Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Where There Is Smoke

This past weekend, Rick and I spent some time hiking and just admiring The Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. The Park was established in 1934 but it has history dating back before 1540 when Hernando De Soto was exploring the Appalachian Mountains. The Cherokee called this area their home, they named the mountains shaconage, place of the blue smoke.

The blue smoke that hangs on the mountains is oxygen, VOC - volatile organic compounds. The plants, trees, breathing, giving life to the air, creating fog. The blue color we see is the reflection in the molecules. The waterfalls, creeks, rivers, plants, trees,and wildlife make The Great Smoky Mountains the most visited park in the United States.

We did a hike up to the Laurel Falls and a drive around The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. This one way loop drive has lots of small areas to pull off and do your own exploring. I sat and started a sketch but a few rain drops kept me from finishing it there, I will finish it in the studio. One of the stops was along a waterway that was filled with "cairns". Cairns are man made stacks of rocks. They are used for many reasons the one I was aware of was trail markers. History notes they are used all over the world as landmarks, as monuments, to locate caches of food, other objects and trail markers. This body of water was filled with cairns, it was a delicately balanced sculpture. These markers may help us find our way or maybe just find a way to slow down.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

100 Years Today

It is the 100th year Celebration of the National Park Service! You heard me talking about it all month long in July as I had the show documenting images from Parks around the country. Today is the official birth of this organization, noted as America's Best Idea.

What will you be doing to to help celebrate this special occasion? I may just be hiking around in the Great Smoky Mountains. Next week expect some new photos from an area I had not yet hiked, Planning to bring sketchbook too.

Today here are a few pieces of art that took inspiration from a #National #Park. If you are interested in purchasing any of these works, send me an email at lhp5536@aol.com for pricing information. Plus, a percentage will be donated to NPS.

If you would like to donate directly to #NPS or Find Your Park - here is a link for you. http://www.nps.gov

Acadia, Maine mixed medium 12X20 matted & framed

Saguaro National Park oil 8X24 

Sadona, AZ oil with texture 12X12

Hummingbirds: Ruby east coast (body) &Anna west coast (top) oil

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Just A Hint

The last few days having been giving us just a hint that fall is right around the corner. It is about a month away but the temperatures are dropping, the humidity has dropped and for the moment clear blue skies.

While we were in Oregon we noticed that leaves already had color coming out. This may be due to the higher heat temperatures and lower rain fall. As we hiked through the woods in Oregon it was motivating me to work on projects for an October show. Rick and I took a walk around Virginia Techs campus before classes started so I could get some nice reference photos.

Yesterday, I was organizing computer files. I know that just sounds like so much fun. But, it does give me a chance to go back an explore those photos I took a season, a year, a few years ago. In doing this I found more tree reference pictures with some nice fall colors and a few in the snow. Next, I check with the gallery owner to see how many pieces she wants.

Fall is almost here, and trees are always a nice focus for art. I am thinking there may be a lot of trees and leaves in the 30-30 challenge this September.

Hoyt Arboretum Washington Park OR

Common Paw Paw 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Looking Blue

Friday, Rick and I went over to the Virginia Tech campus to see the Arboria Luminarium. An inflatable sculptural exhibit sponsored by the Moss Performing Arts Center  in Blacksburg, VA. My best description of the experience is an interactive fixable form based on nature filled with color provided by natural light.

That being said, it is kind of like a big blow up toy with music and lights that you walk into and through. It was fun, mesmerizing, meditative, creative and flowed with a gentle ease. They regulate how many people can go in at any given time. People of all ages had their inside voices, they were aware of people taking photographs and often offered to exchange taking them of each other. One of the fun parts of taking photos inside is the affect of the natural light that filters through the colored panels. In the blue room, we turned a bit blue, the red room, well, kind of red. The influence of color and light in art, was something to experience. Back in the day of shooting film, I had experimented with the use of colored filters in both Black & White and Color photography. The pictures inside reminded me of using those filters.

Inside there are little areas you can sit and enjoy the space. They encourage you to sit or lay but not to slide down the sides or run around the form. It takes about 20-30 minutes to cover all the areas. There is a bit of a wait to enter the vacuum sealed sculpture but it is only here for a couple more days and well worth the time for this experience.

If you can, go, take a moment to relax in a space of color and light.


Here are some of the fun photographs I took with my phone.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Back in the studio

Finally have something back on the easel. I had started a demonstration piece that I knew I wanted to finish for an upcoming show. I started it at Common Ground on the Hill late June. Then put it aside to do the exhibit and small demonstration pieces at NOMA for the month of July. After taking that show down, transporting it to the VA studio, I left town for two weeks.

It is now mid-August and I think I have everything unpacked. Pretty well organized my drawing table so I can now see the surface. The only thing left in the clean up is the alternate room that is my framing space/office. Got a new desk which makes the business part easier. Still need to pack up work going to the Mill show in September. Figure out storage for extra frames, mat board and glass. 

The most important part I have my work in progress kind of organized. Couple of pastel paintings come first. Followed by oils that have been waiting to be finished. Studio time is just a few hours away.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

As Far As The Eye Can't See

Fog - Mother Natures way of making you look at the big shapes. When you are painting or drawing it is good to look at shapes through blurred eyes (fog) to work out composition and contrast. 

Blacksburg is often in fog, a low area near the Blue Ridge Mountains. This morning the mountains that are visible from my back door are gone. Well, not gone but hidden by the morning fog. As, I sit with my coffee, painting on my mind, determined to be in the studio today. 

