Tuesday, November 12, 2019

25 Days of Minis

The holiday season is almost upon us. In fact, it snowed here in eastern Tennessee last night and now I'm really in the mood for the upcoming season. This season, I'm excited to participate in a fantastic project called "25 Days of Minis," a program that promotes small original artwork created by 42 selected artists throughout the country. Each day, a new original artwork is unveiled from each participating artist.

25 Days of Minis is a wonderful group of artists representing a variety of styles and subjects. If you're looking for a gift for that impossible-to-buy-for individual (or even if you just want to splurge for yourself), look no further.

To learn more about this project, I invite you to visit the 25 Days of Minis web site, where you can also sign up for email updates to see new artwork from all participating artists as soon as they are available.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Get Lost

Tailgate Painting: When I need to get a higher vantage point for painting,
the back bed of my pickup truck fits the bill perfectly.

It's been a long, hot summer in eastern Tennessee. I'm still acclimating to the hotter conditions in my new home state.

The good news is that I've been able to get out and explore my new surroundings more this summer. Our first months in Tennessee last summer were chock full of home repairs, home maintenance, and general home upgrades. Do you sense a theme?

Anyways, this summer things have been better and more sane. It's been good to get out of the confines of our home and to explore my surroundings a bit more. I still have a ton of Tennessee state parks to visit, but I've spent more time working in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as well as rural farm areas north of Knoxville.

When I go out into the countryside, I set a goal to get lost. I'm always intrigued by what may lie around the next bend in the road and I enjoy veering off of the beaten path to find places to paint. Shown above is a recent photo from an outing near New Market, Tennessee. The grasses along the roadside were over the height of my head, so I had to go with my "tailgate" painting set up on the back bed of my truck. I'm happy to have that option.

I look forward to sharing more with you on my "Get Lost" excursions. Stay tuned.

Monday, June 03, 2019

A Great Smoky Mountains Project

I'm delighted to share that the Knoxville Arts and Culture Alliance awarded me a Bailey Opportunity Grant for fiscal year 2020!

With support from this grant, I'm going to complete my training and certification as a Southern Appalachian Naturalist. This program is offered at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, located within the national park.

I've taken my first class and will continue my studies through next year. During this time, I'll document my observations and experiences of the park through my landscape painting. Most of the paintings will be small, plein air field studies. But I'll also complete some larger studio works.

The idea for this project echoes something I did while I lived in Pennsylvania. Back then, I created a series of plein air landscape paintings from central Pennsylvania's Black Moshannon State Park. I spent over a decade working in the park, getting to know it throughout the four seasons. As I developed a body of work that eventually numbered up to nearly 50 plein air paintings as well as many larger works, I wrote a book about the park's history and ecology, sharing my visual interpretations of the park with a narrative tracing its history and modern day ecology. I fell in love with that location by getting to know it well and one of my goals for this new project is to gain the same intimacy and reverence for my new home in Tennessee.

I've already ventured up to the Great Smoky Mountains many times and I'm really excited about the new sources of inspiration. Yet I'm also keenly aware of how much I don't know, everything from the broad history of the park to the minute details of its ecology. A vital part of my artistic process is to feel (at least a little bit) knowledgeable about my subjects. This is why when someone approaches me and asks me to paint something from their old family photos, I've always declined unless I can go see the place for myself. The direct experience and ability to witness the details firsthand is critical to my ability to make a successful painting.

This will be a long-term project and I have several goals. Not only do I want to create a new body of artwork that will allow me to call Tennessee my "home," but I also want to share what I learn with others in an effort to help them appreciate the park, its history, and its ecology. Of course, you'll see new works here on my web site as I finish them. Stay tuned!