Thursday, September 14, 2017

Great Falls of the Potomac

Todd, Lindsey, and Colin at the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center

On a recent trip to visit my son and daughter-in-law in Washington, DC, we went to the Great Falls of the Potomac. I never would have thought that, just a short distance upstream, the river would be so completely wild and natural. As you'll see, it obviously isn't navigable, so a series of canals was contructed to allow goods and people to travel the 184.5 miles along the Potomac from Georgetown to Cumberland, Maryland.

The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park

One of the boats used on the canal.

"The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park preserves remains of America's colorful canal era. For nearly a century, the C&O Canal was the lifeline for communities and businesses along the Potomac, as coal, lumber, grain, and other agricultural products gently floated down the canal to market.... The C & O Canal runs right along the Potomac River and the two couldn't be more contrasting.... The canal is flanked by wide sandy paths (called towpaths) for biking, walking, and jogging, and its water is still and green." 

"The canal was completed on October 10, 1850 at a cost of about $14 million. It was 184.5 miles long, 6 feet deep and 60-80 feet wide. There were 74 lift locks built on the canal, 7 dams and 11 aqueducts....The canal was in operation from 1850 to 1924."   
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Looking up the canal. The Potomac is to the left of the tow path.

Ladybird examines the grooves made by the ropes as mules pulled boats up the canal.

 A beautiful canal-dweller.

Looking down at the Potomac from the tow path, I see this. Apparently, great birds think alike.

Unfortunately, the skies became more overcast as the day went on, but I think the photos still capture the overwhelming beauty of this place.

Everywhere you look, waterfalls.

 Bird needed to get a better view.

I hope you enjoyed the photos! If you're ever in the DC area, the Great Falls of the Potomac is a great place to see!

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Little Things

As I get older, I find more nad more that it's the little things that make me happy. I tend to pass some of these things by, because they're not big and showy; it's easy to miss them.

There are lots of little things at Shabo-Mekaw (to find out more about our country getaway, follow the links at the bottom of this page) this time of year.   For instance, these 'mini-landscapes' that we often walk right over as we hike through the forest. If you stop to pay attention, though, they're really quite beautiful - nature's tiny gardens of shining club moss, sensitive plant, sorrel, and ferns.

False foxglove

 There are a plethora of mushrooms growing here, of seemingly endless types and colors. I've never seen this blue one before.

For whatever reason, this particular stand of joe-pye weed was covered with butterflies...

Purple-headed sneeze weed

Downy lobelia

 Sumac is a beautiful tree with pink or red fruits. I have no idea which species this is - there are 35, including the poison one.

 Naked-Flowered Tick-Trefoil (maybe) and Hairy Hawkweed. The flowers on both of these are smaller than the head of a thumbtack.

 I didn't have time to look up all the mushrooms, but they come in every shape and color. The orange ones are actually much brighter orange than they appear in the photo.

 Mist Flower

  Hoary Mountain Mint

Field milkwort

 Early goldenrod

The eastern rainforest - poplar, oak, mountain laurel, white pine, lots of ferns...

Waterlily pads and some kind of aquatic reed.

Queen Anne's Lace


 Field Thistle

 Joe-pye weed and butterfly by the pond.

It's almost time to say good-bye to summer... sigh...

Friday, August 18, 2017

Transformation 47

I seem to have amassed quite a bunch of art works that I haven't yet put online. There are several reasons for this, including the lack of a good camera to take photos of art, too much other stuff going on, and frankly, I forgot about some of them. Also, I thought I should wait until I could put them on my new website, for whatever reason. Yeah, I know - blah, blah, blah - it doesn't really matter, does it?

The Transformations series has been ongoing for a long time. I you want to know how it all got started, go here.

Transformation 47
monotype collage with mixed media, 7 x 7 inches

I can't believe I'm at number 49 now, and still going! I will post numbers 48 and 49 soon. I hope you enjoy, and I hope everyone is having a great summer (or winter)!

Since my website is still down, I probably should add that if you're interested in buying this piece, please contact me through the link on my sidebar, or message me on facebook. Thanks!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Commission Painting Finished!

I don't typically do much commission work, but I am always open to it if I have the time and it's something I know how to do. And, when the clients are your daughter and son-in-law, how can you refuse, right? I actually really enjoyed doing this painting; it's different from what I usually do, and that was liberating in lot of ways. It was also really nice to take some time way from working on the website, which can get (very!) tedious at times.

I had already shared a couple of teasers on instagram, just some work-in-progress details. But now that my daughter and her hubby have seen it, and given it the final stamp of approval, I can share it with all of you!

The Wave
acrylic paint with acrylic ink, 30 x 40

I had lots of fun making this piece. It's been a long time since I've worked this large, or used quite this much paint! I did most of it out on my front porch, since it's shaded during the early part of the day.  I was using the inks and watered down paint in a watercolor-type technique, pouring on puddles of paint and then letting the excess run off the end of the porch. This would not have been practical on the hardwood floors in the studio. Later on, I did some of the foamy parts inside, coving the floor with old throw rugs. Really made me want to go to the ocean, though!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Porkbelly Press 07.11.17

Porkbelly Press has just published a new chapbook, MEXICAMERICANA, (poetry) by Eloisa Amezcua, and I'm super excited to say my work is on the cover! The incomparable and very industrious Nicci Mechler runs Porkbelly Press, a small independent chapbook press in Cincinnati, Ohio. Besides her jobs as editor, designer, and artist for the chapbook, she does about a thousand other things, all while continously producing a steady stream of gorgeous etchings and other artworks. Her blog bio starts off like this:

"Nicci is a graduate of Northern Kentucky University (BFA Studio Art, Masters in English). Between research, novel revisions, poetic alchemy, reading, retreats, and caring for roomies, rescue dogs, and rescue kitties, she makes art, edits the literary magazine Sugared Water, and runs Porkbelly Press (a micro press in Cincinnati, OH). She is also the editor and maker of several zines, including the body image zine LMLMB.

I was very honored when she asked if she could use my work on the cover, and it really does look wonderful. I have no idea how she manages to get all this stuff done. Here, you can read an excerpt from Eloisa Amezcua's beautiful poetry; you can buy a copy of this handbound chapbook, MEXICAMERICANA, here.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

In My Garden

This is why they call it butterfly weed...

The yellow hostas have a strange pale flower that I like very much.

Coreopsis verticillata blooms all summer, if you deadhead it... I need to do that about a week ago...

Bee balm, also known as monarda and bergamot, is what gives Earl Grey tea its distinctive flavor.

 I love all these perennials...

Hostas, coleus, and ferns in my shade garden.

The echinachea seems especially vibrant this year...

The bees seem to think so, too.

One of the orange turk's cap lilies is dying, but has produced these humongous seeds, unlike the lily's usual seeds. Anyone know why?

Here you can see the regular seeds that appear on the stem.

I chased this tiger swallowtail butterfly around for probably half an hour,

trying to get a decent shot...

                                                                It was pretty camera-shy...

...but I finally managed to get a few good ones.

I hope you enjoyed my little garden stroll. Have a great week, everyone!