"Winter Garden Camellias I " A painting by Charleston Artist Katherine M Schneider

With the total number of named varieties of camellias as high as 20,000 (and still growing), it's often hard for even seasoned experts to identify individual blooms.

I was told by members of the Coastal Carolina Camellia Society that the larger pink flower in my painting is a Flossie Goodson camellia. The smaller bloom is either a heritage camellia or seedling bloom.

Whatever their names, they're a delight to admire and paint in a winter garden.

With over 200 years of cultivating camellias in the Lowcountry, we have an amazing display of these beautiful flowers in our yards and gardens.

"Winter Garden Camellias I"
oil on canvas
8"x10" image dimension
14.5"x 17.5" dimension with gold frame
Price: Sold

Charleston Artist Guild Holiday Juried Exhibition and Reception 2007

The 2007 Holiday Juried Art Exhibition and Reception was held tonight at the Charleston Visitors Center with over 80 artworks exhibited at the well attended event.

The Charleston Artist Guild (CAG), with more than 500 affiliates, is dedicated to serving the Arts Community of Charleston by providing workshops for the practicing artist, lectures for fine arts collectors, and community outreach to serve the needs of the greater society through art.

Pictured are Norma Morris Ballentine, President and Marcell Easter, Treasurer standing in front of the oil painting "Sweetgrass Market" by Ms. Ballentine.

Debbie Daniels, Director of Publications was seen enjoying the evening with friends and fellow artists. Debbie keeps CAG members informed of many artistic opportunities through her frequent email updates.

All the officers and board members of CAG deserve a big Thank You for the many hours of service they contribute to make this organization such an asset to the Charleston Arts Community.

Plein Air Painting in the Winter Garden at Magnolia Plantation Charleston SC

The unusually warm, sunny weather made my plein air painting today at historic Magnolia Plantation and Gardens a pleasure.

The main house porches are decorated with fresh pine garlands and red bows. I saw a staff member removing the garlands at the end of the day and spraying them with water to keep them fresh throughout the season. No plastic or artificial greens here. Only fresh, natural, decorations typical of the Colonial era.

I enjoy painting en plein air in the winter months when the sun is lower on the horizon. The long golden shadows in the late afternoon this time of year are very beautiful . It's always a challenge to paint fast enough to catch the quickly changing light effects at this time of day.

Today I painted studies of holly bushes with large red berries, sharp shinny leaves and the ever present Spanish moss.

The gardens also have many nandina bushes along the pathways with bright red berries and leaves that turn lovely shades of red and yellow.

Magnolia Gardens is known for it's beautiful reflecting ponds and distinctive bridges that have graced the gardens for decades.

Many visitors to the gardens have had their pictures taken on these bridges spanning the water darkened by the by the tannin from the nearby Cypress and Tupelo trees .

I'm making progress with my plein air paintings but will wait to post them until the opening of the Winter Garden Festival Art Exhibit January 19, 2008. In the mean time I'm posting photo's similar to the paintings I'm working on.

The show will offer creative works exploring the winter blooms, views and vistas of this large and diverse property.

For information about the Winter Gardens and Festival activities contact Magnolia Plantation and Gardens at http://www.magnoliaplantation.com.

For information about artist workshops and plein air painting during the festival, contact the Charleston Artist Guild at http://www.charlestonartistguild.com/calendarofevents.html.

"Camellia in the Rain" A painting by Charleston Artist Katherine M Schneider

"Camellia in the Rain"
5"x 7" mixed media on paper
Price: Sold

Today's painting is of a rain soaked, winter booming camellia. The semi tropical climate in the Lowcountry is great for gardening all year long. Winter gardens in Charleston SC are beautiful.

One of the oldest gardens in America, Magnolia Gardens is in the height of winter bloom now with over 7000 sasanqua bushes (a variety of early blooming camellia) in bloom.

The house and gardens have been decorated for the season with wreaths and red ribbons.

