Downtown Santa Fe

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In light of the forecasted 11 degree weather tonight in the Madison, GA area, I felt that I should post a blog that might help some of us think warm thoughts, and feel a little bit toastier in this bitter cold night.

This painting, titled “Downtown Santa Fe” is an original acrylic painting that Chris created based on a trip that he took to the Southwest a few years ago. I  personally have never traveled that far west, but i’ve heard nothing but good things about the colors, climate, and people of that area.

I’m no expert on the science of warmth of colors, but looking at this picture does make me feel a little bit less of the sting of the windy cold that waits for me on the walk to my car in a few minutes. As I look at this painting, I can almost begin to feel the radiant warmth of the mud-walled buildings. Surely, this would be a much more inviting place and time to find oneself than anywhere outside during this cold snap.

The hues and tones of this painting make me wish that I were on the next thing smoking out west, or down south to a much warmer and calmer climate.

What about you? What picture, if you could look at it, would transform you mentally to a warmer and more enjoyable climate? Would it be a beach, a mountain house with a cozy fire, an adobe hut similar to this one in the southwest?

Art has the ability to transform us to places, even if it’s just in our minds. I hope that this painting brings you just a little bit of warmth on this cold, cold night! Stay Warm!

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.

Southern Snow-Madison

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Living in a southern state, we don’t get so see snow very often, and when we do it is seldom at a time when one would generally expect it. I can count on one hand the number of “white Christmases” i’ve had in my 27 years. When we do get snow, its on a random night in March, or it just melts and causes all of the roads to ice over.

Chris Cook has lived in the Southeast for most of his life as well. He depicts one day in Madison, GA, post evening snow in this original acrylic painting. I feel like it captures the essence of what we get if and when we do get snow. The next day, the roads are slushy, if not iced over, and the fields are dotted with bits of white. Seldom do we have enough accumulation to make a snow man or snow angel.

Chris is a gifted artist, and I feel like his landscape paintings in particular do a fantastic job of capturing the southern terrain, in all of its glorious splendor.

With any luck, we will be able to get some snow before the winter ends this year…

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.

Rural Renewal:

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Madison, Georgia, and the surrounding area, has been rural for generations and generations. My grandfather, who is 85 now, moved here with his father early in his life because his uncle told him that this was “God’s country” and that “the ground wasn’t as rocky as it was up in Gainesville, and things just grew better”. They dairied, farmed, raised chickens, sold bait worms, put out rabbit boxes, and lived off of the land around here for years and years. All of this was back in a time when “going to town” (Madison) was a big deal, and didn’t happen all too often. He has told me stories of a rolling store that would come around to different farms to trade and sell goods.

Anyone who has lived here, or even visited for any extended period of time knows that there is something different about this part of the state. Very little has changed about the town square, many of the antebellum homes are still in tact, and several families continue to work the land and farm, just like generations before them have done for years. Growing up a native “Madisonian”, the typical teenage argument is one of complaint that we’d have to drive so far to get to anywhere that had something to do (like a mall, movie theatre, or skating rink).

There has been a lot of development and progress in the past few years in this area, but it all seems to be at a much slower pace than that of other cities and towns. There is just something about the quaint rurality of Madison that has seemed to defy development and “progress”; our very own “Mayberry” here in Georgia.

Alas, the time, thy are a changing… There are glimpses all over the area of growth, development, and renewal. This painting shows a glimpse of this phenomenon. The barn is on a pice of land, not too far from Madison. The land was rented by a company that wanted to put a cell phone tower up. Chris’ thinking was “they’ve found a new way to ‘live off of the land’ & are using it in a different way to make money”. Things are different, but still the same in many ways. Things are done in the name of progress and development, but bits and pieces of the past continue to hold true. This artistic juxtaposition in many ways, represents life in a rural town like Madison, GA. Holding on to the past, giving it the respect that it has earned, while dropping in bits of the future, never fully letting go of what once was.

Chris does a great job of capturing the transitional time that this area of the country is in.

