Friday, September 30, 2016

Memories of String Lake

"Memories of String Lake"
Day 30 of 30/30
6"x8" oil on canvas panel

I started off the month with some aspens from the Tetons and I am finishing up the month with beautiful String Lake (also in the Tetons) and its mountains and of course its trees.  I loved the bright blue sky with puffy white clouds and the reflections on the lake.  Also, the strong vertical tree shapes with their dark base was striking to me.  

Participating in a challenge of this sort where I am required (by my own rules) to post a painting a day is so good in many ways.  Most days what I post is not always worthy of posting and/or putting it out there.  But the important thing is to show up for work and try to create a painting that is pleasing. The showing up part is the most important aspect in my opinion.  Sometimes the not worthy of posting part is very helpful because hopefully I have learned something even though the painting did not work out.  I love learning and stretching myself and painting helps me in both regards.  I will never stop learning and hope to continue to create paintings that are interesting to others.  

Thank you for following along on this journey this month!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Donut in progress

"Donut in Progress"
Day 29 of 30/30
6"x6" oil on gallery wrap canvas

Do not adjust your viewing device...this is not a tree!  I had another tree painting ready to post for today but it is really not something that needs to see the light of day.  Instead, I painted this donut this morning in class and am rather delighted with how it is going.  I am not pleased with how I painted the bite (that Anne forced us to take out of the donut) and I will work on that area next week at  my final class.   

I am enjoying doing these cropped still-life images.  I will (hopefully) have this donut, a slice of chocolate cake and a candy bar with the wrapper torn off as completed pieces to show you next week.  
Tomorrow is my last day for this 30/30 tree challenge.  I highly recommend the challenge for the dedication that one must put forth.  Getting better at this art thing requires painting miles and miles of canvas and this past month has given me a few more miles under my belt.  Join me tomorrow for my final challenge piece.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Miller Park

"Miller Park"
Day 28 of 30/30
8"x6" oil on canvas panel

When I was a kid growing up in Winston-Salem NC, I would spend most summer days at Miller Park.  It was about 6 blocks from my home and I would ride my bike or walk to my friend Mary's house.  She lived about a block from the park and we would spend hours there roller skating, roaming the creeks, playing board games and making crafts in the summer recreation programs.  I may or may not have learned how to play "post office"  and "spin the bottle" during those summer days!  You have to be about my age in order to know what I am talking about!!!

This past June Steve and I and our daughter spent a very brief time in Miller Park and I enjoyed snapping a few photos and just had to paint this to relive my youth!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Afternoon on Bass Lake

"Afternoon on Bass Lake"
Day 27 of 30/30
8"x6" oil on canvas panel

On a beautiful sunny day this past June, Steve and I were up in the mountains and spent part of an afternoon walking around Bass Lake which is just outside of Blowing Rock NC.  This tree clump sat near the edge of a bank and was shining in the bright sunlight and it really caught my eye.  It was a lovely day for a stroll.  

Monday, September 26, 2016

Sunrise over the Tetons

"Sunrise over the Tetons"
Day 26 of 30/30
6"x8" oil on canvas panel

Yes, I was actually up (which is very rare) before the sunrise because Steve wanted to document the sun coming up over the Tetons and I wanted to go with him.  We drove over in the early dawn and naively thought we would be the only ones there.  To our amazement there were already 10-15 people with their telescopic lenses all poised to catch the sun rising.

And yes, that is really snow on the mountains even though it was June because these are the mighty Tetons and they usually hold the snow until at least August.

I know this is supposed to be about the trees and it really is.  I wanted to see how much I could simplify the tree masses with just a little bit of daylight hitting the outer branches but I could not resist playing in the mountains too!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Hint of Lavender

"A Hint of Lavender"
Day 25 of 30/30 
8"x6" oil on canvas panel

Springtime in Provence is beautiful.  I was very fortunate to travel throughout Provence for 8-10 days on a oil painting workshop several years ago.  If I remember correctly, the photo I used for this painting was taken near the lovely hill town of Gordes, but wherever it was, it was so peaceful and beautiful.  I would love to return again.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Autumn Vibrations

"Autumn Vibrations"
Day 24 of 30/30
6"x8" oil on canvas panel

Here is another from our September trip to Sault St. Marie, Ontario, Canada a few years ago.  The tree foliage turns in Canada much earlier than it does here in the sunny South.  Driving down the back roads provided me with lots of images such as the one I used to paint this scene.  Also, it gave me a much needed change of pace from all that green I have been painting!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Autumn in the Sault

