Plein Air, Painting the American Landscape - Alaska Episodes

One of the most fun aspects of searching out and providing content for the Platinum Pearls® web pages is the opportunity to recommend sources that I personally know to be good.

In the case of this DVD, I have worked with two of the three featured artists, Matt Smith and Kenn Backhaus. Both have taught at the artistically prestigious Scottsdale Artists School.
I studied with each of them there, both in the studio and in the desert surround. I can heartily recommend the experience and their instructional abilities.

The first three episodes of Plein Air, Painting the American Landscape feature artists Matt Smith, Jean LeGassick, and Kenn Backhaus as they paint in Alaska. The trio paints Mt. McKinley on a rare, glorious September afternoon complete with a visit from a blonde grizzly.
Next our three artists tackle the Tongass Rain Forest, renowned for towering old growth cedar, hanging moss and incessant rainfall, proving that it takes tenacity, good gear, and considerable know-how to paint in a rain forest.
The last stop is beautiful Resurrection Bay, gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park. With the towering Chugach Mountains as a backdrop, the artists paint in a derelict boatyard.

Historical perspective is provided through the Plein Air paintings created by George Brown while climbing Mt. McKinley as a member of the 1974 Bradford Washburn Mt. McKinley Expedition, and an introduction to Alaskan Plein Air artists and adventurers Eustace Ziegler, Ted Lambert and iconoclastic painter Sidney Laurence whose paintings from the early 1900s have come to epitomize the Alaskan landscape. I can enthusiastically recommend this DVD Plein Air, Painting the American Landscape - Alaska Episodes.
Please visit the Visual Arts pages at for more information about painting, photography or your favorite creative outlet.

If I Had a Dollar For Every Time I Have Used This Book, I Would Be Writing This in Napa Valley 

Pat Pattison is a professor of music and songwriting at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he developed the curriculum for their degree in songwriting--the first of its kind anywhere. He was a regular contributor to Home and Studio Recording Magazine. He lives in North Hampton, New Hampshire.

I first met Pat in Nashville. I was living and writing there for awhile, and Pat would come down from the Boston area and spend his summers in Nashville, working with some of the great songwriters in the area, as well as teaching seminars. We had mutual friends, and soon I was visiting his summer house on a weekly basis, at the foot of the master. He is a joy to work with.

In this book, Pat presents a unique, in-depth approach to the process of lyric writing. Apprentice songwriters will examine 17 extraordinary songs and learn the distinct elements that make them so effective. Pattison then presents more than 30 lyric-writing exercises designed to help them achieve the same results. From generating lyric ideas and managing repetition to developing verses, it's all here. Songwriters will:

* find warm-up exercises that revolutionize songwriting imagery
* use a rhyming dictionary and a thesaurus to generate ideas and find snappy rhymes
* create meaningful metaphors and similes while avoiding clich├ęs
* develop verses by using or by breaking conventional rules
* experiment with point of view in every lyric to make a song stand out.
For more music tips, visit and search out the "Music Picks" page. Or, if you are really into songwriting, click on In any event, keep listening, keep writing, keep it fresh.