Sunday, February 17, 2013


Wanted to let anyone interested know, I will be teaching class again at Leiper's Creek Gallery starting this Thursday night. The classes will be every Thursday night from 6:00 to 9:00 for six weeks and will focus on the landscape. Oh yeah, and it will be a lot of fun.
Anyone interested please contact Kay at

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Semi - Demo

A quick demo. Unfortunately the same thing I always do happened again. I start out with the best intentions but I only get a few photos shot before I go into a painting stupor and forget to photograph the whole painting process. I should hire a photographer. Or at least someone to stand there and poke me from time to time and remind me to shoot.

Friday, January 11, 2013


Well hell. I bonked.
I am trying to get my blog off the ground again and I went back and read some of my past posts for the first time in a year and I noticed last year at the first of the year one of my New Year's resolutions was to post more on my blog.
So here I sit again hoping this year will be more of a blogging year. I actually enjoy it but due to other electronic media and outlets blogging has taken a backseat. Marc Hanson, fellow artist and blogger, recently wrote a post about the same issues concerning him and his blogging effort. One that I think confronts us all. Facebook has become such a dinosaur in the room you just can't ignore it. It is the single most effective way to see other art, artists, art groups and promotion of your own work. And......its free. So it gets attention. But it has its limitations. Some of the most insightful things I have read have been on blogs. They are a much better format in my opinion of information and a bit of creative thinking and writing.
So having said all of that I am going to make the effort once again. This time though no promises or resolutions. Just a commitment to work and write and post and share.
And keeping with the art theme, the pieces I have posted are from a recent trip to Denver and the Rocky Mountains. They are as impressive as everyone had warned me they would be.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Totty's Bend

My painting from yesterday.

About 80 percent of what I paint comes out of an area called Totty's Bend in Hickman County. I have friends with farms there and have some land leased so I have access to a ton of options as far  as painting. Swan Creek and Duck River runs through so I have those options also. Yesterday the Chestnut Group had a paint out there for the Nature Conservancy show coming up next weekend so I was excited to get to introduce them to the area and "Haybale Doyle", the guy that owns the farm we were painting on. Now ad to that the fact that Leslie Colley with the Nature Conservancy, and a local outdoor show called "Tennessee Wildside", was going to be there to film a segment for the show. Big day.

Kay Keyes Farrar being interviewed with Anne Blair Brown.
Jim Frazier and Tiffany Foss on the boat ramp.
After painting a bit the interviews began. Kay Farrar first, Leslie Colley second, Doyle third, and then your's truly, interviewed. Interviewed. Me. This career has gotten me into some bizarre, interesting situations.
But, I felt the cause and point we were making were important enough to step up and expound on whatever was necessary to get the point across that the Duck River is a jewel. We are lucky to have this resource and should do everything in our power to protect and preserve it. Because, as I said in my interview, we can't build one or buy one. If we break's gone.
Kay and Anne "doin' it".
Which brings me to the reason for the show we are painting and interviewing in preparation for. The Chestnut Group is working in conjunction with the Nature Conservancy to have a show entitled "A River Runs Through It" next weekend in Columbia Tennessee. It is to generate money for the Conservancy so they can continue their work with land conservation and environmental protection. They do so much in the area I would suggest looking them up for the details. It may surprise you.
As exciting as all this was yesterday, I am looking forward to having the Bend to myself again. Alone and quite to look and explore and connect with the area. It is so beautiful and diverse I am sure I will until I can't do this anymore.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Cumberland Society and Chestnuts

My painting this morning.
Spent the day with Anne Blair Brown and Pam Padgett at Cheekwood painting on behalf of The Cumberland Society with the Chestnut Group, another group of painters with which I am also involved.
The Cumberland Society approached the C'Nuts awhile back about painting with them for a day and trying to impart some of the info and skill we have collected over the years on plein air painting through years of experience in the trenches, so to speak, for some of the new members of Chestnuts who might be just starting and have those questions that we all have at some point in our careers. The first time I saw an Open Box M I thought it was something that had been developed by NASA and could fly and shoot lasers. I had no idea what it was. But another artist was kind enough to explain. That and three color palettes, and linen types, and frames, and value, and etc., etc., etc. And I remember trying desperately to glean whatever info I could get from artists and anyone who might know. To have a source like this was a gold mine for me. Not that we are master artists by any stretch of the imagination, but we have had our share of successes and failures and in the process figured out a few things that work and a lot that doesn't.
Lunch with the 'Nuts.
Pam Padgett
It made for a very good day and we met a lot of new potential artist and I would hope that once they figure it out they will remember the day we helped them and will feel the same obligation I do to those who helped me, and pass it on.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Workshop Day 2 - Demo 2

