Friday, December 30, 2011

Reminder: Painting Classes in January

...just a quick followup/reminder on my upcoming oil painting classes:

Art School in Sandy Springs. Monday mornings 9:30am-12:30pm (Jan 9 - Feb 13).
Oil Painting concepts with emphasis on landscapes from photos.  All levels.
Go to website ,, for details and registration, or contact me at
(Note: Above class is full as of 1/1/12)

Bowen Art Center (Dawsonville, GA). Wednesday mornings 9:30am-12:30pm (Jan 25-Feb 29).  Oil Painting concepts. Emphasis on landscape.  Intermediate to Advanced. Contact the Bowen Art Center director,, or contact me at  Also see for other details.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

additional oil painting class offering

Update....For folks who live in areas north of Atlanta and are interested in taking one of my painting classes, we're initiating a class with the Bowen Arts Center in Dawsonville, GA, starting Wednesday mornings, 1/25/2012.  This class, as of now, will be geared towards those artists with some experience, i.e. ..... intermediate to advanced. They'll be updating their website, (, with details very soon; and in the meantime you can inquire by contacting the director, Marcia Chelf, (  Or, please feel free to contact me with any questions as well.  (  I'll keep you posted of further details.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Santa Barbara

Greetings again, friends and blog readers!

Here's a studio painting finished about a week ago.
I was in Santa Barbara, CA , just a few weeks ago, and was able to take several  good photo references; this painting based on a photo showing part of the large rose garden and grassy slope leading up to the Santa Barbara Mission, the so called 'queen' of the California Missions.  From the Mission's front steps there's a great view over the city and down to the harbor and channel islands beyond.  No city I can think of is as beautiful or impressive.  The combination of seashore and mountains, the abundance and variety of trees and flowers, the old Spanish architecture; it's just wonderful... particular for a landscape painter.

I did manage to get in a quick plein air painting attempt while there. Borrowing a rickety old easel and some other supplies, I drove out to a mountain view location and began to block in a scene of a late afternoon sun hitting the mountains over the city. However, very quickly, some heavy clouds rolled over the hills and completely obscurred the view, so I had to quit. While packing up, a man nearby asked me , "did you paint the rainbow in?" Sure enough, an unusually long rainbow had situated itself over the scene and I was able to snap a quick photo:

I hope to paint more scenes of Santa Barbara in the near future.

A reminder to any local painters interested in oil painting instruction; my class at Art School in Sandy Springs starts on 1/9/12. Also, I hope to bring you details shortly on a still life workshop in Dahlonega, GA, in the early spring, and a few other potential workshops still in the planning stage. 

As usual, I welcome any comments or questions you may have regarding my work, or my classes. 

Best wishes for a wonderful Christmas season!

"may your days be merry and bright......" !


Monday, December 5, 2011

plein air study/piedmont park

just a quick blog posting.....this time, another one of Piedmont Park in Atlanta...
back soon

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Circus Tents

A painting of the Cirque du Soleil tents next to the Atlantic Station area of Atlanta.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

An old historic home in Franklin, TN 24x30

Here's a commission painting recently finished, of a beautiful historic home in Franklin, TN.  (actually this photo was taken before some minor corrections and finishing touches and were applied to the figures).  The gallery there (gallery 202) sponsored me on this project. It was an interesting challenge, painting rather a formal scene in an impressionistic manner.  The piece was designed to fit over the fireplace in the family's main living room.
Sorry, no song lyrics to close out this blog this time....but perhaps next time!
All for now

Friday, November 18, 2011

Chrysanthemum with Fruit

Here's a still life painting started last week as a 'demo' for a large workshop class, and then finished up at home.  It's painted in a 'plein air' style,  concentrating mostly on values, edges, and gradual color build up, rather than using a tightly drawn and detailed approach.
I plan on painting some more elaborate and larger still life's soon, with a little more flair, and hope to share some of them with you via this blog site.
Also, coincidently,  I'm planning a (3) day workshop on still life painting at Anita Elder's "Elder Ridge Studio" in Dahlonega, GA, in just a few months.  I'll let you know the details as soon as it's scheduled.
 As for now, here's a few Johnny Mercer lyrics to close out this November episode of the JBG blog....

