Chris Cook Artist

Southern Art – Georgia Artist – Landscape Paintings, Christian Art, Southern Expressionist Art

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Hay, Y’all:

 

Growing up in Madison, Georgia, There are some things that one grows accustomed to seeing, smelling, and encountering as just part of life in a small town.

  • Farmers plant fields of hay, grain, crops, and other goods
    • You can mark the seasons by when they are cutting and baling each growth of hay or straw
  • Farms have animals. Animals make noises and smell funny. It’s part of living in dairy country.
    • Those same fields of hay and grass get fertilized… often with chicken manure. You will grow familiar with the distinct smell that comes along
  • Tractors need fuel and repair. A small town traffic jam might be because you’re stuck behind a combine or a tractor on its way into town or back out to the farm.
  • People live life at a little slower pace. Strolling down the streets of downtown, you could be met by any number of people who know your name, your mama’s name, and probably where you go to church. The community, connectedness, and camaraderie are simply something that one can’t always find in bigger cities and towns.

 

Chris captures a snapshot of a scene that I have driven or walked by thousands of times in my life. To me, this painting serves as a great reminder of the pace, peace, and presence that comes along with living in a small town like Madison, Georgia.

 

What is your favorite part of living in small town USA?

 

Shalom, Y’all –

Jed

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Motherhood:

As I look at this painting entitled “Motherhood”, I begin to think about what it means to be a mother. (I will begin by saying that I am not a woman, so I will never know what it’s like to be a mother, and I don’t have kids yet, so I am not speaking from personal parenting experiences).

First of all, the rolling hills in the landscape are beautiful. The lush colors provide a sense of warmth and life that one might expect from the hillsides of Scotland or Ireland. The stark contrast of the two white cows in the middle of the field is striking.

The mother cow seems alert. Even in the midst of what seems to be a safe and protected environment, she is on guard and knows where her calf is. The calf seems to find comfort and protection in the touch of its mother, knowing that food and room to play are close by, but that the safety of mother’s touch is still key.

I wonder if this painting is a good parallel to what motherhood must feel like. Standing in a field, surrounded by all that you know, but all that you need is to feel the presence of your child. It seems as if the mother and her calf would be content to simply graze and bond for the rest of their days. I imagine what it must be like for the mother as the calf begins to become less and less dependent on mother’s milk, and begins to graze further and further out into the pastures. I wonder how the calf feels as it comes over a ridge to find its mother still there, waiting for it to return.

I think about my own life growing up. I think about the times that I found comfort in knowing that my mother was nearby. I think of the times that I began to graze in new pastures, only to return back to the safety and security of the fold of home.

There is something about the bond of a mother and her children that will forever be one of nature’s most beautiful expressions of intimacy, love, protection, and care.
That may be a lot to see in a painting of two cows standing in a field…but it makes me think…it makes me feel…it makes me remember. And that, brothers and sisters, is what art is all about.

 

Shalom, y’all –

Jed

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Viewing Stages of a Painting, Three

This painting is from the FARM Art Show at the Madison Morgan Cultural Center in late 2014.

The show paired artist to a specific farm in Morgan County. I choose the Lambert Farm.

The original idea for this painting and all 6 paintings I did for the show, came to me after talking with Robyn, my wife about painting Lambert Farm as a number of different American Modern Artist… and I ran out to my studio and made a color pencil sketch to capture the idea quickly.

Below is the original color pencil.

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This painting ended up on a 6 foot wide by 4 foot tall canvas. This is the painting in progress on the large canvas. Note the color copy of a second study I did in Adobe Illustrator taped to the upper right of the canvas for reference.

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I have added details, see below. I used a gutter cover that had uniform holes in it to prevent objects from falling into your gutters to start the dot pattern in the sky… what a nightmare. I painted and repainted those dots!

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Below is the finished painting that was in the FARM Art Exhibit.

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Enjoy,

Chris Cook

 

 

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Now Exhibiting: FARM at the MADISON-MORGAN CULTURAL CENTER.

