Oct 1, 2014

Double Vision: Kinston and beyond opening reception October 2

Tomorrow evening from 6-8pm there will be a meet-the-artist reception at the Community Council for the Arts in Kinston, North Carolina for Double Vision: Kinston and beyond,  the third of artist Robert Rigsby’s and my Double Vision exhibitions. This show will include sixty-four pairs of paintings Robert and I have done, mostly while plein air painting side by side.

Sep 28, 2014

Once in a lifetime

Rm 36 at JH Adams Inn, approx. 7x10" watercolor
Last week I participated in Peidmont Plein Air 2014, an inaugural juried paint out in High Point, North Carolina that went on for four days. The first night, I stayed up and painted my room at JH Adams Inn. Having been generously treated to dinner at the five-star Hampton’s Restaurant, by fellow plein air painters Jim Carson and Sandi Botstein; then landing in this lavish room, Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime” 80’s lyrics went through my head. “How did I get here?,” I had to ask myself.

Aug 27, 2014

Creative crashing

Elizabeth’s studio, 7x10" watercolor
One of the benefits of being an artist, and of being single, is all the hospitality that is extended from friends by way of overnight accommodations. I have had more than one friend say, “Think of this as your home away from home.” I could not afford to do all the travel I do if it weren’t for the kind generosity of friends who offer me a place to stay when I am in their neck of the woods. Here is the studio of artist Elizabeth Healey whose husband/partner Duffy and I met earlier this year. They share a house with their two wonderful kids, Thiesen and Liliana.

Jul 10, 2014

Nags Head

Something Fishy, 7x9" watercolor
I made a final trip over to Nags Head to paint this gift shop called Something Fishy. My watercolor style, often referred to as whimsical, lends itself well to all things funky. It makes sense in a town called Nags Head that one would find some whimsy. I haven’t heard this story in years, but my understanding is Nags Head got its name because in days of old, when pirates roamed the shores, they would tie a lantern to the head of a nag (old horse). They would then walk the horse up the tall sound dunes that can be found in the area. Ships at sea, thinking they were spotting a lighthouse, would come crashing into the shores, only to be robbed of their bounties. Now, I’m going to check Wikipedia to see if I got this right. Not too far off, btw.

Jul 9, 2014

Jolly good fun

Jolly Roger, 9x7" watercolor
On Sunday, I followed Lou over a couple of bridges to Nags Head; then north to Kill Devil Hills. Yes, the Wright Brothers flew there. A giant leap for womankind. Get this, readers, spell check catches mankind, but leaves womankind alone. Yay! Another giant leap for womankind!

In search of a place called the Jolly Roger, we passed a place called Something Fishy. Very funky; very paintable. Knew I would need to revisit it later with my watercolors. Once at the Jolly Roger, I knew why Lou had been wanting to share this place with me. With permission from the owner to set up and paint there, I dropped anchor and did today’s featured watercolor.

So much to paint; so little time.

Jul 8, 2014

Just plein fun

Wanchese Inn, 7x9" watercolor
Yesterday evening I came home with a half dozen (3 watercolors; 3 oils) plein air paintings I’d done over the weekend on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. My good friend and painting buddy Lou Everett had invited me to join her on a painting trip to this area that she knows so much better than I do. We stayed at the Wanchese Inn, a quaint little B&B, just half a mile or so from a marina that had a good selection of shrimp boats begging to be painted. Also at the marina, was a wonderful seafood restaurant called Fisherman’s Wharf, where we celebrated the close of our first wonderful plein air day.
view from Fisherman’s Wharf

Jul 3, 2014

Here today; gone tomorrow

Docked at Homer Smith Seafood, 9x7" watercolor
Last weekend I had been scheduled to paint in the historic Old Burying Grounds during Beaufort’s Old Homes and Garden Tour. When my friend and host Deborah told me that Homer Smith Seafood would soon be gone, I opted to paint it instead. Luckily, I had my watercolors with me as a storm coming in would not have given me enough time to do this scene in oils.

Jul 1, 2014

A view of people

Davis-Kittrell family treasures, 9x7" watercolor

A gallery in Greensboro that represents my work believed my interiors such as this might sell. I have sold only one. The paintings are personal. Maybe room portraits is a good name for them. I think they are of interest primarily to the people who live in the rooms. When walking around the lakes in Minneapolis, I used to enjoy a glimpse through the windows, uncovered by blinds or curtains, into the rooms of people who lived there. Beautiful interiors with baby grand pianos in many of them. I believe my interiors give us a glimpse into the people who live in them.

