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Just Plein Fun and Other Autumn Adventures

This post will have to be more pictures than writing — everything has been moving so fast I haven’t taken enough time to reflect on it all!

First, of course, the effects of Hurricane Michael are still heavy upon my neighboring communities, along the coastal towns from Panama City to St. George Island and further, and all points north of there. The fundraiser started by Larry Moore and managed by Denise Rose and team, “Operation Fundstorm”, begun with the hope of raising a mere $10,000, actually raised over $117,000! More than 200 artists donated paintings which then were auctioned online over the course of one week, with 100% of the proceeds going to provide hurricane relief on the Forgotten Coast. I am thrilled to have been a contributing artist, with “Seeing the Light”, at left.

Oil painting of a goat on top of the climbing stack of pallets and shed at Sweet Creek Farm Market
King of Sweet Creek, 3rd Place at Pike Road Paint-Out

The last week of October I drove up to Blue Ridge, Georgia, to pick up my paintings and those of two fellow local participants in the Blue Ridge Mountains Plein air Paint-Out, which gave me time to visit with several dear friends in Murphy, NC. On my way back, I stopped near Montgomery, AL, for the “Just Plein Fun: Pike Road Paint-Out” where I painted with the Alabama Plein Air Artists. I enjoyed meeting so many artists, and the organizers, Patti and Richard Payne, and hope to participate in that event again! I was honored to receive 3rd place with my painting “King of Sweet Creek”, a painting of a stack of pallets and a shelter, its rooftop commanded by a goat the whole time I was painting. Thee weather was chilly and drizzly that first day, without spectacular light, so I opted to paint story instead.

The first week of November, I hung 20 of my paintings at Artful Things in Niceville, FL, where they will be exhibited through December 2018. That same week I also was juried into the Foster Gallery at the Ruskin Place Artist Colony, in Seaside, FL. I have 14 works showing there, through the first week of February. The Foster at Ruskin is the second branch of the Foster Gallery, an artist collective organized by the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County. Upcoming dates are:

Friday, December 7th, The Foster Gallery at Ruskin Place Artist Colony, 201 Ruskin Pl., Seaside, FL 32459, 1st Friday Art Walk, 5pm – 8pm.

Thursday, December 13th, The Foster Gallery at Ruskin Place Artist Colony, 201 Ruskin Pl., Seaside, FL 32459, Opening Reception, 5pm – 7pm.

Saturday, December 1st, Artful Things, 1087 John Sims Pkwy E, Niceville, FL 32578, Open House , 11am – 4pm.

And finally, I have been invited to again serve as a Florida’s Finest en Plein Air Ambassador for the Forgotten Coast en Plein Air which is based in Port St. Joe. Florida’s Finest Ambassadors teach 15 2-hour one-on-one instructional sessions to people who are new to plein air painting. Those 15 sessions are offered over 5 days, 3 per day. I served as an Ambassador in 2016, so I know the drill — it’s a fairly grueling schedule. Normally 6 artists from across the state are selected to be Ambassadors. Since the area just suffered a hurricane, the event may be scaled back a bit, but I know there will be at least three Ambassadors this year.

My weekly Wednesday painting sessions with my local group have yielded a number of studies over the summer, pictured below.

Oil p[ainting of a hive at Muscogee Farms in Bruce, FL
Hive at Muscogee Farms, plein air
Oil painting of the tables area at Elmore's Landing, with girl reading a book
Summer Light at Elmore’s, plein air
Oil painting of Joe Elmore's Bison sculpture, in a plein air composite including multiple facets of Elmore's Landing
Joe Elmore’s Bison, plein air
Mexico Beach, plein air (before Hurricane Michael)
Oil painting of the shoreline and harbor at Ft. Walton Yacht Club, with small sailboats beached and fishing boats docked
Play Day at the Club, plein air
Oil painting of backyard scene with red chairs and red umbrella
Becky’s Quiet, plein air
Oil painting showing the tannin-rich waters of Turley Creek, Niceville, FL
Turkey Creek, plein air
Oil painting of the bright light on the neighbor's lawn across Mallet Bayou, painted from Brenda's dock
Neighbors Across Mallet Bayou, plein air
Wood Spirits at Elmore’s Landing, plein air
Oil painting of the dunes at Henderson Beach State Park, Destin, FL, painted en plein air.
Butterfly Dune, plein air
Oil painting of the dune scrub at Veteran's park on Okaloosa Island, Ft. Walton Beach, FL
Pyrocantha and Goldenrod, plein air
Oil painting of a rocky stream in the mountains, under waning light
Mountain Memories, a workshop piece painted from childhood memories


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Seeing More Color, Plein Air Painting

Oil painting of the potted plants in the pavilion at the head of the Turkey Creek boardwalk, Niceville, FLAfter noticing my tendency to dull my colors when painting in the bright light outside, I decided to paint with brighter colors, sometimes straight out of the tube. The duller colors were exact when I was outdoors, but indoor lighting is never as bright as the sunlight, so I found my paintings looked dull when I brought them indoors. This effort to paint my paintings so that the colors look realistic when indoors, challenges me, because the more intense color seems a little garish while I am painting. I have to battle my instinct to tone it down.

Painting the potted plants in the pavilion at the head of the Turkey Creek boardwalk in Niceville, FL, last week, I was thrilled to find my subject half in the sun and half in the shade. Colors change radically when the sunlight hits them, being more true to what we think of as local color, in the shade. And the reds! Seldom do I get to use strong red! What fun!

Oil painting of the boats, hens and chicks, in the yard near Nick's Seafood Restaurant in Basin Bayou, FLThis week Wednesday was overcast. The light was strong, but the colors were muted. The Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters were painting at Nick’s Seafood Restaurant in Basin Bayou, west of Freeport, FL. I remembered  all the fancy little chickens running around in Trey’s yard next door, and I hoped to paint them. Alas, they were gone, and the only critters to show up were three scrawny young turkeys, two white and one brown. So I decided to paint the play of light around the boats, and the geometry of the chicken coop. Halfway into the painting, Trey came out and I asked him about the chickens, and he said there were about a hundred in the coop. I heard them start cheeping, as a little boy spread food for them. Trey threw some corn between me and the coop and a few adult chickens came out to eat. So I got to paint chickens after all!

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