Friday, January 11, 2019

Shore Looks Right

Sometimes it is difficult for an artist to communicate verbally to non-artists. Like the retired airline pilot I was talking to on the phone today. I was describing waves and beach colors in terms like "warm and cool colors" and "atmospheric density at the horizon", etc. It was clear that these descriptive terms were confusing him.

I followed up with an email and images to help explain.

Sea Birds © 2016||Dot Courson 
 I’ve noticed that with every ocean or body of water there are defining characteristics of atmosphere, light and colors that set it apart from all the other waterside settings around the same time of day.
Sunrise Sunset ©2018| Dot Courson

The Gulf Coast is soft and light in warm and cool pastel colors and usually has smooth elegant waves. Also, one views the water from a beach or up on beautiful sand dunes near sea level at (eye level) and it feels like the horizon is very wide.
Coast is Toast (Gulf Shores Little Lagoon)  ©2016|Dot Courson Art 

Pemaquid Point, Maine ©|Dot Courson
Contrast that with Maine which is only described as "soft" when it is in a fog- otherwise it is hard as it’s rocky shoreline  and the colors are stronger in the choppy water. It’s natural shore is usually viewed from a more elevated perspective, with the viewer looking down more, so you paint a lot of the surface of the water and it's flatter plane. 

Being aware of those things area important for me as an artist in order to give it a legitimate “sense of place”. 

Communicating about art is important to me as an artist and I'm not sure why because it can be confusing and seem ambiguous to non artists. But collectors still need explanations sometimes to fully understand artistic vision and appreciate art. Sometimes we have to try to resort to their language.... and if you can not communicate in words....send pictures! 

“We’ve now reached our cruising altitude of flight level three-three-zero. I’ll go ahead and turn off the seat belt sign…”

Dot Courson is a full time artist and teacher in Pontotoc, MS. View here website at www.dotcourson.com for recent work, show announcements and workshops she teaches.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Story of my Painting- The Natchez Trace

Provenance of The Natchez Trace Parkway -a Triptych ©2008|Dot Courson
By artist, Dot Courson  March 9, 2015- Nov 13, 2018
The sources of this documentation include gallery records, emails, photo records and memory.
My painting, The Natchez Trace Parkway now hangs in the Mill at 600 Russell Street Starkville MS. 
It has an interesting provenance and the final (so far) buyer requested that I document it..  Today Facebook reminded me of what was going on 7 years ago today and so I thought I'd put that documentation in a blog post
The Natchez Trace triptych was created as an original work of art from my own photos and was completed in the spring of 2008 in my studio. The paintings sections are on three 48” x 36” cotton canvas panels wrapped on stretcher bars and painted in oils. The oil painting continues around the wrapped edges to the back edges which are approximately 1.5” deep.
As an artist I am drawn to landscapes and especially beautiful trees and much of the time my work involves intimate or “up close” of trees. This section of the Trace is a favorite of mine and I have painted it in various scenes and formats over the years. The triptych format allowed a panoramic view of a section of the Natchez Trace Parkway. 
Provenance Summary before arriving at the Mill at MSU in Starkville, MS:
·         May, 2008:  Painted in studio by Dot Courson
·         June, 2008 - April, 2009: Exhibited in the Tupelo Airport lobby
·         April 30, 2009 - Dec. 6, 2011: Exhibited in the offices of Governor Haley Barbour
·         June 18, 2013 – March 2015: Senator Roger Wicker’s office in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, DC. 

The background of the Natchez Trace triptych:
The Natchez Trace Parkway triptych was painted in 2008 after I was contacted by the Tupelo Regional Airport’s marketing director, Barbara Smith, to ask if I would be interested to do a long-term loan of some of my work to the airport after the renovations to the airport was finished.  I visited the airport and looked at the space and decided to do something new just for the space. My intention was to not only represent this region but to also showcase the south for visitors arriving into Mississippi and the south for the first time.  The Natchez Trace Parkway begins near Nashville, TN and slices through NE Mississippi and Tupelo and continues across Mississippi to Natchez because it is a beautifully preserved piece of American as well as the southern history and is an important part of the heritage of our region.

In May of 2008, I began using a technique that I commonly use: under painted  canvas in a bright yellow color in acrylic before starting to paint in oils in order to capture the light and unify the painting. It was my first triptych and largest painting I had ever painted.  The top photo shows how it was mounted on hooks onto the wall of my studio and painted as one continuous painting.  The bottom photo above are my reference photos of the scene on the stool below the painting. Digital images on my studio monitor were also used.
At the Tupelo Airport. 
The painting hung in the Tupelo Airport main lobby from the summer of 2008 until it was transported to the Southern Breeze Gallery at the Renaissance Center in Ridgeland, MS some time before the April 9th 2009 for the opening for my solo show that hung there until April 30, 2009. Someone from the governor's office called and I offered to loan the painting to them.

