Aug 14, 2017

From the dock

Dockside from the water6¾ x 8¾“
A gallery that represents me in Greensboro, NC, has several customers who have second homes in the Wilmington area. Since I was going to Wilmington anyway, I called Kathy, the gallery owner, for suggestions of places I might paint. I had already started Dockside from the street when it was suggested I paint the popular restaurant from the water. I thought I would have to find a boat, but turns out, Dockside has its own dock. Of course they would.

Aug 10, 2017

Onto Wrightsville Beach

Dockside from the street, 6¾ x 9½" watercolor
Actually, this popular seafood eatery is in WilmingtonDockside Restaurant is, however, more highly associated with Wrightsville Beach. Located on the west side of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, it is just before one crosses over to Wrightsville Beach. It was perhaps the first seafood restaurant I can remember going to in North Carolina where the menu didn’t consist of mostly deep fried seafood. It was also the first place I tried soft shell crabs, served on buns with fries on the side. With all their legs extending out of the buns, the soft shell crab sandwiches look like they could run off. Buns with legs — who’da thought?

Aug 9, 2017

Back in North Carolina

Rx in Wilmington, 6½ x 9½" watercolor
I was back in Goldsboro [from my trip to Minnesota] about a month, when I felt the need to get away again, this time for three days in the Wilmington area. I drove down on a Tuesday. Thinking it might rain the entire time I was there, I contacted the owner of a couple of popular restaurants to ask if I might paint inside his restaurants in the event of rain. With some skepticism, he granted me permission to come in before the restaurants opened their doors for dinner. Turns out I didn’t need to stay indoors. Although the skies were threatening, I managed to do this watercolor upon arriving my first day there. For those not familiar, Rx restaurant got its name because it is located in a building that formally housed a 20th century drug store.

Aug 8, 2017

Side excursion

Bird Break, 3 x 8¾" watercolor
For sure this is a detour. It actually takes me back to a visit with my friend Rita, who in January 2015 was wintering in an RV park in Fort Meyers, Florida. A mutual friend of ours took me on a day trip south to the Everglades, a fabulous place to visit. Wildlife abounds in the National Park there. I took advantage of some time to do some sumi-e style watercolors. I painted mostly a Great Blue Heron, but couldn’t resist this alligator who seemed tame enough. Tomorrow, Bird Break is joining many other animals in a series of paintings I refer to as BehrCritters. Almost daily, a new BehrCritter watercolor goes up for auction. Click on today’s auction item, Looking Back, a pelican painted on a visit to Oak Island, NC.

Aug 6, 2017

Another interior

Blue kettle, 9x6" watercolor

Three days after my return to North Carolina in July, I drove to Blowing Rock, NC, where I taught a class to members of the local country club. I didn’t know until the night before that some of the students would be using, not what I had recommended, but watercolors and paper donated by Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff. The night before the class, in the kitchen of my host’s home, I decided I should do one myself using the materials provided. How I lust for her old fangled-looking stove. I just noticed, this floor has a striking resemblance to the floor in my last post.

Aug 5, 2017

The color of clean

Sunporch at Judy and Steve’s, 9x6" watercolor

I couldn’t get less done this morning if I tried. Guess it’s Saturday morning. Going back to some vacation days when I was more productive, here’s Sunporch at Judy and Steve’s. I didn’t notice ’til later, there wasn’t a speck on the floor. Not on the sunporch, not in the house; probably not even on the deck. When Judy isn’t concocting some wonderful dish, she is picking up specks. It wasn’t until I painted this piece that I notice the little dots on the painted floor match the round balls that hold up the bookcase. Clever.

Aug 4, 2017

Minnesota excursion

Judy’s deck, 6x9" watercolor
It seems ages since I visited Minnesota. In reality, it was just over a month ago when I went to see former sister-in-law Judy and her husband Steve. What a wonderful time it was! Judy is one magnificent cook and they have a beautiful home on one of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes. Above is the deck where we had supper my first night there. Sunfish and sweetcorn were the main course that beautiful evening.

Jun 28, 2017

The Big Oak

Shrimp Burger Heaven, 7 x 9½" watercolor

Another iconic food joint, this one in Salter Path, NC. I pitched my umbrella in the blazingly hot, sunlit parking lot that day. Luckily, I found a patch off the pavement, which by noon, was filled with cars. I learned I can quick paint the cars, then put in a wash and proceed with the remainder of the painting. Vehicles, animals and people move constantly, and so present a challenge to a plein air painter.

Jun 27, 2017

Another Krispy Kreme

Crepe Myrtle Time of Year, 7 x 9½" watercolor
Back from Krispy Kreme two days later. Picking up a medium coffee and a traditional cake doughnut has become a habit ever since my system would allow me to drink coffee again. I put away my coffeemaker last year after a bout of c diff colitis, something I would not wish on anyone. I lost a much needed nineteen pounds, five pounds of which I have regained. I think I would have gained more had I reverted to my daylong habit of nursing coffee with hazelnut Coffee-mate®. Seems everything on the market with low fat is high in sugar, and everything sugarless is high in fat.

Speaking of fat, here’s the Krispy Kreme at Peace and Person streets in Raleigh. I’m happy to say I have done and sold more paintings of this shop than I have eaten doughnuts there. Can’t say the same for the Krispy Kreme here in Goldsboro, NC.

Jun 25, 2017

Do not is another way I should spell donut

Flip Flop Donut Shop, 7 x 9½" watercolor
My watercolors of late are getting ahead of me. Not really. Facebook has a tendency to kill peoples’ blogs. All of us are suckers for immediate gratification, and the social media giant makes it so easy for followers to Like, Love, Laugh, and Cry at our our posts. 

