Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Artists I Like

There are tons of artists out there, but we all have those favorite artists whose work moves us and speaks to us in ways that others can't. I've decided every so often to list a few of my very artists.

One of my all-time favorite artists is a North Carolina artist by the name of Ivey Hayes. He used to paint amazingly realistic watercolor scenes until his debilitating arthritis caused him to switch to acrylics. He credits God for giving him the vision of his scenes and his change to the acrylic paint. His paintings are amazing, and so is his spirit.

Here's a link to a recent interview with him. Through the pain and declining health, he still loves to paint and feels blessed to do so.


Here's a link to some of his artwork. It doesn't include nearly all of his pieces, but is a good representation of his newer work.


Another of my very favorite artists is Suzanna Winton. She is a watercolor portrait artist who paints amazingly realistic portraits. She is a the daughter of an art teacher; once her children were in school she also went back to school and received more training in art and began painting portraits. I love to paint portraits, and viewing her work makes me strive to be better every day.

Here's the link to her site if you're interested.


click on the Gallery and Commissions links to see more samples of her work

Hope you like these artists too - I'll try to post more of my favorites soon!


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Christmas at the Country Store

This painting was literally about 15 years in the making. I don't remember where I was, or exactly when I sketched this old country store, but I know it was sometime while I was in high school. Several years ago, I ran across the pencil sketch again and put it in a simple black mat and black document frame. I don't know why I framed it, or why I've kept it hanging up in various places, but it has stuck with me for years now.

A few years ago, I walked into our daughter's playroom, looked up at the wall with this sketch on it and knew that it had to be painted. I do not paint a lot of snow scenes, but I could see this store out on a winding country road somewhere, with freshly fallen snow all around. A Christmas scene was what I envisioned for this lovely old store. But there were other projects to be finished, and other areas of life that always pull and tug at the time available, so the painting stayed in my head for quite a while. But every time I walked into the playroom, there it was on the wall as a constant reminder. (kind of like those eyes on the dollar bills in the Geico commercials) I couldn't get away from what I wanted that store to be. So finally, about a year and a half ago, I set about drawing the store again (I did change a few elements for composition sake) and painting a snowy scene and a Christmas wreath hanging up at the store.

It's what I envision Christmases past being like. A snowy day, and a stop at the country store for a few necessities, good conversation and some hard candy for the children. While I was painting this, it felt like being in a time warp, a different place and time when things were simpler and richer than they seem to be now.

So, that's the initial story behind the painting. I have been working with an excellent printing company out of High Point and am excited to announce that I will be selling this as a limited edition giclee print (only 100 will be printed and sold). I have been trying to decide if I should dive into the waters of the print sales world and trying to decide what painting to start with. This sketch and resulting painting have been with me since I started drawing more seriously, so it felt natural to have this be the first print.

The age of the original drawing made me think about high school and I thought of the local food pantry that I volunteered at during high school. I can still remember meeting some of the most wonderful people who were going through the worst times of their lives. I had the privledge of helping in a small way to try to make their lives a little easier. I know that times now are incredibly difficult, and the needs much larger than they were 15 years ago, so I have decided to donate 10% of the price of every print sold to the Foothills Food Pantry. They are taking contributions for their Christmas meals that they provide, and what better way for me to help than to donate part of the sales from my Christmas store painting to help those who need food and a chance to have a Merry Christmas.

So, if you are interested in a print, please let me know. The cost of a print is $35.00 and they will be hand-signed and the print number will be written on the print. Again, 10% will go to help the Food Pantry make Christmas a little brighter for those in need.

I hope that as you are reading this, that you are healthy, happy and well, and enjoying my occasional blog posts. It is so nice to be able to tell the stories behind the paintings. If you would like a print, you can email me directly. I am putting the link to the print on my website so that you can find all the important size information and anything else you might need to know.

I hope that you all have a very Merry Christmas and that whether or not you decide you would like this print in your home, that you please remember those around you who are in need and help those organizations that are trying to help them.

I know it's early, but Happy Holidays everyone!



Saturday, September 12, 2009

Art Show

Hi everyone,

Tomorrow, Sunday, I will be at Chateau Morrisette with several other artists and crafters for their annual Pet Adoption Day. It is a fun filled day with several pet adoption groups and pet foster families there with their animals available for adoption. The animals love all the attention and petting they receive and there are usually several pet adoptions. There is usually a wide variety of animals available for adoption and a wide variety of arts and crafts available too.