At the end of the show I was contacted by Debbie Carney of the Governor’s office and that the painting was picked up from the gallery by the governor’s staff and transported to the offices of Governor Barbour in the Walter Sillers Building.  
A couple years went by and I was contacted Beth Bryant who said Debbie Carney and Charles Pittman with the Governor's Office had asked me to come to Jackson for a photo with the Governor Haley Barbour. 
September 9, 2011- with Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour in front of my painting that was hanging in the hallways of his offices.  

Upon the end of Governor Barber’s final term before his departure from office, I wrote to Debbie Carney that I would be in Jackson and we arranged for me to come by on that Friday, December, 9, 2015 to pick up the painting.
On Dec. 9, 2011 while in Jackson, I received a phone call from the Governor’s staff during the day, telling me that he was out briefly and had called them saying that he had forgotten to sign the paintings before he left the office that morning, but would be back by 4PM to sign the paintings if I wouldn’t mind waiting… I was told the offices would be closed then but the staff assured me they would be there and arranged for me to park near the door in the underground parking lot and since the offices would be closing for their security to escort me up to their offices.

When I arrived upstairs into the Governor’s office, I was met by the stunned staff who profusely apologized before showing me the paintings. They said the Governor had signed them on the front - with a sharpie! 

After returning home and some online research,  I was successful in the removal of the permanent markers using alcohol on cotton swabs to gingerly remove the signatures from each of the painting fronts to restore the work. The following photos were taken with my cell phone that evening before I began work to remove his signatures:

THE JOURNEY CONTINUES.....The triptych was exhibited at the Caron Gallery where they were seen by Gail Wicker who asked me to loan it to Senator Roger Wicker’s office in Washington, DC.  Around that same time I was part of the first Plein Air Richmond Invitational in Richmond, VA and offered to transport the work to Richmond to meet Hall Carter, a member of his DC staff so that they could safely be transported DC.  When Hall arrived on June 18, 2013, I was busy painting in the event, so the exchange took place in the parking lot of the river park. (see photos below)
Richmond Va - at first Plein Air Richmond

The photo below shows The Natchez Trace Parkway in 2014 hanging in Senator Roger Wicker’s office in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, DC. 

In March 2015 the Caron Gallery sold the painting through Lisa Castleberry of Castle Properties for it to be in the art collection- at The Mill in Starkville, Mississippi. It is now welcoming visitors as it is hanging in the lobby of the Mill Conference center.

HOW TO GET IT HOME from Washington DC?
Senator  Wicker's office told me it did not have the funds to send the painting to me when it sold. I let the buyer work it out with the gallery. Since Mississippi State University had ownership in the painting it was finally flown home  from Washington, DC in MSU President Mark Keenum's private jet to MSU and it's final home. WHAT a journey this painting has had!  
The Natchez Trace in the Lobby of the Mill Conference Center in Starkville, MS (Mississippi State University)

Final Remarks:
I’m blessed and honored that the painting has found a permanent home at The Mill .

That it has found a home in Starkville and near MSU where we have lived, worked and studied  thrills us and makes us very happy! We look forward to  seeing The Natchez Trace Parkway triptych and visiting it with our children, grandchildren and family for years to come.

Dot Courson

Dot Courson Studio
Pontotoc, MS 38863
(662) 617-3100

Friday, September 7, 2018

Painting my Life's Story: Digging Deep

A collector from Chicago wrote me today asking for more detailed information about another one of my works. I've never met her, she bought one of my paintings years ago in a gallery that represented me at that time. Her questions made me wonder if others would like more information about me and the inspiration behind my paintings.
 I know my work is contemporary in one sense.... but it comes across as nostalgic as well. That is an unusual combination these days.
It's only contemporary in the way that I paint. It is ALL nostalgic scenery and I do not make excuses for painting what is real to me and my life. It is who I am.. I OWN the fact that I paint in a way that expresses my personal narrative, my internal story, and what a scene feels like and personally means to me.

Here is my note back to the collector about this painting today:

Pathway Home 12x24, Oil ©2018|DotCourson

Dear _____,

Was just thinking about you after emailing you the larger sized image you requested and wanted to tell you how important you are to me as a collector. When you look at one of my creations you looking INTO it differently and I really appreciate your level of interest. It shows how enriched and aware of art that you are above the average collector.

