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'Open Gate' #26 in my 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

 

 

#26  Recordings

‘Open Gate’

 

Uh-oh, I’ve just come to an earth shattering conclusion! Most of these 30 in 30 paintings have been a stroll down memory lane. Please tell me that doesn’t mean I’m OLD!  I try to encourage my painting students to build a reference library of photos they’ve taken themselves. To record events and places that hold meaning for them, or scenes that capture their imagination. So it is with my own photos, all 45,000+ of them, (thank goodness for external hard drives).

 

Seldom does a landscape present a perfect composition without a little editing. Removing telephone poles, parked cars, trash cans or an obscuring tree, or perhaps adding a path, structure or a shadow might make it a better painting. So, in addition to photographing scenes I find interesting, I record individual trees, cows in a field, old barns, and fences, just to have material to drop into a paining as needed. I’m a Master Gardener and throughout the seasons record both my gardens in general and close-ups of individual flowers. Now that I’ve started illustrating children’s books, I photograph children in action, so I might use a pose to develop a character. As my photos do for me, I hope my paintings bring to mind fond memories for you.

 

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'Overlook' #25 in my 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

 

 ‘Overlook’    acrylic on canvas    $160

 

In the summer after we graduated high school, a girlfriend and I rode my old motorcycle from Maryland down the Blue Ridge Parkway. We camped out along the way, sometimes even using a campground. We quickly found that no one bothered you if you slept in a graveyard and back then, most churches were unlocked, offering a dry pew on a rainy night.

 

The motorcycle needed a tune-up so badly that on the really steep hills, my friend had to get off and walk. Looking back now, we were rather reckless and lucky, but we had the time of our lives. A year later I did the same kind of motorcycle camping, (different motorcycle), in Canada after working at a camp in Maine for the summer. When it was time to head home, I made the ride in one day, arriving around 2 am. I was so stiff and sore, that it took a good twenty minutes before I could get off the bike and make it into the house. Now days if I thought my granddaughter were planning such a trip, I’d have her locked up.

 

Times have changed, but the Blue Ridge Parkway is still an unspoiled roadway through some of the most beautiful county we have.

 

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'Coastal Sunset' #24 in my 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

'Coastal Sunset'   8x10 acrylic on canvas      $160

 

#24  ‘Coastal Sunset’

 

It’s been another grey, sleeting/raining day so I decided to revisit some summer memories. The North Carolina’s Outer Banks offer both lively villages of summer homes and many creeks and inlets with quiet places to enjoy nature. On the ocean side you can watch the sun rise above the horizon and on the sound side watch it sink behind the marshes.

 

As majestic as the ocean can be, I find the creeks and canals on the sound side much more fascinating. Full of life: fish and crabs, birds and turtles. There is always something to watch, especially if you glide quietly through the marshes in a kayak or canoe. Perhaps an osprey nesting in an old dead tree or a great blue heron stalking dinner along a mud bank. Fish spawning in the shallows or muskrats popping into their holes in the banks of the creeks.

 

Right now, I’d trade this sleet for summer mesquites at the beach any day. 

 

 

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'Stone Mountain, NC' #23 in my 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

'Stone Mountain, NC'   8x10 acrylic on canvas    $160

 

 

#23 

Stone Mountain, NC

 

Stone Mountain is a bald dome or pluton rising 600 feet above the forested park by the same name. A four mile strenuous trail climbs up to, and across the top, then circles back down, following the waterfall and stream at the bottom. The 13,400 acres of the park offer hiking, horseback riding, camping, fishing as well as rock climbing. Deer and black bear, as well as various other wild-life make the park their home.

 

The mountain is a large igneous pluton that was intruded as magma during the collision of continental plates some 335 million years ago.  Stone Mountain lies in the Blue Ridge geologic province, and is a pluton belonging to the Spruce Pine plutonic suite, a group of granitic intrusive bodies lying between Spruce Pine and Mount Airy, North Carolina.  This suite includes the alaskite and pegmatite bodies in the Spruce Pine mining district,  that are mined for feldspar, quartz, and muscovite, and also contain garnet, uraninite, and beryl, including emerald.  The Mount Airy pluton is home to the largest open-face granite rock quarry in the world, which is mined for dimension stone, 

 

 

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'Channel Marker' #22 in my 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

'Channel Marker'   acrylic on canvas   10x8"   $160

Channel Marker

As young adults we tend to think we have our lives all mapped out. We know where we're heading and believe we know how to get there.
But, our lives can be like channels in a river or bay, shifting and necessitating course adjustments. Sometimes in spite of our best efforts we run aground and have to back off and go around. 
We can kick up a fuss when faced with obstacles or grin and work our way around. It's often surprising what joys you can fine on those detours. My life's had several, but I'm happy to be where I am now and doing things that I love, both painting and teaching art. I hope those of you reading this blog can say the same. 
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Wilson Creek #21 in my 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

