Tuesday, October 29, 2013

First Annual Jefferson Oktoberfest

We took a short trip to Jefferson, NC on Saturday to check out the first annual Oktoberfest.  This was quite a big deal, since Ashe County did not even sell beer, wine, or liquor not very long ago.  For them to allow a biergarten was a big change.  It was held at the J&J Chophouse.  I've got to say, they have a long way to go to make this a destination for beer lovers.  I have been to many Oktoberfests, since my husband used to play trombone in the Little German Band of Raleigh.  They did have a German Band, and they did sell beer.  You had to go inside the restaurant for beer, and could only drink it inside the restaurant or on their tiny porch, or WITHIN THE YELLOW CRIME TAPE for Pete's sake!  I think they should have roped off an area and put out picnic tables and all the food vendors in one place.

The weather was perfect.  They had several things set up for children. My grandkids enjoyed the Bounce House.

We went inside the old Ashe County Courthouse, which is now a beautifully restored museum.  I enjoyed many of the exhibits.  Here is a cradle, baby doll, and quilt of the type I call a "biscuit" quilt.  You stuff little squares of fabric and sew them together for a puffy bed cover.

Here is a nicely carved wooden bed, a Trip Around the World Quilt, and loom-woven blanket.

They also had a loom, spinning wheel, and spun fibers outside.

There was a beautiful World War II bridal gown on display, 

as well as a beaded tea dress.  I thought the design was candlewick embroidery until I read the sign.

I liked this old doll whose head is made from a dried apple.  Hard to believe it is still preserved.

There were two pieces of furniture that were not antique pieces, but a special display of an artist's hand carved furniture.  This one is a remarkable 13-drawer chest of very original design.

The same artist, Cliff Little, created the Flame Chair, which they say is actually very comfortable.  

It reminds me of something from Game of Thrones.

After leaving the old courthouse, we wandered up and down the street.  There were some craft exhibits and other items for sale. 

I had to laugh at the "Antique" car show, which featured many cars from when I was in high school and college.  Camaros, Roadrunners, Dodge Chargers, even an old Corvair, which was our first car.

Lily was partial to this pink Dodge Dart.

One car was actually a rusty old truck that had a still on the back of it and a bullet-shattered window.

One fun vehicle was this old "woody" all ready for Halloween.

 Look who's in the back seat!

It was a fun afternoon, and we will look forward to visiting again next year.

Monday, October 28, 2013

End of Workshop and Mountain Stay

There was something a little different when I left the cabin for my last day of class in Boone...snow on the ground!  None on the roads, but there was plenty on the trees and hills.

On the last day of class we watched Fealing work some more on her demo portrait, and spent a lot of time critiquing the student work from the class.

When the workshop ended, I took a short drive to Blowing Rock, NC, to see the exhibits at the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum.  They were hosting the Watercolor Society of North Carolina 68th juried exhibit, as well as a special exhibit of Anerican Impressionists.

No photography was allowed, but there was a lovely portrait by one of the members of my class in the show- and it won a special award!  Congratulations, Jan Green!

The museum building had lots of carved wooden benches, even in the Ladies Room and the elevator!  I've never seen an elevator with a slate floor.

  There were nice gardens around the museum.

There were hand-painted rocks in the gardens with mountain scenes.

When I got home, my son and his family had arrived, along with two of my son's friends.  I will tell more about the weekend and also our trip to the First Annual Oktoberfest in Jefferson, NC.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fealing Lin Workshop-Days 2, 3,and 4

This week took forever to get here, and now it is almost over.  This has been an intense week of learning about composition, style, and brushwork.  Fealing is a great teacher and a very nice person. Our class is relaxed and very friendly.  Each day Fealing teaches a lesson in some element of art, and does a painting demo.  She does not mind us taking photos while she is teaching.

We also do some critique of student work each day.  I learn as much from looking at other student work as from trying it on my own.

It has been very humbling to see the amazing work done by my classmates!  There is a high-quality camera that projects the artwork and the reference photo onto a large whiteboard. I really liked this one of a girl who is a professional model.

