Monday, April 28, 2014

Bridge Day Staunton 2014: The View from TOTC

Everyone seems to agree: Bridge Day Staunton 2014 was pretty much perfect. Sunny and almost 70 degrees, a perfect weekend sandwiched between rainy weekdays. Donuts & organic produce (side by side), glitter tattooes and kid activities by Pufferbellies (the most fantastic toy store), Rogue Shakespeare, 3 bands and traditional English dancing men, ghost hunters and storytellers, community groups representing gardening, health, arts and craft, and a walking tour of Historic Sears Hill by Frank Strassler, Historic Staunton Foundation President, as well as many other events about town. Staunton was hoppin'! I missed out on many of these but I got to meet so many interesting people!
Apparently, my husband is becoming quite the iphone photographer with all the practice I give him. Here is my table and Monica Wilson Photography just outside her studio in the turn-of-the-century station's baggage room. The bridge ascends just over this spot and across the tracks to connect the depot area and downtown Staunton to the Sears Hill neighborhood. Thanks to Monica for this bulls-eye spot!
I'm setting up just about opening time, after some great conversations with earlybird visitors over the community drumming group ramping up their rhythm at the stage area just to the left of the baggage room.  
My new Bridge Drawing/Print hangs frontward, as well as my Map of Places Drawn, thusfar.  I'm selling mostly Staunton drawings today with a little of other places thrown in.
I enjoyed hearing The No Lonesome play but did not get to watch them as the wind took an upturn and I was busy holding down my fort - but here is Peter Aaslestad, the band's guitarist, (also talented photographer, architect, preservationist, host of our joint Holiday Pop-Up Shop a few months ago) looking the part.
A quick shot of my table before the crowds. Home-grown flowers by my friend Alison and a little bowl I repurposed for the occasion as a business card holder by my friend Shelley of
The winner of Pufferbellies' giveaway came to claim her Bridge Print! And I am soooo excited for her!
Lisa of Artful Gifts was my neighbor to my left so I got to watch her explain how she created this Frida portrait with wool. Wow!  She and her husband recently moved to town from Highland Co. to grow her business. She does AMAZING things with wool - including parts of her outfit! It was great to meet her and wonderful her shop is now at home in Staunton - at 6 Byers Street on the wharf.
I may have been glued to my table but my joking with a man from New Orleans - who said he drove here yesterday and was headed back today - brought me a donut from The Baker's Dozen truck. Thanks New Orleans man! I'm finishing it off while watching our friend's daughter on the jungle gym in front of my table.
The Washboard Wonders on the Bridge Day Stage (love the bunting!) with the train whizzing by in the background. Seems just right.
The Albemarle Morris Men, traditional English folk dancing group in a dance celebrating the ancient rhythms of agriculture.
As we finally packed up around 5pm, we ran up to the Bridge to catch a selfie on Bridge Day.
And I learned what to do with a hash tag - sort of!  #bridgedaystaunton 
Thanks to my husband for capturing most of these photos and this little video!  I smile to see people I know and people I met at Bridge Day in this collection. I guess we are starting to feel like we know Staunton a bit more and always grateful to be a part of this "fiercely independent" creative community of good people.

I loved meeting everyone who came to my table:
my best fb fan and lifelong Stauntonian,
a couple from opposite coasts who settled on a farm on Spring Hill and loved raising their kids in Staunton,
the special education director from Boston and NYC former stage painter who came down to camp in WV but ended up in Staunton to their delight,
a father who moved his family here when they could work remotely - and just bought a house!
new-to-Staunton renters looking for the right one to buy,
the cute Virginia Tech couple planning a wedding,
the writer of a YA thriller set in the old Western State DeJarnette building,
the IIT-trained architect turned music instructor,
the wharf resident whose flat sounds like a gallery of art featuring his building and had tales to tell of movie filmings just outside his front door - glad my bridge drawing will join that gallery!
wonderful Staunton friends and neighbors, some we saw the night before, some not since this cold winter set in.
quite a few of our friends from church (love you guys!)

