Thursday, November 21, 2013

Hurry!!....class begins January 6th!!!

Hello all

A reminder to hurry and sign up for my Monday morning painting class, which starts January 6th, at The Art School at Sandy Springs.
During the holiday season one can get caught up in so many activities, and forget things;  and this class follows quite soon after Christmas, so plan ahead to sign up soon, so you dont miss out!

Click on the website, on the right side of the blog, for Art School at Sandy Springs to register.

 It runs for six Mondays, from 9:30am to 12:30pm.  This is a studio oil painting class, with an emphasis on landscape. We gear things toward advanced beginners, intermediate and advanced. We explore concepts that will lead you towards more professional results in your painting; concepts that are unique and not always covered in other classes you may take.  If youve taken the class before, Id be pleased to see you again; as we always explore new concepts and new subject matter.

See you there!

Happy Thanksgiving!


p.s. above paintings: a scene of Crystal Cove, near Laguna Beach, painted plein air during my recent trip to southern California. Also, a scene of an alley in Port St Joe;  from the Florida Forgotten Coast plein air festival earlier this year

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

December Gallery show

winter greetings...
a cool temp in the 20s forecast for tonight....
Above... a few pieces painted for the upcoming December show at DK Gallery. Opens December 6th. Hope you can..........check it out!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

back in time

Above is a large commission piece (24x36) from about 2 years ago.  Just thought I would review it a bit.  As is often the case, a commission piece comes out a bit stiffer and more sharped edged than my typical work, since there are so many specific things the client desires to see referenced, and that starts to turn it more into an illustration versus a painting. My initial plein air sketch idea is below. Difference is distinct, wouldnt you agree?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Plein Air II

a few plein air pieces from this past week ....the lake scene was painted in about 45 minutes during my Monday plein air class at a lake park near Atlanta. The other two (garden and mill stone scene) were painted in a farm area south of Atlanta while visiting and painting with friend, Sam Traina, an excellent studio and plein air artist who has a big spread out there.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

a few plein air paintings

...painted with some friends this past Friday up in Dahlonega, a picturesque area in the nearby Georgia mountains.  Heres a few 16x20 pieces painted that day. (the red chimney one is a  1 hour demo from my workshop the previous weekend at the Museum of Art in Gadsden, Alabama.)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Old Marietta Depot

Above is a recent commission painting of the old Marietta depot, (which now houses the welcome center of Marietta).  Paintings with a variety of reds and greens seem to work pretty well, color-wise, I think. They seem to give off good color vibrations. Wasnt that an old Beach Boys song?...hmm, not sure....yup, i checked; that was it.
Usually i find less success if the painting has a dominant color theme of the other color complementary combos, like purple/yellow or blue/orange.  Interesting.

Friday, September 20, 2013


Above is a study painting of China Cove, in Carmel, CA.  Am hoping to do a more fully conceived painting on that scene soon. Whatever fully conceived might mean.  I also am hoping to be there in the spring for their plein air festival, and be able to enjoy painting the beatiful coastal scenery.
Still a few spaces left in my workshop in Gainesville next week, (so hurry),  but the October workshop in Gadsden is full.  For locals interested in weekly class, my Marietta Cobb Museum class starts up October 15. Join us!

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Above is the latest still life piece....this one using a botanical type background wallpaper.....part of  series of still lifes with artistic type backgrounds or process are a few others...  ...based on works by artists, Gauguin, Klimt, and Toulouse Lautrec, and I hope to post those soon....
I also corrected, slightly, the original still life, (in hommage to Monet), and have reposted it above last weeks blog.....
So long for now....
dont forget my class and workshop opportunities referenced on one of my recent blogs......Please contact me if any questions.....would love to have you join us!l

Sunday, August 11, 2013

On Music and Art

Are there parallel relationships in the way we think about or react to music and art?  One may surmise that because both reside in our creative, imaginative realm, there would be commonality. Perhaps one shared issue is that people who are drawn to serious good music might likely appreciate great art.  The connection being the appeal of emotional depth and sophisticated craft. 

In my own thinking, however, although I enjoy and practice both, Ive found many disparities between the two.  

Playing an instrument well depends on trained and perfectly functioning muscular actions.  Whereas painting skill is more about a headfull of knowledge of how to best accomplish a task.  No matter how well I  memorize, understand, and personally express a Beethoven piano sonata, it will be all be in vain if my fingers, hands, and arms are not up to the task.  It takes constant practice, too, to be ready to perform.  Painting takes practice too, but it seems that once the concepts are acquired, mentally, and experienced technically,  you can usually paint well based on your overall knowledge, moreso than precisely exercised digital control.  

