pieces I did while involved from 2001 - 2004 sold.  What I am showing here are remaining sketches.  They still bring back the experiences of the places and times they were painted.  To me, the value of plein air painting is not only the study of art and nature, but also, the  recording of a moment of time of experiencing, often in a spiritual way,  a piece of creation. 

Falls 8 x 10 oil

Trying to be loose: Chestnut Bend I 6 x 8 oil

Chestnut Bend II 6 x 8 oil

Cloud Study 6 x 8 oil

Old Farm 6 x 9 oil

Belle Rive Farm View 10 x 8 oil

Winter 9 x 12 oil  

Natchez Trace View 8 x 10 oil

I moved to Caddo Lake in east Texas in 2004 and lived there until 2008.  Coming next, is a sampling of the  painting of the Walden Pond of Texas. If you are interested in purchasing any of the pieces I am showing, please e-mail me at 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Terra Cotta Pastel Portraits


16 x 12 Terra Cotta pastel drawing on Rives paper

"Lilly Faye"

16 x 12 Terra Cotta drawing on Rives paper

As I practice drawing more, I appreciate how much  more I appreciate line quality, subtle gradation of tone, lost edges, and how much can be conveyed without color.  I still love painting, but more than ever before I realize how important the foundation of drawing is to my work.

I have just purchased and begun studying Juliette Aristides' new book: Lessons in Classical Drawing.

I highly recommend it.

These two pieces were critiqued by several of my artist friends.  I value their advise.  They have pushed me farther and helped me address issues in my work.  The fresh insight that our fellow artists can give is invaluable in helping us  continue to improve our skills and to become better at self critique as we evaluate our own work.  

These pieces were done in the order show here. I can appreciate a subtle improvement as I do more study.   I believe studying and copying  the drawings of the masters can help one develop even more understanding of composition,  line quality, and tone modulation to create form.  

Thank you Susan Lyon and Juliette Aristides, two wonderful women  artists, for sharing your love of drawing with me.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Sense of Light
More Thoughts on Russian Artists

The feeling of light, space, and atmosphere in these Russian paintings of the late 19th century leave me thunder struck  with awe and inspiration.   I keep staring at them seeing more and more amazing composition, control of value, sensitivity.... all I can say is WOW!!

May this art inspire you as much as it does me.

Happy New Year 

Abram Arkhipov" Down the Oka", 1889

Grigory Miasoyedov "Mowers" 1887

                                                     Ivan Shishkin "Rye" 1878  

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

This little 9 x 6 inch oil portrait was done for the Portrait Society of America fund raising sale in 2010.  Only those at the conference saw it.  It is one of favorite small works.  "Hope" is the second oldest daughter of a family of eleven beautiful children. To me, she has a timeless, innocent, yet energetic beauty.  The yellow and blue color scheme are reminiscent of Vermeer.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

New Work

These two pastel drawing were done in a new approach for me.  I often do full color pastels but loved the charm of Susan Lyon's drawings.  After studying with her and Scott Burdick this summer, I tried this approach and loved it.  The drawing of "Kate" my grand daughter won the portrait award in the 2011 Pastel Society of the Southwest Exhibit in Richardson, Texas.  I sold the drawing of the "Sisters"
in my solo show at the New Gallery Dallas in August.
"Kate"  14 x 11 inch pastel drawing

"Sisters"  14 x 11 inch pastel

Russian Artists

Currently, I am reading the biographies of Peter and Great and Catherine the Great by Robert Massey.
These books have helped me understand more fully the work of the Russian Itinerates: The Masters of Russian Realism. Ivan Kramskoi was one of the founders of this group and the instructor of Ilya Repin:
the most famous member of the group.  The paintings below are examples of Kramskoi's work.

This group turned to a more democratic view and focused on sincerely depicting the real life around them.  Studying about them made me wonder how that could be done in our time.  What is the place for
visual art in the time of the Occupy Movement, Financial crisis, income inequity, environmental degradation? Can artists assist in elevating thought and bring more compassion and humanity to life?