Wednesday, November 6, 2019

The Chestnut Group's Art Show & Sale to Benefit Radnor Lake

I am a member of The Chestnut Group, which is a group of plein air artists in the middle Tennessee area. This coming weekend - November 8 - 10 - we are having an art show and sale at the Radnor Lake Visitor Center. The Friends of Radnor Lake and The Chestnut Group have been working together for 15 years now to help support Radnor Lake. It's a beautiful natural area in Nashville - a state park - really a gorgeous place. Here's the flyer with the show information.


I gathered my courage and entered three of my paintings from Radnor Lake into the show. There's no competition - no awards - just an art show and sale. There's a long list of guidelines to prepare for the show. Any painting from a Chestnut member that follows the guidelines is accepted for the show.

It's actually my second art show. This past summer, I had two paintings accepted into the Outdoor Painters Society's "Associate Members Show & Sale 2019" in Corsicana, Texas. That show was open from August 12 to September 26. That was a good experience is learning how to ship paintings. Neither of my paintings sold, and so they were shipped back to me when the show ended.

Thankfully, the Radnor show doesn't involve any shipping! I don't anticipate selling any of my Radnor paintings, but I'm happy for the experience of being in a second show - and this one a local one! I'll actually be able to go (tomorrow) and see my paintings in the show. And if one should sell, that would be wonderful.

I entered three paintings - all done partially en plein air at Radnor Lake - and finished in my studio. Here are the three after final touch-ups and varnishing - sitting out with a fan directed at them - drying in my studio.



And here they are after I framed them.

And close-ups of all three:
Path to Radnor Lake, oil on 16x20 panel

A Place to Rest at Radnor, oil on 12x16 linen

Just Chilling Out, oil on 8x8 panel

Update: The Radnor show is over. One of my paintings sold. "Just Chilling Out" - the small 8x8 painting I did at the last minute. I'm a little in shock because my art is so amateurish next to some amazing art by professionals in the group. I figured my three pieces helped fill up space for the show. The other two painting are now back on the walls in my own home. The show did great - over $50K in sales. 

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Bradley, the 5-year old plein air artist is mentored by Pam Padgett

Last month on the last day of the PAPSE (Plein Air Painters of the Southeast) paintout in Leiper's Fork, TN, my 5-year old granddaughter, Mary Bradley, spent the day with me. She accompanied me into town to see the wet paint sale at Leiper's Creek Gallery and to watch all the artists that were painting around town.

Pam Padgett, Chestnut Group member and PAPSE member, was painting at the Lawn Chair Theater behind the Gallery. We talked with Pam briefly and then went on to look around the rest of the area. When we walked near Pam again, Bradley pulled me to Pam and her easel. Out of all the plein air painters scattered all over town, Bradley was taken with Pam. So we chatted with Pam again, and Pam asked Bradley if she'd like to paint. Of course we all know the answer she gave - a resounding yes!

Pam lowered the easel, attached a fresh panel, and she asked Bradley to look at the pumpkin on the stage. She talked Bradley through how to look at the shape, how to do shadows and highlights. She discussed mixing red and yellow to make orange. With Pam's guidance, Bradley painted that pumpkin.


I loved seeing the attention Bradley and Pam gathered. Leiper's Fork was full of residents, visitors and artists - and many of them came by to watch Pam and Bradley work together. Many took photos. Yes, Bradley was as cute as can be. However, she was also serious. She was 100% into the creative endeavor of painting that pumpkin. She listened attentively as Pam gave her instruction, and she followed it carefully.

In the photo below, you can see the "Porch Sale" in the background with all the beautiful paintings from the PAPSE artists. The paintings go all the way around the building on all four sides. On the other side of the building is the main road going through Leiper's Fork.

Bradley and Pam continued until Bradley finished her pumpkin and signed her painting.


Here is the budding artist with her mentor and completed painting.


Here is Bradley with her finished masterpiece.


