Wednesday, November 14, 2007

change of plans

As many of you have noticed, I have stopped posting new images for the last couple of months. I have been far too sick to work since we found out that we are expecting our first baby in the spring. With this happy news, I am already having to make adjustments to my work schedule and habits. My original intention for this project was to exhibit the paintings as a complete body of work, but I have since decided to make the pieces available individually online at my new Etsy shop until early 2008. I am thankful for all the good feedback and kind words over the past year, and I hope that you have enjoyed looking at the pieces as much as I have enjoyed painting them. Many thanks!

~ Megan

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

blue jay treasure

For some reason I have been finding blue jay feathers in the backyard all week. Each is different, but each glows an unbelievable blue against the parched ground.

evening warmth

This beautiful image came from our trip up north, shot as the sun was setting. In that lovely "golden hour" everything takes on the pink-orange cast of evening.


These rolling hills are familiar territory from my years in Ohio, a spot that I passed frequently on country drives. I love the deep green just after a rain.

summer haze

I have always loved this field, especially in the deep heat of summer. The humidity lingers over everything, tying together golden grass and treelines.

sun baked

The recent heat wave here in Tennessee (several days in a row over 100 degrees with no rain in sight) has inspired this piece, a dry field cracking in the sun. It has truly been a year of records here, strange weather in all seasons.

fields in motion

This image caught my eye for its rolling fields, waves and lines of alternating crops against dark trees. I miss this sort of land, rolling Ohio farms. It is most difficult in summer, which was always my favorite season there, watching the crops slowly grow until harvest.

green hills

After feeling under the weather for the better part of the week, I find myself again in the position of catching up on delinquent posts. I have been sorting through piles of old reference in my studio, and have come across several little gems. Before getting a really great digital camera, I shot all my reference on an old 35mm all-manual camera that gave me tiny, blurry prints. Not ideal for painting large pieces, but great for doing tiny studies like these.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

spider lily

Derek happened to spot a stand of exquisite spider lilies near our campsite. They look so exotic that it is surprising to find out that they are native to the much a surprise as finding a passionflower.


My favorite spot for trout seeking lately is at a shallow bend in the river where the wading is easy and the banks are somewhat open. Beautiful farms line the banks, alternating with dense woods.

caney evening mist

Continuing my recent obsession with the Caney Fork River, I managed to get in a few hours of late-afternoon fishing on Sunday, leaving just as the mist was thickening on the water, rolling in the evening chill.

center hill lake

Over the weekend we camped on Center Hill Lake, luckily during a time when it was mostly deserted. We discovered a spot near our campsite where a rocky bluff dropped deep into the lake with just enough of a gentle slope that we could swim there. The water was perfect, slightly cool on the hot summer morning.


This field had just been planted when I photographed it, baring its dry soil beneath the towering trees in the distance. By now there is certainly a field full of soybeans or corn, deep summer green.

distant cornfields

Another farm image...this one in honor of my friend Anne, who always chose cornfield rows when we went out to paint together in Ohio. I am finally beginning to understand the draw of those rows upon rows, the natural rhythm of the field stretching into the distance.

passing fields

Somehow yet again, too much time has passed since my last post. It has begun to feel like my summer is in a constant loop of driving to Atlanta (which I have done three out of the last four weekends) and camping. Not all bad, but just very busy! So, in the spirit of catching up, here are some new paintings. This one is from much earlier in the summer when we drove through the midwest...I am still finding all sorts of inspiration from that wide-open landscape.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

fast study

Tonight in the painting class I found myself getting stuck as I reworked the piece I started last week. I took the last fifteen mintues to do a quick sketch of the model in profile, in order to get a fresh look at everything. Although I am no more pleased with this canvas than I was with the original attempt, it was still a fun exercise.

Monday, July 23, 2007

ohio field

I originally painted this farm in a vertical format several years ago, but coming across a photo of it today, I thought it would make a good daily study. I have always liked the solid white sky against the velvety fields.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

farm memory

We ended up "down south" this evening in Williamson County, my former home, to go tent shopping and out for dinner with my mom. We took the country way, past several old farms that eventually disappear into a sprawling shopping area. This image from a Brentwood farm was on the top of my reference pile tonight, and I thought it was a good time to revisit it.

woods edge

We heard from our friend Lee the other day, who is trying to help us find a place to live near him in rural western North Carolina. Now that Derek is finished with school, we are preparing for the next phase of our lives, hopefully one with plenty of woods, streams, and mountains in it. This image reminded me of what I hope will be the future.

