Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Project Ends but More Projects to Come

A Big Thank You!
We have come to the end of this specific project: Six Artists Six Prairies, and would like to thank our sponsors and each one of you for your interest, encouragement, appreciation and support.  It has been an interesting time for all of us.  We learned so much ourselves, not only about prairies, but more importantly about the role artists can play in bringing about an awareness of the unique world around us and the need to protect and conserve it.  Art and conservation are natural partners!  Stay tuned as we continue our artistic journeys and projects....

 Linda Blondheim
 Mary Jane Volkmann
 Steve Andrews
 Charles Dickinson
 Scott Hiestand

Monday, May 7, 2012

Palm Hammock Fish Prairie

Notes From Fish Prairie

I love to drive the trails through Fish Prairie in the golf cart provided for my residency at Fair Oaks. The palm hammock is a favorite spot for me. The prairie changes drastically with the seasons. It is just now becoming summer, but the color is still fresh and lovely green. It hasn't yet been suffocated by the humidity and brutal heat of August here in Florida.

Linda Blondheim

Saturday, April 28, 2012


This studio panting of a Louisiana Blue Heron was done from photos taken on a recent trip to Paines Prairie.

Scott Hiestand

Friday, April 20, 2012

Old Boundary

"Old Boundary"
   I would like to express a very late thank you to all who attended out opening show for the Alachua Conservation Trust. I enjoyed meeting and talking with all of you about art and the prairies.
   It is in the works for a second show at the Visitors Center at Paynes Prairie. Opening dates have not been set as of this post, but as soon as more information becomes available, I will be posting it here.
Scott Hiestand

Monday, April 16, 2012

Fish Prairie

Ferns on Fish Prairie April

 Fish Prairie February

18x24 inches
acrylic on canvas
Notes From Fish Prairie

I spent a week at Fair Oaks as part of my residency project there. Part of Fish Prairie is on the Fair Oaks property and I love painting there. The staff has cut nice trails through the prairie and I spend very happy hours deep in the prairie painting. I was traveling through March, so I missed the gradual transition from winter to spring. Yesterday I drove around back there in the golf cart, thoughtfully provided by the owner for my painting excursions. It looks so different from the winter time I painted last that I thought I was lost a couple of times. It is now jungle, with tangles of vines, weeds, huge ferns and rich greens. I could have been in the rain forests of Latin America with a bit of imagination. Though our project will end in June, I hope to continue to paint at Fish Prairie for years to come.

Linda Blondheim

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Show at ACT

The big event this past weekend was a lot of fun.  We had a steady group of people looking through the paintings and getting to see the fantastic facilities of the Alachua Conservation Trust.  The paintings are available for viewing at the headquarters of the ACT through March 16.  Check the link and call to make sure that there is no conflict, but they are planning on people coming and seeing the paintings.   Remember they are all for sale and your purchase will benefit the ACT.
Everybody’s work was exhibited together and I think the work worked well together. (Can I say work worked?)  I think that’s the best way to put it.  There was a good harmony.   I guess it’s not proper to talk about my own work, so I’ll mention my favorites from the other artists in the project. 

Mary Jane Volkmann:  I loved her large piece of the typical Florida jungle that must have been the edge of prairie.  Beautiful muted grays and greens with the center of interest a palm tree lighted by sunshine and rustled by a gentle breeze. 

Charles Dickinson:  I really liked his painting of the old railroad trestle.  Charles is a master of dappled light.  His paintings are simple but intricate.  There’s a neat story to that painting too.  Apparently he painted it on location then came back some days later to finalize the work and whoever is in charge had cleaned and painted the trestle.   All of the old patina was gone.  So if you love the trestle your going to want to get Charles’ painting.  Otherwise you’ll have to wait a long time to see the patina again.

Linda Blondheim:  Linda had a bunch of great pieces.  My favorite was a large almost square piece of a path to the prairie.   Deep colors and lot’s of colors.  Palms, Oaks, Spanish Moss, vines, leaves, branches all pulled together in a nice inviting and color filled composition.

Scott Hiestand:  It’s hard to pick one of Scott’s.  He has a great light touch.  My favorite was a small piece titled, I think, “Early Spring”.  Beautiful muted red grey background with a delicate small tree with whispery early springs buds the center of interest.  The tree was beautifully painted with light grey green color and hints of the coming of spring. 

So there you go.   I hope that encourages you to get out there and take a look at the artwork.  These are my favorites I would love to see some comments added with your favorites.

 Scott Hiestand

 My painting "Storm Comimg Hopkins Prairie"

Scott and Linda's Paintings

Thanks for looking

Steve Andrews  

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How do you paint a prairie?

The project is winding down.  Here's a link to the big event that will give you an opportunity to answer the question in the above title.  How do you paint a prairie?  Just give the assignment to a group of artists, and part of the fun is coming out and looking at how each choose to interpret what is generally considered a flat, boring piece of ground.  So come out this next Saturday, February 25th.  The address and directions are in the link.  All of the paintings from the project will be hanging for you to see.  All of the paintings are also for sale and each sale will benefit the Alachua Conservation Trust.  Also, all of the artist will be there and will be painting  during the day.

