Wednesday, November 17, 2010

On Expedition - Sullivan's Island

Distant view of Charleston, oil on panel, 9" x 12"

I have purposefully been avoiding this computer.  It's not that I don't want to be blogging, but instead that I have been saving my wrists due to a very painful bout of carpal tunnel.  I hope you've missed me (whom ever you may be). :)

So much has been going on this Fall, that it will be impossible for me to recap it all for you.  I will quickly say, that my artist lecture at Green Hill Center for NC Art turned out well and the Opening Reception for the People You May Know exhibit at DAC was very well attended.  I am honored to have been a part of both exhibitions that focus on North Carolinian artists.  You may find more information about each in the respective posts below.

What I would most like to share with you because it is at the forefront of my thoughts these days, is the recent week long painting trip that I, along with the help of fellow WPW contributor Diane Feissel, organized for a dozen of the artists included in the Women Painting Women exhibition at Robert Lange Studios (more on that amazing show in a future post).

The following were the On Expedition 2010 participating artists (click the names for links)
Alexandra Tyng – Narberth, PA

Alia El-Bermani – Cary, NC

Catherine Prescott – Harrisburg, PA

Cindy Procious – Chattanooga, TN

Diane Feissel – Philadelphia, PA

Katherine Stone – Toronto, ON, Canada

Linda Tracey Brandon – Phoenix, AZ

Mia Bergeron – Chattanooga, TN

Rachel Constantine – Philadelphia, PA

Sadie Valeri – San Francisco, CA

Terry Strickland – Pelham, Alabama

Stefani Tewes –Laguna Beach, CA
I am tempted to give you a blow by blow detailed account of the week, but to save my wrists and to also avoid the pitfall of a diary style post, I will point you to the very informative posts already created by some of my fellow painters.  You can read poetic tellings and see pictures of us at work on Sadie Valeri's blog; Diane Feissel's blog; Alexandra Tyng's blog; Mia Bergeron's blog; and Terry Strickland's blog.

Instead, I will share with you all the (good, the bad and the ugly) paintings that I created during this week.  These paintings primarily ended up being "quick studies".  We had intended a few repeat sessions with models, but due to illness and the abundance of so many wonderful things to paint in the Charleston area, this didn't ever happen.  The painting at the top, is one such quick study of the view from Alhambra Park in Mount Pleasant, SC.  This waterway seemed to be a busy inlet for most of Charleston's shipping industry as I witnessed several HUGE cargo ships pass this very spot several times in the span of about an hour and a half. The channel must be quite deep here because these ships seemed to pass so close to the marsh that I could see a lot of detail and I instantly felt dwarfed.

Lucy Seated, oil on panel, 12" x 9"
This painting of a local model named Lucy, was the very first I did of the week.  Most of us arrived late Thursday afternoon, went to a very late night kick off party, and then woke up bright and early on Friday morning to transform our designer dream beach home into a live/ work studio for 12.  Lucy arrived at 9 am to a very comfortable large studio space that had once been a living room.  

Porch View, oil on panel, 8" x 10"
I believe Porch View was painted in the afternoon after Lucy had departed and before the Opening Reception (which was jam packed) of the Women Painting Women show at Robert Lange Studios.  It is a very quick study of our amazing location, right on the beach of Sullivan's Island.

The Gibbes Mausoleum, oil on panel, 10" x 8"
On Sunday, upon the recommendation of local artist extraordinaire, Mary Whyte, we ventured with model in tote to the phenomenal Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston.  We quickly decided to disband the model, as there were so many wonderful subjects to paint in this historic cemetery which was originally chartered in 1850 and designed by noted South Carolinian architect Edward C. Jones.  I was so overwhelmed with the amount of interesting subjects to paint -a man made lake with a resident gator, the many excellent examples of fine 19th century iron work that surround several historic family plots, the statues of fallen confederate soldiers and the many beautifully designed headstones - it took me over an hour to just decide where I was going to set up.  At the time, I was frustrated with my self for wasting precious painting time, but in the end, I'm glad I took my time to choose the perfect spot.  I ended up in front of the Gibbes family Mausoleum.  The Gibbes were a prominent Charleston family and in fact the local art museum is named after them - The Gibbes Museum of Art.

Lauren at Magnolia Plantation Pond, oil on panel, 20" x 16"
The next day, I took our crew over to Magnolia Plantation and Botanical Gardens which is an incredible plantation which was founded by the Drayton Family in 1676.  It is currently the oldest public garden in America which first opened its garden gates in 1870.  Catherine Prescott, Stefani Tewes and I quickly set up with our wonderful model Lauren only a few feet into the grounds near the schoolyard pond, while the rest of the artists traveled further into the gardens and found some beautiful settings to capture.

  Study for Threshold, oil on panel, 12" x 9"
Here is another painting of our model Lucy.  I had expected this to be a two day painting, but as I mentioned above, Lucy unfortunately got ill, and was not able to come the second time - therefore the unfinished face and hands.  The setting is the upstairs porch doorway of local artist Shannon Runquist's beautiful home.  Shannon was my local liason to all things Charleston!  She helped me find models and locations and even showed the group the perfect example of Southern Hospitality by hosting the most delicious oyster roast (with shrimp and grits as well, of course).  Yum!  Thank you for all your help, charm, hospitality and fun Shannon!  

Lauren Seated, oil on panel, 12" x 9"
The last night we were in the house we invited Lauren over for our last painting session.  We ended up painting quite late into the night as well as hosting an impromptu party and champagne toast for the wonderful folks Robert, Megan Lange and Carri Schwab who run the beautiful Robert Lange Studios. 

I'm sure I have forgotten to mention somethings from the week - But this is all my wrists can bare at the moment.  I'm sure there will be more realizations to come.  I'd like to thank all the wonderful people who helped make this week such a great experience for so many artists - To those family members that helped me make this a reality, there are no words great enough to express the deep gratitude and love I feel for you.  
Thank you.


  1. That's a nice little line of artists. I know Linda Tracey Brandon. Nice lady.

    Glad to read about the trip. Sorry to hear about the wrist.

    I hope the family.

  2. Alia, It was such a pleasure getting to know you and to have the privilege of painting with you! The work you did this week is beautiful! Get those wrists better! <3

  3. Kyle, yes it was a GREAT group of artists! Thanks.

    Terry, I am so glad you were able to join us so very last minute! You are an amazing painter and an even better person. Can't wait to paint with you again soon. xxoo

  4. Hello, new to the area, and interested in getting to know some artist. Any chance of being involved with your group? Please let me know.