Thursday, July 15, 2021

NOAPS 2021 Associate Member Online Exhibition

I'm happy to say that my painting, "Bear Creek Road Reflections" was chosen to be in the 2021 NOAPS (National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society) Associate Online Exhibition. 


Dear Carol Johnston,


 Thank you so much for the amazing and beautiful artwork submitted for the Exhibition. The participation and quality of work submitted was exceptional.  Your painting

Name: Bear Creek Road Reflections

Measurements: 12.00 X 24.00 X 0.25 Inches (H x W x D)

Materials: Oil on linen

has been accepted for the NOAPS Associate Online Exhibition! It is going to be an extraordinary exhibit filled with incredible artwork!

Thursday, June 24, 2021

"Painting to Preserve" - The Chestnut Group Art Show and Sale at Montgomery Bell Academy, June 25-27, 2021

The Chestnut Group of plein air artists is celebrating our 20th year in 2021. We are having a show June 25-27 to celebrate. Each Chestnut member can contribute up to ten paintings for the show; plus we can donate one or more paintings to the show - which means the artist’s proceeds from the sale of those paintings go to The Chestnut Group. 

The show is at Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville. The location is spectacular - such a beautiful building. There are 498 paintings hung on the walls. I found out yesterday that I will be working the table where people pay for the paintings they want on Friday night. I will get there early to be sure I know how to handle Square, etc. and keep all the records organized and straight.  

My insecurities as an artist have been overwhelming this week as I've seen the paintings other Chestnut members have submitted to the show. I keep telling myself that it doesn't matter - I'm still learning and growing. 

Here are the paintings of mine that will be in the show:

Early Spring from Murfrees Fork Bridge, oil on 14x11 panel. Murfrees Fork Bridge is on Carl Road in Williamson County, TN. I drive over that bridge at least a few times a week. We often see deer in the field on the left background of the painting, and there's often a log lying in the creek, although it wasn't visible on this day. The leaves were just coming out on the trees, and the field was brightly lit in the background.

Blue Bird Hill Shadows, oil on 12x16 panel. I took a class in plein air painting at Blue Bird Hill farm I Santa Fe, Tennessee. Anne Blair Brown and Trey Finney live there, although I did this painting when I was there for a workshop led by Kathie Odom. The shadows of the trees were beautiful on the grass.

Queen Anne's Lace and Hay Rolls, oil on 16x20 linen panel. This is a farm on Coleman Road in Franklin that I drive past daily. Throughout the year, it provides different scenes. Towards the end of the summer, all the hay rolls will be stacked next to the barn.  Early in spring the ground is covered with small yellow flowers. By the time June arrives, the Queen Anne's Lace, Thistles, and Clover are tall along the roadside which provided a wonderful foreground for this painting.

Wildflowers Above the Rock Wall, oil and cold wax medium on 5x7 panel. This is at the front of our property along Carl Road. I have painting it quite a few times over the years. This year we have the flowers much more "landscaped." This painting was done when the flowers were all intertwined and formed a fairly dense blanket of blooms above the rock wall.

Hay Rolls on Rolling Hills, oil on 8x16 panel. This scene is from Carters Creek Pike in Franklin.  I pass these fields daily. I love it when the hay rolls are fresh and strewn across the field. The field sold recently, and I wonder if there will be construction on the site in the future.

Tennessee Tranquility, oil on 11x14 linen panel. Bailey Road in near Leiper's Fork - a few streets over from where we live. They're building some houses in this area, and so I wanted to capture this scene before construction changes it forever.

Golden Fields of Franklin, oil on 16x20 linen panel. This is the same barn and field as in "Queen Anne's Lace and Hay Rolls" above. This was when the small yellow flowers were blooming and the field were filled with large patches of gold. I used a palette knife to do the yellow. I loved the look, and this is easily my favorite of my paintings in the show. I started this in a class taught by Dawn Whitelaw, and finished it at home. 

Along Tennessee Roadsides, oil on 11x14 linen panel. The Queen Anne's Lace, Clover, and Thistles along the roadsides during May/June/July each year fascinate me, They're "weeds" but the colors are so pretty, that I have taken probably 100+ photos of various scenes over the past couple years.  The Queen Anne's Lace is so dainty and intricate - I just love seeing it.

Bear Creek Road Reflections, oil on 12x24 linen panel. I was driving down Bear Creek Road a couple months ago and saw this barn with its reflection in the pond beside it. I literally stopped my car, rolled down the window and started taking photographs of it, Fortunately, it's a small country road and there were no other cars behind me at the time. Since then I've been back several times to see it in different lights.

Rock Wall Wildflowers, oil on 8x16 linen panel, donated painting. Another one of the wild flowers above the rock wall at the entrance to our property on Carl Road. This time the flowers were in smaller groups. This is one of my favorite scenes to paint.

Dogwoods in March, oil on 5 x 7 panel. We have a lot of natural dogwood trees on our farm; so we named it "Dogwood Trace Farm" in order to highlight the dogwoods along with the fact that we are so close to the Natchez Trace. We even planted more dogwood trees. Each year I enjoy and photograph the dogwood blooms. Most are white although we have a couple of pink dogwoods, too. 

Friday, May 21, 2021

Painting Water with Roger Dale Brown

I've limited myself to one art workshop per season, and I've narrowed down the list of artists that I will take classes from: Dawn Whitelaw, Roger Dale Brown, and Rachael McCampbell.  

During early spring, I took a series of weekend classes with Roger Dale Brown on painting water. These are three paintings I mostly completed in class and finished at home.

This was the painting that Roger demonstrated for us and then each of us painted it at our own easels. So it was a step by step effort.  

