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 15, 2012

Super tide at Pawleys Island 12 '12

   Flood warnings have been  posted all along the South Carolina coastline today  due to a super high tide. Far from wanting to flee the in-coming tide, Bruce and I rushed to the end of our street  to see what the high tide would do to Pawleys Island Marsh. In short, it turned it into a  gigantic mirror. With no place to go, many of the marsh birds huddled together on bits of debris like a still life stranded between an infinite sea and sky.  It was beautiful.  When I finally got around to reviewing the photos I had taken, I thought I had mistakenly set my camera on a black and white setting.  They were all nearly near monochromatic.  But no, it was just that I was so focused upon capturing the photo ops before me  that I failed to notice the lack of color in the scene.  I love how the gray-scale quality of the sky and water amplifies the stark nearly abstract design of the solid objects.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Brookgreen Gardens Night of a Thousand Candles 12 '12

Once again we attended Brookgreen Gardens Annual  "Night of a Thousand Candles" Festival.
I always look forward to this holiday light extravaganza.
 I attend this festival every year in hopes of obtaining some great reference photos to use as the basis for holiday themed Nocturns I did get some good photos of the garden at night,  but this year I was a bit disappointed in the event.
For one thing, the Gardens oversold the event and it took patrons forty five minutes of stop and go driving just to get from the front gate to the parking lot.
Then the  the gardens themselves seemed a lot sparser this year than last. I understand the need for pruning overgrown plants, but why not wait until after their major event of the season is over, or at least fill the barren beds with  some annuals .They had also changed the light displays so that they seemed  quite similar from one garden area to the next.  Bruce liked that, but I thought it monotonous. I liked it better in previous years when there were more areas with colored lights
Of course there were the usual selections of wandering bagpipers, Celtic musicians, bell ringers etc.
and some beautiful  holiday floral displays.But many of those were things I could have enjoyed just as well by daylight. So I am hoping that next year the garden flower beds will be planted  and lit as well as their indoor displays were this year.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone
From our Home to Yours

Applewood Mini Canvas Sale Continues

The Seacoast Artists Guild  Children's Art Fundraiser  being held at Applewoods is going strong.Almost half of the paintings have sold,  but there are still many beautiful one of a kind works of art available.   

For example, look at this exquisite oil painting by Ulrike Morello.  
This and many others will be on sale through Christmas at

14361 Ocean Highway ( aka Highway 17)
South Carolina, 29585

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Paint a Porch

In my pastel class the other artists were talking about all the odd strategies that are popping up to sell art.   One of the funniest was “Paint a Porch”.   The City of Charleston is known for its lovely porches and entryways and courtyards.  So the local art council came up with the idea of pairing local artists up with homeowners who want to have a ‘portrait ‘of their porch.  On a specific weekend, the artists show up to paint the porches,   the event is publicized, and public is allowed to walk onto the private property to watch the artist.  The homeowner can purchase the painting at a minimum preset price, or at $1 above the highest bidder.   What a creative win-win idea.   All I have to do is learn to like to paint porches. ( Just joking).

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pumpkin Patch Painting

12" x 12" oil painting
My husband and I had stopped at a local farm to pick up some produce, when I spotted this perfect little pumpkin growing in the field.  I  just had to paint it  as one of my holiday series for our home .   As soon as  the paint  was dry enough to touch, my husband put it in  well lit corner of the kitchen,  surrounded it with the Indian corn we purchased at the farm stand.  Every time I look at the display it brings back warm memories of that day trip.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Low country in Autumn '12

Fall has arrived in the low country , and  the usually solid green landscape is awash with vibrant colors.  I took a quick run out along some country roads this morning to try to capture  some reference photos before the scenery  turned mono-chromatic again.  It was a good call .  I got lots of ideas for new landscape paintings.  The photo above was shot along the Black River in Georgetown County, SC

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Reynier Llanes demos at CAG 11 '12

 The CAG November 13, 2012  general meeting program  was something very special and different.  Members had the pleasure of having a demonstration by the famous Cuban Artist Reynier Llanes, who uses Cuban espresso coffee as a medium for painting!

You can learn more about Reyneir Llanes on his website:

or watch a video of him painting with coffee at: 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Mini-canvases now available at Applewoods 11 '12

Mini canvas display at Applewoods
Once again the Seacoast Artists Guild is making original works of art on mini canvases available at the Applewood House of Pancakes.
100% of the revenue from the sale  of this affordable artwork goes to support  training & educational art programs at our local schools as well as funding scholarships to be awarded to gifted art students.

