Thursday, December 29, 2011

Peaks of Otter Lodge

Parkway Series #367             12 x 16     oil        Sold

Another experiment, with a black gessoed background, produced this painting of the Peaks of Otter Lodge.  I have a show in 2012 of just images from the Peaks so I will be painting a lot of scenes from that location.  With great mountain views and the watery reflections of Abbott Lake that should not be a problem!  This is actually my favorite location on the Parkway.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Drama with Light

Parkway Series #366     12 x 16    oil     SOLD

Experimenting with backgrounds, I gessoed this board with black gesso instead of red (my usual color) in order to achieve more drama with light.  I think I like the results.

Monday, December 12, 2011

It's all about the Light

Parkway Series #365      12 x 16   oil    SOLD

My passion is in searching for the Light.  Last night we saw the Christmas play at Thomas Road Baptist Church;  the theme was in searching for the Light from Creation until the birth of Christ and on to his crucifixtion.  The stars told the story through their perspective and the Light was the unifying theme!  In my experience, it is always the Light that draws my soul and my heart into the mystery of the universe. If I can capture even a little of this on canvas, I am one happy artist!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Otter Creek Reflections

Parkway Series #364  12 x 16   oil    Sold

Otter Creek is always a treasure trove of images from which to paint.  This fall day was no exception.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Lake James

                                                     Lake James     16 x 40    oil     Sold

This view of Lake James in North Carolina was commissioned by a client in Hawaii;  this must prove that western Va and N.C. can compete with the views in Hawaii which makes me very excited!  I love the panoramic view and decided to buy a few more canvases, this size, on which to continue my Parkway project.  I am now caught up on commissions unless I get a few more last minute ones for Christmas, so my plan is to keep on painting the Parkway.  I have already scheduled four Parkway shows for 2012 so I need to get busy!


                                           16 x 20 oil  Sold

At this time of Thanksgiving, I am truly thankful for the many commissions the Lord has brought my way over the last few weeks.  This is not a Parkway scene but a diversion to the beach!  It is enjoyable to change locations and subject matter occassionally, especially after 360 woodland/mountain scenes!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Enjoying the Day II

Parkway Series #363     16 x 20       Oil      Sold

  After painting trees and haybales and mountains for a while, it was fun to paint "little people" enjoying their day at the Peaks of Otter.  I have several other commissions that I will be working on that are not part of my Parkway Project so I may not be posting for a few weeks.  Two shows in October, one at the Artisan Center in Rocky Mount this weekend and the other at Tuggles Gap on the Parkway Oct 15 and 16th, will also be keeping me busy for a while.  If you are in the area on those weekends, please come by and visit. Signing off for a while....................

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Farm Hospitality

The Ridge and Valley Plein Air Painters gathered at  a farm in Moneta to paint a few weekends ago.  I will probably give this painting to the farmer as a "thank you" for his hospitality!  He was very interested in our work and excited to show us around his 150 acre farm.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Botetourt Hay Bales

Parkway Series #361  12 x 16   oil   SOLD

As the summer wanes, hay bales pop up over the parkway landscapes readying the farms for winter.  The warm colors are so inviting as opposed to the gray tones of winter.  I plan to paint summer and fall as long as I can!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Art and Music in the Mountains II

Parkway Series #360   12 x 16   oil   sold

This is another painting done on location last weekend at the Peaks of Otter.  Sometimes I will begin a painting on location and then tweak it in the studio.  This one remains as it was done on location.  It is interesting that I achieve a much softer painting on location than in the studio.  Maybe it is a phenomenon of plein air painting or maybe it was the influence of David Heath who was painting nearby!  In either case, it is fun to experiment with styles and change old habits.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Art and Music in the Mountains

Parkway Series #359   12 x 16   oil   sold

After taking a few weeks off from a very rigorous painting schedule, I am glad to be back painting and blogging again!    Today, the Ridge and Valley Plein Air Painters met with other plein air groups at the Peaks of Otter to enjoy a beautiful day around the lake painting and socializing with like minds!  I am soooo inspired to paint; the light today was fabulous and I took 250 photos - enough to get me through a long cold winter!  We will be there tomorrow for more painting.  Please come and watch us paint and have dinner!  The smells coming from the dining room were as good as the views!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Barn Stories II

