Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September Sojourn: Day 30!!!

Last day of the challenge!  I am so proud of myself for sticking with plein air everyday this month.  Even when the weather was awful, even when I was out of town, even when I was exhausted, even when my calendar was so full I couldn't see straight... I found time to go OUTSIDE and paint.

 If there was one thing I learned this month, it was that you can find a painting anywhere you look.  And some days I did.  It's amazing what a little creativity and cropping can do for subject matter.  Inspiration can be found anywhere.

Today was a beautiful day to end the challenge on.  Sunshine and 80 degrees...my kind of day.  I drove uptown looking for a place to paint.  I only had about an hour so time was of the essence.  I have painted this little chapel before but from another angle and much larger.  But I liked how it was framed by the trees and sky and the little evergreens in front of it.  Just like in a storybook. :)

Here it is in progress...as you can tell from how dark the picture is, I was painting with the sun in my eyes.  After all the rain we have had this month, I am not complaining!

I did have some friends to keep me company.  They kept flying onto my palette.  

Here is the finished painting!  
"storybook"
10" x 8" oil on panel - plein air study
©2014dottietleatherwood

NOTE:  I will keep the special pricing on these paintings up through October 15th and then the prices will revert to my regular ones, so if there is a painting you are interested in, get it soon


Monday, September 29, 2014

September Sojourn: Day 29

Guess what?  It is raining today.  AGAIN.  Here was my plein air set up for Day 29:

Yep, in my jeep.  It wasn't too bad.  I did stay dry but it was pretty cramped.  And there was no backing up to assess my painting.  My main objective, other than keeping paint off of the inside of my car, was to try and capture the grays in the sky and the feeling of the rain.  At first glance the sky seemed a wall of gray but just as I have discovered throughout this month of painting, the longer I painted and looked at the clouds, the more colors I saw.  If I could have stayed longer, I would have loved to have painted another one of just the sky. Such nuance in the colors of the clouds passing over!

Last day of the challenge is tomorrow! Stay tuned....I have no idea what I am going to paint but it's supposed to be sunny so I am thrilled about that!

NOTE:  I will keep the special pricing on these paintings up through October 15th and then the prices will revert to my regular ones, so if there is a painting you are interested in, get it soon!


"nuanced"
6" x 8" oil on panel
©2014dottietleatherwood

Sunday, September 28, 2014

September Sojourn: Day 27 & 28

Caught up today with my 30 Plein Air Paintings for September!  I have been on the road with every moment filled since the middle of last week, making painting and blogging difficult, if not impossible.  I have to tell you, I am exhausted!

I didn't get back into Charlotte till after 11:00 last night and I slept in this morning.  Confession:  It is now 5:30 and I am still in my pj's and on my back porch where I have spent most of today.  Sometimes it is good to listen to what your body is telling you and mine said STOP :)

However, I needed to do two paintings to catch up on my challenge commitment and even though I toyed with the idea of skipping it, it's just not in my DNA to do it.  Luckily, as I have discovered this month, you don't have to look far to have subject matter to paint.  And I looked no further than the table and chair to my left.



The first little painting is a still life on the table.  I loved the lights and darks and the reflections in both the glass table and the french doors behind the table.
"still life on a glass table"
8" x 6" oil on panel - plein air study
©2014dottietleatherwood

The second painting is of the chair to the left of the table.  Again, the lights and darks were compelling and I wanted to see how well I could capture the chair from the angle in which I was painting.  I'm happy with how solid the chair seems in the space.  I simplified both the background and the wicker texture on the chair because I didn't want it to distract from what I was trying to capture.  Both of these are full of color, too, which makes me happy.
"sitting pretty"
10" x 8" oil on panel - plein air study
©2014dottietleatherwood

Only two more days in the challenge.  It has been a busy month!  I will keep the special pricing on these paintings up through October 15th and then the prices will revert to my regular ones, so if there is a painting you are interested in, get it soon!

