Highland Ash Lawn: James Monroe's Plantation

The home of James Monroe was built nearby that of Thomas Jefferson. Its goes by the name "Ash Lawn Highland". Its but a couple of miles away from Jefferson's Monticello. Monroe lived on this land for twenty four years (1801 until 1825 when he was forced to sell it). Today the plantation is owned by the College of William and Mary. This painting is of the main house which has an extension added on to it behind this front building. There are also a good number of smaller buildings behind it meant to support what went on inside the main house. I imagine those out buildings behind the main house were used as wine cellers, and added kitchens with perhaps quarters for small animals for fresh groceries and perhaps a stables. The grounds around front feature a good number of large trees, they were no doubt smaller at the time of Monroe's living here. The trees lining the drive up to the house (it is said) were planted by Monroe himself. Today those trees are…

James Madison's Home "Montpelier"

The second and larger painting done of Montpelier has two figures added simply to give the painting some kind of a human reference point. With the two men looking at an early version of a bicycle at the front gate, I had hoped that would add some added feeling to this painting. I was hoping to get away from this painting just being another 'historical building'. With some figures ( looking somewhat in the time frame of Jefferson) this painting might have a point of historic reference during the time of its conception, which would be in the early 1800's. James Madison's home does have features that Monticello has which is just no more than twenty miles away just down Rt 20 southward. It is said that Madison designed this home, and he did have it in mind to copy some of Jefferson's architectural designs in his own work of Montpelier. Madison's work seems to thrust the usage of columns right at the viewer when looking a this building dead on. M…


Fans of mine asked me if I had ever painted James Madison's Montpelier, I had to say "no". I also realized that although I had lived in central Va for over forty years, I had never visited the second President's home just up the highway. So I went. I was pleasantly surprised by a really nice new visitors welcoming Center adjoining a good sized parking lot. The grounds were very spread out and scenic with panaromatic views of the Blue Ridge Mtns just to the west. I took in the house...named "Montpelier" and snapped some quick reference photos to paint from once I got home. The canvas I choose was a smaller one: its size is only 13" by 22" and is the traditional gessoed cotton duck. I worked on it for four days to get the result you see here. I didn't know before doing this one that the Constitution of the United States was actually written in the middle upper room just above the two yellow main doors. I am glad I took on t…

O'Henry Short Story Award Winners 2018

The O. Henry Prize Stories 2018 by Laura Furman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What fun. I had experienced many fun, exciting moments in the lifetimes set upon the pages of all these wonderful authors, I felt so good about the quality of this years entrees, well done! From being a part of a group of men looking to make a killing in the 'new world' with ores like silver and copper to being lost looking for one's car in Dublin and not having a clue where to look, I enjoyed each word of each story this year.

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'Micklem' Barn

A barn is a building that can represent the entire lifetime of a set of people. Here in the country this set of people can live their entire life on the same piece of land, that piece of land will exist also as there burial place once there life is over. Upon driving back and forth to home and town I came upon this scene of a broken down farm with a plot of headstones in it. It piqued my curiosity. One day I brought my camera along on my drive and photographed this scene. I still don't know whom the family 'Micklem' is or what their stories are for time spent working this land but I do admire there handywork in barnmaking. These once where some very fine structures now in decay. And so in tribute to that family, I painted this work.

Drawing of South St w Balloons

A practice make perfect routine can be an object of interest for me. Here I reverted to my understanding of the compositional qualities of the 'South Street' canvas I just finished working on. Here the building composition is identical but then I added some interesting objects to the sky. Here they sometimes fly some man'd balloons and simply added them into the sky for a visual interest point in the upper part of the drawing. I think it works.


Just for keeping into my artistic vein, I continue to draw when nothing else seems to be exciting me. Visually its good practice to do doesn't want to get stale. If one doesn't keep up with oneself in the sense that drawing and creating a visual image is of no bother, than one can get out of practice. When that happens its a bit of an effort to get back into it. Its both frustrating and troublesome to do work without the results one is expecting to get from the effort put in. In order not to let this happen it is suggested that one keep up some kind of artistic work each and every day so that the wheels are always oiled. Keeping a drawing book and supplies around is my way of staying limber and ready to go.