The emotional impact and length of intensity of feeling are different in music and art.  Music seems to carry more of an emotional clout. The effect of art seems more subtle and lingering, although sometimes we are bowled upon seeing a paintng for the first time. 
I have felt foolish sometimes having waves of emotion, to the extent of tears of joy or grief, upon hearing certain music; sometimes live and sometimes recorded. It often seems inexplicable.
Although I can be moved somewhat upon seeing a great painting, it is more of a long thought process.....i.e. how could anyone do such a great representation?, how did they come up with such wonderful colors? how did they show such emotion on a two dimensional surface? and out of pure imagination....etc. There is some intrigue and emotion, but more a feeling of the wonderment of truth and beauty.

However, the intensity of feeling seems to drop off quickly after hearing the music performance. We are enthralled while listening, and momentarily amazed in having been led through a tale, taken on a journey, or felt some undefinable story prompted by the music;  but upon the musics conclusion, the feelings seem to evaporate quickly, as if waking from a dream.  I can experience a thrill while playing a wonderful piano piece, and yet when it ends, other than a momentary peace or relaxation, the experience is immediately concluded.  In fact sometimes its frustrating that music can seem to be taking us somewhere, around corners, if it were, entering us into a mysterious realm of familiarity or discovery, and then disappoints us by slamming the door shut when the last note is over. 
Looking at, or participating in art, you can control somewhat the length of impact. I find that after painting something worthwhile I often enjoy the experience for some time, mentally retracing how it unfolded, and how the results sometimes were more exciting than expected.  And we all have most likely had an experience of staring at a great painting for a long while, lingering on it until we think we have sufficiently discovered what we desired. 

Lastly, i refer to a comment from the late composer Duke Elllington; is a jealous mistress (sic); implying the idea of when a relationship is neglected,  the romance may flee and/or haunt you.  Referring back to my first idea of a difference in skills and practice of art and music, I would say that Ellingtons quote is more true in music. The razor sharp technical skills needed to play well, if neglected, deteriorate quickly; the constant involvement needed for a composer, the same.  Whereas , art skills, because, as mentioned, they are mostly in the realm of acquired knowledge rather than precise hand and finger movements , dont drop off appreciable after a period of neglect. Its more like the old idea of riding a bicycle; once learned, you dont forget. 

I hope this was interesting to you.  But by all means, dont consider one better than the other, or let my trivial commentary cause any confusion in your practice of either. I sometimes think of these comparisons for no particularly reason; just an exercise in trivia, really. Although, maybe, as a painter, it helps to think or plan a bit before I just automatically start putting down paint.

 May your daily activities, experiences and relationships give you much fulfillment, both momentary and lingering. 

John Guernsey

Still Life

A happy August to you!
Above is a recent still life, part of a series of themed, or integrated paintings, referencing, mostly, famous artists of the past; this one in homage to Claude Monet.  Perhaps an idea with potential dangers of looking contrived or corny; but hopefully I can paint them in a thoughtful and respectful way.  I hope to post others soon.
A reminder....dont forget to check out my classes/workshops referenced in the previous posts; they start in just a few weeks!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Gallery Reception August 2nd !

I hope to see you at DK Gallery on Friday night, August 2nd, for the opening reception of their August show. This show will be featuring many of my new paintings. It should be a good time!

A reminder.... I have many class/workshop offerings coming up soon for interested oil painters. Please refer to the contact links on the sidebar and/or feel free to contact me for any questions at all regarding those classes.  I look forward to this enjoyable season of painting with you. 
Below are the current listings.

Art School in Sandy Springs  / Monday mornings, six weeks / starts Sept 9th 
(this class will be a combination of plein air and studio painting). 

Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art / Tuesday evenings, six weeks / starts Sept 3rd (Beginning). 

Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art / Tuesday evenings, six weeks / starts Oct 15th (Intermediate)

Workshop!!.....Quinlan Arts Center, Gainesville, GA.......sept 26-28

Workshop!!....Museum of Art, Gadsden, AL.......Oct 4,5 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Announcing: Fall Classes/Workshops!

Here are some of the oil painting classes / workshops slated for this fall.....a great chance for you to get back into the swing of things, painting-wise.