Demo 2
Of all things that motivate me, from a mortgage, to a good Matt Smith video, from a new uncharted landscape, to the ability to buy food, nothing motivates me like a good shot of lightning in the field. During my demo today on the second day of my workshop I became highly motivated.
We had had some nice storms early in the morning and I thought they had passed but about 30 minutes into my demo a storm started brewing over the horizon. Work became frantic. But another 15 minutes and it took this wonderful right hand turn and coasted off to ruin somebody else's demo somewhere else. After the adrenaline had subsided I actually had a pretty decent painting with a hint of storm clouds in the distance. And the students got to see plein air painting off the cuff and in a flurry. One of my students had a watch and was shouting the time in intervals to ad to the heightened since of chaos. It made for some very intuitive painting for a few minutes. Once the storms curved off we slowed down and analyzed the painting and what had just happened and it made for a very good lesson.
For me.

Friday, May 4, 2012


What you are witnessing above is deep and intensive right brain development. Pathways between neurons being formed and changed and new creative areas of the gray matter being explored for the first time.
Workshop students.
Demo from the driver's seat.
Yep. When a beginning artist steps up to plein air painting for the first time it is like drinking from a fire hose for most of them. There is so much information - from technique to three-color palette to equipment to a small dissertation on bugs and snakes and other outdoor hazards. The first day they spend a lot of time with the "deer in the headlights" look. Which is natural. I had it for three years when I started.
But, with diligence and perseverance there is no reason that all of them can't be very good plein air painters. Just put in the hours. And bad paintings. Thousands. Of baaaadd paintings. I prefer to call them lessons though. Hopefully tomorrow I can get them one more day and one more bad painting closer to their goals.

Finished demo

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Monday, April 16, 2012

More Flowers

I recently posted that I typically don't do flowers. Thistles and the Creeping Buttercup being about the only two. Well I lied.  Here are a couple of rose paintings. The only two I can think of that I have done. They were actually done a few weeks back but my blog posting frequency has kept them on Facebook only.
Another reason I wanted to post was the fact I have a 3 day workshop at Leiper's Creek Gallery coming up in May, the 4th, 5th, 6th, and the contact info is under the "Events" section of this blog. Also wanted to announce a workshop in Apalachicola, Fl with the Plein Air Painters of the Southeast in September. It will be a good chance to get instruction from different artists over a weeks time. Again, the info is to the right under "Events".
The rose paintings above are hanging at 16 Patton Gallery in Asheville NC and Leiper's Creek Gallery in Leiper's Fork TN.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


The above painting is one of two that will be traveling over to Charleston SC for a show with Plein Air Painters of the Southeast  starting June the 1st and running until June the 22nd at four separate galleries in Charleston. The galleries participating are Gallerie on Broad, Hagan Fine Art, Horton Hayes Fine Art and Smith Killian Fine Art. If you happen to be in Charleston during the month of June drop in on the galleries. It will be a dynamite show.
Also, friend and painting compadre Anne Blair Brown will be participating in "40 & Under" show at Smith Killian Fine Art in Charleston along with fellow PAPSE member Shannon Smith. Show opens April the 6th. This also will be a reason to be in Charleston in April. I am waiting on them to do the "50 and Under" show. Maybe I can participate in that one. But they better hurry.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Aquatic Transparency

I had painted this painting 8x10 in the field about two years ago and at that time I had a pretty good painting except for the area in the foreground, the area where the bottom of the creek showed through the water. I made a mess out of it. So, I took the painting home with the intent of trying to figure out where the wheels feel off.
After much research into painters and paintings I had remembered seeing this done, I tried again in the studio at 12x16. The research consisted of Clyde Aspevig paintings, Carl Rungius paintings, and of course Matt Smith. I remembered quite a few of his that had this effect and in every case they worked and were gorgeous. He has a painting on his website right now called "Shadow Lake Outlet" that is just phenominal.   After looking at it awhile I noticed in it and others, a temperature swing from back to front. Cool sky colors in the background water, transitioning into warm ground colors in the foreground. And close values all the way up to your feet. The biggest issue I had was getting my values too far apart and my foreground too warm. It looked like dry land instead of under the surface.  Still don't know if I nailed it but I am much closer than the previous attempt.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Secret to Painting

