Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Summer Plein Air Painting


This summer I have braving the heat and the bugs to get out and do more plein air painting here in central Louisiana.  This porch painting of Arna Bontemps house was done on a morning in June 2021 in Alexandria, Louisiana on a plein air outing with a couple of artist friends.

I recently returned from a trip to Maine where I visited Monhegan Island off the coast.  What a wonderful experience this was!  I had first heard of the island by watching a video on YouTube about the artist colony that was started there many decades ago, and specifically about the women artists there.

Monhegan was a fabulous experience, and I am anxious to return to paint more.  We just had one day there, and the ferry back to Booth Bay left at 2:30, so painting time was short.  I got one view of Manana island peeking behind edge of Monhegan.  I look forward to finishing it here at home in the studio.

 My plein air spot was up on a rocky area just behind the Monhegan school house.  A screechy pheasant hung out behind me on a rock. 

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Election Day NON-Watch Plan

Painting utility pole -VOTE

 Election Day - Non- Watch Plan

    We cast our votes for Joe Biden two weeks ago in early voting here in Louisiana.  

    We were the only two votes for the Democratic ticket (Clinton) in the 2016 Presidential election in our ward or district in Avoyelles Parish.

    Now turning our attention to getting through the Election Day coverage.

    The pain of the 2016 Election Day tally is still fresh.  PTSD resonated each week of the past four years as we all endured the sheer idiocy and buffoonery of the current Cheeto in Chief.

    So now we make our media silent plan for the day.  After being media sponges for weeks leading up to the election, a media drought for the day of the big event seems appropriate. A strategy is needed.


Lock cell phones in trunk of the car.

11:00am -3:00pm  

Plein air painting session and picnic in Cheneyville, LA at favorite and historical Trinity Episcopal Church and cemetery.

Episcopal Church, Cheneyville, LA

I have painted this church a few times and it never fails to offer an enticing view.  The historic graveyard surrounding the church is backed by fields of sugarcane - always dramatic.

4:00pm  Return to home base.

4:00pm - 8:00pm Begin Lifetime Christmas movie viewing marathon.

8:00pm - Bonfire - burn unwanted paper, tree limbs from recent storms and hurricanes and disperse fears of loss of democracy in U.S.


First media break - Check for Washington Post headline and CNN update.  Only 10 minutes allowed.


Begin viewing of top ELECTION DAY movies (this is a harder choice than one would think):

See a list of top ten here https://www.yardbarker.com/entertainment/articles/the_20_best_election_movies/s1__32702882#slide_1

"The Manchurian Candidate"

"All the President's Men"

"The Candidate"

"Bob Roberts"

"The American President"

"Wag the Dog"

"Primary Colors"

"The Campaign"

"Swing Vote"

"Meet John Doe"


Leave your favorite election political movie listed above in the comments and help us chose our Election Day Non-Watch alternative viewing plan movie.





Thursday, October 29, 2020

Election Day Plan on the Horizon

March 2020:  Here we are suddenly sitting at home as never before.
Art making suddenly felt self indulgent - even a self centered activity.
Then suddenly arts and crafts were a focus, a means to keeping anxiety and rowdy youngsters now pent up at home at bay.

We made masks all Spring and summer.  We filled over 2000 mask orders, bought 3 new sewing machines and sewed 7 days a week for months. https://www.etsy.com/shop/VintageSouthernArt?ref=seller-platform-mcnav

Then the 2020 Election loomed closer and closer.

We painted the AT&T pole out front to urge all to VOTE!

Our special Election Day plan involves a spin the bottle choice, Lifetime TV (maybe) and a special church graveyard.


Monday, August 26, 2019

Plein Air barn painting in Louisiana

This barn has been calling me to paint it for at least two years.  I finally gave in to the urge to paint it one Sunday afternoon.  On the edge of a piece of property that is next to the local hospital in Avoyelles Parish (in Marksville, Louisiana), this barn seems to be in peril of possible destruction in the near future so I thought I better document while I could.

Barn in Marksville, Louisiana
Oil on linen panel painted plein air

The drama of the dark tree line behind the barn and the almost black vines spilling out from the roof and down the front of the barn created drama that I couldn't resist painting.


Here's a link to purchase this painting:


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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Plein Air - Farmland at Vick Louisiana

Plein Air Painting at Vick, Louisiana

Plein Air painting in oil done October 2017 - Vick, Louisiana

 This is what my family calls, the Wiley Field, in Vick behind my great grandmother's home.   It was farmed in soybeans this year.  And I went out on a recent Sunday morning in October after the harvest and painted this plein air in oil.

I toned my gesso board first with an orange tone that became the background of the tilled soil.

I tried to portray the variegation in the distant tree line and the elegant drape of the tree hanging into the composition that was close to me.

This land means a lot to me as it represents my heritage and inheritance from my family.

Click here to view the auction for this painting on Daily Paintworks.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Painting in Oil but Loving Watercolors

Hwy 107  Oil on canvas 20" by 20"
I was fortunate enough to receive an honorable mention at a local art show for the oil painting above, for which I was given a gift certificate to Dick Blick art supplies.

