Saturday, October 10, 2015

Late For Chapel

11 x 14 
Oil on Birch
Donated in honor of Bruce "Mac" McCormick to VES to be auctioned at Hight Library Oct. 16

Langhorne Chapel, built in 1919, hosts the beginning of every school day for students at Virginia Episcopal School in Lynchburg, Va. Many will attest that it’s the prettiest building on campus especially in the early fall. As a young teenage student in the mid 1980’s, I was less appreciative of its beauty and its neighboring trees changing color from flat green to brilliant oranges and yellows as they reminded me that the long academic year ahead had only just begun.


Every morning before classes began, the whole student body and faculty would assemble in Langhorne for worship and announcements. The condensed Episcopal service provided most students with a few opportune minutes to catch some extra sleep, but when it came to announcement time, everyone perked up and sat straight in the hardwood planked pews with curiosity and anticipation. This is when far more important issues were heard - such as early departure times from class for traveling athletic teams, teacher complaints of recent unsolved rule breaking throughout the dormitory area, and most importantly, Bruce “Mac” McCormick’s infamous list of students who had been approved and denied upcoming weekend leave privileges. Mac would save those “denied” for last and would call their names out one at a time with a mile long grin. He would wait a few long seconds for maximum dramatic conclusion and then pivot on the balls of his feet , take a deep breath and finally bellow out a most enthusiastic and drawn out Halifax Va accented “Deeeennnniiiieeeeddd!!!!”.

One particular morning, however, another member of the faculty stole Mac’s thunder as all eyes and ears were on VES legend, coach and teacher, Rock Lee, who had decided to voice his disapproval of the recent wave of “bathroom humor” that had noticeably crept out of its appropriate place in the dormitories and had unfortunately swept through the hall ways and classrooms of his beloved institution. When Rock got up to speak, it was dead silence in the very acoustic hardwood filled chapel with a beautiful flag draped white plastered cathedral ceiling. Fearful respect was given to this man, who in his late fifties had just recently ran to the gym in the middle of a nonproductive football practice, returned to the field fully dressed out in pads and helmet and quickly humbled seventeen and eighteen year olds in tackling drills. All of Rock’s announcements were delivered with high emotion that started out slow and methodical but ended in high voltage intensity with his right fist pounding the pulpit. This day was no exception, as he began his complaint of the students’ recent behavior with a gentlemanly comparison of Nicholas’ antics outside of John’s bedroom window told by the Miller in Chaucer’s Canterbuy Tales. This controlled poise only lasted a few minutes before a fiery and temper flared rant commenced that ended with a “If I walk through the halls and hear another……” At this point, Rock, being a respectful Christian, could not, in Church, find a word to describe the crude bodily function that had made him so mad. Silence had once again filled the walls of Langhorne as everyone was holding their breath in anxious anticipation to see what word was going to come out of Rock’s mouth. Suddenly, from the choir section of the Chapel directly behind our current speaker, Underclassman Howie Bowman leaned forward as if he was going to kneel and pray only to give the congregation a loud and reverberating sample of what Rock wanted to, but couldn’t, describe in words. The whole congregation, including the faculty, erupted with thundering laughter as Rock stormed out of the side door with a face as red as the prayer books littering the shaking pews.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Early Haul

Early Haul
24 x 30 
Oil on Linen

video

This is the view from the intersection of Hwy 308 and the Madre Rd  just outside of Windsor. I was looking for a place to set up last August and really liked this view but a little too dangerous with all of the big rigs speeding by. I opted for some good pics in the early morning summer sun with my camera instead and decided on another location to paint outside. 
These pics came in handy this past weekend in the studio with a monsoon blowing outside. 


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Piedmont Plein Air Paint Out 2015

 I was honored to be juried into and participate last week in the 2nd Annual Piedmont Plein Air Paintout in High Point, NC. I didn't win any ribbons but sold five out of six paintings. I'll take it.  
Morning Paddle
Plein Air
Oil on Birch
SOLD

Look Both Ways
Plein Air
Oil on Birch
SOLD

Sunny St. Marys
Plein Air
Oil on Birch
SOLD

Chipper or Putter?
Plein Air
Oil on Birch
SOLD

Saturday Afternoon Catfishin'
Plein Air
Oil on Birch
SOLD

High  Point Sunny Side Up
Plein Air
Oil on Birch




Thursday, September 17, 2015

Cloud over Wanchese

9 x 12
Oil on Birch
Plein Air

I drove through Wanchese the other morning, and a Northeast Wind had a cloud breakup hugging the harbor allowing just enough sunlight through to illuminate a red trawler tied up to the pilings.  Like many times before, somehow either a boat owner or someone who works on the boat happens to drive by and add a critique of the painting - often with a " it would be a good painting if you had put the something something in right, etc. etc". This particular morning, it was the mate on the Sassy Sarah, and after a a quick look,   he said, " I hope you're done, cause' she's gone in about in five minutes." Luckily, I was close because he wasn't joking. Before I could double check my lines and angles, Sassy Sarah was headed out. 