Jun 26, 2014

Have brush will travel

I returned to Goldsboro on Tuesday after a three-day painting trip in Raleigh; before that, Emerald Isle and Morehead City, NC.
8620 Reed Drive, 7x9" watercolor
A couple with whom I am friends just bought the most adorable beach home on Emerald Isle. I think I featured the cabana and outdoor shower at this place a couple blog posts ago. I met Debbie Fallin through a Bunko group that I have been playing with now for almost two years. Debbie decided a stay-over at the beach would be fun for the Bunco gals. We didn’t play Bunco there, but we had some wonderful meals and great fun. As for me, my great fun was painting.

The painting of the house above will be a gift from Debbie and husband Phil to the former owner, a man whose partner died suddenly from a massive heart attack. Heartbroken, he put the house, including all its furnishings, on the market. He and his partner had exceptional taste and a flair for whimsy. I hope he likes the watercolor.

I delivered a commissioned watercolor when I was on the coast to a customer in Morehead City. While in Morehead, I ran over to El’s Drive-In, a historic drive-up restaurant that’s been around since 1959. The wind was whipping up a storm. I think I have captured it in the painting below. 
Fly-in Drive-in, 7½ x 9" watercolor

Jun 16, 2014

Destination: Uniquely R’s

French-press bar at Gladstone, 7x9" watercolor
Here’s a new term, destination shop. That’s what you will say too once you’ve experienced Uniquely R’s in downtown Goldsboro, North Carolina. In our town, small businesses have been chewed up, swallowed, and digested by the existence of two Walmart stores. Before Harris Teeter came along, a person would have to go to one of these Walmart super stores to find anything as exotic as cilantro. You may agree, it is perhaps the produce department where all things exotic end at a Walmart.

Now Goldsboro has a shop that no Walmart will ever touch. Uniquely R’s, located in the old Gidden’s Jewelry Store, is full of the quaint, the romantic, the one-of-a-kind conversation starters that make unusual gifts for your best of friends should they be so lucky. The shop has reasonably priced designer clothing that you won’t find hanging at even the swankiest department store. I gave in this week and picked up some items appropriate to wear to my next art opening. And then, allowing owner Creativity Queen Ruth Glisson to accessorize another ensemble I was trying on, I realized I was outfitted for the next Academy Awards. Now just to get the invitation.

Once you’ve browsed the shop, contemplate your selections over a hot-pressed coffee or tea served in the tea room in back. This room called Gladstone has the ambiance and charm of a cozy Victorian parlor. A variety of cakes and cookies are available, depending on the whims and inspirations of a local baker.

Mother daughter tea at Gladstone, 7x9" watercolor
Uniquely R’s and Gladstone are located at 135 South Center St., next to the Historic Paramount Theatre in Historic downtown Goldsboro.

Jun 9, 2014

Peint sur l’emplaceme

Sandy’s studio, 7x9" watercolor

I awoke this morning knowing I wanted to share this interior today, but then thinking, it’s not en plein air if it was painted inside. The literal translation for en plein air is “in the open air.” So, what do I call my interior paintings? Sur l'emplacement in French translates to “on location” in English. The last time I searched for a new term was when I was looking for a phrase for [painted] “in the car.” I went online with dans la voiture, a French prepositional phrase, and landed on a French soft porn movie. One needs to be careful when coming up with terms in another language.

I think I’ll stick with “on location” for those paintings I do of interiors. So, this painting was done on location in the studio of talented artist friend Sandy Donn. Sandy put me up four times earlier in the year when a Scott Burdick series of portrait classes had me running to Winston-Salem. She extended her hospitality again Friday night when a fundraiser at Tyler White O’Brien Gallery took me to Greensboro, not that far from Sandy’s place in Winston-Salem. This little watercolor will be a small token to her for my appreciation.

Jun 3, 2014

The magical Blooming Garden Inn

Find the daddy cardinal in this picture, 6x9" watercolor
This spring has been a ripe piece of fruit that I have juiced for all the paintings I could squeeze out of it. Many more paintings were painted en plein air, but most of them oil, so I have not shared but a few of them on this blog. As I’ve mentioned, I try to reserve this plein air blog for my calligraphic watercolors. The ultimate place I visited this spring at which to render these watercolors was perhaps the Blooming Garden Inn in Durham.

