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Monday, July 20, 2015


Joy Garden Tour

The Joy Garden Tour is a biennial event to raise financial support for The Village Green. The tour inspires gardeners of every level of experience and enthusiasm. The Joy Garden Tour features a guest speaker event, a special patron party and garden shops with 35 vendors offering plants, garden related merchandise, unique gifts, antiques and more. The highlight is a day spent touring select and stunning private gardens in the Cashiers area. Noted Plein Air Artists will paint in these gardens with the paintings available for purchase.
I am honored to have been invited to participate as one of the 6 Plein Air Painters for this 2015's Joy Garden Tour.  The following posts reveal what I painted.  Enjoy!

"Come Sit With Me II"

8"x8" Oil on
Gallery-Wrapped Canvas painted en plein air alla prima on location at the Skylight Farm in Cashiers, NC NFS Gifted

This was my first painting I painted while visiting Cashiers NC to participate in the Joy Garden Tour.  I loved the morning light highlighting this sweet vignette.

"Church of the Good Shepherd"

11"x14" Oil on Linen Panel  painted alla prima En Plein Air on location at this church located on highway 107 south of the cross roads of Cashiers, NC  sold

This lovely little historic church was the subject of my Thursday morning painting for the Joy Garden Tour.  At the Sunday Jazz Brunch when this was purchased, the buyer informed me of the heartbreaking tale of a woman who lost all four of her daughters under the age of 7 to cholera while her husband had to be away for the winter.

Imagine leaving your family for work and returning 3 or 4 months later to your grieving wife who tried desperately to care for your four children, lost them to sickness and buried them herself digging through frozen earth.  Imagine being that mother who faced a mother's worst nightmare alone.

My new friend who now owns this painting says that each time she comes to town she stops by to pay her respects at the monument the church set aside honoring this mother's courage and strength.  It is marked by an old iron gate behind the church.  There you will find the story inscribed at the site.

"Resting Among the Flowers"

 10"x8" Oil on Cavas painted alla-prima En Plein Air on location at The Mountain Man Caves off of Hwy 107 in Cashiers, NC  sold

(This image has no shine, the second image has good color but a shine, so I am showing the painting both ways.)

This charming structure was once the guard gate to one of Cashiers very exclusive communities: Wade Hampton.  It is now "retired" to the "Mountain Man Cave" property and is surrounded by lovely flowers and landscaping.

On this Thursday afternoon, I set to paint here for the Joy Garden Tour.  My friends who conceived the concept for the Mountain Man Caves purchased this little building and relocated it on their property to function as an extra "community" building, affectionately known as "The Dog House."  The Dog House is complete with a seating area and bathroom and allows the Man Cave owners to come and hang out together and play poker or "whatever men do in their caves."


16"x8" Oil on Canvas  sold

This is the morning painting, the first of two paintings, I painted for the Joy Garden Tour.
The top of this trickling brook is fed by a beautiful large pond full of rainbow trout and other species of fish that "happen" to find their way into the waterway through a pipe.  I'm told by the garden owner that they even find their way "out" down this little stream. 

This garden was created by the owner himself and it was glorious!

This stream winds its way down under a lovely little step bridge adorned with colorful flowers in a window-type basket.  The walk-way with which the bridge is connected leads the wanderer either back up into the garden (with this being the view on the way back up toward the house) or rambles away from the house toward the back of the property which leads to the golf course fairway.

"View to the Course"

The Copper frog was made in Charleston, SC and now resides in this glorious garden in Cashiers, NC
11"x14" Oil on Linen painted en plein air Alla~Prima on location at one of the 5 gardens featured in The Joy Garden Tour of Cashiers North Carolina. sold

This view is from the outdoor kitchen deck of the house looking down into the lower level pond out toward the back of the property which backs up to a golf course.  Yes, there is access to the golf course from here. :)

This is a fund-raiser for the community's Village Green: a beautiful 12-acre facility that caters to the Cashiers community & visitors and the surrounding area.

