Monday, November 22, 2010

A Sense of Place

 Visual art and the written word can both give a wonderful sense of place. Read Faulkner and you'll come to know Mississippi without setting foot there; explore the poetry of Robert Frost and you explore New England. Read Donna Leon (my current fav) and you'll feel both the present damp and the ancient splendor that is Venice.
Paradoxically, I think it may be harder to capture a place in a painting than it is to capture it with words.
But in my part of the world, Middle Tennessee, there are many superb visual artists who succeed in painting the beauties of this place and in capturing its special feeling.
To prove my point, on the right side of the blog, I've added links to landscapists and plein air groups that specialize in painting Tennessee and the southeastern United States. I'll mention one specific painter among the many that I find especially adept at conveying not only the look but the feeling of my state. Kevin Menck can paint a field and make it so real and immediate that I know it's got to be just down the road and around the bend.
My Cold Thanksgiving is a plein air 18x14 oil; its place is a century plus farmhouse here in Middle Tennessee.


  1. Shirley, Lovely painting. Is that a clock behind her? I checked out Kevin Menck's work and it is beautiful. Mike Barr is a painter that has an amazing ability to capture the essence of the Australian coast and Eric Tobin does that for the Vermont landscape. You have the ability to capture that amazing serenity that is in all your paintings. So peaceful...

  2. Glad you liked Kevin Menck. Eric and Mike are wonderful as well. Mike Barr's paintings were especially fine. Thank you for your comment and for introducing me to two new painters.

  3. Shirley, How does that work, freezing your leftover paint blobs? Is the paint still creamy when it thaws? My paint is usually starting to get a bit sticky by the time I do the mandalas. It never occurred to me to freeze it!

  4. I put my whole palette in the freezer. It stops the drying process for awhile and the paint thaws quickly. You need to cover the paint unless you want to find it in unexpected places in your freezer!


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Pieces by (clockwise from left to right) : Susan Harlan, Janet Garner, Shirley Fachilla, Mike Martino and Topper Williams. So many ...