Thursday, February 25, 2016

"no reason to roam"

Yesterday I posted a the plein air study that I did on the beach at Edisto Island.   The day itself was gorgeous.  68 degrees with clear deep blue skies.  In February!  What a gift.  And the sunset did not disappoint.  I was not facing the sunset directly while I was painting but instead was looking across the dunes.  The sun drops so quickly in the winter and I was painting as quickly as possible.  When it became too dark to paint, I started to pack up and turned to face the end of the sunset over the water.  It took my breath away.  Absolutely beautiful.  I snapped a few pictures and just stood there and took it in.  

I know sunsets are overdone as paintings and some artists think they are to garish to paint but I just had to put it down on canvas this week while it was fresh in my mind.  Hope it takes you there.

"no reason to roam"
24"x48" oil on canvas

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

"edisto sunset"

When I embarked on this journey as an artist, 4 years and 8 months ago, I thought it was just about painting.  Little did I know.   I had no idea where this path would take me and how many doors would open along the way.  I have gotten to do and participate in some pretty cool things in the last 4 years.

Like cohosting the radio show, Artists Helping Artists,  with my friend and mentor Leslie Saeta,  that pulls in an audience in the tens of thousands worldwide.  And the opportunities that it has provided me to learn and grow both on the business side of art and also the personal side. Nothing beats the thrill of getting to interview some of the legends in the art world today.  It has also encouraged me to step up my game and stay on top of marketing trends and social media.  In fact tonight, I am giving a presentation to the Guild of Charlotte Artists  tonight on marketing and what I have learned along the way that I just couldn't have done without cohosting this show.  

I've had the opportunity to share my love of art not only with other adult artists but with children in schools and hospitals.  I've met people that live halfway around the world through art and developed so many treasured friendships because of it.  And teaching.  I never guessed just how much I would love sharing what I have learned with others.  And how much that sharing would, in fact, teach me about art and about myself.

I discovered quite by accident the joy of painting outside on location.  A pastime that has now become a passion and the driving force behind most of the ideas that find themselves on my canvas.  And how that joy would open another door:  sharing my love of plein air with others.  The opportunity to teach and help other artists discover just how life changing painting outside can be.

Last week, I drove down to Edisto Island in South Carolina, not only to paint but to scout out locations for a plein air workshop I will be teaching there next month.   What a gorgeous place!  It is everything and more than I had hoped to find, and the only downside is that 4 days is just too short of a time to explore it all!  I can't wait to share this beautiful spot with those who have signed up for my workshop.  As I stood there on the beach painting as the sun was setting, all of these things that have happened to me on this art journey were going through my mind.  While I have worked hard to get to this place, I still feel so very lucky to be standing here.  It is the greatest of all joys to wake up everyday and do what you most love to do.

This is my painting from last week.  I still have two spots open for the workshop so if you think you might like to join us CLICK HERE for more information.  This little painting and the memory of painting there in the last light of the day inspired another larger work that I hope to post tomorrow so stay tuned.

"edisto sunset"
8" x 10" oil on panel

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

"nature's sermon"

68 degrees in February.  You just can't get much better than that, can you?? Not unless it was 70 degrees and sunny :)

It was cloudy on Sunday but that was a small price to pay.  And it began drizzling about halfway through my painting but, again, a small price to pay to be outdoors painting.  The ground was covered with freshly strewn straw and it smelled heavenly.  Took me right back to when I was a kid riding my horse in the pasture during the  spring.  Early signs of spring are everywhere as the landscape is beginning to change from browns into golds, greens and purples.  It is so interesting how early spring colors mimic the colors of fall.  The chance to take all this in, leaves me feeling so lucky.

I hadn't tried painting outdoors with my cast on until last week when I took a quick trip to the coast.  The painting part isn't really the problem, although I am slower than normal.  It is the "setting my plein air easel up with my left hand" part that is the problem.  Or so I thought.  Turned out it was not a problem at all.....just took me a little longer.  Once again, a small price to pay for enjoying such a wonderful day.

