In the deep south

You might wonder what a painter from Maine has to offer to students in the Florida panhandle, but the basic principles of painting are universal.

By Gwen Mottice

One of the best things about teaching workshops is getting to visit places I’ve never been before. Tallahassee is one of them. There’s a saying that Florida is not the South, I presume because of the number of northerners who have relocated there. However, that doesn’t seem to the case in Tallahassee. In its suburban parts it’s interchangeable with any other mid-sized city, but that’s true everywhere in the world. I’m staying in the historic district. There the South is still in flower, with distinctive architecture, live oaks, palms, and palmettos.

Plants are more adaptable than we give them credit for, because many species that thrive in the North are also in Southern gardens—azaleas, daisies, and liriope, to name just a few. That may not be our northern white pine, but surely it’s a first cousin. And that’s pickerel weed along the edge of Lake Hall.

By Nancy Holland

Yesterday we painted at Lake Jackson. It’s a shallow prairie lake with two drains in the form of sinkholes. Periodically, the plugs get knocked out and the lake completely drains. We might be entering one of those phases now, because a fisherman turned to us and asked, “What happened to all the water? I was here last month and it was full.”

By Debbie Foote

A young man, still wet behind the ears, pulled his bass boat out into the narrow channel and got stuck in the mud. Apparently, this is a common occurrence, because he had a special tool for it, a pole with a flat end. He pushed with it, occasionally gunning the engine, until he was loose. Then he cranked country music, turned up the gas, and with a rooster-tail of water behind him, sped out into the lake.

“I feel like I’ve just visited a foreign country,” I said in awe.

By Wendi Lam

The weather was unsettled and beautiful. It went from mist to sun and back again several times. The importance of a value sketch has never been more beautifully demonstrated, because the scene shifted and changed before our eyes.

Natalia Andreeva is the host of this workshop, and she’s making daily videos. I’ll be sharing them on social media, but here’s day one:

You might wonder what a painter from Maine has to offer to students in the Florida panhandle, but the basic principles of painting are universal. We started with basic process, and moved on to color theory. I have a five-day plan, and it’s exhaustive.

By Samantha East

My goal is to develop students who can complete a good painting in three hours. We’re already at the point where they can easily finish one in a day. These painters came well-prepared to start with, which is a credit to Natalia. I’m deconstructing and reconstructing their method, they’re keeping me hopping, and that’s keeping me happy.

As we were left Lake Jackson, it started to rain, great gouts of water that obscured our vision. Since they’ve been talking about a tropical storm this week, I asked Natalia, “Is this normal?”

By Dorothy Shearn

Apparently it was, because it cleared in a few minutes. Lacy gold-and-peach clouds hovered over a turquoise sky. What a place!