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%.

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