"Rock Mountain Morning"

The early morning mist gently rises from the cool valleys below
8"x10" Oil on Canvas painted en plein air alla prima style on location at Skylight Farm in Cashiers, NC  sold

I painted this painting as I awoke early that Saturday morning.  I noticed the clear sky was being met by the cool valley mist between the mountain tops and I quickly set to work!  This was painted with a cup of coffee in one hand and a brush in the other!
painting in my PJ's

"Quiet Interlude"

 12"x12" Oil on Cavas, painted alla prima en plein air on location at Skylight Farm in Cashiers, NC  sold

This was my final painting I was able to paint for the Joy Garden Tour.  I loved the organic, sweep of these rock steps and how the moss frames them in their nooks.  It is as though I must stop to consider the beauty before I step!

Thursday, July 09, 2015

"Still Life with Flowers and Fruit" SOLD

14"x11" Oil on Linen Panel SOLD at the Joy Garden Tour

"Cool Waters" (revised)

 "Cool Waters" framed  available at Mountain Mist Gallery

"Cool Waters" 11"x14" Oil on Canvas. I "warmed up" the foreground pools of water.  This makes for a more natural lead-into the image and balances the coolness of the shadows everywhere.  

"Boulevard Palmettos"

6"x8" Oil on Linen Panel painted en plein air, alla prima on location at the Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park.  This is just a little study I did after painting the York Town. . . I didn't want to leave yet (such a pretty place).  Even the driveway into the parking areas is a pretty sight!

"View of the York Town WWII Memorial"

12"x12" Oil on Canvas painted en plein air alla prima on location just under the Ravenel Bridge where the Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park is located.  This is a must see for any tourist or local alike!

Some Studio Work

 "Cooling Waters" 11"x14" Oil on Canvas, Painted from a photo I took while in Cashiers, NC on my way to Highlands.  I stopped by the roadside dam and snapped this shot (with the dam behind me) because I loved the way the sunlight trickled through the trees and glinted off the moving water.
 Here it is framedd.  I think I might go back into the foreground just a bit to "warm it up" juxtaposed to the cool shadows of the rocks and background trees.

 "Betty's Flag & Garden" (Studio) 11"x14" Oil on Canvas, painted after the Plein Air Study below:

"Betty's Flag" 12"x12" Oil on Canvas  SOLD - painted en plein air on location in the Old Village of Mount Pleasant, SC

Monday, July 06, 2015


18"x24" Black PrismaColor Pencil on 80lb Strathmore Paper

Sunday, July 05, 2015

"Ode To Mother Emanuel AME Church & the spirit of Forgiveness"

 This blog entry serves to share, from my own personal experience, what awaited us Plein Air Painters when we planned to honor the Mother Emanuel AME Church with our paintings.

Please know that I am truly humbled by this experience and I only hope to bring honor to those who call Mother Emanuel AME Church their home church and to those who lost their lives because of their love and devotion to their fellow man according to what was taught to them by God through Emanuel's late Pastor, Reverend Clementa Pinckney. 

 It was Wednesday July 1st when I arrived downtown, early, to set up and paint with our Plein Air Painting group that I first saw the church since Dylann Roof opened fire after spending an hour with prayers at their Wednesday night Prayer Meeting June 16th.

"A lot of people expected us to do something 
strange and to break out in a riot," 
said Goff, the church's interim pastor 
until a successor for Pinckney is chosen. 
"Well, they just don't know us. We are people of faith."

I arrived early enough that no one was around at the time.  
I eagerly looked for a place to set up to paint.  

The only people who were around were two men talking right in front of the church as if to be close friends, discussing the matter at the site. 
One man was black and the other man was white.  What a poignant image!  
I couldn't get to my camera fast enough and only caught them as they walked down the block, continuing their conversation.