And here's a footnote to this story: We took Bradley's painting home and set it out to dry. We told her we'd like to buy her painting, and she finally settled on a price of $20 which we paid her. However, when her parents came to pick her up, she very seriously gave us the $20 back and took her painting home. She loved it so much she couldn't bear to part with it.

And THAT is an example of what art is all about. It's about sharing with children - or others of any age -  the joy and satisfaction of expressing oneself via art. It is sharing how to look at things differently - how to see the shadows and lights - how to combine colors to get the shade we're looking for - how to see the beauty and complexity of our world - how to look beyond the obvious. Thank you to Pam Padgett for so generously giving Bradley an experience she will always remember.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Five New Paintings Added to my Home

I've mentioned before about how three of the Plein Air Painters of the Southeast (PAPSE) stayed in our home for the week of October 14 -19 for their Leiper's Fork Paintout. It was a fun and rewarding week. All three are friends that I enjoy being with and admire, and it was a good week of fellowship and painting. One of the customs of the PAPSE artists is that they each give a painting to their hosts. It is an incredibly generous custom because their paintings are not only beautiful but valuable. I didn't know that when I first agreed to host some of them. I was just excited at the prospect of getting to know some professional artists and hopefully glean some tidbits of artistic wisdom from them over the course of their stay. The painting gifts were a bonus!

Last fall, I posted about our September 2018 experience of hosting three of the PAPSE painters. They don't usually have a paintout in the same location two years in a row, but after a hurricane last year, the Florida gallery that was planned for this year had not recovered sufficiently to host them, and so they returned to Leiper's Fork. Next year I believe they're going to Virginia. We hosted for two years in row, but it will be at least another couple years before we have the opportunity to host them again.

This year Jim Carson gave us this wonderful painting of a neighbor's yard a few doors down from us. Amos is a lawn mower repairman, and he does his work under the pole barn/carport. We pass this scene frequently - and Amos and his family are such good neighbors. He's been there for many years - long before we moved here - and is known as an expert with lawn mowers - honest and thorough. He has repaired our lawn mowers several times over the years. We love this painting that reminds us of the "salt of the earth" people that live along our charming country road.
Lawn Mower Repair, oil on 12x16 linen panel
Then Kathie Odom painted this scene in"downtown" Leiper's Fork. A small mobile home was in the parking lot of a little shopping area across the road from where she was set up to paint. That old wagon was there, too; they were being used during the weekend festivities. I watched her paint this, and I immediately loved it! I was thrilled when she gave the painting to me!
One Bed, One Bath, oil on 12x16 linen panel

Here is a photo of her painting it.

Perry Austin gave us this beautiful painting of trees on old Hwy 96 in Leiper's Fork. That's the road that our church is on. Such a beautiful scene! I want to locate the exact scene when I get a chance.

Old 96, Oil on 12x9 board
Those were our three gift paintings from the week of PAPSE in Leiper's Fork!  Amazing, aren't they?

The PAPSE week was filled to bursting with amazing art! Artists wereall over our village of Leiper's Fork and surrounding areas painting local scene. It was an inspiring sight; it was fun to walk around town and watch them paint.

Sometimes paintings really capture my attention and I know immediately I want them for my home. Artist Greg Barnes did the painting below with pastels. I also painted that barn that week - not nearly as well as Greg did, of course, but the fact I painted it made me appreciate this painting even more. The roof of that barn was a green which Greg interpreted with that gorgeous bright turquoisy color that pops beautifully. I love the softness that the pastels give this painting. It took me a few days after the show & sale to decide to buy it, but I am so glad I did. I love it.

Kelly's Barn, pastels on 8x10 panel

It took me even longer to decide to buy this next painting. Since Perry Austin had to leave early because his new granddaughter was born, he asked me to pick up his unsold paintings from the gallery after the sale was over. Of course I told him I would pick them up and ship them back to him. At the last moment, the gallery owner decided to keep one of each artist's paintings for a mini-show for a few weeks. So I kept Perry's other paintings so I could ship them all back at one time. That's how I ended up with two of Perry's paintings displayed on the counter in my art studio so they could continue drying until it was time to ship them back. I kept looking at this painting. It's a painting of downtown Leiper's Fork. The flag is the perfect touch because I see that flag every time I drive into Leiper's Fork. The painting says Leiper's Fork and home to me. I finally realized I would regret not buying it. I now have 3 Perry Austin paintings, and this one is probably my favorite.