Some of these classes/workshops are already listed and available for registration on their respective websites, found on the sidebar; and for others, I will provide info asap....thanks!.
As always, feel free to contact me if any related questions....(

Art School in Sandy Springs  / Monday mornings, six weeks / starts Sept 9th

Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art / Tuesday evenings, six weeks / starts Sept 3rd (Beginning)

Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art / Tuesday evenings, six weeks / starts Oct 15th (Intermediate)

Workshop!!.....Quinlan Arts Center, Gainesville, GA.......sept 26-28

Workshop!!....Museum of Art, Gadsden, AL.......Oct 4,5 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Plein Air Richmond: II

Above is a photo of the Richmond plein festival painting mentioned earlier. Another participating and prize winning artist there, Nancy Tankersley,  kindly sent me a usable photo.
Check back here soon....several classes and workshop dates to be announced.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Plein Air Richmond

I was pleased and surprised to win the first place award at last week's second annual Richmond plein air festival.  This was a very nice honor,  amidst a field of so many top artists, and with so many truly great paintings submitted for the show.
 Unfortunately, I don't have a photo of the winning painting to show here, as I must have had a camera malfunction. Odd, because I remember taking a photo of the  painting; but it didn't end up loading to my memory card.
In the meantime, I've posted a few that did load.
Back soon...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Florida Forgotten Coast Plein Air Paint Out

Here's a handful of images from the the May 2-12 festival at the florida gulf.....was a very impressive array of artists, and a great thrill to participate.

sunflowers study

Here's a simple study painted while visiting one of my artist friends, Gina Brown, a few months ago.  Gina's a particularly good artist, and has a real knack for capturing, very quickly and spontaneously, the essence of a subject, whether it be faces or flowers or anything.  (her link is on the sidebar).
 Perhaps the looseness and simplicity of this piece is more expressively interesting than a more formal still life painting.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Callaway Gardens Plein Air Festival

....just returned from this event.....will update shortly with details.....above painting was done midweek during the festival....

Sunday, April 14, 2013

April classes!

hello all
for oil painters...hurry to sign up for my Spring classes starting in just a bit over a week..!!..there's still openings....

Art School in Sandy Springs class starts Monday, April 22
(see side bar for reference/link)
Smith Gilbert Gardens 4-day crash course starts Tuesday, April 23
(here's link for smith gilbert gardens class...

see you there !

Monday, March 25, 2013

Late March

Hello again.....
...back on track as far as loading photos...Above is a recent still life painting....
The original title was " Some Flowers and Stuff I got at Publix supermarket", but thought that was a little too clunky, so I came up with "Still Life: Flowers and Fruit" ; brilliant!
I'm anxious to go outside and paint some landscapes...someday maybe it'll warm up around here! brrrr...shiver....

Monday, March 18, 2013

Mid March

hello friends.....i've had some delays in blog postings having technical problems loading photos trying to resolve and get back on track,  since there's a lot happening this coming spring.......thanks for your 'viewership' and I hope to get things  up and running asap........

Monday, February 4, 2013

February update : classes and stuff

Hello there, 

...wanted to keep you posted on my upcoming classes and events for the late winter/spring 2013.  Please feel free to contact me if questions. You can find additional
details about most of these classes by locating the appropriate link on the right hand menu area .

Booth Museum of Western Art : 2 day workshop / cityscape-landscape/ oils  /   February 9,10 (9am-4pm)

Bowen Art Center / Dawsonville: Oil painting / Starts Wednesday / February 20th (6 wednesday mornings)

The Art School in Sandy Springs / expressive landscapes / oils / Starts March 4 (six monday mornings)

Marietta/Cobb museum of Art : Plein air painting- Oils / Starts April 6th (six saturday mornings)

Marietta/ Cobb museum of Art:  Studio oil painting: Oils / Starts April 9th (six tuesday evenings)

Smith-Gilbert Gardens/Kennesaw:  Studio and plein air painting / oils :  4 sucessive mornings, april 23-26
Smith-Gilbert Gardens/ Kennesaw: studio and plein air painting/ /oils;  4 succssive mornings, may 14-17

Other Spring events!

Lecture / Georgia Art League: quinlan art center, gainesville, ga / February 21, 12pm

Callaway Gardens plein air festival , april 14-21

Florida's Forgotten Coast plein air festival, May 2-12

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Eucalpytus Trees at Los Osos

Announcement: Don't miss out! Only a few weeks left to sign up for my upcoming workshop on February 9,10 at the Booth Musuem of Western Art, in Cartersville, GA.  It should be a great time.
(details in my blog of 12/8/12)

Above painting is a close up 'subsection' of a painting from last fall's San Luis Obsipo's plein air festival. (the original is below for reference).