Chris’ has created six large, new paintings + six smaller works on paper for this show. It is an exhibition inspired by the agrarian way of life, visually celebrating the world of farm living in Morgan County. Click Here for directions and more information.

FARM – Opening Reception FRI, SEP 5th from 6-8pm

unnamedSEPTEMBER 5, 2014 – JANUARY 4, 2015
MADISON-MORGAN CULTURAL CENTER

An exhibition inspired by the agrarian way of life, visually celebrating the world of farm living in Morgan County. FARM explores the rural values of respect, reliance, and love in relation to land by pairing eight regional artists with eight local farms.     Click Here for directions and more information.

Chris’ Statement of his work for the show:
In my many trips to The Lambert Farm, I have seen a wide variety of textures, light, structures and typography. I traditionally paint from photos or my memory of what I see – so, now to paint what I know, see and feel? The answer – The Lambert Farm painted through the eye of art history – more specifically, American Moderns. A wonderful blending of the style, technique and color pallets of six well respected American Modern painters with the the actual scenes, buildings and terrain of the Lambert Farm brings to life a whole new way of viewing the land we see everyday here in the Piedmont Region of Georgia. Chris Cook.

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Cow In Landscape

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Cows are everywhere in the part of Georgia that Chris calls home. Madison, GA, and its surrounding counties have depended on beef and dairy farming for many years as a means of income, identity, and self preservation. Eatonton, GA (the dairy capital of GA) once boasted more cows than people. Farming has long lain at the core of what makes this part of the south unique and special.

I like that, in this painting, the viewer is able to catch a glimpse of several of the aspects of “farm life” that Madisonians and the likes have come to know, love, and embrace through the years. If one were to take a drive outside of the city limits in any direction, it wouldn’t take long before they’d be able to “spot” the familiar sight of black and white Holstein cows and calves in pastures, grazing between milkings. Long red barns with tin roofs, rolling green pastures, dusty gravel roads, and the gentle “hint” of methane in the air are all landmark sights, sounds, and smells that help to distinguish this part of the country from others.

Chris does a really good job of simply capturing a momentary thought regarding farming in GA, but one that nevertheless echoes volumes about the way of life for so many down here in these parts.

Chris Cook is a premier southern artist and owner of Madison Studios, a web design, maintenance, and e-commerce and marketing company. For his artist biography, contact information, or to view more of his work, click HERE

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White top cliffs

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I think that classifying himself as a “Contemporary Christian Artist” speaks volumes about Chris’ style of painting and his approach to life. His creative eye gives him the ability to spot beauty in things around him, while his faith allows him to remember that God is the ultimate creator and the force behind all things that are beautiful. What an awesome thought that the Lord of the universe is not only a loving God, but one who takes pride in creating beautiful things for us, his prized possession to enjoy.

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.”

“He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth—the LordGod Almighty is his name.”

I too take solace and comfort in knowing that, with just His words, our God was able to create the beauty that is contained within our earth. I also love that artists like Chris are able to capture beautiful scenes like this one to preserve their visions and memories during their exposure to these places. Knowing that he knows WHO created this beautiful landscape, and why makes this painting all the more enjoyable to look at.

“I tell you,”he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

Chris Cook is a premier southern artist and owner of Madison Studios, a web design, maintenance, and e-commerce and marketing company. For his artist biography, contact information, or to view more of his work, click HERE

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“The Lake”

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Madison is right in the heart of Georgia’s “Lake Country”. Lakes like Sinclair, Oconee, and Lanier being so close, make it easy to take a little weekend getaway to get your toes in the water for a bit of relaxation, excitement, and recreation.

The waters and shores of Georgia’s lakes are filled with fishing holes, lazy lagoons for houseboats, and expanses of open water for skiing, tubing, and the likes.

This painting by Chris captures a snapshot of the respite and tranquility that a trip to the lake can offer. I would venture to say that, short of loading up the family and driving 4+ hours to the Atlantic, a getaway to the lake is the perfect way for those who believe in the healing and therapeutic powers of sitting in the sun by a large body of water to reap the healing benefits.