Wanchese Harbor
2015

Friday, September 4, 2015

It's Not Just for Breakfast Anymore

 
12 x 16
Oil on Birch Panel
Alla Prima Still Life
SOLD


The last of the food and beverage paintings I did for Artsource Fine Art, Raleigh. It was hot in the heat of summer, so to cool down, I set up a still life of a mock New Year's morning favorite of fresh raw oysters harvested during a Northeast wind from Crab Slough in the Pamlico Sound and a well mixed tangy bloody to go along.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Northeaster on the Chowan

9 x 12
Oil on Birch Panel
Plein Air

Fred Saunders and I went outside last weekend to Point Comfort in Colerain, NC and setup on the beach that back looks the high cliffs towering over the Bertie County shoreline of the Chowan River before it empties into the Albemarle Sound.  These cliffs are full of prehistoric conch shells and shark teeth as all of this area was once beneath an ocean.  Not far from here in a freshly bedded tobacco field a farmer found a megalodon tooth,  and when my kids were much younger, we would all climb these sand verticals and dig out some of the shells exposed on the edges.

This was a perfect day for plein air painting as a cool wind from the northeast was blowing down the river keeping the temperatures cool and the gnats and biting flies at bay.  This was an early morning paint, so by the time we finished some midday clouds came in making for a great cloudscape, but neither one of us had time for another one.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Shootin' Time!

8 x 10
Oil on Birch Panel

In my experience the last thing asked the night before a duck hunt and first thing the morning of a duck hunt is "what time is shooting time?"   Always thirty minutes before sunrise, the legal shooting time can vary each day, so it is an obvious subject for discussion on what time to set the alarm to get up and gauge the walking time to get in the swamp or blind. 

There are occasions such as a snowy Saturday morning in the blind with no particular place else to be that can create another type of shootin' time - provided someone brought the bourbon. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The High Life

12 x 16
Oil on Birch Panel

A few days ago my frame maker headed down to Englehard on a fresh shrimp run. I asked him to bring me some if he didn't mind with the heads still on. He was taken aback by this, as there are many shacks and dock houses scattered about the fishing village with ladies sitting around the tables "headin'" shrimp for retail sale. I confirmed that yes I wanted them with heads still on for a painting that I had in mind. 

After I picked them up from his shop when he returned, I took them home, steamed them and grabbed a Miller long neck from the refrigerator to take down to the studio for a still life. I had the front page of the local Bertie Ledger and an old can of Old Bay lying around to add to the painting. 

People can say what they want, but it's hard to beat a really cold chilled bottle of the high life - especially with steam shrimp that were swimming only hours before. 

Currituck Live Haul

12 x 16
Oil on Birch Wood

Another painting of Jet, the black lab.  As I stated in an earlier post "Fetch it Up!",   it was the last day of the Youth Season - a day of celebration for any dad who had been crawling out of bed at five in the morning and trekking through swamp bottoms since before Thanksgiving.  This year my son and I capped it off with a hunt in Currituck Sound with Aydlett, NC taxidermist Mark Marshall.  This was a great opportunity for my son, Nixon, to hunt such a classic place and fortunately be able to limit out as well.
As we arrived at the dock before sun-up, Jet was acting like any other male meat head dog - barking at other dogs, marking his territory along dock posts and clumsily getting in everyone's way as we were trying to load up the boat. Later at the blind after the decoys were set, Nixon began to load his gun. As soon as Jet heard the "click" of the shell entering the chamber, he was all business and the horseplay was over - ears up and eyes to the sky. 

The last duck of the last day was a mallard drake.  My son had concluded earlier that he wasn't going to get a green head for the year as our season back home had not produced one, and finally getting one but only wounding it added salt to the wound as he thought it would get away. 'Ol Jet sailed out of the blind after receiving his fetch command and almost swam near out of site, but finally returned with the bird and brought a consequent big smile to a fourteen year old's face. 

