This past weekend I spent a relaxing and creative weekend on Millstone Mountain in northern Georgia with my new artist friends I met at the Olmsted Plein Air Invitational last month.
Between rain showers, we took full advantage of the sunshine and painted en plein air at Sally's Pond.
And during the rain and evenings, we painted still life inside. And in between, we sneaked down to tour Rome, GA, and Berry College. Berry College is amazing! A picturesque institution of higher learning with a blend of historic and contemporary architecture wrapped in some of the most beautiful landscapes you'll find in the south. And don't forget the furbabies...
We even discovered a very special place...
Rome, Georgia, is a beautiful town. It reminded me of my hometown of Franklin, Tennessee, only larger and "undiscovered." As much as I love Franklin, it's so crowded and congested, I pine for the days when they rolled up the sidewalks at 5pm.
Rome is still a working small town with more history, more historic architecture, and lovely quaintness. It's situated between two rivers with spectacular landscapes and views. And I love the wide space between the buildings and a divided Main Street with a grassy and tree-lined median. While downtown we visited the studio of an artist whose work has absolutely enchanted me, Kathleen Smithson. Yummy, yummy colors, soft edges and beautiful compositions. Excellent work, Kathleen!!
My class at Rippavilla didn't make this evening. Yes, I'm disappointed. I love to teach. But I also love to paint and I'm enjoying an entire day in the studio. No make-up, and only leaving to hang wet clothes on the line. Feeling a little like Auntie Em...hanging wet clothes on the line with severe thunderstorms, hail, and tornadoes in the forcast. Ah, spring in middle Tennessee. It's actually a great time to dry clothes. Until the front blows through it's 80*.
In the studio, I'm preparing for several art shows, exhibits, and commissions.
Chicago artist Frederic Clay Bartlett and his wife Helen built Bonnet House in 1919 on land given to them in southern Florida. In April 2011 I visited this beautiful estate and was overwhelmed by the architecture, history, art, animals, water (still in its possession is about a mile of oceanfront property in Ft. Lauderdale). I also fell in love with the art studio.
This painting was painted in my studio from a photo I took on that day nearly 4 years ago. I plan to enter it into the Bonnet House Impressions Art Competion and Show in March.
This past weekend I was fortunate enough to get into the Nashville Qiang Huang workshop. Qiang (pronounced "Chong") is an amazing person. He is fluent in both Chinese and English and was trained in the fields of science and technology. Yes, he was a rocket scientist at NASA earlier in his career and only stumbled into painting when he and his family moved to Austin, TX, and purchased a house.
Qiang was not happy with the lower-end wall decor offered at national home furnishings stores and he couldn't afford the fine art offered in area galleries, so he instead purchased paints and started creating his own works of art to fill his house.
And I'm thankful he did. I love his style, a cross of impressionism and realism with both muted and vibrant colors and soft and sharp edges. He's work has been a favorite of mine since I discovered him on Daily Paintworks in 2010.
He demoed this painting on our first day:
For more on Qiang Huang, look for upcoming blog posts with more info and demos. And check out the April issue of The Artists' Magazine. Qiang is featured.