Sep 29, 2009

Painting with a buddy

“Lou painting on Double Running Trail”
6 x 8" oil

How I adore plein air painting! Have you noticed? And how much better it can be when it’s a shared experience. Here’s my buddy Lou, painting up a storm on just about the calmest September day one might imagine. The advantages of plein air painting with one or more other people are 1) you are spending time with a kindred spirit(s), 2) you can leave your gear setting if you need to leave momentarily, 3) it’s safer. Please visit my other blog at to see several other plein air trail paintings completed this month. Be sure when you get there to scroll down, as there are three days of trail paintings posted there. Happy Painting Trails to you!

On the Plein Air Trail with Brenda Behr: Dans la voiture

On the Plein Air Trail with Brenda Behr: Dans la voiture

Famous fruit stand

View from Wilber’s Barbecue
6 x 9" watercolor

People call it the fruit stand at Wilber’s. I don’t know if the fruit stand is famous, but Wilber’s Barbecue certainly is. The dominant red vertical behind the stand is actually a neon sign for the restaurant. I’ve only done this view of the fruit stand once before. I painted it in a workshop using a photo for reference that included my mother whose eye had to be on peaches. My first year back home in North Carolina, she and I purchased so many peaches at this fruit stand that it got to the point, she would announce to me when we were out of peaches. I was still slicing peaches for her when she was on her deathbed. I am grateful now for all the peaches I have peeled and sliced.

Sep 27, 2009

Close to home

“Pumpkin time at Elroy’s
7 x 9" watercolor

Same produce market as I posted in “Best Kept Secret” on August 3. Fast forward two months, multiple mums, plus pumpkins. Having an empty parking lot on a Sunday afternoon made for a clear view of the wonderful display of autumn produce and flowers. There should, however, be a law against plein air painting, writing a newsletter and posting a blog all on the same day. Bear with me. There’s more in store tomorrow.
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Sep 12, 2009


6 x 9"

Yesterday, of course, was 9/11. It’s one of those anniversaries comparable to the assassination of JFK, in that those who were old enough will never forget. We’ll remember the time of day, the place we were at and whom we were with. And I think it’s appropriate that we don’t forget. These are days in our history that changed who we are as a nation and the course of things to come.

And so, in remembering this frightful tragedy, I took my paints to a landmark that was likely to be remembering with me, the NC State Capitol. I was in Raleigh for the day and this was the place that came first to mind.

Artists do what they do for a multitude of reasons. We want to share the beauty of what we behold, we want to share an emotion, or we want to call attention to something or to memorialize it.

The figure to the left is a monument at the Capitol of Ensign Worth Bagley, a Raleigh native who was not only the first American naval officer killed in the Spanish-American War, he was the only. Here too, is art which purpose was to memorialize.

“Observance” is available for purchase in the Original Watercolors collection of

Worth Bagley sculpture: F.H. Packer

Sep 6, 2009

El’s Drive-In

“El’s Land-In”
6x8" oil on panel

Popular hang-out in Morehead City. I painted this scene from a shaded picnic table on July 4th. The seagulls know what’s good, and where they’ll find hand-outs. I love the way they perch on top of the sign. This view of the side of the building, shows the gulls in profile, all screeching, “Eat at El’s! Eat at El’s!” Now what sign painter could beat that?

Sep 2, 2009


“Two palms and a lighthouse”
6 x 9" watercolor
available in the Original Watercolors Collection of

Not a North Carolina lighthouse, Tybee Island Light is on the coast just east of Savannah, Georgia. Last March my good friend Rita and I met there for a long weekend of sightseeing, dining, and observing the first buds of spring. Rita, a generous friend, gave me time alone so I could do some painting. What a kind gesture! Thank you, Rita!

On Sunday, three lighthouse paintings, similar in style to this one, went with me for drop-off at Carolina Creations in New Bern. In fact, this is my only remaining lighthouse, other than giclée reproductions, that is not going to be in the New Bern “Iconic Lighthouse” show at Carolina Creations. See the Events schedule on my web site for information about the show.

Sep 1, 2009

The “Old” Guthrie

“The Guthrie on Vineland”
5 x 7" watercolor

In Minnesota, it may be impolite to talk about the weather. But hey, I’m way far south of there, so maybe I can get by with it. On August 1949, Minnesota had its earliest snowfall. Say what? I have worn wool (fingerless) gloves while painting on the shore of Lake Superior in July. Say winter plein air painting in Minnesota? I don’t think so, Charlie.

I attended A Streetcar Named Desire at this Minneapolis theater in August 1974. In August 2006 I sat down on the steps of the “old” Walker Art Center, and painted this watercolor of the “old” Guthrie Theatre. I often wonder why,
over time, everything around me is getting “old”?

Today, I salute the Guthrie that used to be. Demolition began just four months after I’d done this painting. On a cold day in January 2007, the building was demolished. I remember. I was out somewhere on the Carolina Coast painting winter salt marshes en plein air.

“The Guthrie on Vineland” is available on my web site in the Original Watercolors Collection.