Friday, November 16, 2007

Bernie away on Plein Air trip to the Blue Ridge...

I'll be away from November 17th through the 25th on a plein air painting trip to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains near Boone. I promise plenty of paintings to share (and auction off on eBay) when I return. It was snowing in Boone yesterday so I'm in for challenging plein air conditions... yip-pee! I plan to continue my "One a Day" still life paintings each evening while gone. See ya when I get back... and a special "Happy Thanksgiving" to all my friends and patrons. May you be blessed with good company and good food!


photo by Thomas Brock

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

An Apple for Mrs. Tyson

"An Apple for Mrs. Tyson"... 5x7" Oil on panel, painted 10-31-2007, alla prima from life as a demo for Mrs Tyson's first grade class.

Click on painting to see larger view...

I'm an advocate for the arts... with that said... I believe that introducing the arts to children is of the utmost importance. Read the whole story here...

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Hardtack and Coffee

"Hardtack and Coffee"... 6x8" Oil on panel, alla prima from life, 11-2007.

SOLD... Thanks Randy B.!

Click image for larger view...

Hardtack, salt pork, and coffee were the staple rations for the American soldier... both Union and Confederate... during the Civil War. In fact, hard crackers have been issued as rations in every American conflict. During the American Civil War a soldier was rationed ten of these hard crackers per day... or at least was supposed to be. The official name for the cracker was "hardtack" but it had numerous nicknames like, "nail-benders", "worm-castles", and "teeth-dullers". Often they were issued molded and infested with worms and weevils. The most common way soldiers prepared them to eat was to boil them in a tin cup of coffee... this served two purposes... #1)... it softened them up... and #2)... it killed whatever was living in them. The worms would float to the top of the coffee and could easily be skimmed away. I set up this small still life on an old wooden table and painted it from life while at a Civil War Reenactment last weekend. The reenactment was held at Fort Branch near Hamilton, North Carolina. Reenacting is a hobby of mine and I portray an 1860's period civilian usually taking my French easel, brushes, and oils to plein air paint. I had a great time last weekend camping and painting with friends and family... sorry I don't have a photo in my period attire to share... I forgot the camera... maybe next time.

Here is a verse from a song that was sung by the civil war soldier whose title remains unknown, but with a message that is very clear:

There's a hungry, thirsty soldier Who wears his life away,

With torn clothes, whose better days are o'er

He is sighing now for whiskey And, with throat as dry as hay,

Sings, "Hard crackers, hard crackers, Come again no more."

As the war progressed and hunger became an issue the last verse of the song went like this:

"It is the dying wail of the starving,

Hard crackers, hard crackers, come again once more;

You were old and very wormy, but we pass your failings o'er,

O hard crackers, come again once more."

80 8099 6/3/105

Simply to Thy Cross I Cling

"Simply to Thy Cross I Cling"... 5x7" Oil on panel, alla prima, 11-2007.
SOLD... Thanks again Andrew!

Click image for larger view...

For some strange reason I find cemeteries peaceful... anyone feel the same? My wife, kids, and I love to take walks through them and read the various epitaphs on the headstones. The older the cemetery the better... the kind where headstones in many cases are works of art themselves with ornate sculptures and the like. One of our favorite spots is Oakdale Cemetery in the southern coastal town of Wilmington, North Carolina. At Oakdale one can enjoy a stroll through a garden, a history museum, and an art gallery at the same time. I painted "Simply to Thy Cross I Cling" from a photograph I took of one of the artistic gravemarkers we saw while on one of our family strolls through Oakdale Cemetery. I put my faith in the simple words of that epitaph...

20 1799 1/3/60


"Lemon-a-peel"... 6x8" Oil on panel, alla prima from life, 11-2007.
SOLD... Thanks again Donna S.!

Click image for larger view...

I set up this small still life in my studio and thoroughly enjoyed working with the vibrant yellows. One of the yellows I used was Lemon Yellow... how appropriate! If your mouth drys a bit or you pucker up by viewing this one... I know it was a success! Hope you enjoy this small daily painting titled... "Lemon-a-peel".

Everyday objects painted from life is the essence of the "Painting a Day" art movement that is gaining momentum in the art collecting market.

30 3701 7/8/116

Across the Field at Fort Branch... Plein Air

"Across the Field at Fort Branch"... 6x8" Oil on panel, en plein aire, 11-2007.
Private Collection...

Click image for larger view...

This peaceful scene is set in the late afternoon with its long shadows and autumn colors. A couple hours earlier the scene was chaotic with the crack of musketry, the clash of sabers, and the roar of cannons as Blue and Gray reenactors struggled on the smoky field. Held the first weekend of November, the battle reenactment is an annual event at the Civil War site of Fort Branch, near Hamilton, North Carolina. Fort Branch is an earthen Confederate Fort on the banks of the Roanoke River... it was originally built to protect the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad trestle (located up river) from Federal gunboat attacks. I set up my French easel dressed in 1860's period attire and painted this scene en plein aire. I added the flag pole to strengthen the composition and add the historical element to this intriguing place.

This painting, on a Gessoed Panel with painted sides, is easily framed or displayed with a decorative easel.

All my paintings are signed originals using artist grade oils and archival surfaces. "Certificate of Authenticity" included.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Autumn Rapids

"Autumn Rapids"... 6x8" oil on panel, alla prima, 10-2007.
SOLD... Thanks Mike and Sharon N.!

Click image for larger view...

Autumn in the Blue Ridge Mountains is a beautiful sight... couple the awesome colors with the scenic New River and you have a scene that burns memories deep into the mind. I envy North Carolina mountaineers every October... what a view!

20 2600 3/2/102

By the Barn

"By the Barn"... 6x8" oil on panel, alla prima, 10-2007.
SOLD... Thanks again Art!

Click image for larger view...

This peaceful scene of an old barn evokes memories of a simple life and hard work. This old barn is located in Valle Crucis, North Carolina in the heart of the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains.

20 1899

Southern Belle

"Southern Belle"... 7x5" oil on panel, alla prima from life, 10-2007.
SOLD... Auction for Hospice

Click image for larger view...

Painted from life... this small red bell pepper has the charm of a "Southern Belle". Everyday objects painted from life is the essence of the "Painting a Day" art movement that is gaining momentum in the art collecting market.