Monday, May 16, 2011

South Eastern Plein Air Invitational, Day Five..

Turrentine Ave. Roundabout
8x16, Oil/Linen Panel

The final day of painting this year was in the historic neighborhood district. There are several roundabouts located throughout this lovely neighborhood with its old southern homes and charm. Once I saw the early morning sun lighting up this roundabout with the rhythm of the cast shadows wandering up the street, I knew I had found my spot.... the gigantic Aborvitae that lent me its generous shade also acted as a sundial letting me know my painting was finished at high noon.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

South Eastern Plein Air Invitational, Day Four..

Coosa Sunrise 2011
3,75x10, Oil/Linen Panel

Cloud Shadows, Heron Island
12x18, Oil/Linen Panel

Thursday was an interesting day of painting.. since it was the morning after the tornados had ripped through the area. It so happens that the storms had passed over the region we were scheduled to paint, Southside.. a beautiful and hilly community along the Coosa River and its backwaters. As I left before sunrise to go paint, I was wondering just what I would encounter...

I arrived at Rainbow Landing safely and was grateful to see that there was no major damage along the way. The sky was still filled with moody and sluggish clouds that would not allow for a celebratory sunrise after such a devastating night. I was surprised when I turned to the west and saw this strip of determined ambient sunlight that willed its way through as a reminder, in spite of the turned about world. Coosa Sunrise was one of those paintings where again, all I had to do was show up and hold onto the brush. It was the smallest painting I did, but probably my favorite of the event.

As I moved down to the Highway 77 Causeway to paint Cloud Shadows, again, I was taken as to how nothing seemed out of order. It was a beautiful view looking at the mountains rolling along the water in both directions. The causeway jets across the water, connecting the valley of two tall hills. One of the museum Staff dropped by on his way from the distant hill, looking quite shaken.. he had just come through what was the town of Ohatchee, now flattened by the tornadoes. He had witnessed rescue workers retrieving bodies of those who did not survive the night. I was astounded and moved that I was standing with this peaceful view, yet just up the hill was trauma and suffering. Several passersby stopped out of curiosity to see what I was doing and shared with me the stories of their homes being damaged or in some cases.. gone. It was affirmative to me that the presence of plein air painters in the community is important for preserving the memory and presence of the fragile changing landscape.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

South Eastern Plein Air Invitational, Day Three...

Broad Street Bridge
10x8, Oil/Linen Panel

The beautiful Broad Street Bridge spans The Coosa River which meanders through the city of Gadsden. This view is from beneath the bridge on the east side of town, East Gadsden. Unfortunately this day was cut short due to the devastating storms that came through ... it was a very close call at my Mother's house(where I was staying), but gratefully, no damages there.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

South Eastern Plein Air Invitational, Day Two...

Yellow Meadow
16x16, Oil/Linen Panel

Little Wills Barn
12x12, Pastel/Wallis Paper
Private Collection

Little Wills Sunrise

The location for day two is one of my favorite ares of the region. Some call it the Old Chattanooga Highway, but it is known as Little Wills Valley Road. There are old dairy farms on the winding, hilly road and many vistas facing Lookout Mountain.

On this day the sunrise presented itself for about two minutes before the clouds covered it up... just long enough for me to quickly block in the light in Little Wills Sunrise. I then developed the rest of the painting with no concerns about the changing light.. the beauty of an overcast morning.

The poppies growing "volunteer" in the field by this old barn caught my eye in Little Wills Barn. The patina of the rusted tin roof was glowing on this Spring day.

Yellow Meadow, my third painting of the day, was an exercise in loosening up as the day was ending...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

SouthEastern Plein Air Invitational 2011, Day One

Fairway, Above the 10
8x16 , Oil/Linen Panel

Calm Afternoon
12x1, Oil/ Linen Panel

The first day of painting was at the Gadsden Country Club Golf Course. Painting began early, so with "Fairway", I wanted to show the dew softened greens and the cool morning shadows. "Calm Afternoon" shows the heat and quietness of the afternoon after the morning's teen regionals were finished.. golf balls were bouncing off the trees over our heads and well clad young golfers were stopping by to ask, "have you seen my ball?"....