Friday, September 26, 2014

September Sojourn: Day 25 & 26

Woefully behind in my posting....  I am in Greensboro, NC at my first solo show and it has been a busy two days.  I am so excited to be here and still pinching myself!  Three years ago when I first started painting, I dreamed of this but it seemed so far in the future.  I have worked so very hard and given this everything I had to give.   I have had some setbacks along the way that shook my confidence in myself and my painting to the core, but I have never given up.  Some days it has been as simple as one foot in front of the other.  Some days that is all you can do.

Here are my two plein air paintings for today and yesterday....can't figure out when I am going to fit in painting today and tomorrow but we'll see!



"the garden"
8"x6" oil on panel - plein air study
©2014dottietleatherwood


"study of a home"
8"x6" oil on panel - plein air study
©2014dottietleatherwood

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

September Sojourn: Day 24

Ok.  Enough with the rain already.  It is not spring, it is FALL.  I need a sunny day.  If not to paint then just for my mental health! :)

More gloom today, more rain and I am tired of painting in it.  Actually,  I wouldn't mind painting in the rain if I was in a more exotic locale. Definitely eliminates the need to find a spot of shade to put my easel in.  I did a study of a tree today.  Here is an "in progress" shot.  At this stage, I have blocked in the darks and am just starting to add some variation in the greens.  It is really a challenge to end up with the colors that I want in this gloomy light.


You can see in the finished painting below, I used artist's license to brighten up things a bit.  A girl can dream of better weather...

"lean and substantial"
8" x 6" oil on panel
©2014dottietleatherwood

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

September Sojourn: Day 23

Rainy day again.  It seems like this month has had more than it's share.  Chilly, too!  I painted from my back porch late this afternoon.  The trees in my yard are just starting to show their fall colors.  I painted a small section of branches and leaves.  The more I painted the more abstract the shapes became....almost like a stained glass window.


See how gloomy! I brightened this picture up so you could see what I was painting.  I felt like I was painting in the dark!  Here is the finished painting:

"autumn in the abstract"
8" x 6" oil on panel - plein air study
©2014dottietleatherwood

Monday, September 22, 2014

September Sojourn: Day 22

A partly cloudy morning gave way to mostly cloudy before I finished with this painting.  Having had painted this scene before, I felt confident painting the light as I first saw it.


I haven't painted as much uptown as I had wanted to this month.  September has proved way to hectic and my "to do" list each day has proved way to long!  I am hoping to get some street scenes in next week.  For those of you that don't live in Charlotte, the title of this one is a play on Charlotte's nickname as the "Queen City".

"queen for a day"
8" x 6" oil on panel - - plein air study
©2014dottietleatherwood

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

September Sojourn: Day 21

Another day of blooming where you're planted or in this case..painting where you're planted.  I am keeping my nephew this weekend so my plein air has been close to home out of necessity.  But as I have found, this month, you can find a painting anywhere.  You just have to look.


I have been watching this maple in my neighbor's yard turn into a gorgeous orange day by day.  Each day it gets a little more intense.  From my driveway, the maple and the huge oak in their yard frame their porch so beautifully.  And the early afternoon light casts a dramatic shadow that is just perfect.  Everything around me has become fair game for a painting...watch out!  :)

"across the road"
6" x 8" oil on panel - plein air study
©2014dottietleatherwood

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

September Sojourn: Day 20

My paint box is starting to show the signs of painting everyday.....needs a good scraping off!

Had a hectic day today and didn't get much further than the back yard to paint.  But I didn't need to.  Sometimes the best subjects are simply right under your nose.
I started with a canvas panel toned in a dark greenish gray and worked on bringing the rose and leaves out of that. I find it fun to try and start different ways ...keeps me interested.   Here is a better view of the finished painting.
"simplicity"
10" x 8" oil on linen panel - plein air study
©2014dottietleatherwood

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Friday, September 19, 2014

September Sojourn: Day 19

Yesterday was a wonderfully foggy morning.  The kind that turns the distant trees that beautiful blue.  I knew exactly what I wanted to paint.  About a 20 minute drive from my house, there is this wonderful old barn in a huge field with a couple of old oaks around it and a line of trees in the distance.  I could already picture in my mind how cool it was going to look with the fog and mist around it. I was so excited!