What a nice alternative for anyone trying to avoid the crowds and confusion at the malls. Fresh air, sunshine, endless garden paths under ancient moss covered oaks make an pleasant place to visit and paint.

I've had a great time painting surrounded by the fall colors and winter blooms. Tomorrow the temperature will be 80 and sunny as I head out to paint "en plein air" once again.

Stop by and say "Hi" if you see a painter (that would be me or a friend) up to our elbows in paint enjoying a sunlit garden path or a bright pond reflection.

Artists of the Charleston Artist Guild and the Charleston Outdoor Painters Association have been invited to create original paintings and artwork inspired by the winter gardens. Many of these paintings and fine art photography will be exhibited in the Magnolia Art Gallery during the Winter Garden Festival Jan 19 - Feb 10, 2008.

For more information about activities during the Winter Festival including an artists reception, painting workshops, plein air painting, and camellia walks, contact Magnolia Gardens at www.Magnoliaplantation.com.

"Autumn Pond Reflections " A Plein Air Painting by Charleston Artist Katherine M Schneider

The autumn colors are beautiful by the ponds, roadsides and marshes in the Lowcountry this week.

Today's painting "Autumn Pond Reflections" captures the bright reflections of a marsh pond as the afternoon sun adds a warm glow to the reds, yellows and orange of the season.

"Autumn Pond Reflections"
Mixed media on canvas panel
17"x 20"

"Marsh Sky" A hand carved woodcut painting by Katherine M. Schneider

Here's my interpretation of a Lowcountry marsh scene hand carved into a birch wood panel. Portraying the vaporous clouds with the sharp marks of the carving knives and chisels was an interesting challenge.

The effect of both the carved marks and the black and white painting on oriental rice paper gives a popular subject a fresh, contemporary look.

"Marsh Sky"
Hand rubbed woodcut painting on oriental rice paper

Image dimensions: 12"h x 18"w
Paper dimensions: 15" h x 25.5"w
Price: $275.00

"Lowcountry Field Cabin"- A woodcut printed painting

Here is woodcut image of a typical cabin used for many purposes on farms and plantations in the old South. This type of building may have been used for housing farm hands, as a kitchen building or for storing farming equipment.

I thought the image of the cabin sheltered by ancient live oak trees made a statement about things that endure through time and hardship.

"Lowcountry Cabin"
Hand printed woodcut painting on Hosho paper
Image size: 6" x 9"
Hosho paper dimensions: 8.5" x 11.5"
Price: $85.00

To see more of my woodcut artwork, Click "Woodcut painting" here or in the Art Categories list at the right of this page.

(This is an artist's proof of a small series of hand printed paintings of this image.)

"Paint Charleston Daily" selected as "South Carolina Web Site of the Day"

"Paint Charleston Daily" fine art blog
(http://paintcharlestondaily.blogspot.com) has been selected as the "South Carolina Web Site of the Day" for Nov. 15, 2007 by the South Carolina Information Highway.

Thanks for the recognition SCIway.net.

Check out the useful information provided by this web based resource for South Carolina at http://www.sciway.net.

A unique and interesting feature at SCIway is the "Web Cams" section. Here you have access to live web cameras throughout SC sending images from an amazing assortment of public and private sites including sky cams, highways, roads, bridge coverage, state parks, and much more. In Charleston alone there are over 40 web cams listed.

Tribute to Willard N Hirsch published in an article for the Preservation Society of Charleston by J Michael McLaughlin

The "Little Dancer" statue at the Children's Fountain in White Point Gardens (The Battery) is one of Charleston's most endearing landmarks but it's history (click here for more on history of statue) like that of it's creator Willard N. Hirsch remains unrecognized to many residents and visitors.

This significant oversight in a city proud of it's artistic and civic heritage is explored for the members of The Preservation Society of Charleston in a recent article by J. Michael McLaughlin entitled "In Search of Willard Hirsch".

I was pleased to be asked to contribute my photos of Mr. Hirsch for Mr. McLaughlin's article on the artist published in the current issue of "Preservation Progress" (Fall 2007/Volume 51).

