Flight time seemed longer than the numbers on the page, but we landed in Houston for a breather before heading to Charlotte. There was time for a few quick paintings that connected with people following our journey. It is home with precious memories so we were told. Across the other side of the country… Charlotte, and in particular Lincolnton, is Southern Charm and hospitality. ‘You’re welcome” is meant and pronounced with a smile.
Our first impression was tall trees, warm sun and yellow flowers dotted along the road. The studio was glorious, wide and welcoming; a fully stocked studio with fabulous hosts and assistants. Donna, Liz, Gabby, Zhon and others made the three day workshop flow beautifully. The students came armed with expectations and enthusiasm and were housed on site and in the immediate locality. The 14 acres stretched out and about, embracing woodlands and lanes. It was enough to provide inspiration for the first day where we sketched and painted and shared stories. The focus was on composition and the demonstrations were delivered to an engaged audience who then applied what they learned to their own masterpieces.
The second day was about sharing memories and the landscapes and stories abounded. More demonstrations and a discourse on colour encouraged the participants to try new skills and processes.
The final day was about imagined landscapes. The exercises allowed the artists to extend their imaginations and stories to embrace colour, texture and expressive painting techniques in their final works.
New York called. I was there 31 years ago on my birthday. I planned to repeat the experience. Brooklyn was…..interesting. Manhattan and Central Park were enthralling. I could walk the Park all day. We saw the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim and filled out the few days soaking all that the Big Apple had to offer. Subways, grunge, blossoms and noise. The birthday came and went and left a strong impression – just as it did the decades before. I reflected on how far I had come as an artist and how much further I want to go. I feel like I am just beginning.
San Francisco was meant to be a stop over to confuse the jet lag but it became a stop in itself. The place was to my liking and temperament. The bay captured my imagination, the architecture caught my eye, the pace allowed me to catch up with myself. We walked and watched and breathed the salty air and prepared for home. We wondered if we would return.
At home and in my studio, I remember the smells and sounds and special places. The lovely people we met and the arty threads that bind. I paint and think and remember and tie the strings closer. They are pulling tighter. Pulling me back. I think I will have to go back. I have park places to explore and paint. People to see and share arty things with. Friends to see. Urban places to put on canvas.
Some workshop photos and paintings inspired by the trip...