I drive all the way out there, come up over the hill and look to my right to see just how awesome my painting was going to be and....... no barn.  no oak trees.  Instead there were bulldozers clearing away the debris of what used to be the barn and trees surrounding it.  You can insert a sad face here.

I was so bummed!  So I drove around for another 10 minutes looking for another barn but to no avail.  I finally stopped at the edge of a field that was quickly being taken back by nature and got out my easel.  The fog was starting to break by now but there was still plenty of atmosphere.  The longer I painted the more color I noticed in the layers of trees.  Golds and reds and purples were edging into the deep green summer landscape.


Like it or not, autumn is on its way.  The painting ended up being a bit of an abstract landscape but it is true to the impression of the setting that was in front of me.  Hope it takes you there too!

"a little early fall color"
6" x 8" oil on panel - plein air study
©2014dottietleatherwood

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

September Sojourn: Day 18

I went out to a different park to paint yesterday and spotted these two guys fishing.  I wasn't sure if I could pull off a figurative painting in plein air but I just couldn't resist trying.


You can see from the photos that I was standing a good bit away from them which actually helped me just focus on the shapes and shadows and not get caught up in any detail.  The guy sitting on the bucket never moved...maybe he was asleep!  The other man did walk around a little while I was painting but thankfully went back to his favorite pose.  I was able to capture their basic shapes quickly in several strokes and then go back in and refine them. I added the simple background after I was finished with the figures.  What fun!


"waiting on a bite"
8" x 6" oil on panel - plein air study
©2014dottietleatherwood

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

September Sojourn: Day 17

Another lovely afternoon to paint in the park.  I wanted to focus on the sunlight and how it highlighted the roots in the path.  Once again, glorious color from the light shining through the leaves in the woods.  Here is a shot of my painting about halfway completed...



And here is the completed painting.  One of the things we focused on this past weekend at my workshop with Jim Richards was having clear light and shadow.  I tried to keep this in mind as I was painting.  Sorry about the shine... photographing a wet painting is a challenge sometimes.

"sunshine spilling down"
8" x 6"  oil on panel - plein air study
©2014dottietleatherwood

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

September Sojourn: Day 16

Over the hump and past the halfway point of 30 Days of Plein Air...Yay!!!  Today's painting is a metaphor for plein air some days  :)

"brambles and barbed wire"
12" x 9" oil on panel - plein air study
©2014dottietleatherwood

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Monday, September 15, 2014

September Sojourn: Day 15

As I told you last Wednesday, I have been in the north Georgia mountains plein air painting.  What a wonderful long weekend! I had so much fun, learned a ton and got to spend time with old friends and meet new ones.  I also got to study for two days with one of my favorite artists, Jim Richards. He is such a wealth of knowledge and such a nice guy.

Here are some highlights of the week along with today's painting.....

These are two of the paintings I did in Jim's workshop on Thursday & Friday... Special thanks to artist Marsha Savage for letting us paint at her wonderful place on the Oconee River on Saturday.

