Sunflower Fields, Blue Ridge

October is a glorious time to live in the Appalachian mountains.  Within minutes of my home is this stunning sunflower farm with over 900,000 flowers, a pumpkin farm, apple orchards and the most beautiful waterfall in the state.

And I’m trying to paint it all.

I’ve been in the sunflower fields minutes after sunrise when the dew is still on the ground.

I’ve hiked to the waterfall with my labradors to scout painting locations.

I participated in the Blue Ridge Paint Out where we were privileged to get a private hayride in the apple orchards and do a painting in one hour.

In this sunflower painting, I painted directly (no drawing) and quickly. I wanted the feeling of a sunflower field without being too literal.

I experimented with some new watercolor sticks from Daniel Smith and found I really like how they work.  I read on Jane Blundell’s watercolor blog that the sticks are actually more economical than the Daniel Smith paints, which are known for their vibrancy.  So I wanted to try them out.

I love them and will definitely be getting more.

Sunflower Fields, 9×12″ #watercolorpainting #mariapeagler

Available, $97

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Hillside Vineyards

montaluce vineyard watercolor

This is the view from the bottom of a hill at Montaluce Winery in Dahlonega. I took the opportunity of a gorgeous fall day and drove to the winery to paint the vineyard.

Georgia has a surprising number of wineries, and many in the northern part of the state.  Montaluce is a sprawling winery with a restaurant, community of homes, and a wedding venue.

I painted this first thing, then did several value studies from the top of the hill looking down into the vineyard.

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Then I enjoyed lunch at their restaurant and painted a small study from the veranda.

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A lovely day overall.

9×12″ watercolor on Arches 140-lb cold-pressed paper.

Available, $97
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Blue Ridge Steeple Study

This weekend I participated in my first plein air event in Blue Ridge, Georgia.  I took Karen Margulis’ class on plein air painting (more to come on the class later), and I painted this study quickly.

Blue Ridge has a famous train and tracks running through downtown, and historic buildings. So why did I choose a steeple?

This is the First United Methodist Church on W. Main Street in downtown Blue Ridge.  It’s for sale, like so many other churches located on valuable property.  This building, when sold, will likely be torn down, making way for commercial properties.

That’s why I chose it.  It’s a icon that is a sign of progress in so many ways.

I also loved the light on the steeple.

I did a full painting from this study and it’s included in the month-long exhibit at The Art Center in Blue Ridge.

This is another of my paintings for #30paintingsin30days with a sky theme.

Price: $57

5×7″, watercolor, on Arches 140-lb cold-press paper.

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Reflected Light

Plein Air study of old Fannin County courthouse and crepe myrtle in front. From yesterday’s class with @karenmargulis, a pastel artist from Marietta.  I’ll be writing a blog post about her class next week.

Karen had just completed a demonstration of painting plein air and chose this tree as her subject.  It was blazing hot, and I didn’t want to drag my supplies across town to find a new location.

So I painted in the same spot, but added the backdrop of the old courthouse, with the columns’ background bathed in orange reflected light.

5×7″ #watercolorpainting on Arches 140-lb cold-pressed paper. #blueridge #pleinair #landscape #30paintingsin30days #mariapeagler

Price: $57

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