Apr 28, 2012

Painting green

Education Center at the NC Botanical Garden, 8x10" watercolor

I’m itching to paint today, and paint I will. Sometimes I wonder if some of you are thinking, “I wish that lady would do more painting and less writing.” I’ve always liked telling stories. It may be a Southern thing. Long before blogs and long before I was writing a weekly newsletter, my best California friend used to call my verbal reports “Brenda stories.”

So here’s the yarn that goes with these two paintings. Several members of PAINT NC were invited to paint en plein air during the recent Chapel Hill Garden Tour. Our designated location was the North Carolina Botanical Garden. What a privilege it was to paint there. The gardens are amazing, but so is the building there known as the Education Center. It’s a green building. This used to mean a color, then it meant jealousy, then it meant money, not necessarily in this order. How confusing this must be to people green to the English language. Now the word green often means environmentally friendly. I think we should just call them Smart Buildings. I so admire people and institutions who use (or don’t use) our resources wisely. Dr. Peter White, the Director of the NC Botanical Garden, bikes to work. He’s smart too.

Nestled in the herb garden is the Rosemary Garden. I was attracted by the scent, but also by the path that led to a white climbing rose arbor, a wonderful respite on hot summer days.
View from the Rosemary Garden, 8x10" watercolor

Apr 20, 2012

Painting the Governor

Wife of the First Gentleman greets friends, 7 x 5" watercolor
I know for certain North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue has had better paintings made of her. However, I doubt she’s been in quicker paintings.

Saturday in New Bern, NC, I spent the evening painting the wedding of Eleanor Jurney Wilkins to Tate Colin Johnson. As the wedding took place, I painted from the balcony of First Presbyterian Church. Afterwards, when I began to paint the reception, in walked the Governor. It turns out the groom, Tate, works for Governor Perdue, so she was there not on official duty, but as a guest.

Not one for gawking, I waited until I was some distance from her to feature her in a painting. When I paint events, I most often sit on my beloved portable folding stool. It keeps me close to ground level where my water and other supplies are near at hand. So I was low to the floor when a voice above said, “I see you’re painting my wife.” I never did meet the Governor but I chatted with her husband, Bob Eaves, long enough to tell him how very pretty I think his wife is.

Click Wilkins/Johnson Wedding to view the other twenty-two watercolor sketches depicting this event.

Vows as family and friends look on, 5 ½ x 8 ½" watercolor

Apr 7, 2012

Southern hospitality from a New Yorker

Nancy’s back porch, 9x5" watercolor
Next Friday is another “FIRST FRIDAY” event at the downtown Arts Council of Wayne County in downtown Goldsboro. Do stop by and put your name in a jar for a chance to win a free 8x10” oil portrait. Catch is, you must be willing to sit for two hours. Children 9 years and up only. Click for further information.

I’ve been hot on the trail for two weeks. North Carolina travel has included two trips to Chapel Hill, one to Wilmington, and a couple to Raleigh. I have lots to share, so this is a start.

When I’m in Chapel Hill I stay with friend Nancy, a highly cultured woman who’s home is filled with antiques and collectibles. If I ever land there in nasty weather, Nan has subject matter out the gazoo, any of which would honor a still life painting.

Above is the interior of Nan’s back porch. For me, the primitive black crow (maybe it’s a raven) on the ledge has always been a focal point in the room. Nancy’s house has a rich patina, developed over years of Nancy’s collecting. This is my second painting and the second time I’ve shared a painting of the entry to her house. See blog post “Beach Break” for the story behind the first painting. The cherry tree amassed with blooms this week was irresistible. Like former New Yorker, Nancy, the entry way to the front door has a certain mystery to it. I've included both paintings below.

Nan’s cherry tree, 7x 9½" watercolor

Pathway to Nan’s, 6x9" watercolor