Leiper's Fork, oil on 16x12 board 

And I have a photograph of Perry painting it!

Over the past few weeks I have added significantly to my original art collection at home. That's a good thing because I love having art in my home - especially the art of people I know personally. One of my great joys is looking at them all - thinking about the circumstances surrounding each one. I love seeing the way different artists use their colors and brushwork. What better way to decorate one's home than to fill it with beautiful art?

It is probably a good thing I'm not a gallery owner because I'd end up buying more paintings than I'd sell. 

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Plein Air Today - My "9 Suggestions for Beginning Artists" article published

Advice for the beginning artist - OutdoorPainter.com 

I am SO excited and honored! A little over a week ago, I decided to re-work the post I made in September with suggestions for beginning artists. I revised, edited, shortened the article and submitted it to Plein Air Today - an online newsletter - which is part of the Plein Air Magazine family. I emailed it to them late last Wednesday evening. Early the next morning I got a reply that they planned to use the article. Immediately.  At their request, I sent them a separate email with photos, captions, and some "about the writer" information. And just a week later, it was published! 

Click THIS LINK to go to my article in Plein Air Today. Enjoy - and share as much as possible.

Friday, October 18, 2019

PAPSE Painters In Leiper's Fork - What a treat!

The Plein Air Painters of the Southeast have been in Leiper's Fork this past week, and we have had the honor of hosting three of them in our home:  Perry Austin and his wife, Carol, Jim Carson, and Kathie Odom and her husband, Buddy. It has been such an enjoyable week!

Although we've spent the week with well known artists, the first photos of the week are of my own painting when my friend, Sheryl, and I went out plein air painting on Wednesday. We drove to a farm that had this barn. I loved it and decided to paint it. However, I wanted the roof to show up more, and thus I used artistic license to make it a red roof instead of green.


This is a terrible photograph of my painting. I have no idea what the shadow is on top. I will photograph it again later and switch it out.  I'm not quite finished with this yet - but I like it so far.


Later that afternoon we drove to Radnor Lake and painted there. Here is the scene a chose to paint:



I am FAR from finished with this one - but I have the basics, although I definitely have to change that path!  I will post the finished painting in a few days. The shadows are what intrigued me, and I'm eager to get back to this painting and get those shadows looking right.


The best part of the week has not been MY painting, but the opportunity to be with so many wonderful artists and observe them painting. Our conversations have been so fascinating. I hate to see Kathie and Buddy go home tomorrow - and Jim go home on Sunday morning.

The photo below shows Kathie Odom in our driveway finishing up one of her paintings in preparation to take it to Leiper's Creek Gallery for the PAPSE On the Porch Wet Paint Show and Sale. Thursday was a busy morning as all three artists had to get their wet paintings ready to take to the Gallery for the show & sale.


This photo shows some of Kathie's paintings drying on a table outside our barn - waiting for Kathie's husband, Buddy, to frame them.



Our good friend, Perry Austin and his wife, Carol, got word around 4:00 a.m. on Thursday morning that their new granddaughter was about to be born. So Perry scurried around Thursday morning finishing up his paintings so he and Carol could get on the road to see that new grandbaby! Kathie and Buddy offered to handle Perry's framing, and when the show is over, I will pick up his paintings and keep them until I can get them back to Perry. They were on their way back home quickly - and later we got word that baby Mara was born - healthy and beautiful.

Here is Perry, working out of the back of his car finishing up his paintings.


And here are Perry and Carol Austin with Buddy and Kathie Odom right before Perry and Carol left to go see their new granddaughter.


Here's Jim Carson working on framing his paintings upstairs in my studio.