The falling leaves
Drift by my window
The Autumn leaves
of red and gold.......

so long for now,

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Piedmont Park plein air

Hello there
...been on a cityscape binge lately........visited Piedmont Park in Midtown Atlanta last Monday and painted this 20x20 plein air piece,  then returned the following day to paint another 20x20. At home over the weekend I finished up a 24x24 scene of midtown Atlanta. Am delivering them to The ArtHouse Atlanta Gallery tomorrow.  Would love for you to drop by and see them.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Friday, October 28, 2011

An October painting

Hello blog readers!
This scene, another one of my typical old house/landscape compositions, was painted this past Sunday at a little hillside area just south of Marietta Square.  There's an open field there where a stalled condominium construction sits,  and presently it affords some wonderful views of the Marietta area. I hope to get back there to paint another scene before the fall color runs out.
'til next time,

Friday, October 21, 2011

Smith GIlbert Gardens Plein Air Festival

I just returned from two days of painting at the Smith Gilbert Gardens Plein Air Festival. I was fortunate to pick up first place with this painting. (yup, that's a bottle tree!). There's a lot of beautiful autumn color at the gardens right now.  I picked this somewhat obscure area  for my Thursday morning painting.
 We had a sudden spell of very cold weather for the festival, and it was pretty uncomfortable most of the time.  For this painting I think i had on four layers of clothing plus gloves, scarf and hat.
 These painting festivals are really enjoyable; you always end up meeting some new artists and also see some old friends as well.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Goleta Beach/Near Santa Barbara

Here's a very recent painting of a little sandstone cliff area at Goleta Beach; just a few miles north of Santa Barbara, CA.  From this beach area you can see the University of California/ Santa Barbara to the north, and the harbors of the city of Santa Barbara to the distant south. It's a popular spot for plein air painters!

See you next time.

John Guernsey

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The end of summer

A painting, from a few weeks ago,  of some pasture land just a few miles from where I live.  Quite a peaceful spot.

A happy Autumn to you,


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Musical Influences

I was listening to composer Ottorino Respighi's 'Ancient Aires and Dances'  the other evening, while looking through some old travel magazines and photos for a possible landscape painting subject. I had come across a scene of the Scottish Highlands before and liked it but wasn't sure it was a dynamic enough compostion.  Respighi's  'Aires and Dances'  aren't associated with Scotland or the British Isles  neccesarily, but there's a musical connection, I think, in the rhythms and cadences, and the slightly melancholy tone. (The pieces were actually based on some Renaissance Lute pieces of unspecific origin).  I ended up painting the Highland scene as best I could, and I would say Respighi's quietly beautiful and evocative music influenced me to do so.  I hope you like it.  An Italian, Respighi was a highly trained and successful composer and musicologist, who often drew on centuries-old references for his works.  He died in 1936, due to illness, at the young age of 56. 

John Guernsey

p.s. FYI.......just found out, an item on my recently mentioned event listing, The Roswell/Chattahoochee Plein Air Festival, (sept 28th+) has been canceled for this year.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday's Demo

Here's my 'demo'  from this past Friday's Marietta ArtWalk. It's a view of the Cobb County courthouse, as seen from the Art Museum porch.  Thanks to the Cobb/Marietta Art Museum and education director, Emily Ryals, for hosting the event; and thanks to those that came to watch the demo.

