Thursday, October 18, 2012

Into the Fields

Bottomland (Study) 8x10 Oil/Panel

October is my favorite month, the farmland which has been restored to native plants and grasses, or left to grow and go to seed, provides so many opportunities to play with hues and values. This painting was done plein aire a few weeks ago before the trees began to change in earnest. The hardwoods are now at their peak, in-your-face, hot colors. This land is on a farm bordering Elkhorn Creek in Franklin County, Kentucky. The composition emphasizes the fields by limiting the range of colors and values in the distant trees and using a very high horizon. Our Plein Aire group stood in a firebrake of mowed tick-free path and painted all morning in 70-degree weather then stopped at a members nearby house for a homemade, organic lunch. It just doesn't get much better than this.


Friday, July 20, 2012


Switzer Bridge Study 8x10 Oil

Covered Bridges have been done over and over; even revered painter Richard Schmid has done (magnificently I might add) at least one. Switzer Bridge, in the townlet of Switzer (no traffic light), was destroyed in a flood in 1998 and an exact replica was constructed on the site. Judging from the foundation, it was wisely mounted higher than the original.  Elkhorn Creek, which would have been named Elkhorn River had it been one mile longer, flows under it.   There is a even newer two lane concrete bridge  nearby so you can paint from either side. It's a perfect spot for a plein aire painter to lollygag away a morning, creating yet another, personal, version of this cliche'.

Monday, May 21, 2012

There is Something to Plein Aire

"On Jonabell Farm"
8x10 Oil

This 8x10 Plein Aire was done on Jonabell Farm, Lexington, for a benefit auction for the Woodford County Humane Society.  As usual, I ignored the horses, barns, etc. and went for the water (and the shade). I could have snapped photos and returned to the studio. Staying the course and painting plein aire, I realized, let me understand clearly which trees were in foreground, which farther back, where the reflections were coming from, see clearly the dappled sunlight, in sort, to patiently study the scene. 

I did take reference photos over the course of the two plus hours, and when I looked at them later, I could not make out which trees were in front and which farther back, it was all a 2-dimentional jumble of leaves and branches. By completing the painting on site, I was able to indicate atmospheric perspective more or less correctly. 

While painting, other participating artists came up and we chatted and shared contact information, what else could you want. Cool Beans!! 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Road Trips

Hardin County Snow
9x18 Oil

Making a trip to Nashville on business was a good opportunity, midst a light snowfall and fog, to snap reference photos. Interstates frequently it seems, were carved through farm country affording us all the chance to be suddenly in the middle of sprawling farms.  I've always loved barms and farm machinery, innocently envious of the tranquility and time-worn appeal of buildlings, esppecially those with numerous additions.  It's all grist for the artist's mill. I inserted trees and cows, etc. to complete the composition. Bon Voyage!