Friday, March 26, 2010

Heads Up!

As I was painting Wednesday the snake in the photo above slithered right up next to me. He was about two feet from my two feet. Had invaded my personal space. As creepy as they look, theoretically they are about harmless as a bag of cotton balls. But, after seeing one, your concentration is shot. You spend an inordinate amount of time checking the ground. Checking the ground. Checking the ground. I was turkey hunting with a friend one time and we were "sneaking up" on one and were crawling along veeeery quietly. I eased up in to position and got settled and then my buddy eased up into position. Unfortunately his position was on the end of a vine that due to some physics equation moved on the other end, my position. Have you ever seen a vine move in the woods? All it needed was a forked tongue. I flinched so bad I pulled muscles and let out a noise like a 6 yr. old girl on Christmas morning. The rest of the hunt I spent checking the ground, checking the ground, checking the ground. I think I even checked the floor board of my truck a couple of times on the way home after that one.
The paintings are from the previous week and the two at the bottom were painted yesterday with the Chestnut Group for a show they are having at the end of April of the historic buildings and areas in Columbia Tennessee. The two you see are of the courthouse and the building in profile is from the old Columbia Military Academy which was one of the premier military schools in the nation at one time. The plaque on the front says it is the old Guard House but its architectural demeanor leads me to believe it was designed to keep something in or something out. Maybe an arsenal or brig. If those walls could talk.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Ode to Biscuits

My youngest daughter loves biscuits. I mean loves biscuits. She will sit down to a pan of biscuits for breakfast and eat them with nothing on them. No jam, jelly, butter, nothing. She had a writing assignment at school recently and this was what they got:

"Ode to Biscuits"

Seeing sunlight
and buzzers sounding,
I saunter to the kitchen for

Slippers scuffling
and people humming
everything's alive because of

the oven is up and running
burning crisp the bottom
of what's in it

my teeth pierce the outside,
crunch! into the gooey inside
it tastes like home,

You gotta' love that.
Also, an artist and friend of mine, Erin Jones, will be teaching art classes beginning March 29. It will be a great class for getting going with drawing and oil painting. For more info, check her blog at:

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Home Again, Home Again...

I think I am good for about a week on these painting trips before I start to miss the family. It's not that we do these incredible things together but I just feel better when I am around them. Kinda' like a security blanket I guess. And it doesn't hurt that they are really awesome people.
Above are a few of the paintings I accomplished on the trip to Atlantic Beach. Before we left on Tuesday, Lee Dellinger and her husband Charles Jones had a social at their home and the guest list was Marc Delessio, Jimmy Craig Womble and his lovely wife, and Jason Saunders and myself. Had some great stories. I always ask each artist I meet where they would paint if they only had one place to paint for the rest of their life, where it would be. Marc said Morocco. Yeah, I know, me too. I pictured France, Venice, mountains of Tibet. And believe me, the guy has been everywhere. But that was it for him. I will say this, the way he described it, it has moved up on my list considerably.
The following morning we hit the road and arrived home after a 13 hour drive with a couple of stops. All in a days work for a plein air painter.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Tales From the Road

I am not sure what it is about my demeanor or appearance that makes people want to give me things but as I write this there is a bushel, not one or two dozen, but a bushel of raw oysters in the bed of my truck.
On Thursday Jason and I left for our paint trip to Atlantic Beach, NC and spent the day driving, arriving in Atlantic Beach around 6:30 that evening. Next morning we wandered aimlessly as you typically do looking for a place to paint and getting our bearings until we stopped at Callico Creek where we were met by Vision Gallery owner Lee Dellinger and painter Jimmy Craig Womble. After a painting, we stopped by the gallery where Lee helped with maps, locations and the name of the coffee shop.
The next morning with our maps in hand we got busy. However, the tone of my day was set when after getting my subject picked out, a nice group of boats, and having the drawing and about half of the painting done, a gentlemen drove in, backed up and parked what looked to be about a 16 foot box trailer right in front of my boats. It blocked everything. Scrapped it and moved on. Another plein air story. Speaking of which, Marc Delassio happened to be in town and painted with us today and we started telling plein air stories and he beat us all with, "they filmed a porno movie where I was painting one time." He said another painter there was complaining because it had broken his concentration. Really?
Anyway, today while we painted I was painting by a commercial shrimping/oystering/crabbing boat when the owner pulled up and told me a diver would be arriving shortly to change the prop on his boat. While this was taking place he and I conversed and I got to watch a diver change a prop on a boat the whole time continuing to paint. Oh, did I mention his 10 year old son had just gotten an automatic pistol bb gun for his birthday and was standing next to me ripping shots off into the bay as fast as he could pull the trigger? 350 to be exact. That's all he brought and was out by the time he left. Right before the boat owner left he said," you gonna' be here awhile?" I said yes and about 20 minutes later he pulled in with a bushel of oysters with my name on them. He opened a few there on the dock and between us we may have eaten 15 but it didn't even knock a dent in a bushel. I know on the last trip I was given some beets that I promptly traded for Mike's Hard Lemonade but I'm afraid the oyster trading may not be as easy. But ya' never know.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


The gallery I'm in in Atlantic Beach, NC, Vision Gallery, is having a plein air show the first week of June and encouraged their artists to come over and paint the area for the show. I don't need a lot of encouragement for a road trip. I will be leaving in the morning and Jason Saunders will be accompanying me for the 5 day painting trip. I will try to blog from the road.
This must be the same feeling that Lewis and Clark had before their epic journey west, minus the threat of death from bears or indians. That anticipation of new landscapes and people and sites you have never seen and places you have never been. I read an account of their journey in the book "Undaunted Courage" and their journal from the trip and it is amazing some of the things they accomplished and did, and did it so matter of fact, like it was nothing. Just a day at work. Weather, Bitterroot Mountain Pass, indian fights, Grizzly bear attacks. They lost one man. That's it. And he died at the start from illness. I can't afford to loose one man. That's all I'm taking. I almost lost him on the last trip at the Bayside Tavern.
Anyway, I know we won't encounter the adversities of the Lewis and Clark Expedition but I'm am still pretty excited. Nothin' beats a road trip.