Here's an update of some of my upcoming events:

9/ class begins / Art School at Sandy Springs
9/17.....Art in the Square / Gainesville, GA  (10am-5pm)
9/24.....plein air class begins / Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art
9/28-10/1....Great Roswell / Chattahoochee River Plein Air Festival  (reception 10/1)
10/20,21.....Plein Air Festival / Smith Gilbert Gardens, Kennesaw, GA  (reception 10/21)

Last week I was invited to attend the opening for artist Joe Remillard's show at Kennesaw State University. Joe is a professor there and his work is phenomenal.  His paintings are wonderfully detailed and realistic, and show a real understanding of light (which is not always evident in many realistic works), and are also interesting in their subject matter and story telling. The show remains until October 4th, and you must try to catch it if you can.

Well, that's all for now.......hope to see you at one of the 'events' !


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Update: Demo this coming Friday 9/2

As part of the monthly Marietta First Friday Artwalk,  the Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art will be hosting my plein air painting demonstration, as well as a display of my recent paintings, this coming Friday, September 2nd , from 5pm to 9pm.  I plan to be out on the front porch, weather permitting. Please drop over and say hello, (and bring me a large iced tea!).  Also, if you have any inquiries about my upcoming classes, it's a good opportunity to ask questions and get an idea of my painting process.
Have a good labor day weekend!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Saturday painting 'demo'

Above is my 'demo' from this past Saturday, painted at Blick's Art Store in Roswell.
  I particularly enjoy painting scenes which are a combination of garden, landscape, and buildings. Buildings and homes , particularly older ones, seem to have a character or story about them; and combined with the natural world of plants and landscapes, they seem to stir some memories , or maybe offer implications, which you can't quite grasp.  At least that's the case for me.   

Thanks to the friendly staff at Blick's, and to those who came out to see the demo.  I appreciated your comments. 

It's looking like a busy September; I'll plan to post an updated event list soon.  Hope to see you around!


Monday, August 15, 2011

A painting of Providence Canyon State Park

Hello blog readers,

FYI....I've added references, on the right side, to some galleries currently carrying my work. I hope you'll drop in and visit sometime. They're both beautiful spaces, and you'll find the owners to be some of friendliest people you'd ever want to meet.

A recent event update......I'll be giving a painting demo this coming Saturday, August 20th, at the Blick Art Superstore in Roswell., GA.   I'll be there from 11am-2pm.  Please drop by and say hello!

All for now


Sunday, August 7, 2011

painting outside (aka: plein air)

Here's the painting I started at Friday night's Marietta ArtWalk, (and finished there again last night, Saturday, in an additional half hour).  Friday, I was dodging back and forth with customers looking at my small display of paintings, with which I had some modest sales success, so it slowed my painting a bit. It was a pretty good turnout of friends, a nice former student, and quite a good crowd in general, on such a warm evening.  Okay, here's the bad part...I even hestitate to remark, since this sort of thing just 'bugs' me a bit.... but remember, I've mentioned before, often 'things' happen nearby when you're out painting.....Anyway, when I was finishing up the painting Saturday, (around 6pm....and i was just across the street from the Marietta Square , painting this scene)....a huge 'flash mob' occurred on the square... with at least several hundred people involved, singing and dancing to some dumb song.....(I learned later it was said to be for a good cause; helping support a charity);  but even so...i don't know.... I guess I'm a spoil sport, but I generally don't like mobs of any kind.......except those that flock to artshows, of course!

A reminder to any interested oil painting upcoming classes are starting in September......(9/12 for the studio class, and 9/24 for the plein air class)......please feel free to contact me if any questions, etc.....

best wishes to you, and thanks again for checking out my blog. 


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Yosemite Valley

When I was a kid, our family always went to Yosemite for summer vacations, and it's places like this (pictured) where we often had picnics,  and went air matressing on the icy cold Merced River. 
After posting this painting, I've now have noticed a few small corrections I need to make.....seems one can sometimes spot little problems in photos that you don't see when looking at the painting in person.  Oh well, it's always something. 

I keep forgetting to add my gallery info onto the blog-site....should be forthcoming soon.....