As I look at this painting, I can almost hear the wakes and breeze-driven waves lapping against the shoreline, and feel the sunshine hitting my face. It’s safe to say that I have the itch to find a large body of H2O and park myself for an extended period of time.

I love how Chris’ paintings can transform his viewers to a particular place in time. There’s something special about an artist that can accomplish that with his brushstrokes.

Chris Cook is a premier southern artist and owner of Madison Studios, a web design, maintenance, and e-commerce and marketing company. For his artist biography, contact information, or to view more of his work, click HERE

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Yielding:

yielding

“Every cloud has a silver lining”

“No rain, no rainbow”

“It can’t rain forever”

“It’s always darkest before the dawn”

Eventually, bad things have to give in and yield to the good. The sun will eventually cut through even the thickest clouds, flowers will emerge where the soil once looked barren and empty.

Chris paints this picture to reveal a beautiful sky behind a large mass of dark grey clouds. To me, it serves as a great reminder that no matter what life throws our way, better things are to come. Furthermore, the beautiful and bright sky was always there, but our vision is often hindered by the presence of the clouds overhead.

My encouragement to each of you, myself included, is to not lose sight of the fact that, one day, evil will yield to good, and great things will be in store for all who believe.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.

John 1:5

Chris Cook is a premier southern artist and owner of Madison Studios, a web design, maintenance, and e-commerce and marketing company. For his artist biography, contact information, or to view more of his work, click HERE

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Abandoned Peach Orchard

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Georgia is the peach state.

Peaches are one of my favorite fruits.

Spring is right around the corner…Fruit trees are starting to bloom.

This is a picture of a peach orchard, long after the fruit was gone; the limbs litter the ground, and the birds have taken up their posts as sentries. Gone are the glorious and beautiful flowers; no longer are the limbs laden with the heavy burden of sweet and juicy peaches.

As spring approaches, I am reminded again about how God works things in cycles. If one were to look at this snapshot of these peach trees without knowledge or foresight about the cyclical changes that all things go through, they might feel discouraged. The glorious truth for those of us who know is that God has a perfect plan. While things seem to be dead, bleak, and empty, there are beautiful flowers and sweet fruit waiting to be seen and enjoyed.

Lent reminds us of the time that things seemed bleak and empty for the world. Jesus was nailed to a tree, and laid in a borrowed tomb. All seemed lost, but, as is always the case in God’s timing, there was a much sweeter and glorious plan at work for each of us.

Chris Cook is a premier southern artist and owner of Madison Studios, a web design, maintenance, and e-commerce and marketing company. For his artist biography, contact information, or to view more of his work, click HERE.

 

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Barns, Barns, Barns…

Tennessee Barns: 1 through 5.

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Why paint the same picture 5 times? Good Question. As I was about the finish Tennessee Barn #1, I was really liking the way it looked compositionally and the color scheme as well, but, I had an idea for another color pallet that I “could have used”. I pulled out a second blank canvas the same size and roughed in the same composition and left it there while finishing the first.

I thought about Monet, and how he painted the hay stack picture over and over again – using roughly the same composition, point of view… but at different times of day to get different light. What a marvelous idea… but he painted those paintings “En plein air” that is a French expression that means “in the open air,” and is particularly used to describe the act of painting outdoors (on the spot).

Unfortunately, I was painting this in my art studio in Madison, Georgia while that barn is sitting in a sharp curve in the road just outside of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. I had made a quick photo on my iPhone from the side of the road years ago, so I could not observe the barn at different times of day – I abandoned that idea and went with “I could have painted this in a different color pallet idea” that I had originally.

I repeated this idea until I had exhausted color pallets I felt were appropriate for this subject. Now I have a wonderful set of five paintings of the same subject if someone wanted to make a grouping on their wall, or a nice set of different color paintings of the same subject to suit someone’s idea of “I like those colors”.

I went on to paint another barn from Blowing Rock, North Carolina two times with two different color pallets. You will just have to go to my website to see those.

Enjoy,

Chris Cook

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Chris Cook is a premier southern artist and owner of Madison Studios, a web design, maintenance, and e-commerce and marketing company. For his artist biography, contact information, or to view more of his work, click HERE