What a treat it was to stay there. Proprietors Frank and Dolly Pokrass are equally interesting and eclectic as the Inn with all its trappings and antiques. I am convinced Dolly dresses up at night as a fairy godmother with a duster, magically transforms all the fireflies in her garden into fairy recruits and puts them to work weeding the garden by moonlight and helping her dust all the collectibles inside the Inn. If you knew Dolly, you would believe this possible.

I hope these paintings of the Inn’s animal-friendly garden convey a touch of the whimsy that permeates the appropriately named Blooming Garden Inn.

Find the mama cardinal in this picture, 9x6" watercolor

Jun 2, 2014

En plein country air

Late spring at Mabel’s, 7x9" watercolor
I love coming home from a trip with a slug of watercolors I can share. This time, I came home from a five-day trip with four oil paintings, and just this one watercolor. Mabel’s is the guesthouse at Jane and Layton Getsinger’s, where I have the good fortune to stay when I travel west to Statesville, NC. I have mentioned Mabel’s in earlier posts, as already I have shared an oil of the house as well as three watercolors of its interior.

On the same property this past week, I immersed myself in an attempt to capture the beauty of the Getsinger property. A vast hayfield there is now in its prime and ready for cutting. I also made it a point to paint Shoes in the walls, a curious interior view, also inside Mabel’s. The shoes painting as well as the story behind the shoes can be found in “A country dream,” the Behr Path newsletter I sent out yesterday.

Path to the garden, 8x10" oil on panel

May 27, 2014

Memorial Day at the beach

Cabana retreat, 7x9" watercolor

I am so happy with my life as a painter that there is no room for envy for the life or things of my friends’. Even so, if I were to be envious, I would envy my friend Debbie for the adorable little beach house in Emerald Isle that she and her husband Phil bought just a couple months ago. It is absolutely adorable and full of furnishings and accessories that I would want if the place was my own.

When Debbie called Saturday with an invitation to spend the night there, I knew I had way too much on my plate to consider going. However, she understood that I would be getting up early to paint with a buddy, and that, mostly I would be there to sleep and have dinner out with her. I made it to the beach in time to paint this little watercolor which will be my hostess gift to her as soon as I’ve matted it.

May 6, 2014

Two more nights at Blooming Garden Inn

Morning Glory Suite, 7¼ x 9¾
Two weekends ago you couldn’t have told me I would be staying a week later in a suite at Blooming Garden Inn. Part of what I love about my life is that what lies beyond the next corner is so often a mystery.

I had committed to paint Saturday and Sunday in Chapel Hill’s Garden Tour. Also, last year, I had promised friend and talented artist Karen Lee Crenshaw that I would let her know the next time I went to Chapel Hill to paint in the Sisters’ Garden. Since I would be in Chapel Hill already to paint in the garden tour, it made sense to add another day to the trip to paint in the Sisters’ Garden. Fortunately, it worked out for Karen to join me.

The reason this bedroom is called a “suite” is because it has an adjoining bedroom that connects to a bathroom about the size of this master bedroom. The bathroom, F.Y.I., has a Jacuzzi® BIG enough for two, plus a shower, plus two sinks, plus a sitting area for two. Definitely a room not made for a couple of heterosexual artist friends like Karen and me.

The highlight of the entire Morning Glory Suite is the beautiful canopy bed. Owner Frank Pokrass explained to me that before the invention of electricity, steam power was used to craft furniture such as this. The parts made with steam power are the incredible and perfectly crafted cork screw walnut posts and rail at the foot of the bed. Co-owner and mistress of the house, Dolly Pokrass, gave me information about the room as well. The entire suite with its harmonious purples, pinks and maroons was decorated around the morning glories in the stained glass piece hanging in the West window.

Apr 29, 2014

Blooming Garden Inn

Enter the Blooming Garden Inn, 7¼ x 9¼ watercolor
When I was told we might be walking at 8:10 on Saturday morning for the 5K and Family Fun Walk, an annual fundraiser for the brain tumor center at Duke University, immediate alarm clock anxiety set in. My friend Chris had asked if I could meet at the hotel of her and her friend Ronni’s at 7:15. I knew I’d have to find a place to stay nearby. That’s when I went online and found the Blooming Garden Inn.