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.

New American Totem Pole

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For years past, totems were symbolic of battles, murders, family heritage, religious idols, and numerous other things. Typically found on the pacific coast of the U.S., these towers expressed a large amount of culture, creativity, and regional individuality.

That being said, Chris is an artist, and artists see things differently…

Chris saw, either in reality or in his mind, this image of a bird perched on a telephone pole, and thought of a totem pole. In a lot of ways, I totally see where he’s coming from in this. Totems were used to convey a message, to communicate, if you would. They were often an expression of battles, conflicts, family heritage, and religious identity – much of that can be conveyed today through technology and modern communication. In a lot of ways, the “pole” presence of totems has been achieved and spread throughout the entire country with the advent of telephone poles.

The message, however, has shifted away from that of individuality and regional expression and more towards centralization of information and a feeling of connectedness amongst the country’s people. What was once such a vibrant and unique expression has been reduced down to a mainstream symbol of “progress”.

Furthermore, these days, the need for overhead “phone lines” and poles is going the way of the dodo bird as cloud technology and digital signals continue to replace hard wired communication. It just goes to show how times can shift, and the way we see things one day can be completely different on the next. Kudos to Chris for seeing this image, and capturing the thoughts down. Years from now, corded phones and wired communication will be a thing of the past, much like many of the people who once carved the grand totems out west.

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.

 

Southern Landscape: Cool Shade

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When you visit Chris’ home page, the tag across the top reads ” A Georgia Artist. American Painter from the South.” I think this picture helps to capture a bit of the Southern heritage that permeates a lot of his work, particularly his landscapes.

When I look at this painting, I could easily imagine that it is a snapshot of any of the countless cow pastures that dot the surrounding counties. The long wooden fence is not unlike many of the ones that we have all seen rolling down the country roads of this area.

After reading the title, “Cool Shade”, the painting begins to take on a whole new perspective. Anyone who has lived in the south through the “dog days” of summer knows the value of a good patch of shade. It seems that every life form tries to do all that they can to find a respite from the onslaught of heat and sun that accompany those days. There is nothing quite like a dip in a swimming hole, or a nap under a shade tree if you can find it in the heat of the day. Even the cows, like the ones shown in this painting do what they can to find relief.

Southern summers are long and hot, but the real joy that comes in finding a way to beat the heat. Popsicles, snow cones, ceiling fans, water sprinklers, swimming holes and shade trees typically feed into some of the best and most lasting memories of summer. So my question for you is this – How do you beat the heat in the summer months? Can you identify with our bovine friends pictured here?

 

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.

Orion: Southern Night Sky

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One of the blessings of living in a Southern small town is that there aren’t a lot of city lights to pollute the night skies, and you can really get a chance to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation in the stars. In the little bit of time that I spent living in Cities like Charlotte, NC, I developed a longing for the night skies of my youth. There truly is nothing quite like a clear southern night, out in a field or pasture, sitting on a tailgate with a blanket staring at the stars. It’s something so special that countless recording artists have written songs with lyrics like

“We can throw a blanket down, crickets singin’ in the background, and more stars that you can count on a night this clear.”

Chris, being a southern artist would know this well.

One formation of stars in particular stands out to me as I gaze up at the stars. As a Cub Scout, I was fought to look for the three starts in a row that formed Orion’s belt. How awesome is it to think of the creative energy that went into forming the planets and stars in the sky; in the midst of all of that, God took the time to draw a few pictures with the stars for us to find and enjoy. Constellations may be man-made ideas, but I can’t help but marvel the beautiful and artistic presence that is inside God’s creation of a night sky.

Sitting and staring at the sky, it is difficult not to feel slightly less than significant as you get lost in the vastness of God’s creation. The universe, in all of its limitless splendor is all God’s glorious creation. However, I find peace in knowing that it was the same creator God who breathed breath into each of our lungs, and gave us life so that we, created in His image, might be able to enjoy the rest of his creation.

 

God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:16-18)

 

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