See My Art

I've recently begun exhibiting my art in two galleries not far from me in East Tennessee. Each is showing a variety of my original art, prints, and notecards. Stop in if you are nearby and tell them I sent you!

Fuller's Frame Shop and Gallery
302 W Bank St
Athens, Tennessee
(423) 745-7489
Fuller's Frame Shop, a family business since 1983, specializes in professional custom framing. They offer fine art prints from national and international artists, and serve the community as an art gallery featuring local artists. The large gallery display area is packed with original fine art, prints, and a wide variety of art gifts. Individual and small group art classes are offered.
9:30am-5:30pm every day but Sunday

Gallery on Main
109 E Morris St
Sweetwater, Tennessee
(423) 337-7400
Actually located a few steps from Main Street (their original location), the Gallery on Main is in a quaint downtown area of shops and boutiques. The gallery features more than 25 local artists, with many kinds of art, such as wood carving, paintings in all media, fine art prints, pebble art, fine art photography, collage works, and hand crafted jewelry. The gallery includes a tasting bar for Tsali Notch vineyards. Art Classes are offered in painting, jewelry, and other media. The Gallery sponsors "Art and Crafts Around the Park" in late April.
Spring Hours:
 Tues & Wed: 11 - 4PM
 Thurs - Sat: 10AM - 4:30PM
 Sun & Mon: Closed

March: In Like a Lion

March came 'in like a lion' where I live in SE Tennessee (with tornado warnings) and in many other parts of the country, so I'll stick with that as the theme I had already chosen for this month's features.

 "Her Highness" was one of my first animal paintings, during what might be called my African wildlife phase. My wonderful friends Bill and Lois had been on safaris in Africa and came home with amazing photographs. They invited me to use them as references for some new paintings, and I welcomed the challenge. I decided to paint Her Highness in watercolor on Claybord®, which is a stiff board with a thin layer of smooth white clay adhered to the surface. The clay surface reacts to paint much like hot press watercolor paper – super smooth, sharp edges, fast drying. Once the paint dries on Claybord®, it's possible to scratch or abrade the surface, revealing the white layer below. In addtion to paints and brushes, with Claybord® I use a set of dental tools (found at a flea market), steel wool, and x-acto knife, sandpaper, and other tools. I find it to be a great surface for images with fur, whiskers and other fine textures. For this painting, I scratched the areas I had already painted to create the fine long hairs in the lioness' ears and the white glint in her eyes. I rubbed fine steel wool to soften her muff and the tip of her nose fur. On Her Highness, I also used the property of removing paint from the clay coating in the grasses around the lioness. I created some of the long blades by painting a grass shape over dry paint with clear water, then blotting off the dampness. This removed the watercolor paint, revealing the whiteness again. After that area dried, I was able to paint over it, overlapping more grass blades over the new lighter ones and creating more depth. I also like Claybord® because the original painting can be sprayed with a sealer and the framed without putting it under glass, which you can't do with a conventional watercolor on paper. Incidentally, my friends Bill and Lois bought Her Highness almost before the paint dried, so I made giclee prints the same size as the original, 16" x 12". I sell the print for $75 and I have one matted and framed for $325.

For the next paintings in my wild animal series I changed my surface to a watercolor board. Watercolor papers tend to buckle when wet, but this product has the premium paper surface mounted to a thick acid-free backing board. It stays flat while being painted but has all the qualities of that bring me joy when painting with watercolors. Actually, for these two paintings I chose to paint in fluid acrylic paints, using them in a transparent manner, so the effect is like using watercolors.  "The Big Cat Nap" is group of sleepy lionesses, and it is a mate to my leopard painting "Satisfaction", each measuring 30" x 20". They have similar tones and a mottled background for an out-of-focus appearance, keeping the emphasis on the animals themselves. Satisfaction was an award-winner for me, in an exhibit of the Florida Watercolor Society. Both originals are beautifully framed with a tan suede mat and distressed gold frame, selling for $850 each (or the pair for $1500). I also created giclee prints on paper of Satisfaction, in the same size as the original painting for $350 and 14" x 10" framed with a suede mat and carved gold leafed frame for $125 or unframed for $75.

"Elephant Hide" was an experiment in texture. For my painting surface, I adhered thin pieces of tissue paper to a gessoed masonite board with acrylic medium, allowing and encouraging the tissue to wrinkle. When dry, I used rich brown tones in acrylic to create the look of leather, to use as the background. Again using some of Bill and Lois's safari photos as reference, I painted the approaching elephant, letting the textured surface emphasize the elephant's tough wrinkled hide. Soft application of light tones around the elephant's body set it off from the background, as did the dark green tones around his head and ears. This was a small painting, 12" x 16". My neighbor Vivie stopped by soon after I finished this painting, fell in love with it, and bought it!

For "Rock 'N' Roll", I started by painting the entire background with pale yellow in acrylic paint on cold press (textured) watercolor paper. I had sketched the zebra onto the paper, so I left that area pure white, so he would be emphasized. It was fun to create the fuzzy, dusty clouds created as the zebra scratched his body on the dirt, adding a softness where his back rested on the ground. The original of this painting sold many years ago.

My wild animal phase taught me how much I love to paint animals. I consider pet portraits to be one of my favorite subjects now, and I've done many as commissions. Take a look at some examples in my Dog Portrait album on my Art Gallery Facebook page.

Happy March!