Upon entering the front room, innkeeper Frank Pokrass introduced me to pet German shepherd Savannah. The room then immediately reminded me of some place in Savannah, Georgia. Frank and his wife Dolly Pokrass are collectors, have been all over the world, so the B&B they run in Durham is filled with all kinds of interesting furniture and collectibles. Normally, I paint my room when I travel, but Frank and Dolly made me feel so much at home, that I knew it would be okay to set up and paint in the inn’s living room.

Apr 16, 2014

A guy thing

Mostly Jane, with a touch of Layton, 7 x 9½" watercolor
I have been so privileged my three trips to Statesville to stay in Mabel’s, the charming guest house of friends Jane and Layton Getsinger.

Timing was such on Sunday before I left for Carowinds that I had enough time to do one more watercolor inside the charming guest house. The flashlight on the table is the “touch of Layton” referred to in the title. This is the flashlight Layton gave to me to use for walks at night back and forth to the main house.

My dad bought me a flashlight in 1980 when he and my mother visited me in Minneapolis in 1980. I had just bought my very first property. Dad walked in with the flashlight one day and announced, “I have just made a major improvement to this house.” Flashlights are a guy-thing.

Apr 15, 2014

“Thrill Capital of the Southeast”

Carowinds 2, 12x18" watercolor
NCPAP is the acronym for North Carolina Plein Air Painters, an organization of plein air painters that includes individuals as well as all the various groups of plein air painters in North Carolina. Saturday and Sunday we were invited to paint Carowinds, a huge amusement park on the outskirts of Charlotte. Included here are the two paintings I did that day.

One of the reasons I slowed down on my posts here On the Plein Air Trail is that I have become so regular posting on Facebook. Since many of you see me my posts on Facebook, I wanted to avoid the redundancy of the same work and in some cases the same words. I have decided, phooey on this! Better to have seen twice than not to have seen at all! So to Facebook friends, pardon the repeated posts.
Carowinds 1, 18½ x12½ watercolor

Apr 8, 2014

Front rooms

Front room at Mabel’s, 7x10" watercolor
Here’s looking toward the front window of Jane and Layton’s guest house. It is such a contrast to the chaos that is my front room. Isn’t front room an old way of saying living room? Seems some rooms are more living rooms than front rooms, and conversely, other rooms feel more like front rooms than living rooms. Maybe front rooms got their name as they are the rooms we most want to put in “front” of our guests. In the case of Mabel’s front room, I think it just happens that this is the room at the front of this 100-plus-year-old house.

Jane Getsinger is an artist, who, unlike me, allows her artistic talents to affect and have wonderful influence on all of her surroundings. I tend to stay busy throwing paint around, and either storing paintings here or moving them into other environments. Most of my paintings look better and are happier in other folks’ homes. Just a suggestion. ;-)

All are invited to attend my solo exhibition, North Carolina: Statesville and beyond, opening Friday evening at Iredell Museums in Statesville. For details, visit the Events section of my web site.

Mabel’s, 9x12" oil on panel

Apr 7, 2014

Sleeping around

To bed with the chickens, 7x10" watercolor
In the eighties, I wouldn’t dream of crashing at anyone’s house. I thought, back then, that this is something only college kids do. It was the eighties, the era of overabundance. Now I find myself an artist in the 21st century, and very willing to accept the hospitality that seems to run rampant in the South.

The folks I stayed with for on a Friday night in late March, Duffy and Elizabeth Healey, are an artist couple, Southern, but Southern Californian. I accepted their generous offer to sleep in Elizabeth’s studio. See Elizabeth’s wonderful watch dogs who guarded me. See her other wonderful works at http://elizabethlaulhealey.com/

That Saturday night I stayed in Statesville in the guest house of artist Jane Getsinger. I had to take chickens off the bed so I could crawl in that night.

Mar 15, 2014

Aprés hiatus

Late winter warm-up, 7x10" watercolor
Since I last posted on this blog, I have done many plein air oils, but only two small watercolors on location, and one of them is an interior. I may share them with you at some point. Over the last two months The Little Art Gallery in Raleigh has sold ten of my small plein air watercolors and two of my larger ones. This will inspire me to turn out some new ones. Milder temperatures will make this more enjoyable.

Yesterday in Raleigh, I painted two of the Krispy Kreme® doughnut shop at the intersection of Peace and Person Streets. Today’s featured painting is one of them.