A Blog about Finding Inspiration

"We have a wonderful world to be inspired by and each new day is like an adventure into the unknown, where things that require a second glance can be captured in time on a canvas for anyone to enjoy forever." (Louise Corke)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Night of a Thousand Candles 12 '09

Once again we are  celebrating the holiday season  by attending Brookgreen Garden's spectacular holiday light show:  Night of A Thousand Candles.  Look at the beautiful photos I got  this evening
I firmly believe this is one of the best Holiday light displays in the country

Lollypop trees in Children's Garden

Every inch of the garden is illuminated

  Even the stars and the moon in the heaven are lit more brightly 
The  Dancing Water Nymph Pond is always my favorite out of doors display
But the indoor display of local holidays past is interesting as well

Monday, December 7, 2009

Seacoast Artist Guild Fall Show 12 '09

Bruce and I attended the Seacoast Artist Guild's Fall Show and Sale this evening.
It was held in the Art Works Gallery in the Litchfield Exchange Building
 The show was well attended by both artists and art lovers
( especially the refreshment table).
I must admit I was impressed with both the quality of the art and how well it was displayed.  This group really sets professional standards for its members

I am glad.  It's nice to see that my  local art community is thriving.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ashville: Blue Ridge Mountains Fall '09

This past  weekend we went to   see the fall change of color in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Asheville, North Carolina.   Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains are a five hour trip from our home. It is far enough away that won't go there and back for a day-trip but close enough that we feel comfortable going there for a two or three day weekend. 

 The Asheville area is one of the top art destinations in the USA, which is good motivation enough for either of us to visit, but add to that the beauty of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains, and we are positively addicted to the area.
One Sunday morning we woke up to the Weather Channel showing a picture of the Blue Ridge Mountains in full Fall Color. That did it... Within ten minutes we had grabbed our leather jackets, an extra set of clothing, cameras, and whatever snacks we could stuff in a cooler, and we were off. There are some signs of Fall here in the Low Country but nothing like the show that our Southern mountains put on.  Shortly after we crossed the North Carolina and reached the foothills we began to see color on all sides of us. 
Above and below US Highway 26 Northbound as we entered North Carolina, and the view from our hotel  in  the Biltmore Estates the next morning. 

All along the road were spectacular burst of color.
 We drove as far as Craggy Peak and took a short hike to the top of the mountain. The entire top of the mountain is covered in Rhododendron and Flowering Ashe. 
Below: A tunnel has been cut through the Rhododendron for the trail to the peak. 
Can you imagine how beautiful this hike must be when the Rhododendrons are in bloom?  I can’t wait to see this area in spring
The view from the top was wonderful.  You can see why the mountains are called the Blue Ridges.  What I hadn’t expected was all the contrasting bright red of the Ashe Tree berries.  No wonder they made this area a National Park and the Blue Ridge Highway a National Scenic Road.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Plein Air SC style Nov '09

My most recent adventure was in Charleston.  The Charleston Fine Arts Council Designated Nov 5-7th as Fine Arts weekend, and the entire city got in the act with art walks, gala openings in the city's many museums, and auctions to benefit various art causes. I haven't met a single plein air painter since I moved here, so I was very excited to read that the council was sponsoring a PLEIN AIR event in Washington Park.  Boy was I in for a surprise!  Plein Air painting as I know it usually means the artist painting(1) a small landscape or architectural scene(2) that is being looked at on location (3) in a somewhat impressionistic manner (4) to capture a the local color of what is seen. (5) They are almost always small because (6) one is trying to capture the image before the light changes.
In Charleston,  Plein air seems to mean anything that you paint in plain air out of doors. 
  There were people realistically painting remote landscapes from photographs, and creating watercolor seascapes from photographs. 
Some of the artists set up still lives complete with settings to direct the light 
 or brought a model and posed her on a bench.   

The participating artists had been invited to donate work towards an auction which raised money for the Charleston high school district art program. 

Much of what was donated were graphics, abstracts, and or decorative art pieces. 
  There were a couple of artists who were trying to paint the local scenery,  
  but I didn't envy them trying to see their subject matter through the crowds.   
 The winning piece of art from the exhibit was what appeared to be a colored photograph of a pelican.  (Even if I am mistaken and it was a incredibly realistic hand rendered pelican... I don't know how it could be called plein air). Oh well, plein air or not, the effort and money went to a good cause, so no complaints.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Georgetown Watermedia Society Meeting 11 '09

The Georgetown Water media Society met today for a presentation by two of our members on painting with Acrylic paints. Diann  Hammett led off  the presentation with a discussion of how she approaches  abstract and more traditional representational artwork  and the pros and cons of using acrylic paints in both.

