Archive for the ‘plein air painters’ Category

Where’s The Fire

February 28, 2016

Unless you walk a dog ( or two ), or have reason to stand at the curb while the fire department hooks up it’s hose to the hydrant in front of your burning house, you’d likely never take notice of fire hydrants.

Asheville has a preponderance of fire hydrants that are,  aside from being vintage in appearance, all different and quirky.

My newest subjects:

Meet Byron of Forsythe Street-

IMG_3578  8 X 11 oil on panel

Cloud liked him. Showered him with affection too…


We left the Caribbean after 15 years for the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and this remarkable small/big, urbane/rustic ,city/town of Asheville. And took the doggies with us. I think even dogs’ appearances are enhanced by the addition of haberdashery.


Cuba is of the opinion it was more like chicanery than haberdashery.

After tricking them and training them for 3 months with bacon, I was able to get them into the airline approved crates to begin this monumental upheaval from island life to mainland life via planes, vans and cars. It was not easy, it was not swift, but we are here and after all, WHERE’S THE FIRE?


April 30, 2010

When seated, they become your lap. As is the case with these women. Taking in the throngs of people at Ag Fair last February and maybe sharing some thoughts about the changes they’ve seen over the years.

Aside from the one hand ( er, claw, ) in dead center, there was no erasing. You could C.S.I this canvas with a team of forensic experts and not find an erasure. Just that hand ( claw ). I didn’t intend for the sketch to : #1 come out so well, and #2 get this detailed. But it wouldn’t stop so neither did I. Getting to the painting phase next.

There are many, many legs here on St.Croix this week. We host the infamous Half Iron Man Triathlon which translates to this: A one and a half mile swim, jump on your bike and ride 50 miles part of which includes a 21 degree incline that goes on interminably, and then run a 13.1 miles. That hill is known as The Beast. I offer my CAR a sports drink when it takes me up that road.

Check out the survivors’ humorous description of this event- ( I suggest you sit down and pour a cold one  first ):

Unbelievably this event is up to 1,300 + entrants. It’s been unusually hot/humid and will make this course more horrific than it already is.

I’ll be folding my legs into lap formation, myself. Running my own game at the easel.

This guy never has to worry if he sprains an ankle during athletic endeavors.

With forgiveness, Pat , really I am so sorry you had to look at this and I know you’re asking yourself why would she even bother with her name and copyright as if someone would want to HAVE this thing!

Chili Peppers’ languid leg layover is one stretch away from careening him off the precipice of his perch. I couldn’t catch him and grab the camera. He remains to all of you, dignified. And aloft.

New Painting- Southgate Plantation Sugar Mill

May 20, 2009

It was a  grey day, no sun, flat atmosphere. I started this piece plein air during a workshop I took here a short while ago and finished it in the studio.

southgateplantationmillblog“Southgate Plantation”  10X12 oil on panel

There was a moment or two of brighter light coming from the right as the weather front lifted a bit. Not having sharp contrast from strong sun, makes for a flat scene which it was for most of the day.

I’m pretty pleased with the mill and the tree on the right.

These impressive structures, some 150 remaining ones on St.Croix, are reminders of the history of sugar cane. Going back over 300 years to the early Dutch settlers, it’s hard not to feel ambivelance at the conditions under which slaves were deployed to keep production at peak levels, while recognizing how hot it was. As stories are passed along, it was noted that as the crushers inside these mills squeezed every drop of cane juice out of the stalks, there was on site, a person whose job was to release by use of machete, any unfortunate workers arm that did not release from the grinding wheels in a timely manner.

Some interesting reading about the full history of St Croix when ” sugar was King ” courtesy of the Landmark Society here:

And a photo and short story of a mill from todays’ time here:

And a P.S.- fellow St. Croix resident, blogger friend, and creative digital photographer Don Diddams,  coincidentally posted a strong image and similar sentiments on his blog today. Have a look here and at the body of his work.

Nothing was plein about the air this morning- a rainbow popped into an otherwise dark, looming, overcast sky. Just enough of a snippet of light from somewhere to form a fleeting prism in the sky.


Another Painting Workshop

March 29, 2009

Friday ended a week long painting workshop here with artist, teacher Bruce Williamson, a painter from Texas who repeated his visit last year with another one this past week.

Bruce treats every subject as a recipient of light, whether it’s a landscape, a still life or a portrait.


Bruce doing a portrait demo outside.

Some of his starting concepts:

Have a goal – what do you want the painting to be about

Shape- placement of lights, shadows, shapes

Values or tones ( urghhhh, values….)



In that order, using that outline, a painting ought to be successful even if you paint waves in pinks or a face in blues.

onbeachblogA fellow workshop painter

I bow the very deepest bow I can take without falling on my head to every plein air painter. The town dogcatcher has an easier time retrieving feral beasts with a lasso than I do, painting outside in the shifting sun.

To achieve an accurate painting and not just a sweet little drawing  requires constant checking, thinking, evaluating, measuring and that seems to thwart the process of even getting the brush to the canvas. It helped me to think of this as strictly an exercise of embarrassed learning and forego the idea that these would be finished pieces.



Just the initial block in of the above scene ( minus the horizontal volleyball net ) which I’m going to work towards completion.

I took a palette knife and scraped off the first few attempts until I got a few bones I thought I could work with.

Better to have painted and scraped than never to have painted at all- words to live by as invoked by the fellow below:


I’ll be away for a week and eager to get back to the easel so I don’t lose the lessons.

There were three lovely awards sent my way this week which I’m so pleased to have received. Thank you Theresa, Nava and Marian!