Friday, September 12, 2014

Gimme Shelter

"Oh, a storm is threat'ning my very life today if I don't get some shelter oh yeah, I'm gonna fade away..." - from Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones (written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards)
Yesterday, September 11, was the first annual Paint the Town plein air event at Flowery Branch, Georgia. My artist friend, Patricia Fabian, and I met on Main Street. Flowery Branch is a charming town with colorful storefronts that remind me of Curacao. Wisely, Patricia had parked and set up in the shade of one of the large oak trees that line the downtown streets. It was a hot, muggy day with threat of storms. Sometimes the location of shade provides the inspiration when painting en plein air.

I parked in front of her and found a scene of what could have been a pantry for an old southern home. It was attached to the house, so I don't think it was the kitchen, which usually was built outdoors so the heat and threat of fire was kept outside. Everything old is new again, huh?

Wish I had taken a reference photo to show you, especially of the huge wasp nest hanging in the overshadowing magnolia tree next to the bump out. It was so big that some city maintenance employees drove by to make sure I knew the nest was there. It was still an active nest, so I steered clear and set up out of its way. As the temperature rises, so does the ornery temperament of hornets until, at the end of August/early September, they are spoiling for a fight. It was a little smaller than the one we found hanging from our satellite dish recently. Yikes!

huge hornet's nest

Here's the first take using colorful, straight out of the tube, acrylics and Liquitex® glazing medium. Glazing medium works a lot better than water. Just a touch goes a long way and gives acrylics that clear, stained glass look. Don't know if there's a method to my madness, but I seem to be trying to establish a three tone value pattern with yellow showing where the sun would shine when it wasn't behind a cloud, magenta being the darkest area, and green being sort of a middle tone (although I wish I had brought a pretty blue with me instead). Following the 'fat over lean' principle, I'll finish the painting with oils.

colorful block in of original painting by Joan Terrell

After a hard morning's work, Patricia and I walked to the nearby Common Grounds restaurant. A fellow artist had recommended the grilled cheese sandwich, so that's what we got. This was no ordinary grilled cheese. It was pepper jack on a dark, dark wheat with panini grill marks. Although the bread was whole wheat, it wasn't that annoying "can't bite, can't chew, and it's so healthy it falls apart in my hands" type. It was more like a dark rye.

artists' lunch at Common Grounds in Flowery Branch, Georgia

The path back to our easels took us right past a hand made right there on the spot gourmet chocolate shop. Imagine that! The dark chocolate mango filled hit the spot. Patricia left to check on her dog, Miko, which had just had surgery the day before, but I really liked the start she had gotten on her painting. So talented. I headed by to my hornet city easel. I tell you it was hot. So very hot, and humid, and not even the slightest of breezes. Not even the occasional, "I feel so sorry for you humans down there" type of breeze. Nada. Not a thing. I set up my easel in the shade with my subject matter around the corner where I could take an occasional peek and commenced to painting fast, because there were only three hours left before having to turn our artwork in for judging.

Here's how the final turned out, along with it's info sheet for the judges. It's name is Shelter because it safeguarded the family's pantry goods and because the magnolia tree beside it gave it shelter from the elements like loving arms.

Shelter, a colorful original oil painting by Joan Terrell
Shelter      © 2014 Joan T. Terrell
An original oil painting on panel with black 3/4" cradled sides that act as a frame, but could be put into a traditional type of frame if desired
Painted en plein air at Main & Mitchell streets in Flowery Branch, Georgia
14"H x 11"W

The rest of the lyrics for Gimme Shelter talk about war and general maladies, which adds another layer to this plein air adventure. Yesterday was September 11 and because of those hot-headed nasty hornets, I am praying for cooler weather. Not only for north Georgia, but for all of the hot spots of the world. May cooler heads soon prevail.

Getting outside and painting gives me shelter from the news about wars and rumors of war. Until next time, get up, get out, and get lost in doing something fun!