Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Eighth day at Lillian Smith Center--found the wall

Yes, I hit the wall.  I am tired and somewhat floundering... not totally discouraged yet but heading in that direction.  I didn't "find my muse" this morning as I walked, something that excites my eyes and that I feel compelled to pick up and bring along with me to work from at the studio. That put me in a grumpy mood to start the day.  Well, I said I didn't find something to work from but I actually did find a couple of interesting leaves but they were only calling faintly to me.   But I thought, OK... let's try something with them.

So I arranged them and photographed them, looked at them.  And the call was still only a faint one... not a loud cry, "Look at ME! Aren't I interesting!"  I dilly-dallied throughout the morning working a bit more on the oak leaves from yesterday before calling it finished enough and stopping for lunch while the paint on that one dried so I could take it down.

After lunch I took down the oak leaves and put up a new blank canvas... the last of the 6 yard x 60" roll I brought with me.  It was not quite a square--it's 52" x 58"--but I decided to design within that framework.

I decided to use a hickory leaf cluster I'd found a couple of days ago along with one of the finds from this morning... I wanted the yellow and yellow-green of the hickory to contrast with the red-orange of the other leaf.  I also enjoyed seeing the way the hickory leaves have dried a bit and taken on a sort of insouciance.

I began with a loose charcoal line drawing and then made changes several times by painting over with block out white and matt medium, then redrawing:

Here's what I wound up by mid-afternoon.  I'll work on it a bit more tomorrow.

As I was trying to decide what to do today I spent a little time walking around the grounds here at Lillian Smith Center.  I've taken quite literally hundreds of photos of the surroundings over the past few years I've had residencies here and I've posted about my times here in the past with many of those photos.  This time it seems I've not taken as many photos but have concentrated on looking and finding small things.  I've found leaves, obviously, since I've been painting those but I've also picked up pine cones and oak apple galls.  But today after lunch I decided to walk some of the stone steps I've walked many times before and take a few photos.  The sky was overcast so the stones and mosses showed up pretty well, I think.  This is a beautiful place, wonderful for contemplation.

These stone paths, steps and bench are within a few hundred feet of the cottage where I'm staying.  All part of the Laurel Creek Falls Camp for girls that Lillian Smith ran many decades ago. What a time those girls must have had here--in these surroundings and under the influence of such a remarkable woman as Lillian Smith

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