Parkway Series #358   12 x 16   oil    SOLD

The story of barns, the people who built them, the long ago days of hard work and farming, the memories stored in the barn,  pervade the Appalachian landscape along the Parkway.  This barn sits below the railroad tracks near the N&W overlook around milepost 107 and the image was captured with a zoom lens late in the afternoon light. The purple and green mist on the background mountain captures the feel of an August day and I can still hearing the cicadas shrill echoing against it. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Summer Colors

Parkway Series #357    12 x 16   oil    SOLD

The cool blue mountain and the warm orange hay provide an interesting contrast in this late afternoon view of the area around milepost 110.  As the summer wanes, these contrasting colors fill the landscape until the fall explosion of orange, red and brown takes over in harmony.  Sometimes, the contrast is more exciting than the harmony.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Spirit of Perseverance

Parkway Series #356   12 x 16  oil   Sold

Another painting of my bicycle series, hopefully, captures the spirit of perseverance, the movement of the human form and the heat of an August day on the Blue Ridge. 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Journey

Parkway Series #355   12 x 16   oil   SOLD

Did you read Liza's Field Notes today in the Roanoke Times!  Amazing how we think alike!  "Our soul's urge is to journey both inward and outward."  Everyone likes to travel, to see new places and to imagine mysterious destinations.  Summer is filled with travel but, in my book, we, who live in Southwest Virginia, have an incredible opportunity to stay home and experience journeys most people would envy!  Why sit trapped in glittery heat, diesel fumes and traffic jams to smell salt air filled with fake-coconut pie and speedboat gasoline smells?  I am staying home this summer and I intend to take full advantage of our incredible national resource, the Blue Ridge Parkway!!! as much as possible!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Enjoying the Day

Parkway Series #354   12 x 16   oil   sold

I have decided to do a series of people on the Parkway.  I intend to find bicyclists and runners and fishermen and hikers and anyone else I can find enjoying the day!  The only people on the Parkway I refuse to paint are motorcyclists.  Sorry, but as far as I am concerned the noise ruins the ambiance for me.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Glassmine Falls Overlook

Parkway Series #353  12 x 16  oil   Sold

An 800' waterfall, I'm sure, is fabulous close-up but you need binoculars to see it from this overlook.  The path to a higher platform was actually more intriguing to me.  I love the rock formations and the light falling across the path.  It seems that after several trips to this overlook, the path is always a specific remembrance.  Sometimes, in life, the "path down the road" is more memorable than the destination.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Road with Rhodes

Parkway Series #352    12 x 16    oil    Sold

Just before walking down the path to the lower waterfalls at Graveyard Fields, I glanced back at the Parkway and saw this image of the road with "rhodes" in the foreground.  This was one of those magical moments when Beauty was everywhere and my head was spinning 180 degrees to see it all!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Looking Back

Parkway Series #351  12 x 16  oil   $150.

Looking back over the last two years of this project, I can see incredible reasons to recommend the discipline of daily painting. Confidence, skill improvement, increased inventory, and speed in painting have all added to my daily experience.  Even though I am slowing down due to increased family demands, I still feel the benefits from my year of daily painting and I have no regrets that I challenged myself to this discipline.  The image for this painting was taken with a zoom lens as I looked back at the Parkway from Craggy Gardens around milepost 365.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Balsam Gap

Parkway Series #350    18  x 24    oil     Sold

Overlooking the Nantahala National Forest, the highest point on the Parkway stands between milepost 430 and 440 in North Carolina at 6,047 feet.  The Balsam fir trees rise majestically over the landscape, pointing to the Heavens to assure viewers that even the "rocks and the trees praise His Name"!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Graveyard Fields, Lower Waterfall II

Parkway Series #349    12 x 16   oil    SOLD

 Sitting by the water, hearing the sounds of the water and soaking in the summer sun while gazing at the Blue Ridge Mountains...... there is nothing better in this life.  I believe we are given glimpses of Heaven every now and then and this is one of them!  This is another view of the waterfall posted on June 11th.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Cowee Mountain Overlook, mp. 430.7