A few things might be of interest.
When looking around for subject matter, I'm often initially impressed by large scale scenes, and often can overlook smaller, more intimate scene possibilities within them. This is a pretty good example. I think the subsection view holds up well as a composition, and probably would have taken less time to paint. (one never knows though). This issue is probably common to many plein air painters, yet there's some who have a real knack for finding those more intimate scenes right off the bat.

This closer up view also seems to pull one into the painting a little more and linger more on the brush strokes and abstract, loose, qualities (so I would hope, anyway).  Maybe next time I'm near this location, I'll try the smaller view. I like both pretty well, though.
Although there's a little thing that bugs me about it, which I somehow overlooked. I won't tell you what it is, and it's not a big deal. Now, you probably wonder what it is.

By the way, Eucalyptus trees are mostly a west coast phenomenon, (and other parts of the world, like Australia).  They're rather expressive and colorful trees, and are a real draw for painters. And Koala bears.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Just wondering

....this is a painting of Yosemite valley I posted at least a year ago.....was just thinking about how it might look now, in winter; how much snow might be around, and how great it would be to be there painting. I think I'll check out the park's internet webcam.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Year / DK Gallery Show / Workshop

Hello and Happy New Year!

...just a few words about upcoming events....

First of all, be sure to drop by the DK Gallery this Friday night (1/4/13) for the opening reception for gallery aritist Lance Carlson's exhibit, a show which will also feature the 'Boys of Winter' exhibit, which features DK's other male artists. Hoorah!  I will have several new large pieces there, so hope you can come by and say hello, and enjoy the usual elegant 'soiree' atmosphere; or at least try to catch the remaining show during the month of January.

Next, I invite oil painters out there to consider my soon approaching February workshop (2/9,10) at the great Booth Museum of Western Art, in nearby Cartersville, GA.  The details can be found on my 12/8 post, below.  It should be a very worthwhile and challenging time. Hope to see you there. Please feel free to contact me if any questions.

My Monday class at Art School/Sandy Springs is currently full. If interested in taking the next class session,  it should be starting again in early to mid March, and I'll let you know the details on this blog as soon as I know the exact dates.

I also am available for private study from time to time, so feel free to contact me if questions on that.

Lastly, here's a few comments I sometimes throw out during my classes; specifically, analogies between the sport of Golf and Oil Painting instruction.  I used to play a fair amount of golf and took away some interesting and reasonable observations. Perhaps they may be of general interest:

1) Golfers start at the tee with a driver,  then proceed with fairway woods and long irons, then short irons, wedges, and finally a putter. Likewise, when painting, start with big brushes, not worrying about edges and details much, and work your way down to smaller brushes for finalizing things.  Use of small brushes too early on usually leads to an overly detailed and fussy looking painting.

2) In golf and in painting, usually a minimum of strokes is best.
( an odd golf ,  the phrase, 'under par', is good; yet in painting, or even our everyday health,  'under par' doesn't sound good, does it? ...wonder why the different usage?...oh well)

3) In golf, it's the skills, experience, and knowledge of the game that create good results, more so than the specific implements and supplies. Any golfer knows, that while tempting, buying an expensive set of clubs,  or expensive golf balls, or wearing designer golf clothing makes very little difference. It's the same in painting. Don't think buying the most expensive brushes, paints, easel, or canvas will make a real big difference.  Rather, concentrate on the skills, observation and knowledge of painting.
One of the most mysterious and largely unknown legends of golf, a curious fellow named Count Yogi, used to play incredible golf sometimes just using roughly hewn sticks for clubs.

4) Be patient. I used to play golf with some guys that were very impatient and showed terrible tempers when they played poorly.  I remember them getting angry and depressed, making everyone around them walk on eggshells, litterly smashing clubs in the ground after poor shots, and worse.  While these extremes don't usually show up in painting, there will indeed be occasions where you feel very frustrated. But what's good is, these are the moments when you're most likely to learn something, so try to seize on that moment, rather than be depressed.

5) tough news sometimes, but natural talent or inclination does have something to do with success in golf and in painting. We don't really know our potential or what amount of practice and work might get us to a goal or perhaps leave us short. We might never qualify for the Masters tournament, or, similiarly, have our paintings win top prizes. So, be dedicated, try your best, be patient and reasonable, and just enjoy the wonderful time you spend painting, (or golfing).

Next up.....analogies between painting and pizza.....(just kidding....hmm.. I'm hungry all of a sudden....)

adios for now