After finishing the class project, we each selected our own photo reference to paint reflections. I had shown Roger a stack of about 7-8 photos of water reflection, and he said this one was the only one that was a good composition. The others were pretty photos but there was no movement in the photo, I could see what he meant, but I'm still not completely clear on composition. This scene is from my brother's lake house in Alabama.  It's my favorite painting from the class.  Once I varnish it and frame it, I will give it to my brother and sister-in-law. 

We worked on running water and underwater rocks. The painting below is one I painted based on a photograph I took near my mother's house in Georgia, 

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Strada Challenge - Days 4 & 5

 January 4th, I was still on the "colored pencils" train. I wasn't ready to face my long-neglected studio, and so I took the easy way out and drew a floral still life. This is one of those "ho-hum" paintings. 

Day 4 #stradaeasal  #marycarolart

Today - Day 5 of the Strada Challenge - was the day I finally got into my art studio, straightened off my work space, got pliers to open the tubes of paint and used my oil paints again!  It felt really good to paint again. 
oil on 8x8 canvas panel
"Fresh Cut"

Day 5 #stradaeasel, #marycarolart

Sunday, January 3, 2021

The Chubby Green Mermaid

Years ago, I saw a chubby green mermaid Christmas ornament, and I bought it immediately. Each year, when I see it on our Christmas tree, I smile. I love it. It is my favorite ornament that I've bought for myself. Of course the ornaments my children and grandchildren have made for me are at the top of my list of favorites. However, as far as commercial ornaments go, my little chubby green mermaid is the bomb.

Really! Is this not the greatest ornament ever?!

So when I started looking around for something to draw for today's Strada Easel challenge, I saw this and it was settled. Earlier I had gone up to my studio and just couldn't get into getting things set out to paint with oils. I decided to stick with drawing and colored pencils. 

Here is my finished drawing - I like it. Of course I see all that's wrong with it - but still, it's my chubby green mermaid - and that's all that matters. :-) 

Day 3 #stradaeasel, January 3, 2021


The Strada January 2021 Challenge

 Each year Strada Easels has a January challenge. Artists are invited to paint each day in January, post their work on Facebook or Instagram, use the Strada hashtag, and at the end of the month, the company will randomly select 5 names from the names of all the artists that completed each of the 31 days. Those five artists will receive a complete Strada Easel system.  Artists from all over the world participate which makes the odds of winning very minute. However, someone has to win! :-) 

Here are my first efforts:

Day 1 - January 1, 2021, #stradaeasel, #marycarolart

I was at my mother's home in Georgia, and I didn't have my art supplies with me. However, I didn't want to do what I did last year - which was to drop out of the challenge before even doing one drawing or painting. So I found a sketch pad (unused) that I had given my mother a couple years ago, and a pencil. Those were my only art supplies for the night. I sat in a chair in her living room and looked around. A vase of cotton boll stalks mixed with a few yellow silk flowers grabbed my attention. The vase was on the hearth across the room from me. Here's my "quick sketch" of it, with the brickwork of the fireplace behind it. I realized that I don't know how to do highlights with a pencil. A drawing class might be in my future.

Day 2 #stradaeasels, #marycarolart - Saturday, January 2, 2021

After a sleepless night (literally - my car alarm kept going off) I drove from my mother's in Georgia back to my home in Tennessee. I had to stop a couple times to just close my eyes for a few minutes because I was so sleepy! After I got home, I "could" have gone upstairs to my art studio to do today's challenge, but I couldn't make the effort. After a brief nap and a "breakfast for dinner,"  l got a sketch pad that I keep in the cabinet beside my recliner, found a box of colored pencils, and I sketched some of the prayer beads that I have. I've made probably 100 or more sets of prayer beads over the past few years. Again, I learned something new. With oils, one paints the darks in first. That won't work with pencils. So it's more one-tone than I'd like - but I did Day 2 of the challenge, and I'm pleased with that. 

Day 1 #stradaeasels, #marycarolart, Day 2, #prayerbeads

Friday, November 20, 2020

Eight Months of Pandemic - and counting

The "fifteen days to slow the spread" has continued for over eight months now. I have to admit that the isolation gets to me at times. I don't think I've picked up a paint brush since a 2-day workshop in September. And I have cancelled all the other workshops I'd signed up for throughout the fall. I'm just not feeling it. However, I'm beginning to get a little more interested in getting back into it. So there's a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel.

Depression is interesting because I can feel the lack of interest in many things. There's a kind of "what's the point?!" feeling. I get out and go to the grocery store - I drive to Georgia to visit my mother for at least a few days each month - and I see my children and grandchildren occasionally. I miss going to church and being involved with groups - and just being with other people without being worried about the virus - either spreading it or catching it. Nashville's mayor has issued all sorts of rules about celebrating Thanksgiving next week. Thank goodness we don't live in Nashville. Still, our family get together will be limited - and we won't have the hugging and closeness we usually have.

Art-wise, I DID put one of my paintings in an art show The Chestnut Group did back in September. That was a good experience although my painting didn't sell. However, I think only a very few paintings sold. The pandemic has put a damper on everything.

I miss eating out at restaurants - travel, etc. Ron won't go out to a restaurant. Period. I've met my kids and/or grandkids several times at restaurants, and it's really pretty safe. This past week I started going to Pinkerton Park and walking again - which is nice to get outside in nature and enjoy the outdoors.

I looked at this blog and realized that after the first burst of painting at the beginning of the pandemic, I quickly lapsed into not painting. I could not work up any enthusiasm for it. Thank goodness I'm beginning to feel a little interest creeping back in.

NOAPS 2021 Associate Member Online Exhibition

I'm happy to say that my painting, "Bear Creek Road Reflections" was chosen to be in the 2021 NOAPS (National Oil and Acrylic ...