Autumn in Georgia, the Best Time for a Paddle by Lara Neece

There is seriously no better way to unplug than to hit the water. It alters your sense of reality in the best way possible and let's face it, chances of you checking your phone when there is a high probability of it falling into a creek are pretty slim. Brian and I bought kayaks this summer, but due to travel and unfortunate circumstances involving our jeep (which we had to replace), we've hardly been able to use them. Lucky for us, we live in Georgia and fall is the absolute best time to go for a paddle. The humidity is down, there are fewer bugs, and the temperature is just right. :)

As part of our Earth/Life Balance, we try to go for at least a good long walk (usually 3 miles) outside every evening after work. But on days when we have a little more time or the ability to free up our schedule, we are more than happy to throw the kayaks on the roof and head out to the islands instead. Here are some shots from our recent afternoon paddle out at Skidaway Island. I got some great pictures and plan to make at least one painting from the photos I took!

How to Begin: Adjust your View, Silence your Ego by Lara Neece

This past weekend I was talking to my grandfather, who said that he is impressed with my art because he can't even fathom how I am able to make it. I said the same thing to him that I've said to many different people who have said the same thing to me: if you can write your name, then you can learn how to draw or paint. If you can draw a stick figure, then you're halfway there! It's true because you use the same exact motor skills and hand-eye coordination to perform both tasks. Drawing or painting is just a way of recording what you are seeing in a way that appears to mimic reality (unless you are creating abstract art of course). The only difference between writing your name and starting a drawing is that, in case of the former (writing your name), you already have a clear idea of what your name is supposed to look like on the paper and you already know how to make the right marks. To make the leap into drawing or painting, all you really need to learn is how to look at the world in a way that allows you to record what you see as marks on paper. It really is that easy, but there is one big giant hurdle that you need to jump over first in order to do that. Can you guess what it is?

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Coastal North Carolina Wildlife Refuges Group Art Show by Lara Neece

This past week Brian and I drove up to Manteo, NC, for my artist reception at the Coastal North Carolina Wildlife Refuges Visitor Center. It was a beautiful weekend all around. After renting beach cruisers and biking around town all day, we headed over to the visitor center for refreshments on Friday evening. The visitor center is in a large relatively new facility with fantastic displays about the native plants and animals and environmental concerns impacting the national parks in the area. In addition to my artwork, there was a wildlife photographer, another painter, and two mixed media artists. It was such a fun show because most of the attendees were wildlife or bird enthusiasts, meaning I got to talk to a bunch of interesting people about snowy owls, migration patterns, wildlife art, natural science illustration, etc (equals Lara in heaven). All of the artwork is worth checking out, and I highly recommend stopping by if you are in the area. If not for the art, then just go take a look at their exhibits! The show will be hanging until January 2015 - so you still have several months to get over there.

In a few weeks they will be hosting the Wings over Water festival, which I am told is a huge birding event. Apparently, every year the Alligator River Wildlife Refuge floods many of their fields to attract migrating birds. Much of the wetlands that the birds used to frequent on their journey south has been destroyed, so it's crucial for the park to continue to provide a mostly safe haven for these species (though they do allow hunting on the park). The plus side is that it also creates a great attraction for bird enthusiasts, who come from all over to see the new arrivals. We were a few weeks early to join in the festivities, but we did go on a beautiful little walk through the park on our last day there - where I snapped the gorgeous picture above - and Brian and I found some lovely paddling trails, which we will be sure to utilize next time!

My Inspiration: A Night on the Alligator River by Lara Neece

Most of my paintings are inspired either directly or in some part by the time I spent living on a sailboat. I saw so many amazing things during that time, and I think in many ways, I am reliving them when I make paintings of things that I saw or experienced. In October I am participating in a group show at the Pea Island/Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center in Manteo, NC. The show coincides with the fall Wings over Water festival, which includes guided birding trips, art & photography workshops, tours of the refuge, kayak trips, and other events. I'm so excited to be sharing my work in such a beautiful and significant place.

When Brian and I traveled along the ICW, the Alligator River was one of my favorite places to anchor. We stopped there twice - once on the way north and again on the way south. Our stay during our trip south was especially memorable because we had a perfect view of the sunset on a night when the full moon was rising. We watched the setting sun fall below the horizon, while behind us the moon rose; and in the morning we watched the moon set as the sun rose before us. It was an incredible experience that I will never forget and look forward to the next opportunity we have to spend in that amazing place as well as this chance to share those experiences with visitors to the refuge.

A Lifelong Endeavor by Lara Neece


Hi all!

It's Lara. This is going to be my place for updates on upcoming shows, new paintings, inspiration, and maybe even a few herbal tea facts and recipes too (just for fun!). You can subscribe to my rss feed to receive the latest tidbits regarding my art and weekly painting inspiration. Or if you'd rather just hear about upcoming shows, you can sign up for my newsletter on the contact page. While I can't say for certain at this point how many newsletters I'll be sending out in a given year, I can imagine that it will be somewhere between 2-4 per year. Newsletters will most likely coincide with updates about upcoming shows or other big news.

Being a self-taught artist, I still consider myself a student, and I think that's a good thing. I know that art is a life-long endeavor for me, no matter how many shows I participate in or the number of paintings I make in any given year. It's about learning, growth, and finding my voice. These are topics that will most likely appear often in my blogs. I hope you'll join me in finding weekly inspiration, expressing that beauty, and telling a story.

I am looking forward to sharing this journey with you!