In the article, Mr. McLaughlin states that "no plaque or marker identifies her (the Little Dancer statue) by name or acknowledges her multi-talented creator." The author continues"...it may be that a whole generation of young Charlestonians has grown up never having heard his name. He is an integral part of the Holy City's important artistic heritage and it's time (again) for Willard Hirsch to get his due."

I couldn't agree more. Having apprenticed in his studio, I observed Mr. Hirsch at work producing significant artwork in the latter years of his long and distinguished career.

I always felt fortunate to have the opportunity to work with an artist of Mr. Hirsch's stature.

At that time (1970's), he was greatly sought after for public and private commissions. His significant body of work (click here for a link to the Smithsonian Institution Archives of American Art listings for 35 of Mr. Hirsch's sculptures) had established him firmly as one of the premier artists in the region.

Willard Hirsch in front of one of his many custon designed
fresh and saltwater aquariums at his studio on Exchange St. 1979. 

Interior view circa 1979 of Hirsch's Charleston studio at 2 Exchange St
with his work in bronze, wood, terra cotta, and plaster on display.

The lack of documentation about his prominent life and career is of serious concern for those who are interested in accurately preserving the record of Charleston's artistic heritage.

"Just Hangin' Around" A Pastel Portrait by Katherine M. Schneider

A Boy. A Tree. What could be more natural on a Saturday afternoon than...

"Just Hangin' Around"
16"x 20"
Pastel on archival sanded paper

The Winter Gardens at Historic Magnolia Plantation

It was a beautiful day for exploring the winter beauty of the gardens and grounds at Historic Magnolia Plantation in Charleston, SC http://www.magnoliaplantation.com.

I was at the plantation today preparing for an upcoming event in which I, along with other exhibiting artists of the Charleston Artist Guild have been invited to paint original artworks showing Magnolia Plantation and Gardens in it's winter beauty.

The well known colors of springtime azaleas, wisteria and other summer flowers have changed into lovely reds, yellows and golds in the garden for the fall and winter seasons.

Pyracantha bushes with their bright red berries are a feast for both the eyes and the birds.

I saw delicate flowers on early blooming Camellia japonica bushes. In the 1820's, the first camellias were planted at Magnolia Gardens. By the late 1970's, the garden included nearly 900 varieties.

The grounds of Magnolia Plantation also include a beautiful plantation house, , gift shop, zoo and nature center, outdoor cafe and a Lowcountry swamp area adapted for viewing wildlife, The Audubon Swamp Garden.

This afternoon, livestock grazed in the afternoon sun as bright and sassy peacocks wandered freely around the grounds.

Also enjoying the beauty of the grounds was a group of painters participating in a plein air artist's workshop.

It was a lovely afternoon spent wandering the fields and garden paths of the winter garden at Magnolia Plantation. I'm looking forward to the artistic possibilities to create interesting artwork of the scenic and historic gardens at Magnolia Gardens during the winter growing season.

For further information about the event activities, including the show and sale of original artwork inspired by the 2007/2008 Winter Gardens, artist workshops, plein air painting, and camellia walks, contact Magnolia Gardens at http://www.magnoliaplantation.com.

"Bright Night-Fair Weather" A Pastel Painting of the Coastal Carolina Fair

Twilight is a magical time at the Coastal Carolina Fair. The bright colors of the rides and attractions fade with the daylight and are replaced with the even brighter colors of the neon lights at night.

If possible. the level of excitement seems to go up a notch as the sun goes down. The bright colors blend with music, laughter and the tempting smell of cotton candy and elephant ears (hot, fried cinnamon pastries- not the real animal for those of you who don't live in the South) offering delights for all the senses.

A day at the Coastal Carolina Fair is something to be remembered and looked forward to all year long.
For fair dates and activities visit http://www.coastalcarolinafair.org

"Bright Night - Fair Weather"
16" x 12" pastel
Framed in gold leaf
Framed dimensions: 21.5"x 17.5"
Price: $275.00

Coastal Carolina Fair- Youth Art Show 2007

Fall is time for the always popular Coastal Carolina Fair in the Lowcountry. For the past 51 years, the Exchange Club of Charleston has organized the fair to the delight of
Lowcountry families.

