Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hours By the River

I've been up Sugar Hollow by the Moorman's River to paint river rocks several days this week, by the rushing water. My father kept me company, reading nearby. The painting is a challenge. Not only does the light change as the hours pass, but so does the water level. The photographs below show how the view (and along with it, the painting) evolved — not my intent. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. I may have to return to the original photo to finish the 24x36 painting with its reflections, ripples and wet rocks.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Creative Arts Retreat

These are a couple of paintings I did during a creative arts retreat in April. It was an opportunity to practice meditation, open more to the creative process, and dismantle my relatively automatic way of observing and composing. I really feel like my more recent paintings have gained some more depth as a result. The top painting is a small oil of a tiny wildflower plant on the banks of the Rockfish River in Nelson County, Va. The lower one, a gouache on paper, is a view of a propane tank and shrubbery at the retreat center; the shadow between is what caught my eye.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Garden Vista

Meg and I went up to Thomas Jefferson's Monticello again about a week ago to paint. I did this from the upper deck of the gift shop, overlooking the 1,000-foot-long terrace of the vegetable garden, and just finished touching it up in my studio. About 200 years ago the garden was at its peak for Jefferson's time, and last week seemed like the peak for our time, a patchwork of color. Jefferson used the pavilion (blown down by a windstorm but later reconstructed) as a retreat for reading. Brown's Mountain is in the distance.

Oil on stretched canvas, 16" x 20". Email me to ask about price.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mulberry Row

I painted this a few days back on Mulberry Row, the main plantation street of Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, and just finished touching it up today. One of a series of beautiful spring days on the little mountain. I packed up the paints around closing time, when the estate was nearly empty ... nobody but me, my dad, and the shuttle bus driver. So peaceful, a sense of home. I went up again soon after to paint with Meg, a view from above of the vegetable garden and Brown's Mountain beyond. Plan to do a few touch-ups to that one as well and post it soon.

Oil on stretched canvas, 14" x 11". SOLD

Sunday, May 6, 2012

May Roses

Chiles Orchard in Crozet, Virginia, has brisk sales at this time of year, and particularly on a Sunday when (as today) hundreds of people come to pick their own strawberries. Today there was a band playing music on the deck, and they invited Meg, Eileen and me to demonstrate plein air painting. These are some charming roses I painted just off the front porch of the shop.

Oil on stretched canvas, 20" x 16". Bid now

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Spring Garden, Monticello

Another morning up on Monticello today, painting the tulips in the back garden. Several gardeners came to chat and snap a picture for Facebook. This place is charmed ...

Oil on canvas panel, 6" x 8". Bid now

Monday, April 16, 2012

Tulips at Monticello

I did this little oil painting today up in the back garden of Thomas Jefferson's Monticello on a breezy, warm April day. I love it when all the tulips come into bloom at once. Last fall I chatted with gardeners planting the bulbs, and they explained that fresh bulbs are replanted each fall. In the early spring I saw the leaves were sprouting early, and the gardeners had clipped the leaf tips, I assume to slow the growth so the flowers wouldn't bloom too soon. Today, my father and I found a place to sit in the shade there and enjoy the abundance. Several crowds of school children being ushered past stopped to squeal at my tulip painting. What you don't see: Directly behind me is the famous view on the back of the nickel. And throngs of tourists.

(4/20/12 update — When I was up there again yesterday to paint, some gardeners who came by to chat explained that the clipped tulip-leaf tips were due to grazing deer. Shows what little I know...)

Oil on canvas board, 6" x 8". SOLD