My favorite part of selling at Bridge Day was meeting the variety of interesting, talented, motivated, good-natured people who decided to make Staunton home.
Thank You!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

A New STAUNTON Virginia Drawing for Bridge Day: A Week-long Work-in-Progress

It's Bridge Day in Staunton Virginia!  And I'll be selling this NEW DRAWING, among other Prints and Postcards.  It's a gorgeous day - I am super anxious - but I am happy to have finally brought this drawing to fruition. 
After looking at the Bridge from all sides, on-site and in photos, I began drawing. Here is a picto-journey of the drawing process:
Monday April 21: I figured the BRIDGE would be the best place to start!
Then, I had so much fun rendering the rocky cut that allowed the tracks. i may have embellished the angularity of the rock just a bit! And, of course, the old water tower.

Tuesday April 22: That curve of the tracks and the station awning and the train....  
I drew the quintessential STAUNTON station sign.

Tuesday afternoon I visited with Kay Shirey of Rachel's Quilts, a neat, colorful shop and workshop in the Depot. She had just finished hanging the last of the white bunting that signals BRIDGE DAY! She'd marked the spots from last year - impressive - so it's hung just the same. I gushed about how much I loved the bunting last year - I used it in my other Staunton drawings.

So, the bunting started to go up in my drawing - with a little artistic embellishment in Bridge Day colors.  The Sears House too on top of Sears Hill!

Wednesday April 23:  The Depot is an amazing building in all of its phases. It deserves a drawing all its own.  To allow the Bridge to be the center star of this drawing, I rendered the depot in section.

The portion of the wharf across from the Bridge landing and toward Augusta Street is another favorite view, with the tops of Staunton's architectural icons - Masonic, St Francis, Courthouse, Mary Baldwin popping up above their parapets. This was kind of hard to draw, and then to place it behind the depot in section.

Thursday April 24: Something was missing...and the foreground was looking bare. Of course - the cabooses!  Good thing I can just run down to the site again and study them...

Friday April 25: Putting it all together, drawing the title banner, balloons and hours and shades of watercolor sky. 

And here it is: 
The Sears Hill Bridge & Staunton Depot
Bridge Day 2014

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Building a New Drawing for Bridge Day: Images of the Bridge / Depot / Wharf in STAUNTON Virginia

Bridge Day 2013, Staunton VA
I've wanted to draw this place - the Sears Hill Bridge / Train Depot / Wharf area - for the past year and jumped at the chance to make a new drawing to celebrate the 2nd Annual Bridge Day this year! Lucky for me, one of the organizers contacted me with an opportunity to be one of a few arts vendors. The proposition struck my memory chords to a very happy Bridge Day 2013 - the first one. I was buried in my Master's thesis on 18th c. Bird's-Eye Views. A short outing to ascend the Bridge, hear some bluegrass, eat a fresh-made-on-the-spot potato donut, see the Stauntonians out in force and the amazing view of Staunton from Sears Hill was a *bright spot* in that heavy month. Since then, we bring friends often to the bridge on a tour about town or for a picnic at Woodrow Park and then try to convince them to move here. I've wandered there often lately to photograph and think about how to draw this amazing, complex space. Here are a few of my favorite parts, in photos:
Bridge Day 2013, Staunton VA
Bridge Day 2013, Staunton VA
Bridge Day 2013, Staunton VA
Bridge Day 2013, Staunton VA
Railroad Depot, Staunton VA. Summer 2013.
Railroad Wharf, Middlebrook Avenue, Staunton VA. Summer 2013.
Rail Statipn Awning, CSX Tracks, Staunton VA. Summer 2013.
Sears Hill Bridge and Depot. Staunton, VA. Winter 2014.
Sears Hill Bridge and Depot. Staunton, VA. Winter 2014.
Sears House, Sears Hill. Staunton, VA. Winter 2014.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Washington DC Cherry Blossoms: VISION vs REALITY

The Washington Monument marks the National Mall and the District of Columbia from miles afar. During April each year, the cherry blossoms bloom all around the Mall and the Tidal Basin. This gift of hundreds of trees from Japan frames the Washington Monument and the national monuments in white and light pink blossoms. The drawing/watercolor is soft and light like a Japanese floral painting.
Postcards, too! lovely. I imagined I would float along the Tidal Basin to the scent of cherry blossoms, beneath their bountiful boughs of pink petals....

If you prefer the VISION over the REALITY, find your Washington DC Cherry Blosoms Print HERE