Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A walk in the Woods

Before the afternoon rain storms returned I managed a long over due walk in the near by state park. Here in North Georgia we have many wonderful state parks with water falls as well as many nature reserves. Only a short drive from my house is Smithgall Nature Reserve and Duke Creek Falls.  Over the years I have enjoy many a quiet walk a long the wooded trails of Smithgall with a stop at the Nature Center to renew my knowledge of the local flora and fauna. Or up the road to Duke Creek Falls, for a trek down the steep paved trail to the falls. Well, yesterday I was looking out at the morning sunlight to our still partly flooded yard and then looked at the partly finished painting that I am working on and decided it was time to return to Smithgall and Duke Creek Falls for a little exercise and artistic inspiration. So, putting on my walking shoes and bustling around the house getting ready to leave Patches started getting all excited, he has been missing our walks, too. His back legs have been failing him some in this weather, so I worried about taking him, but his excitement won out.

Our first stop was Smithgall, I took a walk along a wooded trail leaving Patches in the car for our next stop.  He was enjoying the people watching of a bus load of bicyclist getting ready to tour around on their bikes. Listening to the silence of the woods and smelling the damp fragrant air was refreshing to say the least (great to be away from air conditioning). Best of all for this artist was how everything glisten in the sunlight still wet from the rains. Crossing a little bridge I could see the creek was filled and even had a kind of waterfall over some large rocks, all making for delightful sounds.  After checking out the nature center to see if the owl was still living there, but I didn’t see it, did see flowers still are blooming in deep yellow and bright pink.  I headed on up to Duke’s Creek. Here Patch excitedly got out of the car and was a little unsure with his one back leg. We walked slowly along the paved path, I enjoying the visa views of the mountains through the trees and Patches sniffing the damp earth on either side of the path. As we walked Patches leg improved and his joy level was a delight to see. Part of me wanted to walk all the way down to the falls, which is over a mile and then a very steep up hill return walk. I knew that wasn’t a good idea for us today,  so instead we enjoyed a much shorter walk to the first observation deck and looked out though the trees to the falls. While I was taking a few photos a family came by and the two little boys wanted to pet Patches, who was happy for the attention.  The boys not much taller than Patches would have stayed for quite awhile talking and petting Patches, the older one claiming he looked just like his favorite cartoon dog, but the dad soon rushed them on. Our sunlight was diming as the gray clouds started to gather and I knew it was time to head back home. Hope you all are finding things to delight and inspire you today.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Quest for Local Art

A friend and I have been making weekly sojourns to exploring the local art scene in the North Georgia area. So, far we have visited some really awesome galleries and been surprised by the local artisans shown and also, found less stellar art.  We live with in an hours drive of a few small college and university towns. Last week we took a tour of Gainesville and had a pleasant conversation with a local artist in her coop small store front gallery, shared by 5 other artists. Then saw a group show at the college gallery. Yesterday we travel in the other direction to the University town of Athens, where there are many little store front art galleries, as well as a few larger spaces including the Lyndon House Arts center. It was a joy after so many rainy days to be out in sunshine even if it was a bit to hot for me walking around the downtown area after our yummy lunch at the Last Resort Grill. I dined on a “healthy” green salad with grill chicken and followed it with a most decadent mocha cheese cake. I’m sure I walked of the calories during the afternoon tours of shops and galleries.(LOL)  In one little shop we found an artist who made the most amazing wire miniature portraits that he was selling as pins.  He looped wire this way and that, overlapping it, creating a maze of tangled black wire lines that form a face and hair. I wondered if his creativity came out of random playing with wire or if it started out intentionally.  In any case it was inspiring.
We ended our day with a wonderful exhibit at the Lyndon House Arts Center. The show was of Ossabaw Island: Holy Ground by The Ossabaw Artists Collective a group of artists who have explored Ossabaw Island State Heritage Preserve twice a year, since 2009, as part of a visiting artist program, sharing the works of art they created on their visits. We were the only two people walking around this wonderful large gallery space of light oak hardwood floors and high white washed walls flooded in natural light from a ceiling of skylight windows. The art exhibit depicted the solitude, and natural beauty of one of Georgia’s largest barrier islands of marshes, beaches and maritime oak forest. I had to smile at the background sound in this peaceful light filled gallery of children laughing and talking in summer art camp behind closed classroom doors off the gallery.  (I think there is a poem or something in the contrast.) My fav artist in the exhibit was Paula Eubanks and her fascinating 3-d constructions using photos and paint that creative an interesting narrative of Ossabaw Island

Lyndon House Arts Center had a little gift shop where we met a fiber artist who is part of a local artist group that sell in the shop. My friend bought some fun colorful ear rings and we enjoyed chatting with the artist. She told us we needed to check out a place up in Clayton which is in the mountains north of where we live and so we added it to the list. One thing I am learning is we have art around here in great abundance. I think many, many people have a drive to be creative and that is wonderful. I hope we continue to have a growing creative population with venues for all to be shared, both the noteworthy and the beginners alike. Where has your creativity taken you lately?

Photos of Ossabaw Island

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

On Turning 66

Now turning One that is really a Birthday to Celebrate ...My sister and her granddaughter

Here is my birthday blog. Today I take a few moments to reflect on the 66 years that I have been around. It is before dawn, warm and humid and I am here in my studio. Most years I am traveling out west for my birthday.  This has  been a wonderful year and an interesting life so far even with all its bumps in the road, dashed dreams and lost loves. Would I change any of it? Of course I would if I could do it all over.  But for the most part I wouldn’t change much. There is always that one fork in the road that you wonder if you took the other path what your life might have turned out like. Robert Frost wrote a poem about that,  two roads diverged in a yellow woods and one was grassy and wanted wear…  I loved this poem since I first read it in the 7th grade. I wrote a report on Robert Frost and illustrated this poem. I can still remember doing that drawing of the yellow woods using pastels that let me blend the colors.  Fifty five years have past and I can remember the feeling of the pastels in my fingers and can see my fingers as they made marks on the paper.  So, I guess I would have to say there is a moment in my life that I would not change or many, many more like it. These simple moments that somehow become memorial. Like the casual conversation with a friend and years later you still remember it or the walk in a park with family when somehow the sun seems extra bright and the landscape is just breath taking.  Then there is the memory of the best moments at work when you see a student light up because they “got it”…that ”aha” moment or when I “got it” because of a teacher, or an exhibit or a friend. I think what I have really gained over the years is how precious community is and what a joy it is to be part of one. For years I was very, very shy…I never spoke in school and we moved so much that I never felt connected to a place, home, school or ever felt like I belonged to a  community. Over the years I worked at letting go of my shyness to become  more out going and truly came to value the many communities that I am a part of…even that silly one called Facebook. So, here is what I have to say about turning 66…life is pretty awesome and whatever the road we choose it is wonderful to share it.