Here’s a painting I did recently when I was a guest of friends at their mobile home in Emerald Isle, NC. Speaking of doughnuts, I haven’t yet made my daily run to my favorite local doughnut shop. Be back soon.

May 17, 2017

Vintage Business

Chester Laundry7 x 9½" watercolor
I remember the first time I was asked to paint a place of business. It was a commissioned painting that would become a gift to my customer’s husband. I drove out to take photos of the designated workplace, and I remember thinking I had never seen a more uninspiring subject matter. It was a one-story building, flat-roofed that appeared to stretch out forever. Without giving away where this was, I will stop here with the description.

Not so with the business that was suggested I paint earlier this month in Chester, South Carolina. If someone had set me loose to paint any building in Chester, this is the one I may likely have chosen. Chester Laundry & Dry Cleaners is said to be the oldest business in Chester. Originally constructed as Farthing Steam Laundry prior to 1908, the business has been in the Whitesides family for more than one generation.

May 10, 2017

Wedding in Chester, South Carolina

Lowrys Schoolhouse7 x 9½" watercolor

I just received my second booking to paint a wedding in 2018. How time flies! This will mark my tenth year to receive commissions to paint weddings.

Last weekend I painted my first rained-out wedding, this one in Chester, South Carolina. The show went on, of course, but under a tent, not as planned. Both me and my paintings were rained on at the Friday evening rehearsal. The rehearsal dinner following was inside, and although it was unseasonably cold out, at least we were under shelter for dinner. Here’s historic Lowrys Schoolhouse, converted to a community center, where dinner and toasts followed the rehearsal.

Mar 23, 2017

Your favorite movie here

Your favorite movie here7 x 9½" watercolor
Fast forward to North Carolina and to spring. Finally, the weather was such on Tuesday that I could get in some plein air painting. This is the third watercolor I did that day. The Rialto is Raleigh’s most popular theater, maybe its most popular theater, period. I have sold every painting I have done of it. In 2008, I put a not-so-subliminal title in the marquis. When the movie Words and Pictures came around, I painted the theater, including movie title, mostly because I liked the name of the movie so much. I don’t know who bought the watercolor, but when someone saw it had sold, they asked me to paint it again on commission. His daughter had been proposed to the night she and her future husband attended the movie and had become engaged.

So, the name of this one is Your Favorite Movie Here. I am willing to put the title in upon request by the person who buys the painting.

Mar 13, 2017

View from a window

Looking Back at Kelley and Mack’s7 x 9½" watercolor
If I had known what crummy weather we would be having in Carolina in March, I may have chosen this month to go to California. Turns out, the weather was largely the same, except there was possibly more rain in what is supposed to be “sunny” California. I experienced a couple of perfect days to stay indoors. Kelley’s house included a lovely view of the backyard which had in it a fabulous Jacuzzi hot tub. On a sunnier day, I managed to squeeze in a watercolor of her house. Paintings like these make good host gifts when I travel. Kelley proved to be the ultimate host on my trip.
Haghighi Home, 7 x 9½" watercolor

Mar 4, 2017

It's In the Details

Mission San Juan Capistrano, 9 x 7½" watercolor
Where would we be without our phones to tell us what day we were where? After painting Hidden House Coffee in San Juan Capistrano, I moved my car, so as not to overstay my welcome in the free lot, and slipped over to Mission San Juan Capistrano. Sitting outside a Starbucks, I painted this view of the entry to the landmark mission. Paintings in this style beg for details. The person who introduced me to calligraphic watercolors, Frank Webb, was a former student of Watercolor Great Edgar Whitney. It is difficult for me to remember which is a Webb quote and that which Webb pulled from his large collection of Whitney quotes. Speaking of calligraphic watercolors, “It is not about the nouns; it’s about the adjectives” is one of my favorites. Subject matter with more adjectives than this scene offered would have made for a better calligraphic watercolor.

Feb 26, 2017

Edible Icons

The Original Frozen Banana, 9 x 7½" watercolor

I was wrong. It was my fourth day, my third full day, that I painted Hidden House Coffee. The first day, I spent within the walls of Mission San Juan Capistrano, painting the ruins of a church. Visit my web site blog post.

The afternoon of my second full day, I drove to Balboa Island to paint the landmark Frozen Banana place that earlier I had put on my mental checklist of things to paint. If it’s anything like Krispy Kreme is to North Carolinians, and I lived in the area, paintings of this place would be a bread and butter money-maker for me. But alas! I live in North Carolina, and, dollars to doughnuts, paintings of Frozen Banana establishments here would be about as popular as Krispy Kreme shop paintings would be in California.

Feb 22, 2017


Hidden House Coffee, 7 x 9½" watercolor
It was my second day in California. Just, the day before, I had been introduced to California freeways when I’d dropped my second cousin off at John Wayne Airport, just south of L.A.  It was a good introduction, still dark out, the rush traffic had just begun to build.

It was also my second day to head for San Juan Capistrano, not so very far from where I was staying in Laguna Niguel. There was a parking lot there near the Amtrak station that allowed five hours free parking. I’d been given rave reviews of nearby Hidden House Coffee, and it was my intent to paint it. Between coats of paint, I could slip in and grab a coffee. This style of watercolor requires two coats, a very loose wet coat, which, when totally dry, is followed by a second coat of calligraphic brushstrokes that define the details.