A few years ago (I won't say how many) as a young Moultrie High School art student, I won my first public art awards in the Youth Art Show at this fair. I've never forgotten the thrill and excitement of receiving this early recognition for my art work.

For the past 12 years, my husband and I have had the pleasure of sponsoring an award in this same Youth Art Show "to recognize outstanding talent as well as to encourage the further growth and development of promising young artists".

Congratulations to this years winners of the Schneider Art Awards: McKenzee Campbell, Weston DeWolff, Christine Klinor, Greg Kurtzman, Lucy Rummler, John Henry Tecklenburg, and Hanna Trussler.

It's always exciting to see the creativity and skill displayed by all the student artists exhibiting in this well attended art exhibition. While you're at the Fair, be sure to come by the Fine Arts Building to see these young artists' works. A complete list of the 2007 Youth Art show award winners may be found at http://www.coastalcarolinafair.org/2007_youth_art_winners.html .

For further information about the Coastal Carolina Fair go to http://www.coastalcarolinafair.org.

"Afternoon Light, St. Phillips Church" by Charleston Artist Katherine M. Schneider

Painting today at the corner of Church and Queen Streets provided a great vantage point for lots of uniquely Charleston experiences.

The afternoon sun flooded Church St. highlighting the beautiful steeple of historic St. Phillips Church.

In addition to enjoying bright blue skies and wonderful fall weather, I had a chance to hear the beautiful sounds of the pipe organ of the nearby French Huguenot Church during an afternoon wedding ceremony.

I was showered with the wedding party's festive bubbles as the wind shifted and sent a cloud of shining spheres my way. One wedding guest later asked if I had bubbles on my painting!
I enjoyed talking with wedding guests as they stopped by my easel after the ceremony.

The afternoon sped by quickly with the passing of horse drawn carriage tours and frequent stops from locals and visitors enjoying the afternoon in our historic city by the sea.

Historic Church St. Painting by Charleston Artist Katherine M. Schneider

Still charming after almost 200 years, this historic Church St. home was a pleasure to paint today. The graceful sweep of the garden gate and stately front entrance brightly lit by the morning sun made a "very Charleston" scene.

I was told the fragrant jasmine vine surrounding the front door is wonderful to see and smell when it blooms in the spring.

The timeless beauty of this historic Charleston home is a reminder of the importance of historic preservation in this and other cities. For many years, Charleston has been a leader in the United States in the fight to preserve and protect endangered historic properties.

A plein air painting of the Benjamin Phillips Catherine Jeffries House circa 1818.

"Morning Light on Church Street"
Oil on panel
11" x 14"

Willard Hirsch, Prominent 20th Century Charleston Artist and Sculptor

Willard N. Hirsch was a leading figure in the Charleston Arts Community from 1945 until his death in 1982. He received his formal art training in New York City at the National Academy of Design and Beaux Arts Institute.

After completing his studies and exhibiting his work in New York, he returned to his native city of Charleston in the early 1940's to establish his studio in the region he loved and found inspiring.

Throughout his long and accomplished career, he remained active in his spacious Queen Street studio completing public and private commissions for state and governmental buildings, colleges, universities, and private collectors.

His sculpture is represented in national and regional collections including that of Brookgreen Gardens, The South Carolina State Museum,The Gibbs Museum of Art, Clemson University, The College of Charleston, SC State University, Ashley Hall School, The Charleston County Library System,The Richland County Public Library System, The City of Charleston (White Point Gardens and The Gaillard Municipal Auditorium), and SC National Guard Armory buildings statewide, to name a few. Click Here for a listing of his work from the Smithsonian Institution Archives of American Art.

I had the privilege of working for Mr. Hirsch as his studio assistant from 1979 to 1981.

