Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Completion Map

Here's the completion map! Lots of white space to fill in still. I'll keep it up to date over on the sidebar.

More from Hasty

Well, I've uploaded pieces from all 8 counties I've completed as of the outset of this project. I almost have a new county complete and I'll upload that one soon. I also have a couple of trips to report on but on the meantime, here's the sister piece to this one.
Hasty - Downstream
8X10, Oil on Wood

This is Newton County on the Buffalo National River. The new bridge is visible in the distance from this location. The old low water slab is still there I believe.
I'm working on a county map to show you where I've been and all the many places I still need to go!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Basin Park from Main Street, Eureka Springs, Carroll County

Basin Park from Main
11X14, Oil on Canvas

Here's another older piece. Eureka Springs is a fantastic little town in the northwest corner of the state. It has quite a few galleries, many of which exhibit very high quality local, regional, and national art. The Basin Park Hotel is a landmark to say the least. We've stayed there a few times and have been on the ghost tour (no ghosts chose to make themselves known to us though). This year we opted to stay outside of the downtown area at another hotel.
I love this composition but my paint handling has improved markedly since this one. By the time this whole project is over I imagine I'll have done a couple more pieces from Carroll County and Eureka Springs in particular.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Cedar Creek, Petit Jean Mountain, Conway County

Spring Flush, Cedar Creek
10X14, Oil on Canvas
Available at Cantrell Gallery
Earlier this year (April I think it was) we took a trip over to Petit Jean and hiked the Cedar Falls trail. It's a pretty strenuous hike and we were afraid the youngest would have some trouble with it. But other than a few scratches from jumping off of boulders and logs, he made it the whole way down and back! Not bad for a little rug rat. The falls were amazing that day and I'll be doing a painting of them later!
I loved the way the cliffs over hung the creek and went with this odd size of canvas to have more vertical feel. Up on the hillsides, the tree buds were beginning to burst open but down along the creek bank the foliage was lagging behind.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Diamond Rio Motel, Diamond City, Boone County

Diamond Rio Motel
8X10 Oil on Board
Diamond City, Arkansas sits on beautiful Bull Shoals Lake in the north central portion of the state. It is at the extreme northern end of scenic Highway 7. In fact, Highway 7 pretty much runs right into the lake. It is mostly a retirement community and many of the residents moved there from out of state. I grew up not very far from here and have many memories of evenings swimming at the lake. It was especially nice after a day of hauling hay.
The Diamond Rio Motel was a prominent location in town but it is no more. All that remains is this sign and an old flower bed. I don't when the motel was actually torn down.
I decided to make the lake visible in this painting even though in real life it cannot be seen from this location, at least not in the summer. It's conveyed as a tiny little swatch of yellow just above the treeline on the right hand side of the painting. Missouri is on the opposite shore.
We went back up that way last year for the 4th of July and this is when I captured the reference photos for this piece. I don't know if we'll make it back up there this year but I hope so. I especially want to hit Marion County, which borders Boone to the east.
On tap for tomorrow... a trip down I-40 to Pope County!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tyler Bend, Buffalo National River, Searcy County

Tyler Bend Bluff
8X10, Oil on Wood

We made a short little day trip up to the river in late February. The sky was clear and bright and the air was pretty warm for February. The boys had a lot of fun throwing rocks into the river here. As the sun began to sink a little bit, it illuminated this bluff in a warm orange glow.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Deserted, Scotland Post Office, Van Buren County

14X18, Oil on Canvas

The little town of Scotland, Arkansas is almost dead. The school was consolidated several years ago into Clinton school district which is about 30 miles away. When I was in high school, I played a game of basketball in their gym. It was old as the hills even back then. The school was burned by arsons this past winter. Thankfully, we got pictures of it 2 summers ago and I may revisit this area with a painting of the school. It wasn't picturesque by many people's standards but then again, I can find charm in a lot of things.
This old post office has probably not been used in about 50 years and I don't recall seeing one of the new prefab post offices being put up in tiny rural towns these days.
In the midst of all this decay, there was a nicely refurbished old (though tiny) home right across the dirt road that was being used as a hair salon.