"nature's sermon"
8" x 10" oil on panel
Click Here to View or Purchase

I will be teaching a plein air workshop in Edisto Island, SC in March.  If one of your New Year's resolutions is to learn to paint plein air or just paint better, come join me!  We will paint, learn, laugh and have fun.  Click Here for more information! Edisto Island Plein Air Workshop

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Keep Pounding

Superbowl weekend is looming.  No matter if you are a football fan or not, you can't escape the Superbowl.  Even if you just watch for the commercials.

I love football.  I follow college football more than pro but I love to watch anyone play.  I almost dread this weekend because I know football is over until August.  This year has been a fun one for us here in Charlotte, as our own Carolina Panthers have had a crazy good season and are headed to the big game on Sunday.  We are still such a young team, it all feels new and fresh and as if we need to pinch ourselves to believe it is really true.  We've taken some heat for our youth and bravado and the flashy way our players celebrate their victories big and small.  Our team mantra through the years has been "keep pounding".  A bittersweet story, it was started by one of our coaches years ago. It was and is a reminder to keep going despite the odds.  (For more on the story, click here: Keep Pounding)

I've been thinking a lot about these things in the last few days. About how they apply to the Panthers, me and all of us really.   I broke my wrist on a family ski trip this past weekend.  On my first run down the hill on the second day.  I knew it wasn't good but I decided to keep skiing the remainder of the day and ignore it the best I could.  The best decision?  I don't know.  It was painful but not impossible and in the end, I don't think I did any more damage to it.   But I flew out there to ski and I wasn't ready to quit even though the odds were against me.  And despite my wrist, I had a great time enjoying all the snow and the breathtaking beauty of Wyoming and Idaho.

Now I am back and looking at the brace on my wrist and trying to figure out how I am going to paint.  Of course, I am right handed and it is my right wrist.  I live to paint.  It is my joy, my meditation, my passion and my job.  I have work to do, big deadlines looming and classes to teach.  As I struggled to do the most mundane of tasks on Tuesday morning, like getting dressed, eating breakfast and even shifting my jeep into drive, I started getting so frustrated.  Tears sprang to my eyes with the effort of it all.  I'm not going to lie to you, I was pissed!  Mad at the situation I found myself in and mad at the timing.

On the way to the studio, the sports segment was on the radio and of course, the Panthers were the subject.  I started thinking about the team and the lessons to be learned from them.

The bravado and the excitement and the celebration.  I know a lot of people think that needs to be played down, but why?  Life and doing what you love should be exciting.   We should celebrate the little things as well as the big things.  If it is not worth the celebration, then maybe it's not worth doing.  Isn't it possible to find just as much joy in that one perfectly placed stroke of paint, as in the completed painting?  Sharing my joy, enthusiasm and love for what I do gets me some funny looks from people that don't understand sometimes but should I let that stop me? It's who I am.  I'd love for everyone to love painting as much as I do, but even though I know that is impossible, I'm not going to temper my excitement because of it.   The lesson we all should learn from them is to let our personality...who we really are, shine through and light up the path that we are on.  

Keep Pounding.  What a mantra for us all.   We all have our struggles with life.  As artists, we all have our struggles with creating.  My wrist is just a small part of my painting.  My hand does the physical labor but my brain and heart and eyes do the real work.  That is where my paintings come from.   That part hasn't changed.  It might take me a little longer, or I might have to figure out a different way to put paint on the canvas but the "me" is still there.  I am not giving up, even temporarily.  I will have to find another way around the problem.

And so, I will continue to paint with a broken wrist, despite those who think I am crazy.  Interestingly enough, even though my arm is exhausted today from painting yesterday, it was the least frustrating thing I did all day.  Much easier than eating with my left hand and trying to get ready in the morning. Maybe it is the joy that I find in it or maybe it is the commitment that I have to it but whatever the reason, I am happy that I can persevere.  And keep pounding.

Early morning in Wyoming - Work in Progress