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