I have learned my lesson about having a good photo to work from.  It should be taken with no flash, either outside in the sun or with a single light source.  You need some good shadows on the face.

Every day we find a new surprise from Cheap Joe's Art Stuff at our workstations.  We have gotten towels for dabbing our paintbrushes, some Kilimanjaro watercolor paper samples, and some watercolor board.  Joe himself came in today and spoke to each of us.  Yesterday I ate lunch with his granddaughter, Megan, who works in the marketing department.  I am so impressed by the staff at this place of business.

Even though I have to drive 48 minutes each way to get to Boone,  almost the whole drive is on a scenic mountain byway.  The weather sometimes starts out golden, changes to threatening skies, maybe a little rain, and then back to beautiful skies.  I love it when the sun moves in golden shifts across the dark mountains.

I have almost finished two portraits.  I think they are okay, but I want to practice a lot more to get my paintings to the quality that I want.

Here is Lily. with a darker background.  Still has a lot of color!

Here is a smaller painting of my great-niece Holly when she was a baby.  She was wearing my straw sun hat and sitting on the table while I was eating lunch.  The sun light was pouring through the hat and reflecting on her head.

Today Fealing taught us about making loose paintings with groups of people forming interesting shapes.  You do these very quickly, with very few brushstrokes.  Here are two that I tried using her reference photos.

Now that it's dry, I think the first one needs some more darks for more contrast.

The next one looks almost tropical.

One more day tomorrow, a short day where we wrap up our projects and do a final critique.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Fealing Lin Workshop Day 1

This morning it was "up and at-em" very early.  I had a beautiful drive to Boone in the frosty air, with mist rising up from the New River and setttling in the valleys.  When I got there (in 48 minutes) there were two men from Cheap Joe's waiting in the parking lot to help carry our workshop supplies.  I loved that idea...wish it could happen at a quilt workshop when you are toting sewing machines, tools, fabric, rulers, irons, and what-have-you!

Each student gets their own worktable with their own trashcan.  We were each gifted with a Cheap Joe's water bucket

pencil, and a free copy of Palette Magazine.

Fealing Lin is a soft-spoken, gentle person with a sense of humor and tons of talent.  We each had to bring our own enlarged drawing of a face on a sheet of watercolor paper.  She helped us each (26 people) with our drawings.  Then she did a demo of the first layer of watercolor washes.  These just blend and drip on the paper with no worrying about shapes or features.

I decided to use the same drawing of my granddaughter Lily's face that I had used previously for a more traditional portrait.  I liked the rainbow of colors.

After that dried, Fealing showed how to start building up the layers of color.  By now my Lily is looking a little like Children of the Corn with no eye color!

By the third layer, the planes of the face are added and some of the features are beginning to be worked.  At this point I did not like my portrait, as the poor girl looked like she had two Wooly Worm caterpillars for eyebrows and maybe two black eyes!  I was getting tired, so I left soon after 4:00. 

There is a Bernina shop just across the highway that I spied when I left.  I went in and selected some red fabrics to start making the quilt top from my gifted red and white sampler blocks.

Then I met two of my brothers and their wives for dinner at Pepper's in Boone.  That was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed catching up with them.  It felt kind of funny to go there because it is right next to where my father lived in Boone, and we often ate lunch there with him.  Miss you, Dad!

I came back to our cabin with an aching back but looking forward to tomorrow's lesson.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Autumn Color Inspiration

It has been a fabulous three days in the North Carolina mountains.  It rained on the way up on Thursday night, but after that it has been beautiful, with a full moon and mostly clear skies.  We took a couple of trips into town to buy groceries and other supplies.  Signs of the season were everywhere!

We took a ride up to the top of Mount Jefferson to see the colorful view.

Of course, we took some Gator rides closer to home.  It was so pretty.

I was a happy girl!

Our contractor has finished excavating for the basement of our new cabin..  Now when we look out the window we see this.

But the view from the new cabin will be nice.

Tomorrow morning I start my class with Fealing Lin.  I am both nervous and excited.  More to come!