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)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Brookgreen Gardens Artist Date 4 '10

Thursday I went to  Brookgreen Gardens to grab some spring reference photos for the series I am doing of their Botanical Gardens.

I thought I would get there early when the light was casting long shadows.  Unfortunately the Gardens do not open to the public until 9:30 am, which is about an two hours later than I would have liked to start. Even worse when I got there, I found busloads of school kids on a field trip.  I spent a lot more time than I would have liked waiting for a scene to be free of munchkins, but at least I got a few laughs while I was waiting.
For example    I had to wonder if this sculptured bear was trying to hide behind the azaleas from the hordes of mini-Tarzans who were climbing all over the sculptures in the children's garden.

These pair of noble beasts looked a little disgusted at being seated amidst all those pretty flowers.  They seemed to be thinking , " Hmmmmph.  The least the staff could have done is plant tropical plants around the King of Beasts!"

Speaking of Beasts... I call this shot Beauty and the Beast.

Just so you can gauge the size of this alligator, I've included a photo with the enormous statue and a human to compare with the alligator.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Georgetown Watercolor Society Meeting 4/2010

The Georgetown Watercolor Society met this month at the St Mary's Catholic Church in Georgetown.  One of the best things about belonging to art organizations is the incredible amount of support the artist give one another.   Here our President, Janice Coward is seen presenting a lifetime membership to Lib Ferdon in honor of her unending efforts in promoting the arts in Georgetown SC.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hobcaw Barony 4 '10

Hobcaw Barony  is a non-profit  wildlife refuge, aka Belle Baruch Foundation. Made as a royal land grant in 1718, it was eventually subdivided into 14 individual plantations. It became the winter residence of Wall Street millionaire and presidential adviser Bernard Baruch. Mr. Baruch's daughter, Belle, purchased all of the barony over a period of several years and at her death a foundation was created to use the land for the "purposes of teaching and/or research in forestry, marine biology, and the care and propagation of wildlife, flora and fauna" in the state of South Carolina.  The property , composed of low country  pine and maritime forest, and tidal marshlands, juts out into and is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, and Winyah Bay.  Access to the Barony's  17500 acres  is by guided tour only, and I have visited it several times  to kayak and bird-watch.  I wish the Foundation would sponsor a plein air painters or photographers day;  they don't, but I do have several great photos I've taken on the tours I have attended.
( Below photo of fire lookout tower) 
Given its immense acreage, and its geographical isolation, the marshlands here have a surreal quality about them.  The sky is huge  and other than the handful of people in my party there is almost no evidence of human. I always feel small.  It feels comforting to be reminded that nature has her own agenda and in many ways it is much more sublime than the plans of man.   I tried to capture that emotion this week with a couple of paintings of  the marsh at Hobcaw.  I included a human element in both just to give perspective to the scene, but in both cases, I tried to emphasize the grandeur of the place with its immense skies and endless empty horizons.
 Below:  Boat landing

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Sea Coast Artist Guild: Betsy McDonald Demo 4 '10

The Sea Coast Artist Guild met on Sunday April 11th,   Our guest demonstrator was Betsy McDonald.

Betsy uses only three colors of  Grumbacher's water soluble oil paints: cadmium yellow light, alizarin crimson, and cobalt blue, plus white and black to create her paintings.  She does not use any thinner other than linseed oil.
She also paints incredibly fast.   Above she is about one half hour into the process.
Below shows one hour from the start .
Above:  First Betsy scrubs in all of the colors,
then ( below) she goes back and adjusts colors and values.
Below, Betsy has taken the piece as far as she can in one day (actually one and a half hours).
She will let it dry overnight, then add highlights the next morning.
Below: our board members are holding  up one of Betsy's  finished paintings for us to see.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Litchfield Plantation 4 '09

 My neighbor,  Julie D'Amore and I had lunch at  Litchfield Plantation today.
Rice Field on the River
 It is an honest to god intact rice plantation

Abandoned Rice Field  complete with the shell tabby water silo, and master’s house overlooking the rice fields. 

 The place is amazing. I have to find a way to sneak past the guards so I can paint   in there.  Everywhere I looked were beautiful scenes.  … It has the largest number of heritage oaks I have seen in any location. 

Litchfield Tree Allee
   The entryway is lined with them and below that are 3 meter high red azaleas in full bloom.  

Retaining Pond
But the oaks don’t stop at the plantation manor.. they extend out in groves on both sides of the house giving the place the feeling of being in an ancient forest. 
 In truth it probably is..  Most  of those trees are two hundred years old +  That is old by east coast USA standards as our forefathers did their best to strip the land of every living tree..    

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Brookgreen 4'10

 It was a beautiful Spring evening.... but what to do? A walk on the beach?? a bike ride???     
I  wound up driving to nearby Brookgreen Gardens then walking their entire formal botanical/sculpture gardens and several of the extensive trails through the old rice fields as well.    The Gardens at Brookgreen focus upon Southeastern  NA native plants…..iris and other bulbs,  azalea 3 meters tall,  wisteria, jasmine and honeysuckle vines,  dogwood, crab-apple, redbud, magnolia, tees were all in bloom.  The warm evening air was like perfume.  
  Combined with the lovely colors of the setting sun it was almost magical. 
After that we stopped at a family run oyster house.  Local oysters are available for harvesting in every month that has an ‘R’ in it, so this is the last month we will be able to get any local oysters until next September.  During the summer they ship in Gulf coast oysters from Texas, but I don’t think they taste as good.   We’d intended to just get an appetizer and go home for a supper of shrimp and grits, but after that long walk, we were famished.  We rationalized, “It IS the LAST TIME we’ll have a chance to get local oysters for a long while”; so we wound up eating an entire oyster roast dinner.  Salad, corn, boiled potatoes, and hush puppies (hp s are like  deep-fried sweet cornmeal donut holes)  were the sides that came with the meal.   It was a wonderful meal.  (I inserted  this comment on 5/3/10… “obviously this was written before the gulf  oil platform melt down.  We are being told that the  Gulf of Mexico oysters/shrimp may be oil tainted and unavailable for years, which will probably push the cost of our local SE Atlantic oysters and shrimp out of reach when they come back into season”.)  I hope not. Eating whole pots of roasted local oysters are one of the true joys of living on the East Coast

I got home at about 8pm.  I collapsed into a state of contentment on the couch and watched a PBS documentary on the life of Buddha.  It seemed a perfect way to end a perfect evening.