Unlike artistic contemporaries such as William Halsey, Willard Hirsch's efforts to advance the Arts in Charleston during the later period of the "Charleston Renaissance" have not been as well documented for future reference.

Toward the end of his career, Mr. Hirsch was honored with a retrospective exhibition of his work by the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston. I am posting pictures I took of Mr. Hirsch, museum guests and his sculpture at the opening reception of that historic exhibit, because I haven't seen other accounts to record the event.

These pictures show but a small portion of this under recognized artist's contribution to the advancement of the Visual Arts in Charleston during his lifetime.

The scope and diversity of artwork presented by the exhibition organizer Gibbs Museum of Art Curator of Collections Martha R. Severnes was impressive. Included in the exhibition organized by the Gibbs Museum's  Curator of Collections Martha R. Severens were large scale works carved in exotic woods and stone. Bronze and terra-cotta figures representing themes from religion, mythology, and history were presented along with selected works from his extensive body of public and private portraiture.

It was and remains an unequaled, accomplished body of work by any sculptural artist in Charleston or the region from that time to the present.

Sculptor Willard Hirsch (rt.) explains an artistic concept.

Mrs. Willard N. Hirsch (nee: Mordenai Raisin) among displays of bronze and terra cotta portrait busts at the Gibbs Museum of Art, Lower Gallery.

Reception guests view "The Falling Angel" and a portrait bust of South Carolina's legendary Statesman, L. Mendel Rivers in the background.

The "Little Dancer", a popular figure of the Children's Fountain in White Point Gardens at Charleston's Battery, was prominently displayed along with a bas relief of children dancing and a sculpture of a young child.

Here are a few examples of the portraits assembled in one of the museum's main floor galleries. Many prominent Charleston families had several generations of family member's portraits sculpted by Mr. Hirsch in his long and prolific career.

In 1979, rows of commissioned portraits lined the shelves of bookcases in his Queen Street studio, as the artist signed a finished bas relief portrait.

Willard Hirsch's "Little Dancer" bronzes and a bas-relief portrait of Katherine M Schneider

Here is a photo of a bronze casting of the smaller version of Willard Hirsch's popular "Little Dancer". These bronze figures were cast in Marietta, Ga at a foundry to Mr. Hirsch's exacting specifications.

One morning a shipment of the bronzes arrived at Mr. Hirsch's Queen Street studio from the foundry in Ga. As I unpacked the figures under Mr. Hirsch's watchful eye, he placed them on his modeling stand for inspection..

With all his Little Dancers lined up on the stand, Mr. Hirsch looked like a choreographer joyfully directing the dance.

Although not one to allow his picture to be taken often, on this occasion, the artist allowed me to photograph this wonderful moment of the sculptor enjoying his creation.

Although I have several of Mr. Hirsch's works, none means more to me than the terra cotta bas relief portrait he gave my husband and me as a wedding present in 1982.

Like others who had the privilege of having Willard Hirsch create their portrait, I consider this artwork a family treasure.

Bas relief portrait of Katherine Muschick Schneider by Willard N. Hirsch circa 1982

Terra cotta on cradled wooden panel
     Medallion: 11.25" diameter
     Backed size: 17" h x 16" w

Thinking in Charcoal -The Use of Preliminary Drawings in Painting

The charcoal drawings I'm posting today are used as first steps in the painting process to develop the design and composition of a new painting.

They help decide what to put into a painting and even more importantly, what to leave out.

They also help to see how well shapes fit together in the composition and can be used to decide where values are most effective to create a successful final painting.

I don't always use preliminary drawings, but find them useful for certain paintings.They're interesting as a way of seeing the early stages of a composition. They're like windows into the artists mind during the creative process of developing a final painting.

Charcoal drawing for the oil painting "Summer Shower - Battery Park" (see below).

See post on July 25 for full details of this oil painting.

Charcoal study for a painting in progress titled "Shelter from the Shower" A painting of Live Oaks and the Band Shell at While Point Gardens.