There seems to be a rhythm to painting. There is a groove to this that when you are in it it can be very productive and rewarding. And then conversely there is the other. Falling out of the groove. Hitting a wall so to speak. December was a massive unproductive wall for me.
View from the driver's seat.
I painted today with Jason Saunders. He and I used to paint together almost every other day and today was the first time he and I have painted together in months.  And as we painted we compared notes of how our lives right now demand so much attention. Everything from driving a college age kid home from Boston 20 hours straight, to Travel Baseball, which takes ungodly amounts of parental attention. Every weekend. All summer. And we commiserated a bit about trying to stay in the groove. Trying to balance the obligations and distractions of life with a career in art. And I am pretty sure he and I aren't the first two artists to have to deal with it. Just feels like it sometimes.
Jason Saunders
But every time I hit the proverbial wall I remember the best piece of advice, the secret to all of this, that was given to me by Jason. I complained at some point about "the wall" and he turned and said so matter of fact-ly..."push through".
Push through.
There it is. The answer to all of this. Richard Schmid, Sargent, etc., etc. have all lived by this creed. I know without a doubt they have hit the wall over and over and over and what has separated them from those that didn't make it was the ability to push through. Focus and push.
Not quite sure what it is that is going to get me through the wall. I suppose no one artist knows for sure. But I will clear my mind a bit if I can, and focus. And push.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Painting Posse

Got a group of girls here in Nashville that I try and paint with when I can. If you keep up with this post, you'll know them by name. Anne Blair Brown, Bitsy King and Cathleen Windham. Unfortunately we don't get together to paint enough, but when we do it's good.  And we got together today for the first time in awhile and added Tiffany Foss and Denise Hawkins to the mix. Anne suggested East Nasville due to it's urban chic, beautiful streetscapes and unique architecture so made an afternoon of it in some unbelievably windy conditions. I wound up painting a bit of architecture which is out of my norm which again is why I like painting with this group.
There are certain people in this industry that due to their nature and friendship you feel like a better artist because of it. Their work ethic, enthusiasm, commitment and outlook is infectious. It's positive "chi" as Anne would say. That is the posse for me. They are incredibly "gamey" and will go anywhere and paint anything. No whining. Oh, and the fact they can drink their weight in beer is another positive attribute.
Thanks girls for pushing and inspiring.

Thursday, December 29, 2011


I wanted to mention a group of people and a resource we have here in Nashville that I think most creatives in town are not aware of. It is the Volunteer Lawyers and Professionals for the Arts. I belong to a small group of artists who recently decided to incorporate as a group. I called around and through a friend in the arts was given the name of someone at the VLPA. Her name is Casey Summar and with her co-workers there at VLPA they held my hand and walked me through the paperwork and legalities of incorporating. The Volunteer Lawyers and Professionals for the Arts falls under the umbrella of The Arts and Business Council of Greater Nashville. They provide pro-bono legal work for creatives here in town, everything from visual artists to songwriters. Free. If they can't figure out the problem or answer the question, they have a host of lawyers in town who have kindly donated their services. Like I said, when I showed up, they walked me through our options, explained the legal and tax implications of each, and helped me decide which was best for my group. They then prepared the paperwork for filing with the government. The only thing they asked for in return is for our group to sign up for a membership with them. $50.00. I'm in. Thanks to everybody there for helping and being involved so heavily in the arts here in Nashville.
Also, News Year's resolutions are coming up and other than painting every single day and becoming a master artist on par with Clyde Aspevig, my goal is to do a better job posting and blogging. Facebook has gotten most of my attention as far as electronic marketing and I have let blogging slide. I never really meant  for this to be marketing. Just....blogging. Sounded like a fun way to meet other artists. And I did. So let me say this now. If for any reason, this blog doesn't provide you with artistic insight, or cultural relevance, or any other mind blowing, life changing bit of poetic literary mastery you need or are looking for...move on. If it is not what you want to read, stop and.....move on. There are a lot of unbelievably deep and insightful artistic blogs out there. Hell, I'll give you my list. But this ain't one of them. This blog will be the things I do, the places I go, my friends, relatives, and all the unique characters I come across in this profession. The things I get excited about and shape what I do as an artist. Oh yeah, and some art. For whatever reason, if this is not what you're looking for......just move on.
As the New Year progresses hopefully I can spend some more time on this. I enjoy it. But as I sit here and write this I wonder what in the world is coming after Facebook and how time consuming will that be to keep up with. Cause you know it's coming.
And here's the art I mentioned I'd try to post from time to time.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