I hope that the enlarged photo allows you to see the layering and stippling of the paint and how the painting designed to allow and compel  one to slow down and explore the journey to the center of interest ....and move into the painting. But I hope you appreciate the scene (as a whole) more.
Pathway Home tells a lot about me. It is another memory of our many moves when I was a child after we left our original home place that looked much like this scene. I have always felt I was searching for a pathway back home and paths are re-occurring in my work, someone recently pointed out to me.  I've been thinking about why that is since it was not intentional, but something I'm apparently compelled to place in much of my work.
Maybe it is because when I was a child we sold the original home place where my paternal grandparents lived for generations. I loved that place. Afterwards, we moved form house to house to places we would rent  for a few months at a time.  I remember traveling around as we’d look for a new place for our family to move to and many times I would see abandoned houses like this one that reminded me of our ancestral home and I would be drawn to it... thinking it would FEEL like home. That is the scene I painted and my feeling was that this could become a warm and cozy place to call home.
Let me know if you want Pathway Home.


Blog Footnote: Going home is a universal feeling. We all intuitively know we belong somewhere else, and I believe God made us that way on purpose! :-)  Since childhood I also always felt my life would get better and better and am a realistic optimist.  I'm so blessed. As a creative person, seems we artists are ALWAYS on the move and "seeking out" pathways and embrace change as a sign of personal growth. I dig deep as an artist; the world is full of artists digging shallow.
Me age 11

Visit my website at:  https://dotcourson.com/


Email artist@dotcourson.com or pone 662-517-3100 to arrange a visit.

I'm Social. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

2018 Dot Courson Studio Workshop Schedule

Artists- Hope to see you here in 2018!

Dot Courson Studio is now OPEN!

Last fall we had open house for my new Studio located on our 12 acres here in Pontotoc, Mississippi. We are located between Tupelo and Pontotoc right off Hwy 278 (old Hwy 6). 
I've enjoyed creating in my new space looking out across the woods and fields as I paint my rural southerner landscapes.
Stop by sometime! Phone 662-617-3100 for an appointment.
Dot Courson Studio - Photo credit, Alison Schuchs

Dot Courson Studio Open House 2017- Photo by Alison Schuchs

Some of my Paintings done in late 2017

Cozy sitting space inside my new studio.

Email artist@dotcourson.com or pone 662-517-3100 to arrange a visit! 


Monday, April 4, 2016

Spring 2016 Events

Just home form the Southeastern Plein Air Invitational in Gadsden, AL. that was March 28- April 1, 2016.  Here are some photos from there:

Photo credit John Billingsley

Upcoming this week...

This week I'm headed to the Women Painters of the Southeast's show in Abingdon, Virginia to be the awards judge for the annual exhibition there at Art Depot. Looking forward to seeing the works selected for this show for the first time! There will be over $10,000 in awards to be given out I hear- so I'm very excited and truly honored to serve this year.

You are invited....

I will be doing a painting demo on Saturday, April 9th the morning before the awards show. Hope you can come!
Dot Courson is our Judge this year and will be doing a demo/talk on Saturday morning, 4/9 at 9am. Those interested please contact Susan Yates at 276 628-9091 to sign up. Reservations required. The fee for the demo is $50. 

Recent Studio Work...

Here is my last commissioned painting done for a hunting lodge on the Mississippi River. 

36 x 48 commission  Oil ©2016| Dot Courson| 
Detail ©Dot Courson

Finally...Need a beautiful kitten?

Dali -the new mom! We plan to keep her but her babies need a new home!
 Dali was a stray- a BEAUTIFUL and sweet.... and on March 11th we got a surprise! 


Emial me if you need a kitten--- or a painting: artist@dotcourson.com

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Dot Courson has Two Art Blogs

I have two art blogs...
It was not planned... 

Grab a glass of sweet tea and pull up a chair. Here is how it happened:

First I had a website is with FASO and it's at www.dotcourson.com . For many years there was not a blog associated with it.

Then FASO administrators added a place for BLOGS- so I made that my main website. It is at  www.dotcourson.com/blog.
Here's the latest blog post there:

Having my new blog with my main website very convenient-  but it's leaving behind YEARS of blogs that I've done here on blogspot! 

You are currently on my blogspot site with lots of older blogs (Notice the archived files from past years on the right.)

Actually I manage a 3rd blog! It's about Plein Air Painters of Mississippi that I started several years ago to post Mississippi events because there are lots of Plein Air events in our state and no central place to post them.
The limiting factor to blogging anywhere quite honestly is TIME... Frankly, I had rather paint than tell everyone what all I'm doing. But I need to blog because I love having YOU along,...so I hope you will continue to join me in my adventures in painting around the south.
Hope that clears thing up! Now that I've blogged.....it's already 5:00PM. Cheers!