Rialto Theater, Searcy, White County

Rialto Theater, Searcy, AR
11X14 Oil on Canvas
This is an older piece from 2008 and I've come a long way in my technical skill since this was done but it's still a pretty cool little piece. The car in the front is a Mitsubishi Eclipse and is modeled on one of our cars! I added it after the fact because I felt the piece needed another element in that lower right corner to recycle the eye back up into the theater.

Searcy is a neat little town. Home to Yarnell's Ice Cream, which in my opinion is some of the best ice cream you'll ever find!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Hasty Upstream, Buffalo National River, Newton County

Hasty - Upstream
8X10 Oil on Wood
Hasty used to have only a small little low-water slab that canoes would have to portage over. Now there's a big modern bridge there. This view is looking upstream from the south side of the river access. Both the low water slab and the modern bridge are behind the viewer here. Hasty gets passed over a lot as a recreation area. When we were there last summer for a swim we had the whole place to ourselves. It was a nice bright summer day but here I've chosen to depict a calmer lighting, perhaps early morning.
This painting has a sister, looking downstream towards the bridges, and painted in a more faithful lighting regime to what we experienced. I'll show it later.

Shipley Do-Nuts, North Little Rock, Pulaski County

Shipley Do-Nuts
11X14 Oil on Canvas

I don't know how long this business has been here but I think it's quite a long time! It's in the process of getting a facelift and is under new management. Shipley Do-Nuts is a local chain with all it's locations in the state. All of the locations I've seen are unique architecture-wise and this is one is a standout.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Welcome to the Painting Arkansas project. The purpose of this blog is to document the efforts of one artist to paint every county of the beautiful state of Arkansas ! My name is John D. Wooldridge and over the course of the next couple of years I intend to visit every county in my home state and paint interesting subjects in each one. A daunting task to say the least since Arkansas has 75 counties, the 18th most in the country! I’m sure glad I don’t live in Texas with a whopping 254!

I’m a native Arkansan with some pretty deep roots in the Ozarks in the northern part of the state and I have a natural affinity for that area. I’m going to do my best not to let that stifle my travel into the Delta and Timberlands regions in the southern part of the state but you’ll have to excuse me a bit if I do produce a slightly higher percentage of pieces from up in the hills. To learn more about me, please read my bio.

Why would a person choose to do such a thing? Well, I have a number of reasons. A few months ago, a fellow artist remarked to me at the Argenta Art Walk that almost everything I was showing was of Newton County . She was right. So, one motivation is definitely to give myself impetus for venturing a little wider than usual for subject matter. Of course, I love my home state. So much so that I’ve moved my family away from here and come back…twice. You can take a boy out of the Ozarks but…well, you know the rest. I know from personal experience that Arkansas suffers from some publicity lapses outside of our borders. We are known more by past mistakes than by our natural assets or our current trajectory. Not many people know much about Arkansas and if I can remedy that in some small fashion, then I would be terribly happy to do so.

So, let us set some ground rules for me to live by in this venture shall we? First, to consider a county “done”, I must have completed at least one finished piece of a location within the county that I would be proud to display. If I’m not happy with it, then the county is not done. Ask my wife, I have very high standards and they get higher all the time. Secondly, the piece may be completed either en plein air or in the studio from photographic reference. Thirdly, no pieces will be done from a location that I have not personally visited. This also implies that, fourthly, all photographic reference will be my own. Lastly, and this one is open to artist interpretation, I will strive to seek out some of the most distinctive and interesting locations possible.

I’m pleased to report that I have a decent start to this project! I’ve already painted the following counties:

Van Buren

That’s 8 out of 75 for 10.67%.