Becky Branch Falls and Warwoman Dell

Becky Branch Falls, Acrylic on Paper, 9×13″ (6/15/19)

Warwoman Dell is a nice little recreation area very close to downtown Clayton. There is easy free parking and a variety of trails. A simple little nature walk leads to the small waterfall I painted on 5/31. The Bartram Trail which “follows the approximate route of 18th-century naturalist William Bartram’s southern journey from March 1773 to January 1777” is over a 100 miles long, but only has to be followed about 1/2 a mile up a hill to see Becky Branch Falls.

The Bartram Trail can also be used to access Martin Creek Falls and Dick’s Creek Falls. They are next on my list…

Waterfall at War Woman Dell, Acrylic on Paper, 9×13″ (5/31/2019)

Perch at the Nth

Perch, Acrylic on Board, 13×25.5″ May 2019, $600

There is now less than a month before my exhibit at the Nth gallery. I have been painting and sculpting pretty consistently and my list of finished pieces is increasing. I went ahead and took 27 pieces to Boone this past weekend to be sure I had plenty of room in my car in July to bring the rest. My goal is to finish my four in-progress paintings and three in-progress sculptures before the end of June. If I stay focused I think I can do it.

I have not been posting my newly finished pieces either here or on social media lately so that that at least some of the works will be seen for the first time there. Even though looking at a piece on a screen is not the same as seeing it “in real life” it could still feel familiar. The idea of them debuting there is exciting to me. It has been hard resisting sharing them as they are completed, but I think it will be worth. However, Perch was seen this past weekend at Catch 22, the Nth Gallery 22nd Anniversary Fundraiser so here she is now.

Holcomb and Raper Creek Falls

Upper Holcomb Creek Falls, Acrylic on Paper, 9×13″, 5/25/19
Holcomb Creek Falls, Acrylic on Paper, 9×13″, 5/25/19
Raper Creek Falls, Acrylic on Paper, 13×9″, 5/26/19
View of Holcomb Creek Falls from bridge

Being able to paint three waterfalls (as well as do three tattoos) over the three day weekend was a real treat. I know I mention it almost every time I make a post, but there really isn’t anything I find more blissful than walking to a beautiful site and painting it.

The drive to Holcomb Creek Falls’ trailhead was over an hour and involved going up into North Carolina and then back down into Rabun County and a long descent down a gravel forest service road. I was worried that the waterfall I found was not going to be worth all the time it took to get to it, but boy was I wrong. The Holcomb Creek trail is short and narrow but it leads to two dramatically beautiful waterfalls.

Upper Holcomb Creek Falls

The first one is the bigger and grander of the two, but there was family exploring it when I first arrived so I continued on to the upper falls. It was just about half a mile from where I parked to the observation deck at the second waterfall. Unfortunately the deck had been damaged and taped off as dangerous. The part that was open was too narrow to sit on. I considered crossing the line and seeing if I could sit on the more stable side of the bench but I try not cross that line from brave to stupid. Instead after studying the structure and the area around it I decided to go back and go around and under the decking. I was able to find a comfortable perch on a rock with the undamaged walkway behind me as back support. I painted the falls in my normal way, got a nice visit from a little blue butterfly, and only saw the shoes of two other hikers the two hours I was painting there. When I finished I walked back down the other falls with the plan to just take a few pictures and then head home.

There was no one at the main falls when I got back there and on closer examination it was even grander than I had realized. I did not feel like I could leave without drawing it so I found a shady spot and decided to just do a drawing before I headed home. I used a china marker and only tried to capture the upper half I could see from where I sat. I was basically pleased with the drawing after about an hour, but without color I felt like a lot of the majesty of the scene was lost. Even though it was well into the afternoon and I had lost my shade I decided to go ahead and get the paints back out. I spent another hour or so turning the drawing into a painting but there is still a lot more china marker than usual.

I found capturing the areas where there was less water flowing on the rock especially difficult. I think I need to take the time to do some detail views of wet rock as well as foreground vegetation. Those seem to be the weakest parts of my paintings recently, but overall I was pleased with my results. Two other couples came by and looked at the falls for a few minutes while I was painting, but the majority of the time I had solitude. I was at the site for 5 and a half hours, with about 2 and a half hours of driving time so it was a very full day but a blissful one.

On Sunday I got up and went to the early service at church. For a couple of weeks I have been considering visiting the unfortunately named Raper Creek Falls in Batesville, but was concerned that Google Maps has it listed as permanently closed. It is a 45 minute drive from my house, but only 15 minutes from church so I decided to go ahead and try and visit it in the little window of time between church and heading to the tattoo shop. I am so glad I did. It is a brief drive down the beginning of a forest service road and then a super short (but steep) walk down to the falls. It is not big but it is breathtakingly beautiful. There is a big slab of rock that the water flows along before it falls into a scenic little pool with another large rock outcropping on the side. There was a father and two sons walking up the trail as I walked down but the rest of the time I had the muddy but otherwise perfect little site to myself. For people who find themselves in the Lake Burton/Batesville area I highly recommend taking a minute to check this place out. Just be very careful at the bottom because the mud is very slippery.

