Saturday, June 21, 2008

Florence, Alabama, Artist Tommy Thompson

Artist Tommy Thompson makes his home in Florence, Alabama, which was named by its Italian surveyor/designer after his favorite city in Italy--Florence. The Alabama city is located near the banks of the Tennessee River, pictured in Thompson's painting, Old Man River. Florence artist, Tommy Thompson, has always admired the renowned artists of his hometown's sister city in Italy--Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, and others.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Dawn Whitelaw, Artist and Mentor Extraordinaire

In July 11-13, I will be participating in an oil painting workshop with one of my favorite artists and teachers, Dawn Whitelaw, at the Southgate Studio and Fine Art in Franklin, TN. After more than 30 years of teaching painting, Dawn Whitelaw still thinks of herself as a student. Like the painters she so admires, Sorolla, Sargent, and Zorn, she fully understands the importance of not only painting from life, but also keeping it simple. "It's not about rendering every eyelash or tree limb, but about finding the character for your subject and presenting the essential information," says Whitelaw.
Dawn Whitelaw maintains a studio at "The Factory" in Franklin, Tennessee. The opportunity to paint landscape plein air with colleagues from Alla Prima International and The Cumberland Society of Painters adds richness and honesty to her studio work. For more than 25 years she taught basic principles of oil painting as an adjunct instructor at David Lipscomb University. She credits the community of teachers and students around her for both her success and growth as an artist. Among her influential teachers are Scott Christensen, Cedric Egeli and Jim Pollard, but most of her instruction and inspiration comes from nationally preeminent artist Everett Raymond Kinstler. She considers one of her career highlights to be juried into two sessions at the Santa Fe Institute of Art with Kinstler as the instructor.
Her ability to capture life in paint has been noticed. Her awards include the Certificate of Merit for her portrait at the National Portrait Convention in 1991, Best of Show at the Portrait Society of America in Washington DC, and the Award of Excellence in the Oil Painter's of America exhibition in 2002.
With each painting, Dawn learns to see life in a new light. Whether painting vast open areas or intimate spaces, she delivers every stroke of paint like that of both a skilled master and a student discovering paint for the first time. For more information on Dawn and her workshops, log onto

"Rebel Study"

Tommy Thompson painted the oil original, "Rebel Study," spontaneously and "with abandon." This painting shows what happens when an artist "paints with passion," as one of Thompson's workshop teachers, Ken Auster , speaks about on his video, "Intellect and Passion." Auster says that an artist must pass through three stages throughout the painting process. First comes the intellect stage when he is deciding his subject matter, composition, etc., then he moves to the passion stage when he is "in the zone" and the joy of creativity takes over, and finally back to the intellect stage when he makes any final adjustments to the artwork.

Monday, June 16, 2008

"My Spot"

Tommy Thompson painted "My Spot" after visiting a picturesque farm near Danville, AL. He was first attracted to a meadow full of hay bales, but then a lane beckoned him to see what was waiting at the other end. These two young boys, who reminded us of "Huck" and "Tom," were waiting at the end of the lane--rather by their grandmother's pond ready to dip their hooks in the water. Their dog, "Pinky," added another dimension to the painting's story.

"Turtle Heaven"

One of our favorite haunts in our town is Deibert Park. This Park was established a few years ago by the city of Florence, AL, on land that was donated to the city by Mrs. Kirk Deibert. Mrs. Deibert donated the land with the stipulation that it would be used for a public park. The Park contains several walking trails, a children's playground, a children's museum, and fish ponds. We like to visit there to walk and to paint. "Turtle Heaven" is the result of a recent visit there.