 

 

 

#21 Take A Break

Wilson Creek

 

Although today was in the 60’s, the winter landscape is drab and sere. It’s time to revisit the summer pleasure of rock hopping across a cool, fast running creek. Wearing old clothes and sneakers, so what if you fell in and got soaked? The sun would dry you off quickly enough. Think of the possible treasurers you might find in one of the quiet pools under a rock or fallen log. Small river stones tumbled, in the fast water until they are smooth, collect behind the much larger rocks that are permanent fixtures in the creek bed. Ferns and rhododendrons grow in tangled masses in the rich moist earth and evergreens mix with hardwoods lining the shores. The trees and steep mountain sides shade the creek while a few of the flatter rocks out in the middle offer a spot to sunbathe. Stop and rest awhile. Listen to the song of the water flowing over the rocks. Finish the rest of your day rejuvenated. 

 

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'Valley Farm' #20 in my 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

    

“Valley Farm”   8x10"   acrylic on canvas     $160

 

 Entertain   #20 of my 30 Painting in 30 Days Challenge 

It’s been said that an artist’s job is to entertain. To entertain the eye with color and pleasing compositions, to entertain the mind by evoking memories or desires. To transport the viewer to a place of dreams, perhaps to make love visible.  Certainly there are artists whose work is meant to provoke discussions, tug at social conscience or make political statements. Other artists work is playful, humorous or simply decorative. The subjects artists choose are wide ranging indeed.

 

In this 30 in 30 challenge I’ve chosen to focus on North Carolina landscapes, and particularly open country and waterways. Most of us live or work in urban settings and I feel we often lose touch with the natural world. My work is a gentle reminder of our distant or not so distant roots. Many of our ancestors grew up on farms or worked the water. So, take a moment to relax, slow down, and perhaps think yourself into one of these paintings. Feel the sun on your face, the soil under your feet and smell the scents of warm grass and leaves. Enjoy.

 

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Simplicity #19 in my 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

 

“A New Day”    10x8" acrylic on canvas    $160

 

Simplicity

An artist’s choice of subject matter and their way of depicting it are varied indeed. Look at the lush bouquets of over blown flowers painted by Jan van Huysum, compared to the spare lonely interiors of Edward Hopper. A similar variety appears in the paintings submitted to Leslie Saeta’s 30 in 30 challenge. Some artists paint a simple subject such as a salt shaker or a spoon, while others create full portraits or involved landscapes. Some paint in a loose brushy manner, while others depict every nuance of the subject.

 

My day 19’s painting, ‘A New Day’, is a different take on a landscape than my norm. The term I use for one of these paintings is live stills. They are simple like some still-lifes, but are a bit of nature, alive and changeable. Think landscape macros, focusing in on a small aspect of a larger environment. Perhaps it’s something that you might not notice in your hurried life, but appreciate when brought to your attention. 

 

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Time is Relative #18 in my 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

 

 

“Snowed In”    8x10" acrylic on canvas     $160

 

How I wish for a few days of enforced idleness. It’s a safe bet that others taking part in the 30/30 challenge are wishing the same thing. It seems that time has a way of contracting, deadlines sneak up, and that precious free time, evaporates. A chore you agreed to months ago didn't seem so challenging until it’s upon you. I laughingly say I never have time to be bored.

 

When we were young children time meant nothing until it was time to go to bed, which always came too soon. Later, school days dragged until summer vacation, then the weeks flew by until September and school started again. As teens it seemed you’d never be old enough to drive or reach twenty-one, and then, all of a sudden the big 30 is looming ahead. Another milestone is retirement, but just past that hides old age. Happy is the person who lives in the present, not regretting the past, nor worrying about the future.

 

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Synergy #17 in my 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

'Sycamore Hollow'     8x10" acrylic on canvas    $160

 

There are areas towards the coast in North Carolina where the land is flat and the farm fields seem to go on forever. Here in the Piedmont where rolling hills are cut by streams and woods, the cultivated fields are smaller and more irregular. Farmers try to use all the tillable land, and trees are not welcome in the middle of a plowed field. Frequently though one is allowed to grow close to a barn or shed, not only to provide shade, but simply because no one plows or mows that close to a structure. Sycamores like to grow in low areas or along stream banks, often with their roots in the water. This sycamore near the sheds pulls the run-off from the sloping fields and keeps the area relatively dry.

 

Farmland with a mixture of crops, woods and overgrown fields benefit from a diverse population of insects and pollinators as opposed to the corporate farms that grow hundreds of acres of a single crop. This diversity allows for natural checks and balances between destructive insects and the beneficial insects and birds who feed on them, thereby reducing the need for insecticides.


 

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