Sunset on Mount Pisgah


It is always difficult to catch just the right day and time to paint a sunset.  Sometimes things are right, sometimes they’re not.  Don’t you just love it when it happens

Pasture on the Parkway

Pasture next to parkway “Pasture on the Parkway”, 14″ X 18″, open acrylic on canvas done in plein aire

Five out of the last six paintings have included a body of water, It was nice to paint this pastoral scene without water in the foreground.  The parkway runs adjacent to land owned by the public and used for many things, perhaps there’s a homestead, an old farm house with barns, cattle, horses maybe some sheep just over the hill.  You can imagine what you will.  This area is only a mile from Price Lake and is beautiful in it’s man made order.

Price Lake

Price Lake

“Price Lake”, 18″ X 24″, open acrylic on canvas done in plein aire

Price Lake is a man made lake.  The dam that created the lake is located under the bridge beside where I painted.  I stood next to the rail with the water flowing beneath me.  The lake was created on 4,200 acres gifted to the State by Julian Price upon his death to be used as a public recreation area.

I’ve been asked to share the size of my paintings in my posts as well as the medium.  I’ve updated that information in the Gallery.  He also asked why I was painting a plein aire painting on an 18″ X 24″ canvas, stating that it was to large to accomplish at one sitting.

My assumption is that many artists paint on small canvases when plein aire painting because of several reasons.  They paint on small canvases because it’s easier to transport their gear to and from the painting site.  They could paint smaller paintings to accomplish it in a shorter time allowing more time for additional detail or to capture the ever changing light better.

I paint most of the time where I can drive up and park my truck.  I usually set up within 50 yards.  I don’t have to worry about the weight of gear, the size of the canvas or how to protect it from unexpected weather changes so close to my truck.  Also I’m a quick painter, as an instructor at Paint Along Studios I learned to paint quickly by painting over six hundred times, each time completing a 16″ X 20″ canvas while assisting students in three hours or less.  A larger canvas simply requires a larger brush and larger brush strokes.  In many ways I find that I enjoy the larger sizes because I don’t have to  control a smaller detail brush while trying to stay loose.

James River Two, Too

James River Two

Painted from the same bridge as the day before, I like the way this one feels, I feel as if I caught the essence of the hot day as well as the scene.

James River

James River

This painting was done from the walkway under the James River bridge.  It’s a beautiful place.  I’m going back soon and paint a series of paintings from this location.  I could paint 50 paintings under this bridge and never paint the same thing twice.  I’m guessing that the bridge is 300 yds long.  The James River is a 410 mile long river. It’s the 12th largest river in the country that remains within the boundary of a single state.  It’s in Virginia.

I was twenty minutes from finishing painting when a Vietnamese woman vacationing from her home in Germany stopped and asked if the painting was for sale.  I now have a painting in a private European collection.  Sounds great doesn’t it?

Under the James River Bridge

Painting at Otter Lake with Rudy

20150708_114437Rudy’s painting and camping with me for the rest of the summer.  He loves the adventure.

Otter Lake

Otter Lake

Otter Lake is near Glasgow Virginia.  The elevation in the area is less than 1000 ft.  Otter lake is created by Otter creak and the Otters and flows in to the James River.  Rudy and I sat up for an early morning painting on a rainy day.  I started painting around 7:00 am and painted quickly, by 11:00 am the rain started.  The rest of the day we drove around and scouted out other painting opportunities and visited a local museum.

Wash Creek Valley

Wash Creek Valley


The overlook is 35 miles from the cottage, my chores were done I got on the road around 10:30 am.   I started painting around noon, not finishing till four in the afternoon.  If I had painted in the sun, I would have baked, it was a hot day.  Luckily, I painted this one sitting in the shade.

Lake Tomahawk

Lake Tomahawk

Off the turnpike taking care of domestic issues at our  Black Mountain Cottage but I found a few hours to paint this view of Lake Tomahawk one evening.

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Shawn Hart a photography student at Appalachian State University photographed me painting last month at one of the overlooks on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  It was at high elevation and was windy and very cool.

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Bridges and flowers

Bridge over Parkway

One of the most distinctive features of the Blue Ridge Parkway are its stone bridges. This one(there are 168) allows the parkway to cross under another road.  All of the overpasses except one are stone-faced arches.  The stone is from local quarries or stone was obtained on site from rocks cut during the construction. 11″ x 14″.

Native Orange Azaela

Orange azaleas, really, I’ve never seen them in Florida but I’m not an azalea inspector.  They grow wild along the roadside on the parkway.  I was told that they are a wild variety not a hybrid some are darker orange, others more yellow.  The predominate color looks like orange sherbet.  The leaves are more like rhododendron they’re beautiful.  This is a small painting(8″ x 8″) but still took me over two hours.


Only one a day due to Rain, Rain and more Rain

It rained all night and some of the morning. I didn’t have a rain fly to go outside, so I sat in my tent(staying at Linville Falls campground) and had cereal with bananas and almond milk for breakfast.  I couldn’t connect to the internet, forgot to bring any books.  I’m making a list of things to pack for the next trip out, so I as they say, I sat around and contemplated my navel.

I got on the parkway about 11:30 in the morning and was able to finish this painting just as it started to rain again.


Monday was more of the same, rain the night before and so foggy that painting a vista was not going to happen so I found a little picnic area with some tree cover and painted these Mountain Laurel under an over sized umbrella that I fastened to my easel with duct tape.  I thought that Mountain Laurel was apart of the Azalea or Rhododendron family but Wikipedia says no, that they are a part of the heather family. Mountain Laurel

Tuesday the fog cleared early on the mountain but looking down into the valley the lower mountain tops looked as if islands in a sea of white. on-the-parkway060915-9am

Wednesday was the brightest day so far, but the clouds are still ever present.  So today, God only knows why, I decided to paint an 18″ x 24″ painting.  Nobody in their right mind paints a plein air painting this large, but who said I was in my right mind.  It’s a view of Grand Father Mountain but not the classic view as seen from Hwy 105, but then again, I’m not on Hwy 105, I’m on the parkway. Back Side of Grandfather Mountain

Well, that’s all for right now, I’m going back to Black Mountain NC, rest for a few days, shop for all the things I forgot, do my chores around the house, go to a Tim Barnwell book signing on Saturday, celebrate my birthday on Sunday and then back to painting on Tuesday, thanks for tuning in.