The painting above is from Hopkins Prairie in the Ocala National Forest.  I'm aiming at the hot dry grasses against the cool pine forest in the background.  A worm's eye view. (Do worm's have eyes?  I wonder why they don't call it a snake's eye view?  Hmmm?  Those snakes always get a bad rap.)  Anyway, I love to meet you and talk with you about the fun and adventure of painting these prairies.
Hope to see you there.

Thanks for looking.

Steve Andrews

Friday, February 3, 2012

Prairie thrills

At certain times of the year the grasses and bushes in the prairie are tall and thick, making access challenging.  Once winter sets in they turn glorious colors of golds, oranges, browns and purples, then gradually the vegetation thins.  During this time the prairies receive their winter visitors ~ birds on their migratory routes dipping down to forage and thrill us with their circling calls.  Smaller birds dart from bush to bush.  Often when I'm painting I will suddenly be surprised as a flock of small birds I hadn't noticed flees from a nearby bush, started by a noise I may have unconsciously made!  I always return from these trips refreshed and rejuvenated!

As you will have read, our big event at Prairie Creek Lodge is just around the corner!  The postcards are ready and are being mailed and we're inviting everyone we can to come and see what we've done and hopefully purchase our paintings to support art and the invaluable work being done by the Alachua Conservation Trust.  ACT has gone out of their way to prepare a fun day for this project on February 25.  It will run from noon to 9 p.m.  One or the other of us will be painting on location throughout the afternoon, so you can come and watch and talk with us as we work.  There will be live music and hors d'ouvres.  This will also be a great opportunity to learn about the educational and land acquisition projects of the Alachua Conservation Trust.  If you'd like more information, you are welcome to contact them directly at 352-373-1078.  We hope to see you there! 

Mary Jane Volkmann

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Hopkins Prairie Revisted

16 x 20

Getting ready for the big show at Prairie Creek Ranch on February 25.  Here's a new one which was finished a couple of weeks ago.   I have to say that I keep coming back to Hopkins Prairie source material from earlier this year when I think about doing something for this project.  It is really neat place.  (I write that and think . .  'it was just a prairie'. . . It's hard to explain but it was much more than that).  This is from a photo I took while hiking on the Florida trail.  Part of the trail goes right through Hopkins Prairie.  This oak hammock is the home of a designated campground.  My son, who is a senior at the University of Florida, saw my posts on Hopkins Prairie and was excited to tell me that he had camped at Hopkins Prairie with some friends.  They had just picked the place at random on a map of the Ocala National Forest.  He thought it was neat place to camp and wants to do a family camping trip.  It's been a while since we've had one of those.  I'm thinking about it.  Anyone else interested?

Thanks for Looking.  And make plans to attend the show at Prairie Creek Ranch.

Steve Andrews

Monday, January 16, 2012

Alachua Conservation Trust Hosts Six Artists Six Prairies

Our paintings will be on display at Prairie Creek Lodge from February 18- March 16, 2012.

Our main event will be February 25, 2012 from Noon-9PM. We will be painting in front of the lodge from noon to dark, rotating artists throughout the day.

Come meet the artists, watch us paint and purchase original framed paintings while enjoying hors d'ouvres and live music. Our painting sales will support the efforts of Alachua Conservation Trust and their many educational and land acquisition projects.

This will be our last formal event for the project, so we are looking forward to seeing our many friends. If you miss the party on February 25, you will have several weeks to browse the paintings and make your selections. You will also have the opportunity to purchase a painting for the permanent collection for Prairie Creek Lodge through their purchase award program. A plaque will be placed next to the donor's painting.

 Linda Blondheim

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Difference a Season Makes

11 x 14

This is a painting from a visit to Tuscawilla Prairie about a month ago.   Charles, Linda, Mary Jane and I painted on the rim of the prairie on a great day.  In the painting I was focusing on the dried reddish brown foliage against the darker olive green across the prairie and the line of bright light on the far side.  I like the way it came out.  The red in the painting looks redder than in the photos posted below, but I would say that of the two images, the painting is closer to the actual color at the prairie that day.  

The visit to the prairie was amazing in the comparison of the colors over just a few months.  When I visited Tuscawilla during the late summer the green was so high that standing down at the base of the prairie you could barely see across to the other side.   On the return visit all of the green had fallen and turned into a deep brownish red.  The photos below vividly document the difference. We don't really think about leaves changing colors in Florida, but just looking at the photos you can see what a difference a season makes.      

Thanks for looking.

Steve Andrews

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Photos from the end of the day at Tuscawilla Prairie

The end of the rainbow, no pot of gold, but a tube of cadmium yellow deep
awaits the adventurer!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Autumn Dance

It was such a colorful autumn in northern Florida this year.  Was it a combination of dry weather and a seemingly slower changing of the seasons?  I just finished this painting of Paynes Prairie.  I was attracted to the scene because of the colors and design everywhere I looked. As I observed I had the feeling that autumn was dancing in the landscape. 

Over the next couple of weeks I hope to put the finishing touches on several prairie paintings I have in various stages towards completion. I'll post them as they find their resting points. 

Mark your calendars because our big event at Prairie Creek Lodge is drawing near!  On February 25 the Six Artists Six Prairies Project will combine forces with the Alachua Conservation Trust, showing and selling the prairie paintings we have done in an effort to support conservation and artists.  More details will be forthcoming in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, Happy New Year to everyone!  May this be a special year for each of you!

Mary Jane Volkmann