Take care


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

July days

I've always kinda liked the above scene, which I painted almost a year ago. The location is nearby and I was planning to paint it again this year, while the same plants were blooming. But I drove by the other day and saw that all the plants had been completely removed(!)  I suppose the owner got tired of the walkway being blocked by the plants. Didn't they know the overgrown yard was what made it artistically interesting!  Acting in sympathy to any potential artists driving by, I've let my own front lawn stay a bit ragged and unkept for a while, before I cut it. (that's my lazy excuse anyway). 

Am busy this week painting a large commission piece of a large old southern house, with kids playing in the front yard........almost done...... and hopefully will get that posted shortly.'s a few upcoming events that come to mind....I'll tell you more details as they become available...

8/5......Marietta Artwalk....i'll be painting at the Marietta square and will have a small display of paintings nearby
9/2......Marietta Artwalk......i'll be giving a formal demo at the Cobb/Marietta Museum of Art, plus a display of recent plein air paintings
9/12 and 9/24 studio and plein air classes begin
9/17......Gainesville, GA.....annual Art on the Square.......10am-5pm ....I plan to have a booth again this year ....please come by and visit.!....this is a real fun and relaxing event , on the historic Gainesville Square.
9/28-10/1......3rd annual Great Chattahoochee River Plein Air Paint Out...(Roswell, GA)...This year they moved it from August to late September....what a relief from the heat!.......I'll be painting/competing with 50 or so top local painters......

Fare well,


Monday, July 18, 2011

A week in Cashiers, NC

I painted 'Summer Evening' during my trip to Cashiers NC last week.  There was a light rain falling at the time, and it sure was a relief from the hot weather the previous few days.  This is a very beauiful area, and right now, almost every roadside and forest area is covered with large flowering mountain laurels. Quite a sight.  I've included some photos, which I hope to use as references for some studio paintings.   I had a great week and was happy to sell five of my pieces painted during the week.

I sold a painting i did of this view, and didnt get a chance to photograph the painting, so I went back later and took this photo, hoping to paint it again at home. There was brighter sun and puffy clouds around when i painted it; here it's a bit overcast and not as colorful.

a couple local waterfalls, only about 5 minutes from town......Silver Run Falls,and   Slippery Rock you could guess , Slippery Rock is essentially a natural waterslide........looked like fun...
Thanks for checking out my blog.  So long for now!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Piedmont Park

A view of midtown Atlanta from Piedmont Park, painted on a visit there a few months ago.

Am getting ready for a visit to beautiful Cashiers, NC,  this coming week to join six other outstanding plein air artists for the biennial Cashiers Garden Tour and Art Show. We'll be painting around the village and local mountains, and also in the designated tour gardens; then we'll be exhibiting our work at a couple VIP receptions towards the end of the week.  A tough life, being an artist.......!
Hope you're having a wonderful summer.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Christmas in June?

I painted this still life back in December, and was pretty happy with it; but it's kind of a 'seasonal' piece, I suppose.  Perhaps it will remind you of Christmas ( and cool weather).  

I'm always pleased to hear comments and questions about my work, so feel free to email me (, or comment on the blog. 

I'm referencing, on the side area, the Art Schools where I plan to teach (oil painting) this September. Please contact them , or me, if you have any questions about my classes.  I'd love to have you join us.  My studio class begins Sept 13th, and the plein air class, approx. mid-September. 

I'm reminded that I previously hinted at a little plein air story, and promised to post the painting....