Applewoods is located at 14361 Ocean Highway, Litchfield, SC 29585 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Jane Woodward demos at Seacoast Artists Guild Nov Meeting

Jane Woodward

Jane Woodward is an award-winning area painter with combined oil and acrylic experience covering more than thirty years.  She exhibits at area galleries and teaches both privately and for CCU’s OLLI program.  At the  Seacoast Artists Guild November  4th  2012  general meeting, Jane talked  about and demonstrated techniques for painting sky and clouds.

Jane talks about different tones in the sky
  Jane's demo included how to develop a realistic range of tones in your sky, 

Jane demos how to begin forming a cloud
 and how to develop different forms of clouds using different sizes of brushes and strokes.
Evening sky 11/4/2012
As though mother nature were trying to reinforce what we had just learned,  we were treated us to a fantastic evening cloudscape  just as we left the meeting

Saturday, November 3, 2012

My Wall at CAG Nov.'12

I have three of my pastels of the local dunes up in the Charleston Artist Guild

CAG Miniature Holiday Art Sale '12

This year CAG put up two Christmas trees in the gallery.  One tree was for CAG members who had been jurried into exhibiting status,  and the other was for exhibiting members who are in the CAG gallery

Exhibitors are  allowed to hang small affordable miniature artwork on their respective tree.  You may remember that last year I put two serious holiday still lifes on the tree, and a playful Surfing Santa. The still lifes sold almost instantly, but the Santa did not find a home. Honestly I was kinda glad that he didn't, as I really would have liked to have him in my own home.

This year caught me short on paintings and Bruce talked me into putting Santa back on the CAG Tree.
Wouldn't you know it.  He sold within two days.  Now I may have to  repaint one for myself.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Newest Exhibitor at the Applewoods Gallery

My wall at Applewoods Gallery
I was caught off guard when an opportunity to exhibit in the Sea Coast Artists Guild Applewoods Gallery opened up at the last minute.  Based on the lengthy wait list to get into this popular gallery, I had not expected to be hanging there until next year.  But I was  not too  surprised to say yes to the opening  and  rush down to the gallery to hang  a number of reproductions  my local landmark series.  I love the way my work looks dispayed  on the gallery's tomato red walls

Friday, October 26, 2012

Campbell's Covered Bridge 10" 12

 CC by Campbell's Covered Bridge
There are a lot of Campbell Landmarks in Upstate South Carolina. This one was named after the miller who paid to have the bridge built so that the local farmers could more easily bring their corn to his grist mill.  It will make a lovely painting for my State Park or Local Landmark series..
Campbell's Covered Bridge located In Greenville Co SC

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Table Rock State Park, SC 10' 12

Third phto op adventure of the day Table Rock State Park, SC

Table Rock as seen from SC Hywy 11
The giant 3200' granite boulder known as Table Rock dominates the landscape of Pickens Co, SC. Cherokee Indian Folklore told of a enormous and powerful god who used the rock as his dining table, and the smaller peak in the foreground was the stool he used to sit on while eating at the table.  Settlers perpetuated the legend by naming the stone "Table Rock"

Table Rock as seen from State Park Road to Resort
The closer you get to the peak, the more impressive its mass. There are no roads to the top, but there are some hiking trails which will get your there ( if you are young and fit enough).

For my part, I was content enough to have a picnic by the lake at the base of the rock and think about how to capture the serenity and peacefulness of the moment.

Twin Falls in Pickens Co SC 10 ' 12

Twin Falls, Picken Co, SC
This is Twin Falls (aka Reedy Bottom Falls, Rocky Falls, Eastatoe Falls, ... it has more aliases than an escaped convict) and finding it was our second adventure of the day. Bruce nominated it as his favorite excursion of this trip. It involved navigating through the curvy backwoods country roads, past biker bars, and bear hunters (which are out in force this time of year), driving through private property, and finally hiking up a unmarked narrow trail along side a beautiful gurgling stream, to locate this lovely 200 foot Twin Waterfall. Definitely worth the effort.