 "clinging vine"

"oconee river"

Saturday & Sunday, we were on our own to paint and I got to paint at the beautiful Noontootla Farms (which is where today's painting comes from).  But a funny story first.  There are always challenges when you are outside painting.  Sometimes it's the weather, sometimes it's what you forgot to bring, people talking to you, all kinds of different things.  This trip it was the gnats.  I cannot even describe to you how unbelievable the swarms of gnats were on Saturday.  The biting kind.  One of my paintings was covered in hundreds of gnats in about a 60 second period.  Guess what happens when a gnat lands on oil paint?  Yep, he sticks.  Here is about a two inch section of a painting:
I felt like I was on Survivor:Plein Air.  I was determined not to let them chase me off but by Saturday afternoon when the gnats were landing faster than I could scrape them off, I realized I had been beaten.  Here is one painting I managed to salvage:

fields of goldenrod
10" x 8" oil on panel - plein air study
©2014dottietleatherwood

The painting below (and another one that I forgot to photograph) is hanging at the Blue Ridge Arts Association in their Plein Air Exhibition until the middle of October.  Thanks to my wonderful friend and artist Connie Gaertner for hosting us at her gorgeous mountain house all weekend.

"foggy mountain morning"

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

September Sojourn: Day 10

I have a couple of paintings to post today. But first I wanted to let you know I may not be posting for the next four days.  I will be painting plein air though.  I am headed to Blue Ridge, GA for a Plein Air Paint Out with several artist friends.  I am so excited and can't wait to get there!  We will be taking a workshop with the fabulously talented artist, Jim Richards for two days and then painting the mountains and little town of Blue Ridge for the next two.  It is a competition and exhibition so I hope to paint something worthy of framing and entering.  We will see.  Nevertheless, I am just happy to be going.  I am going to try to blog and post my paintings everyday but I do know that cell reception is spotty at best and non existent in some places so I'm not sure how that will go. At the very least I will try to post my paintings on FB when I get a signal so you can keep up with me there.

I had class all morning yesterday and didn't get home until early afternoon.  I was also hosting supperclub for my friends last night which meant dinner and drinks for 12 to prepare, much less all that glamorous stuff like cleaning the bathrooms, etc to do.  Not much time for plein air!  However, it was a wonderful evening on my porch with some of my dearest "sistas" eating, drinking, laughing and catching up with each others lives.  By the time everyone left and all the dishes were done it was about 11:00.

Never one to let a challenge die easily, I figured I had a little time to get in a painting under the wire.  So with the candles flickering, my music still playing and the last glass of wine, I sat down to paint. A nocturne would have been nice but it was so dark outside there was nothing to see.  I painted the only thing I could see....the umbrella on my patio. :)  It is not a prize winner of a painting and I painted it in about 15 minutes, but it is plein air and I got it done so here you go:

On to the real painting for today!  This is a painting I did last week after I finished my painting for the day.  The pattern of light and shadows drew me to this scene.  It is my very overgrown and neglected garden which from far away actually looks nice....not so much, close up though!  


Here is a better view of the finished painting:

"late summer in the garden"
6" x 8" oil on panel - plein air study
©2014dottietleatherwood

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

September Sojourn: Day 9

Another crazy day with no time to paint until this evening. I was so tired, I sat down on my back porch steps and just looked around for inspiration.  Sometimes it's right in front of you.  The white petunias in a pot on my steps were bright against the deep evening shadows and dark green leaves.


So there I sat on the steps, painting until it got dark. With no more light to paint by, I decided it was done. I wasn't sure what it would look like when I got it back into the studio light but I was pleasantly surprised.

"back porch petunias"
8" x 6" oil on panel - plein air study
©2014dottietleatherwood

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Monday, September 8, 2014

September Sojourn: Day 8

It was a beautiful day to paint, except that I was busy with my other life..mom, cook, house-cleaner, laundress, grocery store shopper, etc.  You get the picture.  So when evening came and I had a chance to paint....Guess what?!  Storm came.

After the rain had slowed to a drizzle, I hopped in the jeep with my son as protection (I learned my lesson Saturday!) and headed out to paint.  I wanted a clear flat spot so I could paint the sky.  The clouds were low and heavy but as skies are known to do... constantly changing.  There were small breaks between the clouds with light pouring through as the storm moved away.  Interestingly enough, the best sky was when I was finished with my painting and was packing up.  Isn't that always the way!!