Parkway Series #348    12 x 16   oil    Sold

At 5,950 feet, the Cowee Mountain Overlook has spectacular views of layers and layers of mountains. But this project is much more to me than just documenting the overlooks.  It is the feeling of being transported to another world  - the breathtaking beauty  - that I want to share.  Wildflowers lined the road as I became an audience of one in an afternoon matinee of  "Summer Magic".  Hopefully, just as poetry communicates to others, my experience, translated through paint into a visual language,  will touch the heart of the viewer.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Craggy Pinnacle Tunnel

Parkway Series #347    12 x 16   oil   Sold

 This tunnel just north of Craggy Gardens, around milepost 364, shows the solid rock formation through which the road winds.  I cannot imagine the blood, sweat and tears it took to build this road back in the 1930's.  I am so thankful for the men and women who blasted through rock and mountainous terrain to create this incredible, scenic highway and their hard work inspires me to work harder.

Monday, June 27, 2011

"Ridge and Valley Plein Air Painters" II

Parkway Series #346   oil   20x30    Sold

Looking up at the Blue Ridge / Peaks of Otter from the valley in Bedford, our plein air group had fabulous views from which to choose .  We received permission from the Claytor Nature Preserve of Lynchburg College to paint on the 250 acre tract of land that offers artists a visual feast beyond compare!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

"Ridge and Valley Plein Air Painters" Outing

Parkway Series #345    20 x 24    oil   SOLD

This departure from my smaller Parkway paintings was done on location with a group of plein air painters with whom I am working.  The 20 x 24 size was a challenge especially for plein air painting!  However the view of the Peaks of Otter range of mountains in the background and the feel of summer sunlight on the yellow grasses in the foreground rekindled the excitement I feel being a part of the landscape I am painting.  I have one more "on location" painting to complete in the studio before returning to my series of Smokey Mountain scenes.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Afternoon Light

Parkway Series # 344   12 x 16   oil    SOLD

I've painted the "old road" so many times, but when the afternoon light is this good, I could not resist another one!  This is another view of the Parkway in North Caroilina around Balsam Gap.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Craggy Gardens

Parkway Series # 343   12 x 16   oil   Sold

The panoramic views from Craggy Gardens were breathtaking!  The photo for this painting was taken through the glass window in the Visitor Center.  The "rhodes" on the trails were just beginning to bloom when we were there at the end of May and the late afternoon ambiance made for a visual feast of blue/green hues in every direction.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Ferrin Knob Tunnel #3, milepost 401.4

Parkway Series #342   12 x 16   oil    SOLD

The North Carolina tunnels are so unique to the Parkway.  And each one expresses itself differently;  the shape, the shadows and the angle in which it sits on the mountain  add to the personality of the tunnel.  I chose this one because of the diagonal composition, the rocks and the shadows crossing the road.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Devils Courthouse

Parkway Series #341   12 x 16   oil    Sold

This overlook at milepost 423 is close to the southern end of the Parkway. It is said that the sinister look of the rock overlooking the Pisgah National Forest was the prompting for the name, Devil's Courthouse.  After hiking all day we decided not to hike to the top of this rock, however, I have it on the list for our next trip!

Remake of #339. Graveyard Fields

Parkway Series #339   12 x 16   oil   $150.

Sometimes I have to deal with a painting several days before I know if it is finished.  This painting posted on June 8th bothered me.  I paint mostly from real life with a bit of artistic license but the real rock formations in this image kept reminding me of animal heads!! Everytime I looked at the painting I saw eyes and noses/faces of animals looking back! So I had to take the artistic license to change and paint rocks that suited me better. The creativity of compostition and change from the real landscape is part of art and knowing when to change is part of being an artist.  However, I will reserve the right to change it again in a few days... not sure if there may be more changes to make.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Graveyard Fields, Lower Waterfall