Mt Sassafras, Pickens Co., SC 10 '12

 Mt Sassafras in Pickens County, SC at 3500+ feet is the highest mountain in South Carolina. Don't laugh, I've bagged peaks with the Desert Peak Division of the Sierra Club that weren't as high as this.
Of course it really wasn't much of a hike on the Foothills Trail ...It was more of a short uphill walk from the parking lot where the road crossed the trail about 200 feet below the peak. 
Mt Sassafras Overlook
Just off the parking lot there was a viewing platform that provided some spectacular vistas.  I loved the way the fall foliage contrast with the gray background

This view is across North-western South Carolina and beyond into Georgia

This is looking east across Pickens County toward the East Coast of South Carolina. The outer bands of Hurricane Sandy were blocking the view or we might have been able to see the coast.  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Long Shoals SC 11 Roadside Park

Great reflections
 Surprise surprise. This beautiful little river run is right next to SC Highway 11.   Only a  small road sign, "Long Shoals Roadside Park" and a  small pull off of gives any indication that there is anything special to see.

Great color
The water was low so I could stand on dry rocks in the middle of the stream and take photos
Endless composition opportunities
Can't wait to get started painting some of these scenes.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Caesar's Head SC State Park 10 '12

 This mountain top park has awesome views. 
Raven Cliff Falls Caesar Head SP, SC
I hiked 5+ miles along the flank of the upper peaks of this SC State Park to an overlook for Raven Cliff Falls. It is possible to hike  an additional 1.5 hours straight down through dismal gorge to the bottom of the falls, but the trail signs warned it would then  take an additional  3 hours  to  hike straight back up.  Alternatively I could have hiked an additional mile  to a suspension bridge that crosses the top of the falls, but then Icouldn't actually see the face of the falls.. I decided the overlook was the best choice for getting a good look at and some reference photos of the 400 foot plunging waterfall.

There's a potential painting everywhere you look

Raven Cliff Falls  in Caesars Head SP
I spent most of the day checking out the nearby SC State Parks for scenes that  I could use in my State Park series.

Caesar  Head SP  Hiking Train
It wasn't hard to find them.... the area is aflame with Fall color

Table Rock  SP Fall color
So whether I concentrated on a single nearby object
Caesar Head SP scenic highway
or a mid range view
Table Rock SP 
or a distant view of a classic landscape,  there was  a fall scene just waiting to be painted everywhere I looked.
In addition to the Fall color, I collected a lot of reference photos of the rivers and creeks in the area
Another small river in Jones Gap SP
There are even waterfalls to be found  right along the highway
Small waterfall along side of SC Highway 11

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Gauley Falls at Table Rock Resort

Morning view from the deck
We took a short walk around the Table Rock Resort's golf course early this morning (before the golfers tee'd off)

Water hazard on the third fairway
The scenery is spectacular.
Sliding Rock aka Gauley Falls
 At the last minute, right behind out condo, we discovered this beautiful waterfall --right next to the Tee off area for the 8th green.  By that time, the course was getting too busy for us to have time to investigate the falls.  It's only a short jaunt from our condo, so we'll give it another try tomorrow.

BJ on tee off for 8th green looking at falls

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Table Rock Resort

Table Rock Resort, Pickens, SC
We'll be using the Table Rock Resort as a base camp to explore the numerous State Parks in the North west corner of South Carolina.  We got here a too late in the day to do any extensive site seeing, but if the scenery here is any example I can't wait to see more.   Lots of fall color, and the weather is absolutely perfect for out of door activities.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Cantey Bay near the Santee State Park 10 '12

The Cantey Bay near the Santee State Park is off of the I 95 / SC 301 in South Carolina.  I've driven by this place dozens of times and barely given it a thought.. or if I did, it was to wonder why it had been set aside as a reserve.  I found out when I drove by it this time... when the daisies are in boom it is drop dead gorgeous.  I'm not kidding,  cars were slamming on their brakes to take a look.   I pulled off the highway and onto a secondary causeway that cuts across the preserve.  Got lots of reference photos.  You can bet one of them will wind  up being used as a reference for a painting for my  State Park Series.  Be forewarned if you attempt to do any photography or plein air painting there, there a the site has a lot of fire ant mounds along the road, so watch where your step.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cotton's High

Large flatbed trucks with their trailers piled with rolled bales of cotton, fill the South Carolina's back roads. Waiting fields of  cotton in stand ready to harvest. The  bright white of the cotton  stands out sharply against the darker hues of the  harvested and dry crop fields around it. I've been trying to capture the scene in my latest oil painting..  Still needs some work, but I think it conveys the image I was carrying in my mind.