Though I've been painting in oil lately - I am compelled to use my gift certificate to purchase Daniel Smith watercolors.  I've been enjoying painting smalls and little experiments in watercolor immensely since the workshop I did with Randy Meador last Fall.

Starlight Baptist Church- oil on canvas 12" by 12"

This smaller oil painting is of a curve that I pass daily on my way to work in a small town rural community in Louisiana.  I enjoyed experimenting with layering this layers of oil paint diluted with Gamsol and linseed oil to get the shadows and shading in the trees.

Starlight Baptist Church curve is a recognizable place for those travelling down Hickory Hill road in Avoyelles Parish (aka the AP or simply the Parish).

I am especially fond of our Louisiana state highway signs.  I like the boot shape of the state and the colors that get reflected in the white of the state shape.  My favorite is to find an old sign that resides under a tree and has mildew on the white area bring a fun array of colors to the sign.

Vick Lane Turn Sign - oil on canvas 24" by 24"
Road signs damaged by farm equipment or other traffic are also attractive as a painting subject.  This turn sign painting at right is from an unpaved lane in Vick, LA where school buses and farm equipment pass often.

I enjoyed the challenge of showing the bends and tears in this sign.

Though road signs are a favorite feature of my road scape paintings, I'm also attracted to painting water towers in landscapes as well.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Watercolor Workshop with Randy Meador

I recently went to a watercolor workshop in Saint Jo, Texas.  Though I usually paint with acrylic paints, I was persuaded to attend this workshop because it boasted to be beneficial to painters of all media and highly entertaining as well. 

So off I went in late October to North Texas-

Watercolorist, Randy Meador, taught this non-traditional watercolor workshop for 22 attendees at Donna Howell-Sickles church studio in Saint Jo.  
He's a consummate cowboy artist as you can see by his Western attire.

But his pioneering attitude towards his art is authentic and endearing.  Though he asserts he taught himself watercolor through books, he practiced and practiced until he was able to reproduce and achieve his desired effect.

His easy demeanor, affable nature and his natural "I know I'm easy on the eyes" charm, make this workshop a winner no matter what kind of artist you are!

Randy Meador

In medicine we have PEARLS - the nuggets of "can't forget wisdom"


Here's Randy's watercolor pearls:

  • let the pigments float and "do their thing" in the water - this gives a distinctly non-painterly technique.  (We are water coloring - NOT painting.)
      • NO WHITE paint!  
        • * if you need a white area - don't watercolor on it and let the paper show through OR watch Randy take out his enormous Bowie knife and scrape off a highlight on an earring or an eye!
  • start with your lightest areas or "rooms" on your painting or sketch
  • creating these "rooms" on my sketch was quite helpful to give an area to let the watercolor happen
  • mix "buckets" of paint on your pallet before beginning your work - these buckets are within your pallet and should have perhaps two colors - that you are allowing to blend at their free will
  • use a mop approach with a large soft brush
  • work top down and do not go back into your watercolor area with your brush/mop
  • leaving one layer of watercolor allows the luminosity of the pigments to shine
  • he makes his pictures pop with a contrasting intense background of ivory black and prussian blue - warning: this inky background requires a lot of pigment! (Read lots of $)
  • "watercoloring" is accomplished when we walk away, fold our arms and let our paint dry before returning to the paint - so Randy likes to have several paintings going at once.
  • don't be afraid to RUIN your painting!  That's right - mess it up, ruin it - right at the start.  This takes the pressure off of trying to perfect something - because you CAN'T CONTROL WATERCOLOR - this isn't painting.  Let it go, let it be watercolor.
Randy's watercolor pallette

Randy's unique approach to watercolor is... 


Brave and forthright but mysterious at the same time.  

No two sketches, paintings or watercolors are identical - each has their own energy because he is free to let the watercolor do the work.  No painting here.  This is about a controlled relinquishment of design and painting, which is probably the toughest part of this workshop for many.

The impish grin


His work has a compelling vibrancy and light that is unmistakably his own.  Look at his work and you will see it.  Clearly after listening to him, I saw that this was achieved with much study, practice and hard work on his part.  (Afterall, that is usually how one attains greatness.)  


But I'm always in search of some shortcuts to fabulousness - so I went to this workshop.


It was a success for me - because I had no bad habits to lose (in watercolor).  No techniques or skills to depart from.  I felt free to try his suggested technique and be ok - if I did nothing more than make a mess on some fairly costly watercolor paper (which I did).  And now I will practice mixing colors, and making washes and reserving highlights at home in my Camp Effie Art Studio.


Best of all - I left with that "I must go home and make this happen" feeling.



1- Beginning - Randy does light room first
2 - Next - he adds a darker room
3 - Inky contrast added to make it pop

















Other fabulous bonuses:

Seeing Donna Howell-Sickles, her gallery, her studio again!  She is such a pulled together lady and an incredible artist - visiting her studio is an inspiring privilege.

Donna and me
Wine at Arche Vineyard
New friends

Low carb cheeseboard at Arche Vineyard
Longhorn in progress

Workshop participants hard at work