Parkway Series #340   12 x 16   oil   Sold

Our walk to the bottom of the lower waterfall was an easy hike.  The Parkway has completed lots of upgrades to the trail and bridges around this popular attraction.  With all the rain we have gotten over the last few weeks, the mountain creeks are full and overflowing so it was a great time to get great photos!!! This image was interesting to me because of all the angles of rocks and the value patterns.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Graveyard Fields, Upper Waterfall

Parkway Series #339  12 x 16   oil   

The hike to the upper falls at Graveyard Fields was a bit harder than the hike to the Lower Falls.  However, it was definitely worth it.  We had already hiked to the lower falls and figured we could do more but the day was really hot and we did not realize the noon hour was approaching.  You would think we would know to be prepared but a quick jaunt to the top seemed harmless.  Several hours later, with stomachs growling and our tongues dry, we found ourselves very tired from the steep climb over rocks and rugged terrain but excited to have accomplished the feat with fabulous photos of both waterfalls.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Another View from the top of Mt. Mitchell

Parkway Series #338   12 x 16   oil    $150.

Another incredible view from the top of Mt Mitchell shows the layers of mountains and the clear air.  Virginia humidity gives a much more hazy and misty appearance to the ridges than this early morning view about 6,ooo feet up.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

View from the top of Mt. Mitchell

Parkway Series #337   12 x 16   oil    Sold

Incredible weather and a much needed vacation describe our trip to Asheville last week.  We hiked at Graveyard Fields  and Crabtree Gardens and enjoyed waterfalls, panoramic vistas and incredible inspiration around every turn!  Last year (in April) Mt. Mitchell was covered with ice;  this year we actually got to walk to the top! --the highest point east of the Mississippi!  The beauty could never be captured in paint but to translate the experience on canvas was fun and really reinforces the memory.  Saturday I will be showing my work at the Sidewalk Art Show in downtown Roanoke, however even with many paintings of the southern end of the Parkway underway, none are finished or dry enough to display so stay tuned to the blog for more of the Smokies.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Last Leg of the Journey

Parkway Series #336   12 x 16   oil   SOLD

After a year of painting five a week and another six months of three paintings a week, I have decided to take some time off to focus on my new website, to frame for summer shows and to travel the Parkway.  The last week in May we will be spending a few days in Asheville looking for possible galleries for my work and photographing the last 150 miles of the Parkway.  I am looking forward to finishing the project with more energy and passion than ever, but the rest is needed before beginning the "last leg of the journey"!  I will be showing at the Sidewalk Art Show in Roanoke on June 4th and June 5th and many paintings will be discounted to move inventory.  Signing off until then.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Parkway Wildflowers

Parkway Series # 335   12 x 16   oil    Sold

With all of the rain we have gotten over the last few weeks, the Parkway wildflowers are more plentiful than ever!   Blue bells, white daisies, yellow goldenrod and these red flowers ( I have not identified) are filling the meadows with beauty. I got so excited I pulled out the old palette knife and slathered on the paint to try to get the effect of what I was seeing!  Sometimes the fun, the experience is more satisfiying than the end result!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Color 101

 Color Workshop 101     12 x 16   oil    Sold

I participated in a plein air workshop yesterday at the home of Bill White, retired professor from Hollins University and this painting is the result of a fun day in the sun with great friends and good food!  We all came away with a new appreciation of color and the intricacies of color theory!  Thanks, Bill

Friday, April 29, 2011

Bridging the Gap

Parkway Series #333   12 x 16   oil   Sold

This is one of a series of four paintings, (summer, fall, winter, spring) of the Buck Mountain Parkway overpass.  Prints of the commissioned paintings will help with fundraising for Faith Christian School, whose land is adjacent to the Parkway.  Hopefully it will help "bridge the gap" between the 6+ million they have already raised and the needed funds to pay off the new school building.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Great Valley

Parkway Series #332   12 x 16   oil    Sold

Around milepost 100 there are views of the valley that runs between the Blue Ridge and the Appalachain Mountains.  The breathless feeling of the views is an attraction for many visitors from all over the world.  It is an incredible priviledge to actually live a few miles from this incredible natural resourse.  My prayer is that we would all see the Truth, Goodness and Beauty of this land in which we live and thank our Resurrected Saviour for the Blessings He has given us, especially as we celebrate this Easter Season.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Cezanne Revisited

