Archive for August, 2011

Now that I am home I want to tell you more about my adventure at Stringtown Rising Farm in West Virginia.  The farm is the home to Suzanne McMinn of Chickens in the Road.  For years I have followed her blog and loved her writings and photos of her life on her farm.

I even contacted her a couple of years ago about permission to use her photos of her animals as the reference material for a Farm Animal series I painted.   And she graciously said yes. 

When Suzanne reached out for someone to come and paint a wall for her in her newly redesigned basement I jumped at the chance to see the farm for myself.

Upon arrival Saturday afternoon we were greeted by the welcoming committee.

My friend, Linda K., went with me.  She’s a great painter and was a huge help to me in completing this project in a short time.    The welcoming committee loved her.

And she loved them.  Especially Glory Bee, the giant calf!






We had to get oriented so the first thing we did was to take tons of photos of the animals to use for reference.

Besides the goats and cows, there are sheep.  This is Crazy and Baby Crazy.








And of course, there are lots of chickens running around.  And some are even penned up.  These I think are named “Future Lunch and Dinner”!




 And there is Goose who is sentenced to the chicken pen because his siblings disappeared while roaming free so he is safer here.









But if I had to choose my favorite (besides the dogs, of course) it would have to be the two baby goats, Peanut and Coal.  Luckily, they are sold already or I may have had to have one of them.  They were just adorable.

There are many more photos of animals…I took about three hundred in two days, and I will share more in the coming days and I’m sure I will paint many of them.  After gathering material we took a look at the space and started talking about what we should paint.  Over the next couple of posts I will chronicle our process.  Please stay tuned.

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I was thrilled when my friend Linda said she would come with me to Stringtown Rising Farm in West Virginia to paint for Suzanne McMinn, www.chickensintheroad.com .

Linda has been terrific painting all sorts of subject matter.  Today it was Beulah Petunia, Suzanne’s milking cow.  She turned out great!

All I did was a quick sketch and off she went.   It’s been a great help having her here.  She’s painted a cow, a cat, chickens, birds, bird feeders, herbs, spices, and who knows what tomorrow will bring.

Stay tuned.  I hope to post many more photos of our big adventure once we finish painting today.









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We started today with blank white block walls….


And soon there there was sky….





And mountains….








And a meadow and trees….





And Linda painted a cat, Spice, in the tree.

We still have lots of animals to add but it’s really coming along.





Then after dinner I got my second wind and painted the other cat, Sugar, in the mailbox.  Can you say special delivery??!!!







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Several years ago I heard a story on NPR about a lady who lived on a little farm in West Virginia and blogged about her life there.  At the time I was at my cabin out in the middle of nowhere with no computer service but as soon as I got back to town I checked it out online and have been following the adventures of Suzanne McMinn and www.chickensintheroad.com ever since. 

Almost every day since I heard of her I have allowed her to begin my day with a cute story about her animals, her cheesemaking or some adventure she had gotten herself into.  I love it. 

Never did I think that I would actually end up visiting Stringtown Rising Farm and see the organized chaos for myself.  But here I am, taking my own photos of Mr. Hyde.  And isn’t he a handsome fellow?

But the biggest problem so far is that I fallen in love with the two baby goats.  Have you ever seen anything so cute???  They are sold already or I am afraid that I would have had to have taken one home with me.  I’m not sure what Lincoln and Jed would have thought about it but I’m sure we could have figured something out.

The first thing we did when we got here was to make mozzarella cheese!  I love cheese and she is teaching me to make it.  We put our fresh mozzarella on the pizza Suzanne made for us with fresh made crust, herbs and tomatoes right out of the garden.  It was terrific!

And I even think the animals were thrilled that she made fresh pizza because as Suzanne picked the tomatoes for our dinner, she tossed a few over the fence for them!

Tomorrow I start painting the wall downstairs so I’ll try to take photos to show our progress.

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Our final painting for Art Camp was a version of Van Gogh’s Starry Night.  He did a couple of them…most people only recognize the one.

Here are the kids working on theirs.  We got so busy finalizing everything and framing their works for the week that I forgot to take a photo of the final painting.  Maybe when the show goes up at the Community Center featuring their works I can get one then.  😦   

All in all, we had a fabulous summer of painting and discovered the talent of many young painters in our community!

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 Over the ages it has been a common practice for artists to copy famous painters work in order to learn technique, style, and color mixing.   Degas, Monet, Renoir, and many of the famous names you will recognize applied and received copiers permission to copy paintings in the Louvre. 

Following in their footsteps, our Art Campers are learning about a variety of artists this week by copying famous paintings.  They  completed their Matisse painting.  They turned out great.

Today we will finish up art camp by finishing our Picassos and our Van Goghs!  Good job everyone.

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 This week’s theme at Art Camp is a combination of several types of art.  Yesterday at Art Camp we talked about Modern Art.  We began painting a Matisse.  You see Tyler here working on his.







Once we got the Matisse to a good place, we went on to work on a Picasso.  (It is Modern Day, after all!)

Here is the young artists at work on their “masterpiece”!

Stay tuned and the finished paintings will be posted.

Great job everyone.  Let’s keep up the good work!

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Day Two of Art Camp:  We painted Degas’  Horses.  Beautiful job!

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The final week of Art Camp for the summer began yesterday at the Blue Ridge Arts Council

We started by painting the color wheel and learning about color mixing.  Then the young artists went on to learn about Monet and we painted this lovely version of Monet’s poppy field using just the three basic colors – red, yellow, and blue, plus white. 

Can you believe they did this with just those colors?  Great job guys!

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Over the last few weeks I have been experimenting with different designs and ideas for painted furniture. 

Here are the first two offerings.  They can be seen in person at Delilah’s on Main Street in Front Royal.  Your choice of  The Poppy Coffee Table  or the Sunflower Cabinet  (SOLD to a Georgia Collector!)  is available for $125.   Email kwalker@doubledogdesigns.com for more information.

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