Good company and art work at the Unitarian Churchyard

The Minister and Sexton stopped by to visit and tell interesting tales about the churchyard on their way into the church for a 5:00 wedding rehearsal.

I learned of the self appointed church cat, Pumpkin, who returned by himself to live in the churchyard after his owner moved with him from the neighborhood. Now Pumpkin earns his keep by catching rodents and greeting visitors to the churchyard.

The Marble Monument in my painting is a 19th century memorial for Pastor Samuel Gilman. I was told it's missing a large interior urn which was knocked over and broken by a late night drunken visitor whom the sexton found passed out in the parish hall next door. The urn will be replaced soon. I'll have to return to paint the monument when it' s been replaced.

I also was treated to lively tales of a happy childhood spent playing in this "secret garden" 50 yrs. ago by the church organist 's husband who lived in the area 55 years ago. It was a wonderful afternoon to paint and visit.

Today's painting uses diagonal shapes to direct the viewer's eye up the path in the lower foreground to the smaller cross and across to the center of interest in the upper left corner. The setting sun adds drama to the lighting and a brilliant bank of red azaleas makes a bright color accent behind the monument for Pastor Gilman. (A left click on the picture brings up a larger view.)

I hope this painting takes the viewer on a relaxed stroll up the path into this "Secret Garden" tucked away in the heart of a busy, historic city

"The Secret Garden"
Oil on canvas panel

Painting dimensions: 14" x 11"

A photo of the framed painting is available upon request.

"Torch of the French Huguenot Church: Symbol of Holy Fire"-A Painting of the French Huguenot Church

"Torch of the French Huguenot Church: Symbol of Holy Fire" is an 10"x 8" painting of the French Huguenot Church pictured below.

I used the complementary color contrasts of the red roof with the blue sky and green palmetto tree for artistic effect. The painting is also designed to use the diagonal thrust of the church's red roof to offset the vertical architectural element of the spires and the circular shape of the palmetto tree in the foreground.

"Torch of the French Huguenot Church: Symbol of Holy Fire"
is a small painting, but the use of complementary colors and contrasting design elements in the composition makes a strong artistic statement.

I met a family who had driven 2hrs. to attend Sunday's service in the church because once a year, the service is said completely in French (except for the sermon) and this was the Sunday. The rest of the year Sunday services are in English.

The Huguenots were French speaking Protestants who came to America to escape persecution from the Catholic Church in France during the 16
th and 17th centuries. Their church building is a beautiful example of Gothic architecture with the original cast iron decorations on the roof spires.
I was told by a member of the Huguenot congregation that the cast iron torch (which is original to the building) was used at the apex of the roof instead of a cross because of the symbolic association of a cross with the Catholic church during the colonial era.

The torch is a memorable sight at the top of the church.

"Torch of the French Huguenot Church: Symbol of Holy Fire"
Oil painting on birch panel
Size: 10" x 8"

Painting Colonial Christ Church

Christ Church was built in colonial times on the old "King's Highway" in honor of King Charles of England. Today the road beside the church has become busy North /South Highway 17, but the church and grounds remain a restful place of worship for a large, active congregation.

The image above is an 11"x 14"plein air (painted on location) oil painting of Christ Church. I used yellow and orange tones to reflect the warm glow of the setting sun reflected onto the historic church and grounds.

Oil on canvas panel 11" x 14"
Price: $375.00.

I enjoyed the sunny afternoon painting Christ Church. The west facing church sheltered by a large Live Oak tree reflects the late afternoon sun beautifully, making an inspiring subject for a plein air artist.

Judith Carducci Workshop in Chas. SC April 12 - 14 2007

Judith Carducci was an inspiring teacher during this 3 day workshop in Chas. The artists attending received instruction on composition, values, under painting, and lots more. The workshop classes were held in historic St. Mathews Lutheran Church Parish Hall.

3 large stained glass windows added dramatic lighting to this room which also had a full wall of north light windows. The brilliant light coming through the richly colored stained glass impressed many of the artists who wanted to include the windows in their paintings.

Charleston Artists Guild features National Artist, Judith Carducci

It rained today(4/07)and I'm still recovering from a cortisone injection in my right hand for an inflamed CMC joint so I don't have a new painting to post today. However, I did learn some new portrait painting tips from a lively demo given tonight at the monthly meeting of the Charleston Artist Guild, of which I am an exhibiting member.

Judith Carducci from Ohio was the featured speaker. She's an accomplished painter and teacher who was able to complete an impressive painting of Mr. Cisco Lindsey,
outgoing CAG president, in under 2 hrs.
Not only did she paint this in less than ideal circumstances( Cisco was perched on top of a stack of 4 nested chairs with an auto shop spot light shinning on him with the bare wall for a backdrop) but she did it with humor and skill.

Judith stressed the importance of washing in an under painting on the pastel support and over painting with correct values. I'm finishing up a pastel portrait commission of a young boy that I'll post when it's done.

I'm looking forward to learning more at her workshop over the next three days.

"Stella Maris from the Sea" A View from the Harbor

I painted this 14"x 11" painting in the late afternoon to show the effect of the setting sun on the distinctive and beautiful architecture of this historic, seaside church.

I used
cadmium colors on the stucco of the church to give the the impression of the warm last rays of the setting sun lighting up the church tower before nightfall. The alla prima (painted all at once) technique gives the painting a fresh, spontaneous look. I think I'll leave the few sand gnats that got stuck in the oil paint for a special effect.

I titled the painting "Stella Maris from the Sea" because this view of the church is one seen from the harbor. A fitting view for a church named "Star of the Sea".

Oil on canvas panel 14" x 11"
Price: Sold

I've set up my easel on a side road that leads to the Charleston Harbor. Last week I was painting the church from inside nearby Fort Moultrie, and was accidentally locked inside the when the fort closed for the night. So today I picked a much more visible painting location.

The photo of the sunset at the top of this blog page was taken from the same spot-only I turned around to face the harbor and the setting sun.