Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Downtown Roanoke from the Parkway

Parkway Series # 143   12 x 16  oil   Sold

A Spring time view of downtown Roanoke from the Parkway was too much of a temptation to resist, however, it was a stretch for a daily painting!!  I am getting a bit anxious to tackle more complicated subject matter than I have time for.  On the other hand, I am an impressionist painter and I need to realize most complicated subjects can be simplified and still ring true.  Complexity can be overwhelming.  Beauty and joy in painting is taking complexity and reducing it to a few simple brush strokes.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Visiting Friends

Parkway Series #142   oil   $95.

As I was driving through the valley, I pulled off the Parkway at this farm.  These friends ran over to greet me and visit for a while.  They seemed to enjoy the attention and I enjoyed the exercise of painting animals but I want to perfect the landscape before I attempt horses again!

Monday, March 29, 2010

New Beginnings

Parkway Series #141  12 x 16   oil   Sold

As I drove up the Explore Park Spur, the pink buds on the trees were so exciting!! I'm not sure what kind of trees these are but they are the first to begin the parade of colors on the Parkway.  I can hardly wait for the wild flowers!

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Last of Winter

Parkway Series #140   12 x 16   oil   Sold

The bold pattern of shadows and the fresh scent of pine needles made this scene a "must" for my last snow painting!  The snow is gone even on the mountains and  as I drove south on the Parkway this week, I encountered pink and pale green buds everywhere.  Next week will officially begin my series of Spring paintings!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Our Blue Ridge

Parkway Series #139  12 x 16  oil   Sold

Now that winter is gone and I have the option of more color, I find that I am still lingering in the "blue realm".  There was just something about the ethereal blues of this scene that intrigued me enough to paint it.  I guess there's no getting around the fact that our "Blue" Ridge is filled with blue! The interesting part is that after forcing myself to paint with cool colors most of the winter, I am now much more comfortable with them.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Moving to the Light

Parkway Series #138  12  x 16   oil   $95.

Moving toward the light is a metaphor for gaining wisdom, for understanding truth, for seeking God.  I am always fascinated with these images and my eye searches out the path revealed by light.  As new light is revealed to us in life we continue to search out more.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Parkway Series # 137   12 x 16   oil   Sold

Every so often during this series I depart from the "road" to the overlooks.  To breathe deeply and feast on the exhilaration of being up in the clouds is to really feel the Blue Ridge.  I enjoy finding "up-close" treasures like the texture of snow under a pine tree or light and shadow patterns on rhododendron leaves but the panoramas make me want to fly.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Parkway Series #136  12 x 16   oil ,  sold

My one Saturday morning at the Peaks of Otter yielded dozens of photos.  The beauty of the lake and the pristine mountains seemed endless.  Because of this inspiration I was able to get ahead on my daily paintings.  This weeks series of paintings captures an excitement and anticipation not only of a new season of beauty but also of a new birth of color in my paintings.  I am feeling more free and more bold as I paint; I sense something new around the corner for me.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Abbott Lake in the Snow

Parkway Series #134   12 x 16   oil   Sold

I am excited to post the last few snow paintings!  I still have a couple I will be working on next week  but the temperatures were in the 60's yesterday and today is beautiful.  I was on the Parkway yesterday morning, excitedly snapping photos of budding trees with new shades of pink and green beginning to pop out everywhere.  Spring fever has definitely set in!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Back to Life

Parkway Series #135   12 x 16   oil   $95.

I was determined to paint winter as monochrome and blue in order to achieve the coldness, the essence of winter.  But now that warmth is bringing the earth back to life, I am excited to jump back into the sun with red backgrounds and chartreuse light.  Light and color continue to be the elements that pull my heart into a composition.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Frozen Lake

Parkway Series #133   12 x 16  oil   SOLD

The diagonals in this composition attracted my eye as I composed with my camera.  The repetitive colors and shapes in the background and foreground water were also a strong compositional factor in making this a successful painting.  I am finding that I am able to find the right photograph for a painting  much quicker; the whole process is becoming much more natural and instinctive.  As a "marathon" painter, I feel that I am hitting my stride.  It is exciting to feel that it is all downhill from here!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sharp Top in the Snow

Parkway Series #132   12 x 16   oil   $95.

As I captured Sharp Top last weekend, in all of it's snowy beauty, my friend seemed to really want to be in the photo too.  She pretended to ignore me all the while keeping an eye on my travels and posing delightfully for the camera.   The warmth of the sun was as much a delight to her as it was to me and we enjoyed a morning of peace and quiet and beauty.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Morning beauty

Parkway Series #131   12 x 16    $95.