Abruptly, like a flash of lightening, reality struck me! 
An enormous, overwhelming sense flooded my being.  I was caught suddenly by the kindness and loving gestures evident in what was before me. Large bouquets of flowers, prayer candles, signs, notes, American Flags, and stuffed toys left at the foot of this historic church for those 9 men and women who were taken from us that fateful night.
 Somebody's hands placed these here. Somebody walked and prayed here. Somebody shed tears here.
 It was plain to see how Charlestonians offered their best in the best way they could as they themselves coped with what happened the best way they could cope.  And you could feel their hearts saying, "If I could bring back your loved ones, I would.  But I can't so I will offer my heart instead."
I saw that the wind had knocked down some of the bouquets and crashed some of the glass.  I did my best to place upright some of what had fallen and clean up some of the broken glass.  
That reality which hit me earlier punched me again and the tears burned.

As I investigated the scene closer, 
I noticed beautiful 

Crepe Myrtle trees out in front.
From the ground up to the leaves, 
they were covered with 
permanent marker-messages of 
hope, faith and love,
written by those who came to pray and support 
Emanuel AME congregants.

Scripture references written to help support and encourage

    Then, I noticed the fire hydrant 
was also covered in prayers and love messages and even had three permanent markers there 
for anyone else to write. Someone was thoughtful enough to think of those coming after them,
that they might want to write a message too.
Who thinks of that?

And it hit me.  

My throat grew sore and tears filled my eyes as I looked around in AWE at all of the Love, Respect and Honor on display.

Instantly my mind replayed what I saw, live, on TV during Roof's arraignment; the voices off camera belonging to those family members and friends of the fallen 9 at Roof's hand: "I am not happy at what you have done but because my God forgives me, I forgive you, I am praying for you [Roof], May God have mercy on you [Roof]." 

Wow.  Who does that?

Thursday, July 02, 2015

"Tribute - Ode to Mother Emanuel AME Church"

Me as I paint the Plein Air Painting below:

12"x12" Oil on Canvas Painted Alla Prima En Plein Air

Mother Emanuel AME Church has been in the National news much lately.  At the time of this painting, it had been just two weeks when a young 21-year old man, deranged with hate and evil, was welcomed into this historic, Downtown church by her Parishioners gathered for a Prayer Meeting. After sitting for an hour with them he then stood up and shot to death 9 innocent lives including their beloved Pastor.
This blog post requires more than just posting a painting.  There is a long story that goes along with this image that I am unable to go into just yet.  I will "finish" this painting up a bit more; it needs a little refining.  There is just too much yet to say.  I will follow up with another post.

"Betty's American Flag" SOLD

12"x12" Oil on Canvas painted alla prima en plein air  SOLD

One of my favorite places to paint is in the Old Village on Bennett Street.  Betty always has a spectacular garden waiting for us and her cottage home is so picturesque!

"Standing Watch"

8"x6" Oil on Linen Panel  painted alla prima en plein air

Standing under that big oak between Stella Maris and Fort Moultrie I took this vantage and painted.  Just in time for Independence Day.

"View From The Fort"

8"x10" Oil on Linen Panel  Painted alla prima, en plein air.

On that cold, Spring day looking out over the span of yard from the top of the Fort (at Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island, SC) was this view.  In the far distance one can make out the hint of our other historic site, Fort Sumter.

"Sullivan's Oak Tree Study"

6"x8" Oil on Linen Panel painted alla prima en plein air

There is a big, beautiful Oak Tree near the Stella Maris Church and the historic Fort Moultrie that gracefully "dances."  I love attempting these studies. They challenge me.

"Fort Moultrie Canon"

6"x8" Oil on Linen Panel  painted alla prima en plein air

This was painted back in March/April when the weather was unseasonably cold.  This has been quite a busy spring time for me and I have neglected keeping up with my blog.  My apologies.

This is basically a study of the structures at the historic Fort Moultrie interior - Trying out composition and value. The canon as well as the the sloping yard and brick wall created wonderful value shapes from which to work.  Then my hands got too cold to hold the brush and I called it a day!