May 30, 2012


A collage I made earlier this year. I only wish I looked that stylish painting outside.

In the beginnings of summer, the Knoxville Museum of Art hosts its annual fundraiser. For the past several years its been a sale of plein air paintings painted the day of and the day before the show by area artists. Last year was the first time I participated in Artists on Location.  I'd never attempted plein air painting before, but one of my co-workers is the chair he and talked me into it. 

 I was enthusiastic, and went at it with such gusto. I made three paintings. One even sold! However, I  came away with a few battle scars. 

The only patch of sunburn. I earned my plein air wings.

Most of the time, painting is a full-body contact sport for me. At the end of the day, I was completely covered in sticky, black oil bar and white paint. I showered with my dish soap for a few days in an attempt to cut through the linseed grease and grime. I also still have white fingerprints all over my trunk and car doors. Here are some of my pieces from last year.

Gay Street Trains

Under the Gay Street Bridge.

This year, I took the easy route, and decided oil painting outdoors just isn't for me. I have been watercoloring more than I have in the past, and decided to give that a go. I made these paintings last year as gifts for people, and the style suits making quick paintings. (Especially when I don't want to be wearing half the paint in the end.

A sweet little Memphis bungalow.

CK's, A Memphis institution

My rig for this year was a drawing board, a camping chair, a glass jar with brushes, and a nalgene with all the water I would need.

On Sunday I painted the Pease Furniture Store in the Vestal neighborhood of South Knoxville. Here's my view from across the street. I've always loved the lettering of the sign, and the time-warpy feeling I get whenever I drive by.

And here's the finished piece.

I took advantage of the long weekend and was able to make a second painting. This is the Cal Johnson Building in Downtown Knoxville. It's next to a parking garage I use frequently, and I've always admired its beautiful (broken) windows. It was just added to Knox Heritage's Fragile Fifteen list.

Here's hoping it sees some better days soon.