Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Scott is Featured Artist at Germanton Gallery's 17th Annual Miniature Show

"Roan Mountain Trail"
30 x 30 oil

Friday December 4th from 6pm - 8pm will be the opening reception for Germanton Art Gallery's Annual Miniature Show.  I have been greatly humbled to be this year's featured artist.  They will have 27 of my paintings on exhibit (see my online catalogue)  along with so many great national artists which include, Robert Bateman, Carl Brenders, Luke Buck, Scott Burdick, Brent Cotton, Addren Doss, Barry Eisenach, Mary Erickson, Louis Escobedo, Amy Evans, Trey Finney, Heiner Hertling, Matthew Hillier, Ralph James, Susan Lyon, Don Miatz, Jacob Phiffer, Rosetta, Joe Seme, Patty Bailey Sheets, Matt Smith, Marsha Thrift, David Turner, and Laurie Waterfield. Many of these artists will also be attending the Friday evening reception.

On Saturday December 5th the show will continue from 11am - 4pm.  During the day we will be privileged to host UNC-TV's North Carolina Weekend who will be on hand to gather information for a future program.  Please come out and join us for this exciting event.  The Show will continue on Sunday from 1pm - 4pm.

For more information on the show and directions go to my homepage at

I hope to see you there!


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Back Yard Quickie

Gibson Branch behind my house

I have had a lot of opportunities to paint fall colors this year.  It has been just beautiful this year.  Normally I have not been too inspired by my own back yard.  I guess all I see are the things that need fixin and cleaned up.  There is a small creek at the edge of my property called Gibson Branch; it runs through a huge wooded area next door.  Well the golden glow was beaming in my studio window, so I grabbed my gear and headed out back.  This little creek is a bit of a challenge to paint, but it is up to the artist to make something of all the voices calling out. If you are ever doing a wooded stream scene be careful with those big straight diagonal trees. They are nice in 3d space, but I do better leaving them out for the most part. What inspired me was the beautiful golden light coming from behind the trees and reflecting in the water.  I teaked the photo of the scene but still it doesen't show all the beautiful color.....that's why we paint.

"Full Color"
oil on linen

I didn't have much time so I grabbed a scrap 5.75 x 5 and jumped right in.  I started in overcast light with the sun peaking through, which I feel produces more dramatic color. I used a size 6 and 2 hog hair bristle bush and a sable liner.  Done in 35-40 minutes.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Painting From Lack Luster

On Thursday October 15, I headed up to Blowing Rock, NC to paint the fall colors at Cone Manor along the Blue Ridge Parkway. I had a few things working against Me. For one, I forgot most of my painting panels exept for 2 - 9x12's, and secondly the weather was bad. All of this being said, I tried to make the best of it.

Carriage House at Cone Manor

The weather was overcast and misty. I was surprised how quickly the color had mostly come and gone at the 4000 foot elevation.  I was opimistic, something would be worth painting.  As I began to gather my gear the clouds and mist started to cover the top of the mountain, so I headed down to Bass Lake at the lower elevation.

Down through the woods I came upon a wonderful opening with a golden Maple tree and some blue grey mountain peaks breaking the horizon. Just as I began to paint the rain and clouds moved in.  I was fortunate the air was still and I held an umbrella in one hand and painted with the other.

One thing that intrigued me during this lack luster day, was the subtle beauty in the color of objects on a grey misty day.  You can see some of the wonderful colors in the grass below my easel.

Finished study or at least what I saw before the rain hit.


Down at Bass lake the rain had quit, but again not too inspiring.  The lily pads had turned brown and most of the color had fallen to the ground.  I only had one linen panel left so I kept walking and walking thinking there was something better around the corner.  Finally I got tired and decided to paint the trail in the overcast light.

So here's #2.  What I saw was a subtle golden light from the canopy of tall trees with some massive White Pine trees and cool high lights on the Rhododenron bushes.  When I started this study I was in the deep woods sort of speak, but continued the struggle until something emerged.  I hope you feel the overcast light in the forest.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Painting At Deep Creek

Early on Wednesday October 7th my son and I drove 3 hours to Deep Creek at the south end of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina near Bryson City. During the drive I thought we might be fogged in, but it turned out to be one of those rare days. As we approached the Park, the clouds began to break as the sun was rising. As we stepped outside, the air was crisp, the smells unbelieveablly refreshing, and the colors were vivid. These photos do not begin show you what we experienced. So I will try to add words and paintings to describe it.

