Exploring Florida and the southeast with my paint box...
Painting the Real Florida
Welcome to My Project!
I was born and raised in Florida. After many years of travel, attending plein air paint outs, I discovered that residencies are the best way to explore the natural world I love. Working for an extended period from seven to ten days really enhances my painting experience. I am lucky to have friends and collectors who make it possible to explore the exciting and interesting locations I love to paint. Supporters provide their unoccupied vacation homes or hotel lodging for my residencies throughout the year. I am always delighted to leave an original framed painting for them as my thanks for their generous gift. If you would like to sponsor a residency, I would love to hear from you. Contact me at: email@example.com
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The privilege of being an Artist in Residence includes all of the swell parties out at Fair Oaks. They know how to throw a party with no detail left out. Comfort and pleasure for the guests is all important. The Ho Down is held every fall on a Friday night. Last weekend was perfect, cool and lovely. We enjoyed a huge meal of turkey and all the trimmings and a table groaning under the weight of desserts. I was really good and skipped dessert. I enjoyed the time with friends at the bonfire and watched the square dancing. The fire is always huge and beautiful. You can imagine all kinds of wonderful things while watching the mammoth tree limbs burn. On a hundred and sixty acres full of trees, you are going to have firewood. It gets stacked up all year long and then burned for the parties.
There is a nice hay ride too. It is a wonderful way to spend a fall evening. Eating alfresco under the stars with the fiddle and banjo music in the background is so pleasant. I've always loved the edge of a party and this one is no exception. I like to hang around the bonfire or on the porch of the old house, watching the festivities.
Notes From My Residency Journal- November 17, 2012
Yesterday was a special event at my studio. Two of my housing sponsors came for a visit and one of my business sponsors. They are friends so it was lovely to have five friends who support my project come together. The Nelms from Bird Island and Rick Knellinger from Fair Oaks. What a treat for me. We enjoyed talking about all the lovely wild places we have been to around Florida. I am hoping for a pontoon boat ride soon to take reference photos from the Suwanee River area. The Nelms told me that there are some great spots to photograph for future paintings in that area and around Horseshoe Beach. I'll be exploring that area for a week in April. It always means so much to me when Rick comes to the studio. He seldom has the time to come so it is special!!.
Fall on the Pond 3
acrylic on canvas
wide off white distressed frame
Notes From My Fair Oaks Mini Residency- November 18, 2012
My goodness today was one of the glorious days at Fair Oaks. It was cool and dry with a Florida blue sky day. Gosh I love it there in the fall and winter. There is simply no better place. I decided to go to a familiar scene that I've been interested in for a couple of years. The above is my third painting of this scene. I have been crazy about the views around this pond for a long time. They are just fascinating and change constantly with the condition of the pond, sometimes wet and full of water and sometimes dry prairie. I bought a new paint box so I got to try it out today. It is an excellent box and holds a larger canvas.
When the lunch bell rang, I headed for the cottage. We had homemade turkey salad, a nice mixed green salad with raspberry vinaigrette dressing and yummy chicken noodle soup. The food is always so good at Fair Oaks. For fun, we had Hershey chocolate bars for dessert. Yummy!!
We listened to Scotty's music, He is a wonderful musician. We laughed about Casey's comment about an old lady who was 50. ;-) It was a fun time with lots of teasing back and forth. Fair Oaks is a happy place where everyone can share a few laughs over a glass of Fair Oaks tea.
After lunch I headed back to finish up my painting and then I was off to do a few minutes of exploring around the pond. The light was just beautiful. it takes me about an hour to get home, so I headed out to beat the dark drive home. Truly, another day in paradise.
This morning I decided to paint in the back yard. I wanted the challenge of a difficult painting so I chose this huge old Live Oak. Henry enjoyed laying on the soft beautiful grass, chewing on sticks while I blocked in the painting. A dark cloud arrived and started to spit rain, so I packed up and moved into the studio in the old house to continue my painting. By the time I got set up in the studio, the sun was back out, but no matter.
I enjoy painting in that old studio space so much. Rick has thoughtfully provided a long table and easels for his artist friends. We can use it any time we like.It has wide plank floors, an ancient Persian rug for comfort and the original sash windows with wavy glass I spend many happy hours there on rainy or cold days. There is an AC/Heater and a half bath, so it has all of the comforts of home. The scene out the window is wonderful with the pond in the distance and tall cabbage palms dotted in the fields. Henry stretched out for a good nap while I turned on my Pandora Radio to Louis Armstrong's wonderful voice.
Lunch time arrived and we sat down to excellent BBQ, fresh sliced tomatoes from my friend Sue Wood's garden, Cole slaw,mac and cheese, mixed vegetables,and Rick's fabulous chocolate chip cookies. Nobody beats Rick in the kitchen!!
After lunch it was time for finishing up the painting and then we were off for a ride around the magic land of Fair Oaks. There is no place on earth I would rather be. I have painted there going on five years now and it just keeps getting better every year. I hope I can paint there for the rest of my life. It is wonderful that I am able to be in this wonderful place and I'm so grateful for the privilege. We hit the day at the right time for the light and it was fabulous!!
Notes From My Residency Journal
I just got myself a beautiful big canvas 40x60 inches from one of my sponsors French Canvas. It is a dandy! I'm going to use one of the above scenes I took at Fair Oaks on Sunday. I'm going to be working on it in oils, one day a week, so it will take me a little time to finish it. I'm in the mood to do a large painting because I do so much small work on location. I'll be showing you the stages as I go along on it. It will be my largest Residency painting to date. Good fun!!
Notes From My Residency Journal
These photos don't do Fair Oaks justice. I used a camera phone to take them. Fair Oaks has transformed itself in my absence. I was away for most of October. Now in November it is simply grand!! So beautiful. Cool in the shade and dry and warm in the sun. It is perfect weather for exploring and enjoying this most wonderful place in my world. No matter how much or where I travel, it is Fair Oaks that calls me back. It is magic for me. There is no such thing as a bad day there, especially from November to May.
Henry gets to go with me in the cool months, so he was delighted. He snoozed in the golf cart all morning while I painted in the shade. He and Shane had a great time for lunch, running all over the cottage, pretending to beat each other up. Shane got put out twice for roughhousing too much. Henry is just as guilty but he is smaller so Shane gets the blame. It's all good fun.
Lunch was delicious as always. Baked sandwiches with fresh fruit and Fair Oaks tea, which is awesome!!
After lunch, we spent our time driving around the fields taking reference photos. We drove back on Fish Prairie and it looks pretty good. The paths could use a mow but I was able to get through them pretty well. We decided to go up into Collins Field and drive the perimeter. I saw a tree down and decided to strike out across the field to avoid it. I didn't realize that the tree was down to mark a ditch. I ran right into it and got stuck, AGAIN!!!! Henry and I set off on foot across the field and I must say I enjoyed the walk back to the house. The grasses were lovely, turning bronze with the seasonal change. Henry puffed along, stopping two or three times to rest. Poor little guy is a couch potato in his day job :-) Bless their hearts, Rick and Scotty came to our rescue and pushed the cart out of the ditch. We made it back only to discover that I had left Leroy's lights on. Rick turned them off for me in time not to run the battery down. He has to rescue me frequently and is always good humored about it. He is a patient and very kind man.
I'm so very grateful for my residency at Fair Oaks.