This was the quickest waterfall painting so far (just barely over an hour) and the first one with a horizontal rather than vertical format. I would like to return with more time and sit a little ways up the trail to try and capture the upper tier as well, but I am pleased with how much of the site’s essence I feel like I was able to capture in a short time. I arrived to the tattoo shop feeling so relaxed and content that I forgot to be nervous while tattooing. I think the three pieces I did were stronger because of it.

MerMay

Sleeping with Fishes (and in the middle of school!) Ballpoint Pen, 8×8.5″ (5/24/2019)
Look at Minnow! Highlighters and Ballpoint Pen, 8×8″ (5/13/19)
Anchor’s Away! Ballpoint Pen, 8.5×11″ (5/25/2019)
Octopus’s Garden, Pen, 11×8.5″ (5/29/2019)
Solemates! Pen, 7×10″ (5/30/2019)
Riding the Wave, Highlighters and Ballpoint Pen on file folder, 7×7″ (5/14/19)
I guess mermaids have no choice but to ride sidesaddle.
Feeling Koi, Highlighters and Ballpoint Pen, 8×8″ (5/13/19)
General Porpoise and his Mermen could be put to more than one Pacific purpose, Pen & Ink Drawings digitally collaged (5/22)
Juggling Jellyfish! Pen & Ink (& a little Highlighter) 5/23

I am not sure how I got almost to the middle of the month of May before I realized that it is another drawing prompt month. I am late starting but of course I want to play. Like Inktober there are several different prompt lists available but I especially like how Jane Davenport’s list plays with words. Just reading her list made me smile. Since I am starting on the 13th of the month (and it is a very busy month) it is unlikely I will be able to do all of them, but it will be fun to try and draw as many as I can.

Half Sleeve Complete

It has been ten months since I first started work on Scott’s arm. As his apprentice he let me do a lot of practicing. We started on 6/3/2018 and as of yesterday (4/28/19) we can say that he now has a little over half a sleeve fully colored from his shoulder to below his elbow. I wrote a lot about the beginning parts of the process: The First One and First Tattoo – Part Two. Some of these pictures are repeats but it is fun to see them all together to see how much we have gotten done.

Hemlock Falls

Hemlock Falls, Acrylic on Paper, 9×13″ , 4/27/2019

Hemlock Falls is on Moccasin Creek near Lake Burton in Rabun County, but with a Clarkesville address. It is an incredibly pretty walk but the falls were not especially spectacular. I think my enjoyment of them was diminished by how many people were out on the trail. I was spoiled by my winter hikes when I often did not see another person the whole time I was painting. That is obviously no longer going to be the case this spring and summer. I am going to have to get up much earlier.

Haven Falls

Haven Falls, Acrylic on Paper, 9×12″, 3/30/19

Haven Falls is right past Glenn Ella Springs Inn. There is wide shoulder to the right of the gravel road and an old (logging?) road to the left. It is just barely over half a mile on an nondescript trail to get to this spot. The pictures I took do not fully capture how lovely this spot is. The cliff is almost a semi-circle of stacked looking rock with a free fall at the top then tiers. I could not find a dry place to sit far enough back to paint the whole scene at once so this is one I will have to return to as well.

Profile in Growth

Profile in Growth, Mixed Media on Board, 11×34″ , 3/23/2019
Initial roughing in with the work doodle the piece was based on

My newest painting, Profile in Growth, reminds me of the wood scrap paintings I used do almost a decade ago when we lived in Dawsonville. It is quite a bit bigger but the color and patterns as well as the lighter more whimsical nature of the piece seem similar. The design started as a doodle in my work notebook that seemed interesting enough to explore further. The painting went very quickly. I did most of it during a couple of marathon phone conversations last week. It seemed like it would be done all in acrylics until the very end when the oil pastels decided they needed to get involved. Though looking at the below pictures the difference does not seem that pronounced I think they add a lot of vibrancy to the piece.

I finished it and added a simple wire to the back in time to take it to this month’s SNC show, but when I get it back I think I may add a frame to give it a bit more depth before my Nth Gallery exhibition. It is painted on an old shelf I found and hangs a bit awkwardly because of a runner along its back. It will feel more substantial (and look more professional) with 1×3″ wood trim around it. I will just have to decide rather to paint it black or try and continue the pattern all around like I usually do.