Jun 29, 2010

Drawing the bridge

Above: “Drawn in Water Colors”
Below: “The Bridge to Everywhere”

I like both of these paintings for their limited color palette. One of the paintings I like for its abstractness; the other, I like partly because it’s a bridge with which I’m familiar. I’ve driven over and painted Wrightsville Beach drawbridge many times. Up until now, however, I have never painted the bridge open as you see it here. And I have yet to drive over the bridge when it’s open. If I ever do, consider me depressed. In this event, it’s quite likely you’ll read about it elsewhere before you read it here.

Jun 27, 2010

The Berkeley Cafe

“The Berkeley”
7 x 10" watercolor

Saturday I lunched late at the Roast Grill in Raleigh and said to the owner George, “My beloved painting stool fell apart. I need to find a place with park benches that might have a view of something I can paint.”

George directed me to a park with benches, but none of the benches offered a view of anything I wanted to paint. In heat well into the 90’s, I sat in my vehicle, turning on the air intermittently, and painted this view. I know nothing about The Berkeley Café except George told me it had been there forever and that I should paint it. Now I have.

I could have named this painting “Red, White, and Blue.” I particularly like the whites. I believe it was the late great artist and instructor Edgar Whitney who said in regard to watercolors, “Your whites will be your Ace card.”

Jun 16, 2010

Weaver Street Market

“Picnic at Weaver Street Market”
7 x 10" watercolor

Here’s the second painting I did last Saturday when I had all but given up on finding a cool enough place to paint. Weaver Street Market*, the building you see in back of the trees was just voted an Outdoor Dining finalist by the central North Carolina tabloid, Independent Weekly. Not bad, considering the Market is a place one needs to wait on oneself cafeteria-style. On the other hand, how many places do you know where you can run in, get a bottle of wine, then go picnic with it outside?

The people in my painting were not posed, but constantly moving, always a challenge when I paint in this calligraphic style. Reason being? — This style painting is a two-step process in which the ground colors need to dry before the calligraphic lines are put in for definition. I always keep my brushes crossed in hopes my subject matter won’t walk, run, or drive off between paint applications.

A friend asked how old these people are. Can’t you see the wine bottles? Young adults. “They look like children, not adults,” she commented. Well, this may not be the case for my friend (who happens to be older than I am), but to me, young people are all beginning to look like children. It has occurred to me that someday the President of this country will look like a child to me, and this I may find totally disconcerting.

* Go to Weaver Street Market’s home page on its web site and you’ll see a watercolor created in Photoshop of an outdoor scene not too unlike the one I painted.

Jun 15, 2010

Carrboro Farmers’ Market

“Carrboro Farmers’ Market
7 x 10" watercolor

What is it that makes an urban population enjoy getting out on a Saturday morning to shop for locally grown produce? My memory of “hunting and gathering” at a local farmers’ market goes all the way back to Minneapolis in 1977.

I can’t say why the Carrboro Farmers’ Market is so popular, but every time I mention to people that I’m painting the Chapel Hill area, they ask me if I’ve gone to the Farmers’ Market in Carrboro. I’ve only been there twice. The first time to shop; last Saturday, to paint. Luckily I found a nice shade tree under which to set up. The temperatures soared into the 90’s. I’ll go back again to paint some more, but I can say the temptation to shop is a great one. Produce at this farmers’ market is locally grown. The entire Carrboro/Chapel Hill area is very bent on supporting its local farmers. Check out the rather amazing web site of this renowned farmers’ market.

Jun 8, 2010

Praying for our commercial fishermen

“Praying for our fishermen”
18 x 24" oil

I’m in the process of painting an area in North Carolina that is known as “Down East”. It stretches from the North River (north of Beaufort, NC) all the way up to Cedar Island. It was coincidence that a nearby gallery in Atlantic Beach, NC recently invited me to participate in a show of coastal paintings by various plein air artists. The show opened on Saturday, June 6 and will be hanging through the 25th of this month.

I wrote about this painting and the struggle of our commercial fishermen in my March 5 blog. In painting the area, I am attempting to paint the culture, and to capture its images before development further changes its face. When I passed by a church marquis last February that read, “PRAYING FOR OUR COMMERCIAL FISHERMEN”, I decided I needed to add the scene to my Down East repertoire. It so captures what has been taking place in the area. The combination of environmental laws that restrict commercial fishing, with the low prices of imported seafood have pretty much wiped out the hope for survival of most commercial fishermen in the area.

Four months after I did this painting, the environmentalists must be looking like our fishermens’ best friends. Environmentalists are against off shore drilling. What a monumental tragedy our gulf fishermen are experiencing. I had no idea when I painted this the catastrophe that was looming for our Gulf Coast, and let’s pray not the Atlantic Seaboard as well.

The oil painting is $700 and is currently hanging at Vision Gallery as part of the gallery’s Coastal Plein Air Show.