A trip to remember- It’s been a busy two weeks – weeks of celebrations and trips and sundry! The important one was our daughter’s birthday celebration. She had wanted to make a family trip to Fallingwater for some time now, so we decided to surprise her . Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic masterpiece in western Pennsylvania is one of Smithonian’s Life List of 28 places…., and is also a designated National Historic Landmark. Set atop a cascading waterfall the cantilevered architecture of the building is reminiscent of Japanese style homage to nature and space. The building has strong intersecting vertical and horizontal lines in colors of light ochre and Cherokee red, and the cantilevered balconies peek in and out of the lush green foliage almost intertwining and interpenetrating the interior space with the exterior. My favorite bit of the building is the cantilevered stairway that leads from the main level balcony down to the stream below, with an ideal spot to sit and dangle your feet in the gushing water, once again connecting man-made structure with nature. The dappled sunlight filtering through the canopy above bounces off the sparkling water below. The sound of the rushing and gurgling water is inescapable no matter where you go. When you arrive it leads you to the house, and then follows you everywhere as you hike the trails.
I couldn’t resist a few sketches but all we really wanted was to simply enjoy the beauty of this wonder that is.
Our next visit we’ve planned to be here when the rhododendrons are in bloom, as the grounds were covered in them everywhere you looked, along with ferns and other native plants of Pennsylvania.
Day4/31 – #WorldWstercolorMonth
This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and the theme is Circus Arts. The Festival brings the rich history, mystique and diversity of American circus arts to life on the National Mall. There were circus performances, behind the scenes, emerging artists and contemporary visionaries, and coaches, costume designers, makeup artists, musicians, prop and tent designers, riggers, poster artists, wagon builders, and many others whose collective creative work brings the circus to life.
While the crowds lined up all the way around the tent I sat outside the big tent and sketched the Red, White and Blue under a somewhat ominous sky! They were calling for thunderstorms tonight.
Day3/31- #WorldWatercolorMonth – today’s post is a really quick sketch of the US Capitol Building from the distance.
Day1/31 #WorldWatercolorMonth – yes it’s #WorldWatercolorMonth 2017! It kind of snuck up on me though Charlie O’Shields over at Doodlewash has been reminding us for almost a month now!
The gorgeous flowerpots at the base of Longwood fountain terrace were just begging to be sketched. These exotic blooms had such a tropical air to them, I just wanted to capture the essence, but I’ll have to do the flowers over again.
I love to go for long walks whenever I can and I always bring my sketchbook along for that quick capture of a scene or a mood that strikes without warning. Walking in the meadows at Longwood Gardens after a snowfall takes on a whole new meaning. The blue and purple hues of the distant wintry horizon, the soft fluffs of snow clinging to the seed heads, the dry grass that once stood upright now bent over weighed down by the icy snow clumps, the melting snow frozen in dripping icicles on the twigs and shrubs that catch the sunlight and scatter it into flashes of rainbow colors, the crunch of the frozen snow beneath you feet, and that smell of the frigid air that surrounds you, all make for an atmospheric experience that words fail to describe in full. Here’s my pictorial description in purples…
and here’s another one in moody blues…
Everywhere you look out side, everything is covered in white. Three days of snow and ice storms, three days of painting snowy wintery scenes, and I needed color in my life! My blue orchids are blooming indoors, and on this cold winter day they bring such brightness and color to the indoors. At present these orchid and the winter jasmine outside my window are all that’s blooming around here. So I’ve been playing around with purples and blues. Here are some different version of blue orchids and my play with purples…
And then without the oranges…
And now that I’ve got my color fix and used up a lot of my purples, I can go back to painting snow again! I’ll post my winter scenes in my next post.
Happy New Year to you all. Based on the Chinese calendar, 2017 is the year of the Fire Rooster. “The Chinese people say that this year people will be more polite and less stubborn, but they will have the tendency to complicate things.” Hmmmm, I wonder if this was written with anyone particular in mind!
“As they see it, the year 2017 is a year dominated by the orientation towards progress, honor and maximum integrity, people learning to temper their ardor.” Again, I’m wondering if would apply to the leaders of certain countries I have in mind…just saying!
Nevertheless, not to get too political here, I thought I’d honor the rooster today, the first day of 2017. Now, I love painting birds, but for reasons unclear to me, I’ve never really had an interest in roosters. I’ve seen them on farms and often enough while at a pumpkin or fall festival I’ve had a chance to see some quite gorgeous plumage on these birds, and yet I’ve never really sketched one. So today I got started on one, and it turned out alright…for a first try!
I did give it a second try, aiming for more texture…
Having stuck with the same color scheme the second time, although not intentional, I thought I’d go a bit quieter for the third try.
My favorite place to sketchwalk is in the meadows at Longwood gardens. Since the meadows expansion project, the trails and pathways now meander through the meadows and the views from each vantage point are spectacular any time of the year. My favorite view is from this one spot where I can see the Webb Farmhouse across the undulating landscape. I tend to be biased and sketch from this vantage point more often. Although there are other views that I’ve sketched, this one always gets my attention. In my last post I’d shown you its summer glory. Today’s post has the fall colors of the meadows.
There is so much color in the fall with all the greens now darker and the seedheads and pods taking on various shades of browns and purples and grays. The skies in the fall have their own stories to tell in color too, but I kept the sky muted in this sketch, as I thought it would be too much and detract from the main theme. What do you think? Comments welcome.
I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but trying to create texture in watercolor has been a journey for me thus far… I’ve built up quite a stack of experimental washes, not always with a subject in mind, just allowing the paint to flow and seeing where it leads me, but always keeping in mine my aim to develop textures of all sorts in the making! Sometimes subjects emerge and I follow through and sometimes they’re just an abstract outcome. Below are just two of my stacks that will end up as bound sketchbooks.
It has been such a satisfying experience that I’m still continuing with this process, but I thought I’d post a few of the final results too.
This is a view of the farm on the meadows at Longwood Gardens in summer. I used a quick 5 minute sketch I did while sketchwalking there in summmer as my reference for the above painting. Below is the 5 minute reference sketch I did while walking…quite a difference in textures between the two …don’t you think.