I drove up to the Peaks of Otter last Saturday morning.  Arriving at the lodge around 9 A.M. , I was amazed at the solitude.  There were very few cars parked in the lot and no one was outside.  The lake was frozen and although the snow was melting a bit there was still plenty of it on the ground.  A deer was grazing on the lawn totally unconcerned with me or my camera.  I walked all the way around her and she posed for me on several occasions.  The sun was bright and warm but the wind was very chilly.  I was having a great time shooting photo after photo (over 100!!) when I noticed my fingers were so cold they were getting numb.  After deciding that frostbite may not help my artistic endeavors, I packed up to leave, but the beauty of the morning will be remembered for a long time.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Yellow-Greens of Spring

Parkway Series #130   12 x 16    oil   $85.

Have you noticed the yellow green of Spring?  Even though snow is on the mountains, the valley is beginning to come back to life after all of the rain and snow soaking into the ground.  The short interlude of sun this morning has inspired the birds to sing and the warm humid air is helping me to recover from the frigidly cold winter.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Quest for Spring

Parkway Series #129   12 x 16   oil   $95.

The snow along the valley Parkway is gone but even with warmer temps, the snow along the ridges is still pretty deep; in fact, it actually covers the guard rails.  Even so, I was able to drive all the way to the Peaks this week and I got some fabulous photos of the snow.  Abbott Lake was frozen with a few inches of snow on the lake and I found a deer who was very cooperative in posing for me in the open spaces in front of the lodge.  Even in my quest for Spring, I guess I will be painting more snow next week!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Study of Rocks

Parkway Series #128   12 x 16   oil   sold
The discipline of a painting a day is wonderful.  Just as a musician practices playing an instrument each day so the artist must practice painting skills in order to improve.  The problem is lack of time for critique.  Sometimes I do tweek paintings before photographing them but mostly what I post is the first run!  These paintings will be great studies for larger paintings when my daily marathon is finished.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Yellow Landscape

Parkway Series #127   12 x 16   oil   $95.

Another experiment in linseed oil on a white background looks a bit different from most of my paintings.  However, this one I like because of the muted and duller colors.  The neutral palette works well with the winter landscape and the yellow ochre pulls the foreground closer to the viewer and warms the cold ground.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Painting on White

Parkway Series #126   12 x 16  oil   $95.

In my experimental phase of this series, I tried linseed oil on a white background instead of red.  This painting does not have the richness of last week's paintings.  I may try once more but feel a bit naked without my colored background.   I am learning more and more every day what I like and bold color is definitely my passion.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Classical ideas

Parkway Series #125   12 x 16   oil   Sold

On this canvas, I covered the red background with linseed oil before beginning to paint.  This is the technique of the old masters who achieved very soft backgrounds and glazed many layers of paint to achieve the realism of Classical art.  I have not used this technique with my Impressionistic style but I like the softness of the background so I may experiment more with this idea.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Parkway Series #124  12 x 16   oil    $95. 

It is interesting how little things in a painting will add to the overall compostition.  The strong diagonals coming from the left down the mountain are balanced by the small branch that bends from the tree on the right hanging down over the road.  Without that one branch the whole painting would be off balance.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bruegel Revisited

Parkway Series #123   12 x 16   oil   Sold

From this Parkway overlook, downtown Roanoke can be seen to the left.  I was taking the photo almost directly into the setting sun and the shadows seemed to revolve from the direction of the sun like the spokes of a wheel.  The red behind the trees gives warmth to a cold sunset.  Something about this painting reminds me of a Bruegel landscape.  He was a (14th c.) Flemish painter who painted snowy Alpine landscapes.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

On my way home

Parkway Series #122   12 x 16  oil   $95.

According to Webster's dictionary, discipline means training that corrects, perfects and refines.  My goal in this project was to discipline myself to paint every day with the hope of refining my skills.  It is not an easy task to make myself paint especially with my inspiration being closed for such a long time! However, discipline as much as it is associated with "punishment" is actually an incredible blessing;  I am learning so much.  This six month point is interesting;  I am painting faster, with more ease, experimenting more, knowing what I like and don't like as far as style.  I feel that when the extended Parkway finally opens my improvement as an artist will fly at a much faster pace in the last six months of this project.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Red Undertones

Parkway Series #121   12 x 16    oil,   $95.

All of the paintings this week will have red undertones.  I really enjoy working on a midtone red background.  For the past month, I have been working on a light orange background which introduces warmth into the cold landscapes of winter.  Orange and blue are complements so it also brightens the dull winter scenes.  Red, however, is the complement of green and the plan was to wait until Spring before changing to red.  With cabin fever setting in and the desire to experiment, I am jumping into red now and I am excited about the change.  Each painting this week will get bolder with the reds popping through the snow.