There will also be live music and food available. The hours of the Pet Adoption Day are from 11:00-4:00, so if you're looking for something fun and enjoyable to do tomorrow afternoon and you're in the area, please stop by. It's a fun time for everyone and the weather is supposed to be beautiful!

Here's the link if you need more information about Chateau Morrisette. You can click on the event calendar for more information about this specific event.

Friday, August 28, 2009

A View From Heaven

One of the things I loved about being in Boone during my college days was that you could be surrounded by people and controlled chaos one minute and then get in your car, drive for 10 minutes, and be surrounded in nature's beauty and peacefulness. I loved being so close to Blowing Rock, Valle Crucis and the Blue Ridge Parkway to a name a few places.

One of my favorite stops was the Moses Cone Memorial Park. Flat Top Manor is beautiful and stately, with rocking chairs that invite you to sit down and stop for awhile. It was the total opposite of the frantic lifestyle that seems to surround us all. Years after I graduated from ASU, I realized that I never took any pictures of the manor or the grounds and wished that I had taken a little more time to do so.

Fortunately, my parents (who fell in love with Boone too), were visiting up that way and my dad took a photograph of Flat Top Manor -- or I should say, he took a photograph FROM Flat Top Manor. All this time, I thought I wanted a photograph of the house, but I really wanted to capture the view from the house. I knew I had to paint it.

It took several months to paint this particular painting. The intricacies of the distance fencing, combined with the railing, floors and rocking chairs were almost maddening. But what I wanted to capture the most was that feeling of looking out over that calm, peaceful and beautiful scene. The distant mist and the feeling that you need to sit down in one of those chairs for awhile is what I hope that I captured.

Over the years, friends and I have discussed what we think Heaven is like. I don't know, but I think a cool fall morning with the mist rising over the trees as the sun comes up, sitting in a rocking chair listening to it creak against the porch while surrounded by nature's bounty sounds heavenly to me. So, that is how this particular piece was named, "A View From Heaven".

I hope that this painting relaxes you, inspires you and reminds you of all the beauty God has surrounded us with in this world.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Anderson Barn in Winter

Do you ever wish you could go back in time and see the places and things that your grandparents and great-grandparents saw? Maybe it's just the history major in me, or the fact that I used to get to work on old buildings, but seeing old barns, farmhouses and buildings makes me wonder about the things they saw and the nuisances of everyday life that I think are completely gone from today's reality.

The painting that I call "Anderson Barn in Winter" is an example of my desire to see things as they were. This barn was in my mom's family a few generations back, and is unfortunately no longer standing. All that's left is a little 3" x 5" black and white photo that was taken of it many years ago. Every time I see that photo it fascinates me. The style of barn, the setting, imagining what it would have been like to have seen that barn every day.

A few years ago, I painted this barn and the outbuilding near it, just as the photograph depicted (or as well as I could see it). I liked that painting, but still felt that something was missing. After dreaming of the barn one night in winter, I decided to paint it sitting in the snow. A wintry scene was all I could think of. And an image of my great-great-grandfather's footsteps in the snow were all I could see. I could feel the sharp intake of air that you get on a chilly wintry morning when you're outside. I remembered the feelings I've had of being outside by myself on a snowy mornings when everything is so calm and still. I wanted to put all of that into this painting.

So, instead of painting exactly what I thought I saw in the photograph, I painted what I felt and wanted to see in it also. And once I finally completed it, I felt almost as if I had been there walking with him. So, that's the story behind "Anderson Barn in Winter". I enjoy painting commission paintings, but sometimes I have to paint images just for myself.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Painting Portraits

Although I love painting any subject and will paint upon any material, there has always been a special place in my heart for portraits. I think I enjoy the challenge of not only painting a likeness of someone, but trying to capture a fraction of the essence of who they are. I mainly work from photographs, especially when working with children, to give myself the time and space needed to paint the portrait. I've put just a few samples on this site of my portraits. I especially love to paint watercolor portraits of children, but also enjoy painting couples of all ages and anyone who will sit still long enough for me to photograph them!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Getting Started

This is my first post to the new StoneMar site! Hopefully I will have more updates out soon!