open water

I really have been painting every day, but in the excitement of the new Harry Potter release, I seem to have forgotten to actually post the pieces. Here is a river study taken from my last Ohio trip. I like the simplicity of it so much that I just might paint a larger version, even though I had only intended this as a small study.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

big meadow

A student from my painting class had requested a demo on my landscape approach, so last week I showed the students how I handle a typical painting in the studio. I had a large pile of reference accumulated from the exercise, and on top was this image from a painting trip to the Shenandoah Valley with my friend Steph from several years back. We have both painted this spot numerous times, and to the best of my recollection it was called simply "Big Meadow." There was something magical about waiting for the afternoon storm to roll in, standing on a bald surrounded by the highest mountain all around. I will never forget that week.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


When I walked out the back door yesterday I found this moth dead on the ground, perfectly posed with its wings open. I scooped it up and brought it inside to add to my "natural history" collection. It seemed like an appealing subject for a painting tonight.

harvest field study

I am planning a show in the fall and working out several issues through these small daily studies. This is a detail of a piece which will eventually be composed of five canvases. The final composition will be a very long, horizontal image of a favorite field.

mist rising

Still immersed in a river obsession, I found this image from an outing a couple of weeks ago and liked the rosy tones and soft mist rising from the water. There will probably be plenty of water imagery in my next body of work this fall.

stones river

One weekend in the "big city" was enough for me! We headed home on Sunday afternoon and stopped by the Stones River on the way back to Nashville to get in a little fishing. It was smaller water and much easier casting than the Caney, and I caught quite a few fish before the sun set. It was a great way to clear out the stress of Atlanta traffic.


We went to Atlanta this weekend for the opening of the summer landscape show at Aliya Linstrum. Although it was an ordeal getting there, it was a wonderful opening and a great show. If you will be in Atlanta this summer, stop by and check it out.

first flower

This is the first flower I've managed to grow from seed in this shady city yard of mine. I have tried unsuccessfully for a few years to get sunflowers to grow in the only sunny patch of garden in the backyard, but for some reason this year, a lonely mexican sunflower found a way to elude the birds long enough to grow and bloom.

peruvian apple

I have become terribly lazy in this midsummer heat and am finally catching up on posts. Last week we watched the miracle of the blooming of the large peruvian apple cactus I recently bought. I knew we were in for a splendid bloom when it started rapidly growing large buds from several strategic points near the top. We waited, checking each day for an opning blossom, and then one night, it happened...huge, delicate white petals opened wide to reveal hundreds of pistils. They only bloomed for a night or two, leaving behind their growing fruit.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

dark soil

This is a detail study from the piece I painted today, a long 20x60 image from my last Ohio trip. I had fun working on it, since it was on one of my favorite linen canvases and I just received a new shipment of brushes. It's always a good painting day when new brushes are involved.


Last night in my painting class one of my students brought some beautiful lilies for the still life. She offered to let me take one home to try my hand at an O'Keefe-style close up for my daily piece. While it is a far cry from Georgia, it was a good, somewhat intense exercise.

Monday, July 09, 2007

hidden creek

We stopped by this secret creek on our way back to Nashville. Derek discovered it while I was fishing on Saturday morning and took me to see it. We splashed around for awhile and picked blackberries on the way back to the truck. All in all, it was a great little getaway this weekend, leaving me recharged and ready to get back to work.

water mist

While I was casting on the river this weekend, Derek armed himself with the camera and got some wonderful shots of the mist rolling in on the water. The fog comes on suddenly, lingering thick and mysterious until the morning sun burns it away several hours after it rises.

river morning

Saturday morning I dragged Derek out of the tent around 5:00 a.m. to hit the river at sunrise. He dropped me off at a place I had a hunch might be harboring some trout. Sure enough, with the helpful advice of a fellow fly fisherman who showed up an hour later, I landed my first rainbow trout ever. Truly a great day.

caney sunset

Friday night we ventured east to Center Hill Lake and nabbed one of the last campsites on the lake. I rushed down to the river before sunset to make a few casts before dark. After fishing until dark (and catching nothing) I had a chance to try my hand at cooking over the fire in my new dutch ovens. We enjoyed a delicious dinner and relaxed around the glowing embers.

georgia storm

The week has managed to get away from me. I drove to Atlanta to deliver paintings for a show on Thursday, a long but beautiful drive. On the way back, I watched a summer storm roll through the mountains and plateau.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


We made a last-mintue decision to head downtown for Nashville's famous fireworks just as we saw them beginning on television. I couldn't in good conscience know that the massive display was happening only three miles away and sit on the couch watching instead. We managed to linger downtown long enough to see the never-disappointing show from the car, and escaped before the mass exodus away from the riverfront. The only way to do it...

exotic yellow

Since my plant identification skills are obviously lacking, I simply have to paint this intricate plant without knowing its name. Its bright yellow spiky center caught my eye at once, one of many treasures to be found in the woods this time of year.