"Autumn in the Sault"
Day 23 of 30/30
6"x8" oil on canvas panel

Several years ago Steve and I flew up to visit my brother and sister-in-law who spend part of the year in Sault Saint Marie, Ontario, Canada.  Their little cottage is just yards from the shores of Lake Superior with absolutely gorgeous views of this mighty body of water.   In fact, today is my brother's birthday so I decided to paint this in his honor.  Happy Birthday Charlie!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Standing Firm

"Standing Firm"
Day 22 of 30/30
8"x6" oil on canvas panel

I went plein air painting this past Tuesday as I do most weeks.  I attempted four other starts and kept wiping them off.  Maybe this fifth one will work!  I think that is a record for me.  There were all these massive trees on the church property and I wanted to feature them and their immense presence.    In the end I went for a very simple rendering of my surroundings.  As I named this painting, I thought it was very appropriate as I was going to "stand firm" and have something to show for my efforts!  Tomorrow is another day!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Nocturne Pines

"Nocturne Pines"
Day 21 of 30/30
8"x6" oil on canvas panel

This painting is unusual for a number of reasons, mainly because it is the first time I have ever painted a nocturne.  Most times, nocturnes are painted plein air.  In this instance I was at my grandson's soccer game and looked across the field and saw this view.  I thought it might make an unusual or interesting painting.  It also reinforces for me the need to always have my iPhone with me (which I always do) because you just never know when a scene will intrigue you.  The soccer field was well lit for a night game but I had to really watch my values and not paint too many lighter values as though it was a daytime soccer game being played out in the sunshine.  It was interesting to paint and did not cause me as much difficulty as I thought it might.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Spring Woods

"Spring Woods"
Day 20 of 30/30
8"x6" oil on canvas panel

It has always been fascinating to me to see how an artist can look at a scene and interpret it in so many different ways.  Yet this is what I did with this painting.  I took a photo of a wooded clearing as I was walking to a track meet for my granddaughter and eventually turned it into this 36"x24" recent painting

"Spring Woodland"

Amazing how we can completely change our reference photo to suit our purposes!  The possibilities are endless!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Tall Pines

"Tall Pines"
Day 19 of 30/30
8"x6" oil on canvas panel

Last month I participated in the NC Open Plein Air event over in Salisbury NC and I painted this scene on the first morning of the two-day event.  This version above is a little different and takes in the overall view I had looking across a pond.  The one I entered in the competition was a 10"x8" cropped version of the tree mass with no sky at all.  I was fortunate enough to be awarded one of the Honorable Mentions by the juror Chad Smith.  Just to show you the difference, here it is below

"Morning Reflections"

It was fun to paint this little 8"x6" "Tall Pines" which  brought back memories of a beautiful morning painting with friends.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Quail Hollow Fairway

"Quail Hollow Fairway"
Day 18 of 30/30
6"x8" oil on canvas panel

I am using some of my simplification tips from my workshop last week with Colley Whisson and this photo seemed like a perfect fit.  Last May Steve and I went to the Wells Fargo Championship Golf Tournament at Quail Hollow Country Club here in Charlotte.  It was a very warm day but we walked and walked all over this beautiful course.  As I was walking along, I came upon this scene with back lighting behind a clump of trees and it really caught my eye.  Goes to show you that beautiful sights are always around us.  You just have to learn to appreciate them and capture them and then some day you will have a good reference photo to paint!!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Down by the Riverside

"Down by the Riverside"
8"x6" oil on canvas panel
Day 16 of 30/30

This is a creek that runs through the little town of Leiper's Fork.  The photo was taken in early Spring so there was a lot of new spring growth on the grass and along the banks of the water.

This painting underwent quite a transformation.  I painted this scene using one photo that just did not work out.  I know you artists understand.  I then used another photo taken at the same scene but with a little different view.  This one worked out much better.  Sometimes we need to use our magic tricks to make a painting read better.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Soft and Dreamy

"Soft and Dreamy"
Day 15 of 30/30
8"x6" oil on canvas panel

This started out as a plein air piece.  When I brought it home and looked at it again, as often happens, I did not like it one bit!  I decided to greatly simplify it and make the background very simple .  I added more highlights on the grass and pointed those highlights to the tree (which is my focal point) which sat forlornly off to the side.

This challenge is all about learning and trying things out to see how they work.  These few changes make it work a little better and gave it a softer look.  

Hope you return tomorrow for Day 16.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Deep in the Pine Forest

"Deep in the Pine Forest"
Day 14 of 30/30
6"x8" oil on canvas panel

This painting is rather dark and gloomy but we found this scene in Yellowstone while on a two-hour Ranger Walk that took us to Indian Pond and Storm Point.  We walked deep into the woods with the ranger and came upon this spot where it looked like there were about 1,000 pine trees so deep and so close together.  Steve crouched down very close to the ground to get this perspective and I always thought this was such a neat photo.  Only a little patch of grass was visible in the foreground and little seedlings of tiny pine trees would poke up here and there.  