Parkway Series #331   12 x 16   oil   Sold

Cezanne was in love with Mount Sainte Victoire;  it was near his home in France and he painted it over 60 times.  He said  "A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art".  Interestingly, I feel this same passion as I travel the Blue Ridge.  As I rounded this curve south of 220, around milepost 125 this mountain view and the colors in the shadowed frame surrounding the view stirred something in me.  When I sense the emotion, the love of the visual world travels from my eye to my heart to my hand grabbing for the camera to capture the essence of the image.  But it is usually in the studio that the emotion is translated to canvas.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Abstract Nature

Parkway Series #330   12 x 16   oil   Sold

 The job of an artist is to concentrate on shape, pattern, texture, color and value;  the abstract nature of reflections makes this easier.  Many times, when I work from a photograph, I will turn the photograph upside down and paint the image upside down to see the elements of art rather than the image.  Reflections are upside down images too; so I feel very comfortable painting the abstract reflections in water.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mountain Stream

Parkway Series #329   12 x 16   oil   Sold

Mountain streams are a fascinating subject for artists.  After painting the James and the Roanoke River from a distance, I was inspired to try a close up.  This is Bottom Creek Gorge, part of the Roanoke River as it meanders near Bent Mountain.

Monday, April 11, 2011

New Boardwalk at the Peaks

Parkway Series #328   12 x 16   oil    Sold

The new boardwalk around the Peaks of Otter Lake allows for new views of Sharp Top and the little island in the middle of the lake.  Yellow daffodills are planted in the marshy areas and were in full bloom this weekend.  "Plein air" sunshine and increased Vitamin D levels are giving me more energy and passion to paint!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

View from Roanoke River Bridge

Parkway Series #327   12 x 16   oil    Sold

At milepost  114.7 the Parkway crosses the Roanoke River.  Because of the steep slopes down to the river, the shadows are usually very dramatic at any time of the day.  The photo for this painting was taken last Saturday at 8 a.m. so the light is much more diffused.  I may try the painting again to compare the lighting effects of a different time of day.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Open Spaces

Parkway Series # 326   12 x 16   oil   Sold

Even though mountain vistas are the attraction on the Parkway, there are some beautiful stretches of flat road, fields and meadows that are so peaceful and calming.  The horizontal aspect of paintings as opposed to the vertical has a very different feel.  In this section of roadway around milepost 110, the perspective in the sky with the clouds descending to the middle added to the flat landscape and perspective of the road.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Glade Creek IV

Parkway Series #325   12 x 16   oil    $125.

The search for Spring on the Parkway this weekend was wonderful.  Saturday was a bit cold and windy but Sunday made up for the discomfort.  There were very few buds and blossoms but a lot of clearing was done over the winter so the views from the overlooks were fabulous.  I got some great photographs from which to work;  the new walkway around the swamp at the Peaks lends itself to great views of Sharp Top and new views of the little island in the middle of the lake! Even though I have painted Glade Creek before, this view of the creek adds the yellow forsythia just starting to bloom.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Road Ahead

Parkway Series #324   12 x 16   oil    Sold

After painting 324 Parkway paintings, I have decided that this is the style to which I aspire.  I want the realism of color and light with the loose impressionistic brush strokes of the great impressionist painters.  So much of the time I get too concerned with the details and forget the big picture.  I need to focus on the shapes and the composition.  I have seen great improvement in the area of color and light over the last year; now that I am slowing down and not pushing to complete a painting every day, I have time to evaluate and think about the direction of the road ahead.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Parkway Series # 323  12 x 16   oil    Sold

Blooms and buds are everywhere in the valley.  The season is delayed a week or so at each interval of elevation, however, I had to paint an introduction to Spring with the arrival of  the anemones and the bluebells.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Parkway Series #322   12 x 16   oil    Sold

I would really like to do a series of  "moonscapes" but I have not had the right moments to really capture the essence of that dramatic light over the mountains.  I will be taking photos at dusk more often;  painting "en plein air" at that time of day is definitely not an option!!  This image was captured around milepost 108.