On Thursday night, we hosted a dinner for our artist guests, along with our friends, Troy and Sheryl, and their artist guests, David Boyd and Greg Barnes. My husband, Ron, asked us to go around the table and each person tell about their most meaningful painting. Wow! What wonderful and touching stories! There were more than a few tears which just goes to show how deeply art touches our souls. If you ever have the opportunity to talk with an artist, I can wholeheartedly recommend asking them to tell you about their most meaningful painting!




Thursday afternoon, Jim Carson offered to let me watch him paint as he talked about his process and answer questions. I learned so much! I'm sure I slowed him down with all my questions, but he was so open and helpful!


All "our artists" (as I call them) got their paintings to the gallery on time and in good shape. Here are Perry Austin's paintings hanging at the Leiper's Creek Gallery. You notice the bottom painting in this first photo already has a red dot sticker! As a matter of fact, all three of "my artists" had a painting sell today!




And here are Jim Carson's paintings at the Leiper's Creek Gallery's Wet Paint Show and Sale.


And here are Kathie Odom's! I believe Kathie sold a painting before I took this photo.



Friday morning, all the PAPSE artists plus some Chestnut Group members painted in Leiper's Fork. I started a painting but ended up needing to go home. So I wiped off the panel and will try again another day.

Here is Kathie Odom painting. I predict this painting will win an award. I loved it! One thing I noticed is how accomplished artists "see" paintings in ordinary things - not the obvious. Kathy's painting is of a small trailer.


Here is my friend, MaryO Smith painting in Leiper's Fork. MaryO was working with watercolors this time - beautiful work.


My friend, Sheryl, a Chestnut Group member, was also painting in Leiper's Fork. And that's Kathie in the background - and other artists across the street. It was fun to drive through town and see so many artists painting!


And Jim Carson completed another beautiful painting Friday morning in Leiper's Fork.


And here is the reason Perry and Carol Austin went home early. Grandma Carol Austin holding newborn Mara. Just look at that sweet face!


Such a wonderful week. We will be sad to see everyone else go home tomorrow and Sunday. It has been a great week with good friends and a lot of marvelous art!

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

It's "Finish Up" Time at the Beach

10//2/2019:  We are at the beach!  My husband is competing in a tournament, and I am at the rental condo - with nothing to do but enjoy the beach and paint. I am SO excited about the next few days and the opportunity to rest, relax, enjoy the beach, and paint! I brought along FIVE unfinished paintings from the workshops I attended in September. Yes, I have five unfinished paintings!  LOL! I got home from each workshop and basically crashed - was simply too artistically exhausted to work on the paintings at the time.  I like them and want to finish them . . . I think. We will see.

Below are the "before"photos of each painting along with the "after" photos.

Before

After - Oil on 11x14 linen panel


Before

After - Oil on 12x16 linen panel


Before

After - Oil on 9x12 linen panel

And it was at this point, that our trip ended. So I finished three paintings while at the beach. I will finish the two paintings below at some other time.

And as far as the previous three that I "finished" - I still see changes I want to make on each one - and perhaps I will get around to that soon. Right now, though, I've really been thinking a lot about using cold wax medium again and doing some paintings that are more abstract.

Before

Before

Friday, September 13, 2019

9 Suggestions for the Beginning Artist

9 Suggestions for the Beginning Artist

It might seem presumptuous for a newbie artist such as myself to offer advice for other artists, but who would know better what a beginning artist is going through than someone who has recently been through the beginning phases herself? I’ve only been painting for about four years now. All those initial growing pains are still fresh on my mind, and I’m still working on these suggestions in my own art. I’m not going to give you advice about technique or craft. This is about the practical, nuts and bolts of getting started as an artist. They are the things I struggled with at first or that I found to be most helpful to me. So, for those of you who are just embarking on your art journey, here are my suggestions to make the road a little smoother and more enjoyable.