A few weeks ago, I was painting a scene of Marietta Square, (plein air),  and I noticed a young couple had walked over to enjoy the fountain. (It's a favorite spot for children, friends, occasions, picture taking, etc). As I was painting away , and trying to mentally block them out of my view, I noticed that the man suddenly and formally proposed (marriage) to the young woman, (followed by squeals of delight and a lttle nervous clapping from the other passers by).   .... kinda different to be involved in someone elses personal moments, but a happy thing to witness nonetheless. After a few minutes I noticed the man's parents joined the couple for some congratulations on the occasion.  They all chatted for quite awhile and eventually took off. Then, as i was finishing up my painting, the mother serrupticiously came over to me and inquired about where she might purchase my painting;  (presumably as a memento gift to the couple to mark the occasion).  Great, I thought, a nice cap to an interesting afternoon. But, alas, she didnt contact me as expected. (yet).  Well....just a simple story with a pretty weak ending, but i promised  to post the little painting, and to tell you about it. Indeed, you often witness interesting things when plein air painting; you kind of merge into the background of a place, become invisisble in a way, and even though you're intensely observing your painting, it seems you end up experiencing and observing a whole range of activities around you.  

Happy days to you


Monday, June 6, 2011

Carmel Mission

A recent painting of the Carmel Mission (in Carmel, California). I've visited here many times years ago, and it's truly one of the most beautiful places in the country.  I miss California!

Carmel Mission

Here's a painting of the old Spanish mission in Carmel, CA.  I painted this about a week ago, utilizing photo references.  The Carmel area is one of the most beautiful areas of the county.  I miss California!
Father Junipero Serra, who founded the California missions, died in 1784 and is buried at the Carmel mission.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Indian Springs, Gadsden, Smith Gilbert Gardens Plein Air

Greetings, readers, to my weekly, (almost), blog posting.   

This past Saturday's Indian Springs plein air festival was enjoyable, and I was very grateful to come away with First Place, amidst an overall impressive group of artists. Indian Springs is an interesting place, and their state park and local public gardens are really beautiful.  I've been trying to paint lots of garden scenes lately, in anticipation of a scheduled weeklong trip to Cashiers, NC, in mid-July,  as an invited artist for their Garden festival.  

I also just found out that I received the best of show award from last month's Gadsden plein air festival, (aka: Southeastern Plein Air Festival), so am really pleased and honored by that.  It was a people's choice vote, so it took a while before they announced. This festival is in it's 3rd year, and is sponsored by the Gadsden, AL, Museum of Art; and they do a great job.  I was also just notified that my two paintings from last month's Smith Gilbert Gardens plein air festival won 2 of the 7 equally distributed awards. I had to skip out midway through the festival and hadn't heard the results earlier.  So, things worked out pretty well for May, and I'm very grateful, too, for the many nice comments received from fellow artists and friends. 

Lastly, I have an interesting little story to tell you about a plein air painitng i did at the Marietta Square, a week ago Tuesday.  I will plan to post that painting in a few days and tell you the accompanying story; so stay tuned...

Local friends, as menitioned earlier, see you at the Marietta Artwalk, this Friday , June 3, 5-9pm !  

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Saturday morning plein air

Here's a little plein air piece (8x10) I painted today, just off the Marietta Square. An example of some quaint old local homes, which are gradually being surrounded by new city and county gov't buildings and lawyer's offices.
 I was pretty happy with the quick capture of the scene, despite a too hot sun shining on my back; and despite the long wailings of a poor guy who lost his ATM card in the drive through ATM machine right behind me.
Some upcoming events!
- Participating in the Indian Springs Plein Air Festival, Saturday, May 28th, at Flovilla, GA (an hour south of Atlanta)
- Marietta First Friday ArtWalk, June 3rd, 5-9 p.m.  I'll have a large booth in front of the Historic Marietta Trolley Company, right off the square, on Church Street.  Other artists will be displaying their works throughout the area.  These 'Artwalks' are really an enjoyable way to spend a Friday night.  Please come by and say hello!
I hope you all have a wonderful week and a thoughtful and relaxing Memorial Day weekend. See you soon.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New Blog page! May 2011

Welcome to the John Brian Guernsey Fine Art blog.  I invite you to check here regularly to see postings of my recent paintings, and some related comments, along with the latest information about my upcoming events and gallery activities.

I'll also be adding, soon, some additional biography and art statements to let you know a little more about my background and my work.

Thanks for visiting. See you soon.