The fog made me think of techniques in drawing/painting. Not being able to see the details can be a good thing. Look at the simple shapes: oval, circle, triangle, rectangle or square. Do quick thumbnail (small) sketches using just those shapes. Use the fog, sketch the lights and darks. Look at the big picture. Refine the details when the fog burns off and the sun breaks through. 


Monday, August 15, 2016

Thinking Forward

Having just returned from the west coast with lots of wonderful tree reference pictures. One might think that this would be the inspiration for art work. It will be one day, just not today.

When I am looking at things in nature I do not just think about the image, the photograph, or the memory of the trip. I am thinking about shows for the future, combining images together, this bird with that tree and teaching. I may see something that will make a good reference for students to learn about perspective or foreshortening. 

Hard as I try to put them in files and folders I am always behind on computer work. I keep my running list to remind me  to do updates. Which, yes, I am behind again in updating my web site.

The newest photos are downloaded on the computer and in general folders. Later selection will be made, printed and in a stack in my studio of works to be done. 

There is a method to the madness in creating. Some shows have themes and the work must be done for the show that is next on the horizon. For now the Oregon and Washington state trees will have to wait. What's next on the drawing board are some animals and local Virigina trees for a show in October here in Blacksburg. The trees around Virginia Tech Campus. There may be a few birds in the trees. More to come on fall shows.

Sorbus Americana - Washington Park - Portland, OR

Birch-Bark Cherry

Friday, August 12, 2016


We are slowly making our way back home to VA but before we get there we will see family and friends this weekend. Plus, the bonus of seeing more art. Friday, we stopped in #Frederick, #MD went by #NOMAgallery on the corner of 5th & Market to see the new group show that is up through August 27th. They are open Fridays 4:00 - 8:00 and Saturday 12:00 - 8:00 or by appointment. You can email the gallery at nomagallery2@gmail.com or call 240-367-9770.

Here is a collage of some of the works you will see at NOMA in August.
NOMA gallery 437 N. Market St., Frederick, MD

Just down the street from NOMA is TAG (The Artists Gallery) 216 N. Market St., Frederick, MD. The gallery hours are: Friday & Saturday 12:00 - 9:00 p.m. Sunday 12:00 - 5:00 or by appointment 301-696-8187. The show runs through August 28th, 2016. 

Oh, I forgot to mention I have two pieces in each show. Hope you can stop by to see "Le Salon" at TAG and the "Group Celebration" show at NOMA. 
TAG 216 N. Market St., Frederick, MD

World Elephant Day

Elephants one of my favorite animals. I love that they are a tender, gentle giants. I have been painting lots of trees and birds this year. I hear Africa calling, on many levels. I think after I do a few more tree pieces for a show in October that it will be time to re-visit my Africa references. Maybe in September a few pieces may pop up in the 30-30 challenge.

World Elephant Day: remember our elephants, keep them safe and help prevent poaching. www.worldelephantday.org

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Making U-Turns

I am no stranger to U-turns, having no sense of direction I have made a lot of them over the years. The U-Turns I am referring to here are the ones made in nature. Walking around Hoyt Arboretum in Washington Park (Portland, OR) the trees work hard to find the sun. Twists and turns are part of nature especially trees. It was amazing to see some fairly large trees twist their branches making u-turns.

Here are a few examples. Which I may  play around with some close up sketches.

Almost Raining

The day started out a little wet but stayed overcast all day. What do you do on a slightly wet gray day? Go to the Portland Art Museum of course. 

We had a great day walking around looking at art plus there was a performance event going on outside and somewhat inside the muesum. 

Our favorite was the woodblock prints, some were from books created in the 1600's. The woodblock prints went through to contemporary time. 

Fashion exhibits have been in many museums this year and there was one in Portland. Inspired by Native Americans and inspiring the arts in education. 

There were hands, I love hands, the fashion exhibit and a sculptural piece were filled with hands. There were a few pieces that pushed some limits but part of art is going to the next level, pushing past limits. 

It was a good day, an inspirational day, now I need to see what limits I can push through in my own work.
Adrian Arlio Horse of a 1000 hands III
Woodblock cut
Woodblock cut The Ten Bamboo Studio Collection 1670
Wood Block carving
Paul Horiuchi 1970
Life imatating art...

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Wind In My Hair

Chicago may be know as the Windy City but the River between Oregon and Washington is a powerful force of nature. Apparently the flow of the current in the Columbia River and the direction of the wind create perfect conditions for wind surfing.

Two states known for rain have only 14% along parts of the rivers edge. Making it a place that grapes like to grow. An area called the fruit loop known for pears, peaches and cherries just over the hill has twice as much rainfall. Flowers and trees grow according to the amount of rain and wind they are happiest with, adapting to the direction of the wind along the river. Just down the road is The Dalles, founded in 1857, the end of Lewis and Clark's overland trail and where the annual flow of the Columbia river is 448.8 gallons per minute. The river is 260,000 square miles. Starting in British Columbia, Canada and ending at Astoria, Oregon.

With the wind in my face and rearranging my hair I was still able to get some great reference photos. Along with a little time for a glass of wine, lunch, music and sketching. Lovely day along the river.

What's That Sound???

You know you are in Wyoming when you wake to the sound of horses. With limited wi-fi service it has been a lot harder to get blogs written a...