Jet on a live haul
Currituck Sound
2015

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Bar Stool Cowboy

11 x 14
Oil on Birch Panel
On Display and For Sale at Artsource Fine Art, Raleigh

video

Earlier this Summer it was over a 100 degrees in Eastern North Carolina, so I decided to drive out to Asheville  to escape the blistering heat and look for some street freaks / musicians to take pics of for some paintings. There was no shortage of either, but ironically I found the best snap at the Grove Park Inn - a place I had no plans at all to be, but was invited for dinner by a friend who happened to be there for the weekend and found out I was in town. Having a couple of drinks in the main room, I quick drew the old iphone out and got a few "discrete" shots of this bar scene as the late evening sun illuminated the dark wooden bar and the bar stool cowboy trying to hit on this lady just trying to enjoy her cocktail. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Take Your Time Sundown

11 x 14
Oil on Birch Panel

Last Saturday was the last day before high school sports practice started up back home, and the kids and parents alike milked every ounce of sunlight on the beach. I was in a low beach chair in a circle among friends watching the sun set and had to borrow Emily Wilson's phone to quickly get the snaps for this painting. A beautiful day, beautiful ocean and a beautiful sundown on the OBX to cap off the summer.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Cowgirl In The Sand

11 x 14
Oil on Birch Panel
SOLD
I finally treated myself to a decent camera and had more fun than any other kid on the beach the last couple of weekends taking pics of the beach activity at Nags Head. I couldn't resist zooming in on Cowgirl as she walked down the tide line in front a row of umbrellas.  With the sun hitting just right it turned out alright for a decent painting. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

There's a New Marshal in Town

9 x 12
Oil on Birch Wood Panel
Will be auctioned at St. Mary's by the Sea Luncheon, Nags Head, NC
SOLD


video

Last month I attended my niece's graduation from St. Mary's and once again got snap happy with the camera. The commencement, entrenched with tradition, mandates a few chosen rising seniors to dress in long white dresses and wide brim hats to act as marshals throughout the ceremony. I was busy taken snaps of the beautiful buildings after it was over and these three marshals walked right in to a perfect focal point with dark shadow behind them and the road and sidewalks leading right into them. 
A few weeks later my cousin ask me to donate a painting for the St. Mary's Annual By-the-Sea Luncheon expecting a beach scene of some sort. I told her that I would donate but had a scene in mind that was right on campus. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Fiddlin' Around Bath Creek

9 x 12
Oil on Birch Panel
Commissioned Painting

After seeing my painting "Sand Fiddlers" a few members of a medical practice commissioned me to paint a retiring physician's grandson and daughter-in-law playing their violins in the backyard of their summer retreat  on the banks of Bath Creek at the end of King St in Bath, NC

This was not the first time fiddle bows were raised on Bonners Point as almost two hundred years ago in 1718 Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard, and his crew landed on shore here and overnight transformed the once sleepy village into a high octane rum and music fueled party town. Teach enjoyed instant celebrity status entertaining high social notables with stories from the high seas as his crew broke the limits of whatever debauchery on land could provide. The Governor of the North Carolina Colony, Charles Eden, ingratiated the famous pirate with a Royal Proclamation Pardon that allowed Teach to then freely squire around the town and plantations as if he were royalty himself.   

Quickly indoctrinating himself into the gentleman planter lifestyle, Teach chose his fourteenth wife -  the teenage daughter of a wealthy plantation owner. Boredom on land soon set in though which lead to the reassembly of the crew for one last round of sea robbing. Blackbeard met his demise soon after further east at the end of Pamlico Sound at the mouth of Ocracoke Inlet when he was killed by Royal Navy Lt. Robert Maynard.  Maynard hung Teach's head under the bowsprit of his sloop for all to see as he sailed back North to the Virginia Colony.  

Lunch at the T Room

11 x 14
Oil on Birch Panel
SOLD

A few weeks ago I had a high school reunion  in Lynchburg and decided to paint the famous Texas Inn again to donate for silent auction - as anyone who has spent anytime in that town has experienced this hole in the wall diner. Since I couldn't make it up there earlier to paint plein air,  I had my buddy, Mason Brugh, via face time manually take some pics for me as I saw the angles back home in Windsor. I really wanted cars in the mix this time around with a high sun illuminating the  old filling station architecture.