Day 13 of 30 paintings: Once Upon A Time…
Once Upon A Time…
24×30 Oil

Once Upon A Time… (you complete the rest.)  Don’t you just love a Once Upon A Time story?  I used a photo from a trip in Mississippi to paint this.  There is just something surreal-looking about the landscape.  As I painted, I remembered being there on that summer day, breathing fresh air and feeling the warmth of the sun.  But now that it is finished, I can imagine the rest of the story… Once Upon A Time…

Standing in the Storm
Three Palms
9×12 oil

As I post Day 10 of the 30 Day Challenge, I’m pulling out a painting from last May.  All thoughts and prayers are directed to everyone in the path of Hurricane Irma.   And just as these palms stand strong in the Florida landscape, we pray that the spirits of Floridians and Georgians will stand strong during this storm.

Labor Day!

Melanie Stokes Art
“Labor Day”
11×14 Oil

Day Four of 30 paintings in 30 days –

“Labor Day”
11×14 Oil

I painted this one from a photo over several days.  (photo credit: Luke Stokes Photography)  During my 30 day challenge, my goal is to paint en plein air as much as possible.  But today, I’m taking a Labor Day Holiday!   I love the work ethic of these two munchkins.  Fall is in the air!




Tomorrow is the day I begin Leslie Saeta’s 30 Day Painting Challenge to paint 30 paintings in 30 days!  Now, this is not really as difficult as it seems to someone who is normally in her studio at least once a day.  But to have 30 paintings ready to post daily … that may be another matter.

So, if you follow me through this, please be kind!  Realize some may not be gallery-ready!  Some will only be studies.  Some may be unfinished pieces of studies.  But I plan to paint and post something every day.   Look for it.  Hold me accountable.  Help me grow.

Here is a link to the 30 in 30 Challenge, if you would like to join in!  Look at the map of artists from all over the world.   And there I am listed in Thomson, GA!!

Somebody’s Grandma Lived Here
This Old House
16×20 oil – SOLD

When I ride past an old house like this, I’m drawn to the image.  The architectural lines, the crumbling exterior, the welcoming porches, the trees framing and softening the landscape… And then my mind begins to imagine, “who lived here in days past?  how many children played in the yard?  did the family survive the hard times?  did someone remember to go back and visit?”

This old house is in Cadley, Georgia.  I don’t know anything about it, except the location.  I stopped to take a photo one morning simply because it was there in its worn, aged beauty.   Yet, to someone, somewhere, this house has meaning.  Someone’s Grandma probably lived here!

I have noticed, in recent days, some activity around this house that suggests renovation.  Oh, that we could look on all places and all people as something that has meaning to someone — something to respect and restore, to cherish, to ponder and to share.

Rise and Shine!

Rise and Shine!
16×20 oil

“Rise and Shine!”  (I remember my mama’s voice melodically calling me to wake up.)   “Rise and Shine” was the last thing I wanted to hear as a teenager.  But, it was a very positive call to alertness.  Mama said it with joy and happiness for the beginning of a new day!

I chose to paint this scene because of the light– “the heavenly sunlight flooding my soul with glory divine…”  I took the photo in the morning, while out early to enjoy the day.  I’m not the same sleepyhead that Mama had trouble waking up.  Now I enjoy seeing the sun rise,  seeing the light creep around corners of trees and cling to the edges of leaves,  seeing sunlight blanket the earth with a yellow-white glow.

Rise and Shine!  It’s another day to appreciate, and to be a light!

Building Castles
Building Castles

Have I mentioned that I’m a grandmother?  I have four grandchildren – two in my home state of Georgia, and two in Texas.  Recently, my Texan son and his family visited for a week.  What a joy to be able to spend time with them!  And part of that time was spent at the beach!

As I looked back through photos of the days, this one seemed like a good one to paint – father, mother, and both brothers, making memories as they built a MEGA sand castle.  No doubt, Luke was remembering the many sand castles his father and brother helped him build. (I could identify with my daughter-in-law’s stance as the one who was content to observe.)

As I painted, I thought about how they are not only building a castle, but building a family, building a home, building men, building memories, building life.  They are building a castle that lasts longer and is worth so much more than any castle they could ever build with sand — or bricks and mortar for that matter.  Parents are builders – it takes hard work and lots of time,  but so worth it!

“Stirring Up the Past”
Stirring Up the Past
16×20 Oil

As I stopped at this crossroads, I took a quick photo with my iPhone.  Something about the huge silhouette of the tree and house against the swirling sky demanded my attention.   Images don’t always speak to me fully until I begin painting them.  The process causes me to slow down and really look, so that my mind can ponder and analyze and make allegories while I paint.

I stirred and swirled the paint for the clouds.  I swished and scumbled the ruts in the dusty road.  I imagined a dusty truck, with big tires, wheeling past the stop sign, to turn left.  The wind whispered through the towering trees as I placed the pale yellow tops of weeds, reflecting sunlight from above.  And all the while there sat this dark form of a house in the middle of it all, oblivious to the movement around it, mysterious in its shroud of overgrown foliage.  It was an object of the past.  I imagined no one lived in it for years.

The phrase, “stirring up the past” popped into mind.  “STOP (as in the Stop sign) stirring up the past” kept floating in and out of my thoughts.  Just as the imaginary truck in this image did, I suppose I’m being encouraged to keep rolling on.  No need to stir up the past!  The dust will settle soon.



Around the Curve
Around the Curve
18×24 Oil

My husband loves to walk in unknown territory.  Take a walk in a park with him and he is sure to leave the path.  Land uncharted, thick woods without paths, hills to climb and overlooks to view… now, that is his type of hiking!  Even when we have a path, he is the one to say, “let’s see just around that curve!” and the hike continues a little longer.  Are you getting the picture?

There is something about the possibility of seeing just around a curve that brings hope.  You don’t know what is ahead, but you can always hope.  Maybe the view will be better.  Maybe there is light around the corner. Maybe there is a clean restroom!

In this life, we are reminded to hold on to hope.  “I hope you get well.”   “I hope things work out for you.”  ” I hope the world doesn’t fall apart.”   Hopes and dreams can be shallow.  Yet, hope is what causes us to push ahead,  to get out of bed and see the sun rise, to keep living on this earth, until we have our hope of heaven with God.

Just Around the Curve — keep hoping!  and praying, and serving, and loving.