(1)    Create an “Artist’s Statement.” I know . . .  having an artist’s statement sounds all hoity-toity. However, I can tell you that it makes a BIG difference!  Even for an absolute beginner! Your vision as an artist is what drives everything else. The process of writing an artist’s statement is invaluable. It forces you to think through your whys and hows. It will help you solidify your focus and purpose in painting. It will keep you from wasting time on things that don’t fit your vision. Set aside an hour or two, and get it done. Then post it where you can see it when you paint. Here’s a link to a blog post I wrote about how I came up with my own artist’s statement. http://marycarolart.blogspot.com/2019/06/an-artists-statement.html. Check it out if you want to know more about my process.
Be prepared: Your hopes and plans for your art will change as time passes and you paint more, and that means your artist’s statement will change, too. That’s a good thing because it shows that you’re growing.

(2)    Gather the materials you will need. Nothing will kill your desire to paint more than having a great painting idea but not having the materials to follow through. Often, by the time you gather all the materials, that inspirational spark has fizzled. Make a list of the supplies you will need, and then get them. If you don’t know what you need, research it. The internet is a great resource for information, but don’t take one source’s word for it; check out several. Make sure your materials include a sketch book that’s small enough to carry around with you so you can make quick sketches when you find yourself in a waiting room or with time on your hands.

(3)    Set up a dedicated space for painting. It doesn’t have to be a big studio, but it does have to be a space for art and nothing else. You won’t paint much if you must clear away papers, dishes, or toys every time you want to paint. I started out with a desk in a spare bedroom, and later I converted our bonus room into a studio. Your studio is whatever make it; it can be a table in the corner of your bedroom, a desk in the kitchen, or an easel set up in the laundry room.  It can be a spare bedroom, space in your garage, or anywhere that you can create an area just for your art. You will need some type of shelving or cart to keep your supplies. Once you’ve claimed your space, set out the materials you gathered in #2 above and have them ready to be used.

(4)    Take workshops and/or lessons from a variety of artists. Find available classes and workshops by checking out community centers, calling your local arts council, getting online to research, calling nearby colleges and universities, or checking the arts section of your local newspaper. Then sign up for a workshop that most closely matches your own interests.

When you take a workshop, go in with an open mind. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve attended a workshop and seen a student or two so involved in their own painting that they don’t pay attention to the teacher’s demos or instruction. You’re there to learn. Embrace the experience – follow the instructor’s suggestions – try out new techniques and materials – use the instructor’s palette – take notes. When you go home after the workshop, practice what you learned. Keep what works for you. Some things will resonate with you; others won’t. Also, talk to the other workshop participants. Get to know them. They will likely share with you about other art opportunities. If you like the artist/instructor, find out what other classes they teach. Workshops are vital to growing as an artist. Even nationally recognized artists take classes in order to keep learning and growing.

(5)    Get involved in the art community. There is a thriving art community on many levels – local, state, region, national, international. In the few years that I’ve been painting, I’ve added an entirely new dimension to my circle of friends and experiences. Here are some suggestions for involvement. You can’t do them all, but you can pick and choose the ones that appeal to you the most.

a.       Find and join local art groups. Once you’ve joined one or two local groups, get involved. Volunteer to help with shows and paint-outs. You don’t have to be an amazing artist to be involved in the art world. Does your community have “art crawls” each month? One caution: Don’t over-extend yourself. Start small and make decisions about your involvement based on your artist’s statement. Will this group help me reach my goals? Is this group’s vision in line with mine?
b.       Subscribe to and read art magazines. (Fine Arts Connoisseur, Plein Air Magazine, etc.) Regularly set aside time to read them and keep up to date with what’s going on in the world of art. It’s fun to read about all the shows, conventions, and galleries and see the art that other people are producing.
c.       Join artist groups on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media, and “friend/follow” other artists. Artists generally post their work, and you can see what other artists are doing. If someone posts a painting you like, leave a comment telling them you like it. That helps to start building relationships.
d.       Join Associations such as Outdoor Painters Society, American Impressionist Society, Inc., and Oil Painters of America. Find groups for the medium(s) you use. Associations offer information, videos, workshops, paintouts. and competitions. They provide opportunities to network and learn. They also sponsor shows that give you the opportunity to submit your art for consideration.
e.       If you’re interested in plein air painting (painting outdoors), then do your best to attend the annual Plein Air Convention and Exposition (PACE). You’ll be with hundreds of other artists and have dozens of well known artists that provide sessions about elements of painting. Participate in as many of the sessions and activities as you can. 