Plein air is so funny sometimes.  We made quite a picture,my son and I,  I am sure.  I am standing by the road painting.  My son is standing barefoot  outside the car with a yo-yo and his phone to occupy him.  Everyone driving by had their head on a swivel!  Only one guy stopped to ask "What are you doing?"  :) A better picture:

"moody September sky"
6" x 8" oil on panel - plein air study
©2014dottietleatherwood

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Sunday, September 7, 2014

September Sojourn: Day 7

It's been a week! I think this was the busiest month that I could have picked to do this challenge....but it has been good at keeping me on a schedule.  Painting everyday, but more than that....finding a place to paint everyday and then completing a painting has been a struggle sometimes.  I am getting really good at setting up and breaking down my painting gear quickly!

Back to one of my old haunts yesterday.  I was busy until late afternoon so when it was time to paint I headed back uptown to catch the skyline as the sun was starting to set.  I had the place all to myself...sort of.  It was a little creepy and the cars slowing down to stare made me a little uncomfortable.  I like painting when there are people around!!


The buildings were backlit, as you can see and the glare was a challenge to paint in without sunglasses. The result was all detail faded into shadow and the glowing sky and silhouettes of the buildings became the subject.

 "uptown afternoon"
6" x 8" oil on panel - plein air study
©2014dottietleatherwood

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Saturday, September 6, 2014

September Sojourn: Day 6

I drove to Greensboro, NC and back yesterday to deliver paintings for an upcoming show to Tyler White O'Brien Gallery.  I am the featured artist for a show there in a couple of weeks with the Alight Foundation. So excited!!

As I am driving there and back, I am contemplating what to paint for the challenge and crossing my fingers that the sunny weather would hold.  There were some great big puffy clouds collecting in front of my and in my rear view mirror.  By the time I got home in the afternoon, I was exhausted and decided to drive to the park down the street and find something to paint.  Necessity is the mother of invention they say.

It was hot and so humid!  I walked down path far enough to get some shade and set up my easel.  I thought about painting the dappled path but just wasn't in the mood.  It was a pretty heavily wooded area and the abstract patterns made by the trees, leaves and sunlight were too good to pass up.


I was kept company by lots of cross country runners practicing for a meet.  Made me thankful that I was just there to paint!!

"all in the family"
8" x 6" oil on panel - plein air study
©2014dottietleatherwood

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Friday, September 5, 2014

September Sojourn: Day 5

Today had to be Jim Cantore's dream day.  I got to observe everything but snow while I was out painting.  Sun, mist, fog, wind, rain and sometimes all at once.

I had an extremely busy day and only a little time to paint today.  I blocked out a little time this morning to paint in between appointments.  Since I was uptown already, I decided to do a cityscape.  I set up my easel in the overcast conditions and started to paint. Then the sun came out. Then the wind started blowing and I heard thunder rumbling....meanwhile I am still painting.  Then I got caught.  Downpour.  Packed up my stuff and headed to the car. Not even close to finished.

So in lieu of my cityscape that is half finished, here is a painting I did on Monday afternoon....under much nicer conditions. Glad I painted two that day! :)  The cityscape?  ...to be continued.



just a glimpse of the sun
6" x 8" oil on panel
©2014dottietleatherwood

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

September Sojourn: Day 4

I went back out to Renfrow Farms to paint.  It has become one of my favorite plein air spots...a rural oasis in the middle of town.  I couldn't pass up the sunlight on the rows of crops.  Newer plantings are filling in as the old ones are being pulled up. Sort of a metaphor on life.


Another beautiful summer day to paint.  Stormy weather is moving in for the next few days so I will be missing the bright sunlight.  Here is a better view of the finished painting.  You can see after I took the picture above, I went in and defined the rows a little more and added the highlights:

a mix of old and new
6" x 8" oil on panel - plein air study
©2014dottietleatherwood

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