Deep Creek at 8:30am as misty fog lifts
this photo only shows 1/4 of the color I experienced

Painting at the creeks bank

This study was mostly about the water as it struck me the most, so I down played the details of the forest and tried to create movement and in the creek to carry you through the painting. So the water is what showcases the color of the trees. If you take away the water in this picture the trees loose their drama!

Next, after lunch I came upon Juney Whank Falls. What a challenge it is to paint waterfalls; they move us emotionally but to paint a whole-nother story!

As you can see it starts at a 45 degree angle looking up and then falls to my feet fanning out into wild waves of misty grey colors.

Here you may be able to see some of the subtleties I mentioned, hints of greens from the reflected light from the forest and all variation of greys. I introduced a few spikes of the sky to add to the perspective. In this little 9 x 12 painting I used everything in my arsenal, pulling out quinacridone violet, cobalt blue, and ivory black which I almost never use - big brushes, little brushes, knives, paper towels, fingers, and signed with a toothpick.

Here is my 19 year old son Caleb fly fishing Deep Creek below the bridge. I try to paint where he wants to fish so we can hang out together. This time it was a good pick on his part. Here the sun is generally behind me in late afternoon and you can see just some of the color I mentioned, reflecting off the water and the photo is showing about 1/2 of what I was seeing!

This is Deep Creek just upstream of the bridge looking towards the light from the sun. Here again the photo lies, showing maybe 10 percent of the color. I could clearly see the cool violetly tones of the shaded stone bridge and the photo does not record it --This is why we need to paint plein air; so that we can begin to understand and learn how to represent colors of light with our paints. The more hours we stand in the face of nature with our palette and paints the more we will begin to understand and see color as an artist and to begin to effectively represent it with paint.

Deep Creek in full color

My son Caleb after a hard day of fishing. No fish for dinner as he is a catch and release guy, so we had Mama's Chilli - Mmm Good -and a few smores of course. The next day we painted a fished the Natahala River about 20 minutes away. More on that trip later.
If you would like to join me to paint plein air go to for our latest free plein air event!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

New Colors!

In August I participated in the Avery County Arts Council Plein Air Competition at Banner Elk, NC. Many fine artists came out on a foggy morning to throw their hat into the ring. At the end of the day I was privileged to win 2nd place. I received an envelope which held a certificate from the Art Purveyors Art Store for Oil Paint. This Prize was donated by Mike Hill owner of Art Purveyors located in Foscoe, NC on HWY 105 below Grandfather Mountain between Banner Elk and Boone. A few weeks ago I stopped in to see Mike Hill to claim my prize. Mike is a dealer for M. Graham Oil Colors. I was overwhelmed when he gave me 1 tube of every Graham Oil Color he sells as my prize. That's about 50 colors a $500 retail value. Thanks Mike and the Graham Company! If you're out near Grandfather Mountain stop by The Art Purveyor Art Store or check out their site to see the wide range of products they sell.
"A Foggy Start"
Second Place at the Avery County Arts Council Plein Air Competition

Friday, September 18, 2009

Art and Literature

I was amused and inspired this morning while driving my teenage son to composition writing class. One of his assignments today was to list ways men taught themselves to write. I kept asking him questions to his resistance about his assignment, thinking to my self, I wonder if I could do this class?

"Okay, Now read me everything!" Come ooooon Dad!!!! So he read about this English writer named Robert Louis Stevenson. Then I said wow, read that again! "Youuuu got to be kidding me!!!" No I'm serious!

This is how Stevenson attributes his great success as a writer. In his own words he says, "I was known and pointed out for the pattern of an idler; and yet I was always busy on my own private end, which was to learn to write. I kept always two books in my pocket, one to read, one to write in. As I walked, my mind was busy fitting what I saw with appropriate words; when I sat by the roadside, I would either read, or a pencil and a penny version-book would be in my hand, to note down the features of the scene or commemorate some halting stanzas."

Doesn't this sound like a visual artist. Now you have it-the formula to become a great artist! It must become a burning passion that rarely ceases. Our minds should be always busy fitting what we see and experience into lines and paint strokes!