Maybe tomorrow's painting will not be so gloomy.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Up Against the Fence

"Up Against the Fence"
Day 13 of 30/30
$8"x6" oil on canvas panel

Day 13 finds us over in Leiper's Fork TN, just outside of Nashville.  I was fortunate to attend a three-day Anne Blair Brown workshop back in March of this year and on the last day we were able to get outside and paint plein air.  I snapped lots of photos that day and thought this one would work well in this tree challenge I have given myself.  I really liked how the empty but stark tree branches formed such a strong statement against the beautiful blue sky.  

Anne told us that the property on the right side of this fence belongs to Justin Timberlake!  Evidently he owns quite a spread of land in this area.  Unfortunately, he didn't amble over to chat with us!  Maybe next time!

Come back tomorrow for Day 14 to see what I share.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Standing on the Shore

"Standing on the Shore"
Day 12 of 30/30

I am back home (but exhausted) after spending the last four days participating in a very eye-opening learning experience in a Colley Whisson workshop over in Cary NC.  I have been wanting to study with him for the last couple of years and I am so glad I did!  I plan to write a separate blog post about these four days but I need to play catch up first!

This painting was painted from a photo I took either at String Lake or Jenny Lake in the Tetons.  I really think it is String Lake but I am not sure.  I wanted to simplify the background and foreground and really focus on this clump of trees and I rather like how this one turned out.  As you know, an artist cannot always say this about something they have painted!

Please come back tomorrow as I have another very different tree to share with you!!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Big and Little

"Big and Little"
Day 7 of 30/30 tree challenge
6"x8" oil on canvas panel

This is an "in  your face" cropped version of two trees on the grounds of the Mint Museum here in Charlotte.  I have been here plein air painting a couple times this summer and just loved the sunlit lime green grass behind these two trees.  I enjoyed playing with the shapes of the shadows from other nearby trees cast on the ground. Who says trees can't be purple? 

 I am off to Cary NC today for a much anticipated Colley Whisson 4-day workshop.  Hopefully I will have something decent to post each day from the workshop.  I will be departing from my tree challenge so we will see what I produce each day.  

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Up on the Hill

"Up on the Hill"
Day 6 of 30/30
6"x8" oil on canvas panel

Here is another from a clearing across the road from Jackson Lake Lodge where we were staying in the Tetons.  Steve and I were wandering again and enjoyed our afternoon snapping photos and soaking up memories of a beautiful week in the Tetons with our dear long-term friends and fellow travelers.

Doing this tree challenge has reminded me that trees come in all shapes and types.  Some are evergreen, like most of these in this painting, but also decidious trees like the aspens also in the above painting.  Some of my paintings will focus on the trunks and twisting branches while some will have foliage and some will not.  You just never know!

Come back tomorrow to see!

Monday, September 5, 2016


Day 5 of 30/30
Oil on canvas panel

Last March I traveled to Nashville for a wonderful workshop with Anne Blair Brown.  As usual I had my trusty workshop companion, Dottie Leatherwood, who spends a lot of time documenting our trip and gathering hundreds of photos in the process as we are trucking down the highway or on some of the backroads.  She usually transfers her photos to a USB port and shares them with me.  This is one of several she took of this creek.  

The spring growth was fresh and the trees were just budding out a little and this little bend in a creek shouted to me to be painted.  This seemed like a perfect photo to use to continue my tree challenge.

Hope to see you tomorrow!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Under Carolina Blue Skies

"Under Carolina Blue Skies"
Day 4 of 30/30
8"x6" oil on canvas panel

Even though it is still summer, I thought I would mix it up a bit and slip in a snow scene.

I didn't have to travel far for this is a wooded park at the end of my street.  I love to walk in the snow because it reminds me of growing up in Michigan.  The sun was shining brightly with a beautiful Carolina blue sky above.  Go Heels!!!

Hope to see you tomorrow for Day 5 in my tree challenge.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Canyon Wildflowers

"Canyon Wildflowers"
Day 3 of 30/30
8"x6" oil on canvas panel

Some paintings flow off the brush nicely and easily.  This one did NOT.  Originally I had a large rock or boulder that sat among these flowers but the rock grew larger and larger and eventually took over the painting!  So I wiped it out and planted more wildflowers!

The photo inspiration for Day 3 came from a beautiful hike Steve and I took several years ago in the Tetons.  I loved the value contrast between the tree mass and the flowers growing in the foreground.  