On Saturday we broke away from the house and went for a short walk in Beaman Park. I wanted to practice identifying wild plants, hoping to learn some new ones. We walked slowly, explored the creekbed, and took plenty of photos. I found, though, that when I arrived home to look up all the unfamiliar plants, I had not gathered enough information. So, my best guess is that this is myrtle, though I could easily be mistaken.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

dark dusk

This glowing dusk is one that I have wanted to paint for some time, with its warm light and dramatic darks. I would love to see it very large, looming dark. I still have not found the best way to approach it technically, but I think it is worth figuring out.


Although I spent most of the time on my fishing outing with my eyes glued to the water, I was occasionally startled from my concentration by a huge great blue heron or a striking kingfisher gliding by. I admired their confidence on the river, certain of their next meal, especially since I felt completely inept and out of place.

caney fork

On Friday morning I had my first-ever solo fly fishing outing. I felt a little lost, even after managing to find the place and set up my rod. I really didn't know where to begin-- I just made my best guess, picked out a spot that didn't look too difficult to wade, and made a few very poor casts. Of course, those tactics don't lead to catching trout, but I had a wonderful time on the river and spent the morning watching the mist rise from the water. Even though I have yet to catch a trout, I would gladly spend many hours more on the water trying.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


This month, along with working on two of the largest pieces I have ever attempted, I will also be focusing on a series of images for a show in Knoxville this fall. Here and there, I will be working out some of the color and composition issues as daily studies. This image is from my trip through Holmes County, Ohio earlier this year, of a deep canal cutting through some farms. I liked the rich, dark earth and the deep green of the banks.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

black locust

What better way to learn about plants and animals than to draw or paint them? When you spend time looking at forms and colors, they are burned into your memory in a unique way. I have long been embarassingly bad at identifying trees, but from now on will know the locust by its graceful leaves.


Yet again, my notes seem to be incorrect, since I had recorded this as a "whorled" coreopsis, and upon further research it seems to be "greater" coreopsis. I have just been informed that one one else is nerdy enough to care about the difference, but if I learned one thing about edible plants (which this is not), it is that one should be absolutely certain of identifying what one eats. Don't eat this one...but if you live in the east or south, go out in the woods and find one. They're beautiful!


After coming across spicebush in some previous reading, I was really hoping to learn to identify it, since I was not already familiar with it. It is such an "ordinary" looking plant, though, that I doubt I will notice it quickly in the wild. The woody stems are used to make a tea called spicewood, and the dried berries are used as allspice (finely ground for seasoning). Hopefully I will find a little of my own someday to try these tastes.


Next in my little botanical series is the lovely this time of year it shows large white flower heads, but is also known for small, dark berries known to make good country wine (or so they say).


Although I wrote down in my notes that this marsh-growing plant is called "arrowroot," after further research it seems that this version may be called "arrowhead," true arrowroot having a much different leaf shape. Both are reputed to have edible roots, although the arrowroots are dug after twenty years, so one would probably have a long wait.


After my little outdoor retreat this week, I am back in the studio (at least for now). Aside from my first success at casting a fly rod correctly (and catching a nice largemouth bass), I found the most fascination with the edible plants class that I took. We tasted and foraged and I learned a great deal...almost too much information to take in all at once. This exquisite plant is bergamot, also known as the distinctive taste of earl grey tea, which I am enjoying as I paint.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

rolling field edge

Here is a little study of an image I found in Iowa. I have always liked the barely-visible tree rows in the distance. On another note, I will be spending the next few days at an outdoor workshop learning about wild edible plants and flyfishing, among other things. I will not be posting again until early next week, but hopefully I will have plenty of great new images by then!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

heavy skies

I have always been drawn to images with rain-heavy skies. There is a drama inherent in the waiting for a downpour. I love deep green trees and dry golden fields begging the purple sky for rain.

deep twilight

When I came across this image among the thousands I have shot this summer for potential landscape reference, I immediately wanted to paint it. I love the way the light comes through the trees sharply, muting everything in front of it.