This was followed by another member who  showed us how she uses acrylic paintings in  traditional subjects like this study of her son sitting on the beach
She then explained that as a buzy mother of several children she cannot spend as much time as she would like in the studio.  She maximizes her time, by painting on round table-tops that can be fitted onto the steering wheel of her car while she is waiting for her children to finish their  little league practice etc.  Needless to say the fast drying quality of acrylics is a real boon  under such circumstances.
Above:Initial pidgeon desgin on tabletop with small travel acrylic set shown in plastic bag on table. 
Below: Completed painting of pidgeon.
How clever!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Dennis Cordereio Presents at SAG 11';09

Metal Artist,  Dennis Cordereio gave presentation at the monthly membership meeting of the Seacoast Artists Guild .
Dennis showed the members  how cuts the metal, shapes it, then soulders, and oxidize it to produce his beautiful creations

Friday, October 9, 2009

HBSP Spoonbills 10 '09

 I decided to walk off lunch along the freshwater marsh at Huntington Beach State Park.  I don’t know what angel was guiding me, but it definitely was a day to remember for bird-watching.  In addition to the regular summer flocks of Woodstork, Ibis, Egrets, Moorhens,  etc, we spotted three rare bird sightings

Driving in across the causeway, I glanced at some Ibis  right by the road … PINK ibis??? (my voice rising )  Those are Spoonbills”.  Sure enough there were two juvenile Roseated Spoonbills feeding in the mudflats.  I watched them for a long time.  They are beautiful birds with strange wide bills that they sweep rapidly back and forth through the pluff mud seeking small crabs and shrimp.  Normally these beautiful birds are found in the marshes of Florida and the Gulf coast.  I don’t know what brought them so far north, but there they were posing for my camera. (An hour later, when I drove back out of the park they were no where to be seen)

Continuing on my walk, I wandered out onto the observation deck over the fresh water march.  There almost at my  feet was a Red Necked Egret ( a Dark Morph).  Again it hung around long enough for me to admire its beautiful coloring, swift hunting action, and beautiful colors, and again it was no where to be seen when I drove out.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

McClellanville boats 9 '09

I  took a short drive to McClellanville , SC today to pick up some local seafood from their shrimp docks
 But while I was  there I took the opportunity to take some reference  photos
 Pretty sure some of these will get translated into paintings

Friday, August 21, 2009

Hidden Park in the middle of Winyaw Bay Aug '09

East Bay Park is a Georgetown County City Park  which sits near the end of  a peninsula which juts out into the middle of Winyaw Bay. The park is an open grassy area  which is used for  funtions like farmers markets, soccer matches, and  other out of door gatherings.  The area around the grass  surrounded by parking lot. Which seems at first glance  to be all there is to the place.

Then one day I was loading  purchases from the farm stands into the car and noticed a man with a fishing pole follow a small trail from the end of the parking lot into the marsh. Hmmm! Is there more to this place than I knew about?
Curious, I followed the same narrow trail as the man before us.
It led through the marsh grasses to a small wooden bridge which crossed the march and brought me very close to  many  beautiful marsh birds.
Then I found ourselves on a small pine tree covered island at the very tip of the peninsula. 
The island  while unknown to us is obviously well known to local fishermen.  It has a a picnic shelter with a fish cleaning station, and lots of places along the banks where it is clear that angles hang out regularly.  It also has some remarkable views of the Winyaw Bay.
  Definitely a good place to check out the sunrise and would be a good place to do some plein air painting or photography with a friend or two.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Mountain Home Farm 6 '09

One of the more interesting places we stopped in the Blue Ridge Mountains was

The Mountain Home Farm.
I got  some great photo references  of this gem.
Set up and maintained by the US National Parks Service,
The Mountain Home  Demonstration Farm has authentic original  farm buildings that were purchased when the Blue Ridge Parkway was being constructed and moved to this location to demonstrate what life was like on a  pioneer farm in the Blue Ridge mountains.
All of the buildings on the farm have  signs explaining the use of the building , and  Forestry Service  personnel are there to answer questions more detailed questions about the exhibits.
Of course most farms shared their services with their neighboring farms rather than attempting to be completely self sufficient.  So rather than representing a typical farm, the buildings on the Mountain Home Farm shoe  complete  collection of buildings dedicated to every aspect of farming that would be represented in the community.
Most did have pigs, or some form of livestock, and those that did not relied on hunting.
and most had a kitchen garden with herbs for medicinal and culinary use.
But some were wealthier and had really large  barns and farm plots on very fertile soil
When one considers that all of this building and planting ,( including the clearing of the land and the cutting of trees for the buildings), was generally done by hand and by hand tools, it is truly an impressive accomplishment.