I hope you come back for Day 4!

Friday, September 2, 2016


Day 2
6"x8" oil on canvas panel

I have had the best time going through my thousands of photos I have taken over the last few years.  This scene was from a workshop I took two years ago in Blue Ridge GA with Jim Richards.  He is one of the artists I so enjoy watching work his magic on the canvas.

"Overhang" came together easier than I thought it would.  When that happens, I always love it!  I really liked the way this clump of trees along the bank of the river just casually drooped its branches over the edge of the water.

I hope you come back tomorrow to see more of my trees!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Cottonwood Creek Aspens

"Cottonwood Creek Aspens"
Day 1
8"x6" Oil on canvas panel

And so begins another challenge of painting 30 paintings in 30 days.  Leslie Saeta started this challenge a few years ago and this is the 3rd time I have participated.  Just over 1,000 artists around the world are also taking part in this challenge and I find it exciting to be on a mission to paint every day!  It is not a contest and there are no rules, but it is a way to allow yourself to paint each day.  Some of my paintings will be good and some will not be so good, but the important thing is that I am trying to improve and the way to do that is to paint more! More importantly, for me, I want to practice or improve on a particular skill and in this case it is trees.  I have always loved trees and have decided to continue this pursuit by painting this topic in a number of different ways.  Hopefully, I will learn along the way!

"Cottonwood Creek Aspens" was inspired by a September trip to Grand Teton National Park when I was there plein air painting with friends a couple years ago.  

I hope you will continue to follow along with me and will return to see what I paint next!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Grand Central Station

"Grand Central Station"
Day 30
6"x8" oil on canvas panel

I have always wanted to go inside the iconic Grand Central Station and on this trip we did.  It truly is an amazing building.  Unfortunately we only had time to see the vast interior main concourse and it  is magnificent.  Made primarily from granite, it was completed in 1903 and the basement area with all the train tracks covers 49 acres.  The terminal is one of the worlds most visited tourist attractions with almost 22 million visitors a year.

This is the final day of this challenge I have given myself.  I have enjoyed the topic because I could relive memories of that fabulous girls weekend in New York City back in December with my daughter, daughter-in-law and granddaughter.   Perspective is what I chose to concentrate on because it is something I am not accustomed to doing.  But I must say I am so glad it is over because for the most part it  has been very embarrassing for me to put out works that I am not proud of.  But I continued to participate because I wanted to learn and practice and I chose to do it in this public way.    I feel that I did learn many things and perhaps got a little bit better as the month went on but I can assure you that landscapes will be what I will continue to concentrate on.     

Later in the week, I will post a coastal marsh that I have been working on so I hope you come back! 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Lunch at Joe's

"Lunch at Joe's"
Day 29
8"x6" oil on canvas panel

Earlier in this month's challenge, I painted a street scene of Joe's Pizza on E. 14 Street.  So I thought I would attempt to show you what I ate.  This is a delicious slice of Caprese pizza with huge chunks of mozzarella, tomato slices and basil along with my orange cream soda.

Wish I was back at Joe's to have another slice!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Giant Light Display

"Giant Light Display"
Day 28
6"x8" oil on canvas panel

If you have never strolled the streets around Radio City Music Hall at Christmas time, you are probably wondering what this is! 

We were on our way from our hotel to catch an early-morning performance of the Rockettes and came upon this GIANT, colorful light display along the Avenue of the Americas.  Each individual light, I am guessing, is approximately 10-12 ft. tall.  Quite a colorful display and of course a great photo op!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Union Square Park

"Union Square Park"
Day 27
6"x8" oil on canvas panel

Union Square Park is a relatively small three-block green oasis down near the intersection of Broadway and 4th Avenue.  The afternoon we were there the park was filled with tourists, nearby residents and families with children in strollers doing their weekend shopping for fruits and vegetables from the many vendors selling their wares.   There also was a holiday market selling Christmas greenery and small trees, jewelry, soaps and a myriad of other items.  

It was also busy with people relaxing by enjoying the mild December weather.  Since it is so convenient to nearby subway routes, the restaurants and bars near the park were doing a brisk business.  People also were playing chess and I hear it gives Washington Square Park a run for its money because of all the foot traffic Union Square gets.

All in all it was a beautiful spot to roam around and people watch which is one of my favorite activities. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Two Boots Pizza

"Two Boots Pizza"
Day 26
6"x8" oil on canvas panel

When we were standing in Greenwich Village looking down the street in front of West Village Florist, if you looked across the street you would see this very colorful corner business.  It is Two Boots Pizza and the signage was something you just could not miss!  The orange and turquoise really pop!