One thing I must point out about Robert Louis Stevenson, his greatest works of literature were completed during the last 10 years of his life. Some of his most famous were, "Treasure Island", "Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde", and "A Child's Garden of Verses"

The photo above is of Robert Louis Stevenson. 1850-1894

Friday, September 4, 2009

Plein Air Painters of the Southeast Come to North Carolina

The Plein Air Painters of the Southeast PAP-SE Came to Leatherwood Resort and Equestrian located between Boone and Wilksboro, NC during the last week in August to hold a Paint Out and Artists Workshops. I camped out Tuesday through Friday and painted with many wonderful artist from around the state, several from surrounding states and as far away as Indiana! I'm not sure what the official count was but I would estimate around 40 artists came out. This was a wonderful event and a great opportunity for many of us to learn, share, and network. Some of the PAP-SE members who came to participate were: President - Diane Cruickshanks May, VP- Dee Beard Dean, Larry Moore, L. Diane Johnson, Paula Frizbe, Perry Austin, Loryn Brazier, Gavin Brooks, Richard Oversmith, Junko Ono Rothwell, and Michelle Morton-Public Relations. Thanks to PAP-SE professional painters for organizing this great event!!!

Artists Gina Strumpf and Dee Beard Dean in Elk Creek

Diane Johnson with her comfy setup

Clarkson Jones painting at our campsite

Larry Moore, from Florida painting on his Gloucester style easel

The Group painting Keys Cabin in the beautiful morning light

Not a word was spoken from these artists for 90 minutes as we were in deep concentration trying to capture the fleeting light.

artists spouses doing some serious book reading

Afternoon by the River

This is one serious painter who put us to shame; she drove 2 hours from Charlotte with her 3 yr old son to paint with us in the hot sun not to mention she is nine months pregnant.

Trey Finney from South Carolina before supper

Monday, July 27, 2009

Painting Water Falls on the Cullasaja

On July 20th I traveled to Highlands, NC to do some waterfall studies. This is the first time I have intensely focused on cascades. What a challenge! Not something for the faint at heart. These waterfalls are like hungry lions, devouring swimmers and plein air artists!

Here is a small video of the falls. Try putting this on 10 x 8 inch canvas. before the late afternoon light changes!

Between Highlands and Franklin, NC lies the Cullasaja River and gorge which contains dozens of spectacular waterfalls. This painting was done from the base of the gorge with a view of the lower part of a 200' cascade.

This is a powerful waterfall known by the locals as bust-your-butt falls. Two weeks ago a man died from being caught under a rock.

This 12 x 9 study done was done about 10am.

This is a cascade over a giant slick rock. You would not believe all of the major poison ivy I had to hike through to get to this one

6 x 8 study in shadow about 1pm

8 x 10 study of the same location with sun and more at a distance about 2:30pm

Here is a view of the King of the East. Whitewater Falls south of Cashiers, NC is the highest falls East of the Mississippi at 411'.

You can not appreciate the size of Whitewater Falls without seeing the movement of water. With this video you can begin to sense it's power and great size.

Friday, June 26, 2009

On Top of Roan Mountain

In June I spent a total of 4 days on Roan Mountain on the North Carolina - Tennessee border hiking and painting. It was an incredible experience and I wanted to share just some of my trip. If you have never been to Roan Mountain, I highly recommend it. It is one of the most beautiful places in all of the East Coast!

A full palette of colors is still insufficient to capture this scene!

Noontime Clouds

On top of Jane Bald looking on to Round Bald. Not something I would recommend painting but I just had to try.

The trail you see is the Appalachian Trail which borders North Carolina and Tennessee. Here your Left foot is in NC and your right foot is in TN.

Just after supper.

Last light on Round Bald a view from Carver's Gap

Here is my kitchen, bedroom, and art storage room.

Painting at Cloudland Recreation Area was really in the clouds on this day. Just a note here about painting greys, you just don't use black and white. There are all kind of colors on a foggy day. I actually used about every color on my palette except black to paint this scene.

On my way home I saw this beautiful creek along NC261 at Bakersville, NC. I just had to stop and try to paint it. A bit too much information and a little overworked though very colorful.
All in all it was a great trip with 15 paintings, a lot of exercise and enough inspiration for a year's worth of Roan Studio work. If you would like to see more photos of my trip go to