(6)    Be patient. When I started painting, I wanted to be a great painter IMMEDIATELY! I wanted to instantly know about how to mix colors and how to paint impressionistically! It doesn’t happen that way, though. Learning takes time and practice. You’re embarking on a marathon – not a sprint. Remember that, as you continue to paint, you WILL improve, and you WILL learn. It is through this process that you will develop your voice as an artist.

(7)    Embrace your vulnerability. I can’t stress enough how important this is! It’s what I had to work on the most. When you paint, you are baring your soul and heart. It can be painful to put your art out there where others can comment and pass judgment on it. Every doubt and insecurity you ever had will push itself to the forefront. Don’t let your vulnerability freeze you, though. Remember: Different people = different styles of painting. You are the only you. It can be intimidating to go to that first (second, third, hundredth) workshop where you paint in front of people and where a professional artist/teacher (gasp!) will critique your art. Embrace the fact that you’re human and not perfect. It’s okay to be a beginning artist with much to learn.

I want to share a quick story to illustrate: When I attended my first Plein Air Convention and Exposition (2018), I didn’t know what to expect. It was in Santa Fe, and there were so many people there. I was intimidated because I only knew one other person. I attended lots of sessions and went on the paint-outs but did not participate in the social activities. I felt so out-arted by all the amazing artists there that I ended up isolating myself. When I signed up for the next year’s PACE, I resolved to jump into the activities and participate more. That year (2019), it was in San Francisco, and it was a much better experience. I met more people, finished some paintings, and learned more. At one point when I was walking back to the bus after painting the Golden Gate Bridge from Lands End, I remember looking at the gorgeous scenery and all the artists painting and thinking, “I love this!” THAT is the feeling you’re looking for! And that is the result of embracing my vulnerability as a newbie artist.

I deliberately use the word “embrace” rather than “accept” because embracing indicates an enthusiasm. It’s a good and valuable thing to be vulnerable. Go ahead and post your paintings on your Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest pages. You are you, and there’s no one else that will paint like you.

(8)    PAINT. Do your art and don’t let anything stop you. We all likely know one or two people who talk about being an artist, but they never quite get around to actually painting. Don’t let that white canvas or panel intimidate you! You are the boss of your art! Sling a little paint on that canvas. Make a commitment to paint every day for a week. Or commit to three days each week. Set a do-able goal and then do it! The simple act of starting a painting is often all that’s needed to get you going. It doesn’t have to be perfect. That’s the beauty of art. You can always wipe off the paint or paint over it.
I was an elementary school reading specialist for many years, and one thing I often told students was that “the more you read, the better you’ll read.” I told them that reading lots of “easy” books” would enable them to move to harder books much more quickly. The same is true with painting. The more you paint, the better you’ll paint. And painting easy subjects repeatedly will enable you to paint more difficult subjects. I will say it again – You are the boss of your art! So get busy art-ing! Throw that paint around!

(9)    ENJOY the journey! Painting will change your life. You will never look at clouds or trees or flowers or even an apple the same way again. You will never see a white cloud again because now your newly awakened “artist eyes” will see all the purples and browns and oranges that are in there. You’ll gain a new vocabulary and start talking about cast shadows, local color, values, chroma, saturation, and shapes. You’ll become an obsessive photographer – always aware of the need to get shots of scenes you might want to paint someday. It’s a lovely and healthy way to live – with heightened awareness of the beauty of the world around you – the textures and colors and intricacies of nature.

Being an artist is a calling – a calling to journey through this life being more observant, more caring, more intuitive. A calling to embrace your imperfections, to explore your world, and to translate your deepest thoughts and emotions into color on a canvas. Enjoy the journey.

The Chestnut Group's Art Show & Sale to Benefit Radnor Lake

I am a member of The Chestnut Group, which is a group of plein air artists in the middle Tennessee area. This coming weekend - November 8 - ...