No Artistic Value Whatsoever

This post has no artistic redeeming value at all. If you read this blog for its artwork and creative insight, skip this one. It is about white lies and tall tales. It is
I write this because I had a fluke extraordinary experience. I had slept in and skipped the opening day of deer season but wanted to see my hunting compadres and share the stories so I drove to the "camp" arriving at lunch. No deer. "Haybale Farm Doyle" that I mention in some of my earlier posts, strolls in and asked if anyone wanted to catfish instead of hunt that afternoon. Didn't have to ask me twice. I'm in.
Stinky Bait
I actually wanted to see the river more than anything and if we caught a few fish, win win. I had not been on the river in a few years. I sold my boats and committed to this addiction of plein air painting so haven't made the effort to ride the river like I used to. I had not seen it since the flood of last year so I was very curious as to the extent of the damage. And let me just say that in areas it was profound, shocking. And then in others you never would have known it even rained. The volume of water and the power and force of it is still incomprehensible. Anyway, my trusty guide had the boat full of poles and "stinky bait". For those of you who have never used stinky bait, I am not quite sure how to describe it. I do believe this though: that it was developed by the military at some point to spread on a battle field and run everybody off of it. It is the most permeating, rancid, gummy, vile material I have experienced. If you get it on you, you will smell it days later no matter how hard you try to remove it. And catfish love it. And we eat catfish. Yeah, I know. After baiting, which consisted of sticking a spongey tube with a treble hook at the end in the bucket of stinky bait, withdrawing it and casting away, we got in to them. 23 fish later, all Chanel Catfish, sun was setting and we motored home. But in the time between the 23 fish, I saw some of the most gorgeous sights I have seen. Everything from Bald Eagles to Gar apparently spawning, not sure, but they would breach the surface of the water in acrobatic flips and spins. And some were at least two and a half to three feet long. I had never seen them do that. Pretty impressive creature. But by far and away the most attractive and impressive sight was the river landscape. If I thought I could logistically and financially do it, the river would be my one subject to paint. I ask artists I meet that have travelled and painted the world if they had one place left they had to paint the rest of their lives where would it be? Me, the Duck River. It's moody, earthy, colorful, ancient. And changing all the time. I saw millions of paintings in a 3 hour trip. Imagine how many over a lifetime.

Saturday was one of those rare days, like finding money on the street. Didn't plan on it, couldn't re-create it if you had to, but grateful it happened.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Colors On The Trace

For the past three days I have driven the Natchez Trace painting some of the color before it goes and I almost missed it. It looks like it may have peaked here in Tennessee. There are pockets of color and it seemed the pockets were on ridges. Not sure why but the area between Leiper's Fork and Nashville had the most color and it got even more pronounced on the higher ridges. Monday and Tuesday I painted alone and yesterday with Diane May, Roger Brown and Beverly Evans.
As I sit here and write this though, the wind is blowing and the rain is falling so I believe I got what I got in the nick of time. Looking forward to the colors of winter.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Great Painting Giveaway

I painted Saturday morning with members of the Chestnut Group in downtown Nashville. The reason is the fact Nashville is having "Artober Nashville" which is a celebration of the arts here in Nashville with tons of events planned over the month of October. The one I was participating in was devised by Cathleen Windham of the Chestnut Group. The plan was to meet at Big River Grill for lunch and then fan out in that area and paint. The catch, or catches, was the fact you had only ONE HOUR to paint and you had to give it to somebody on the street. A stranger.
Lunch was great but then I felt myself vibrating a bit due to the ONE HOUR time limit. I set up along Riverfront Park and as I was setting up a young couple from Indiana asked me to take their picture and as I did explained to them what we were doing and told them in ONE HOUR if they came back they could have the painting if it came off well due to the ONE HOUR time limit.
After the dust settled and the time expired I had one I could give away. Wasn't bad. With all the whining I have done about the ONE HOUR time limit I think it is a great exercise for anybody who paints. Being able to get a very accurate start down in that time is an asset we should all try to have. Once I was done, popped it in a little frame and away it went to Indiana. I neglected to tell them though, the drying qualities of oil paint. Hopefully one of them realized it before it was demonstrated on their clothing or interior of a suitcase.
                                                    The 'Nuts

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Blue Moon Show

Once again it is time for the Chestnut Group's "Blue Moon Show" next Saturday night. It is the show held at the Glen Leven Mansion in conjunction with the annual Land Trust for Tennessee fundraiser. The Chestnuts, with Bitsy King acting as Chairman and guide, has worked diligently and has put together, over the past year, phenomenal properties to paint on. We have some exceptional properties that have been protected in perpetuity for future generations here in Tennessee thanks to The Land Trust and the owners who participate. If you have property and are considering it, contact the folks at the Land Trust and I am sure they will be more than glad to explain the details and help you" give the gift that keeps giving".
Also, I will be leaving Wednesday morning for a road trip over to Brazier Fine Art in Richmond Virginia for a three day workshop and a show. The reception for the show will be Thursday night the 20th and the workshop the next three days. If you're anywhere near Richmond drop by and say "hi".