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New Smyrna – drawing in the dunes

I wanted to visit my friend, Samuel Ruder, in New Smyrna Beach.

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He is a great artist, and taught me a lot about how to make a living as an artist.

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We visited a 1 1/2 mile boardwalk where you can walk through a natural dune area.

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A lot of these natural areas are being destroyed to make room for resorts.

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One reason the dunes are so important, they are a natural habitat for the sea turtle.  Samuel’s watercolor painting (above) illustrates the importance of the dunes.  Visit his site here to see more of his work:  http://samuelruder.com/cart/
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We visited the dunes 2 separate times

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Each visit, we took our art supplies and made work inspired by the dunes.

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We were rewarded for our hard work by a gorgeous sunset!

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of course, the dunes are beside a beach which is another separate place for inspiration…maybe next time.

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Athens Theater / Mt. Dora Art Show

I love the coast, but Florida’s interior is more familiar to me.

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A lot of Kentucky racehorses are raised in central Florida.  Much of the state is on a similar limestone that gets in the grass and makes strong horse bones.

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And cows…

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This bull with horns ran up to me…he wanted a treat.

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I discovered a treat while driving through Deland, FL – The Athens Theatre

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There aren’t a lot of old things in Florida, so this beautiful theater from the 1920’s got my attention.

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I was lucky to meet Alan Ware, one of the creative forces behind the theater.
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Alan gave me a tour of the restored theater.

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It was originally built for vaudeville performances.

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And was visited by many famous performers

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This panel was a surprise that was uncovered during the restoration.

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The ‘Green Room’ under the stage

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The building had a great creative energy, and I hope to return to the Athens Theater soon to catch a show, and explore more of Deland.
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From Deland, I drove to Mt. Dora to visit my friend Samuel Ruder  (more about him later)

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While enjoying the art, I tried a new food called Aripas.  It is a Mexico/Central American Corn pancake stuffed with mozzarella cheese.  I have never heard of them, but they are a common fair food at Florida art shows.

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A great zydeco band, the Porchdogs, performed during the show.

Mt. Dora created a great cultural experience with their art show.  It was a feast for the eyes, ears and mouth.
I also

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Jim + Jennifer

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In St. Augustine, I met two of my best friends.  Jim Lally and Jennifer Gleason.

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Jennifer is a local farmer, and an artist with food.  Visit her website at www.sunflowersundries.com to see what I mean. We shared a campsite, and she cooked an amazing gourmet meal over the fire.

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That night, we watched the moonrise over the ocean, then woke up early for a sunrise walk on the beach.

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Jim collected shells, and started to create a ‘mosaic’ art piece with shells at the point where the ocean meets the land.

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Fascinated with his project, I used my camera to film the process.

Here is the finished video:


We combined our talents to create this video.  Jim wrote and narrated the poem, Jennifer edited the footage.

The Cox Gallery in Maysville was having an opening for their latest exhibit ‘Visual Poetry’ where artists were challenged to combine art and literature.  We were able to edit and upload our video in time for the opening.  The video was special because it was created on Olivia’s birthday, it is dedicated to her.

This is the first time I have collaborated with other artists while on the road.   The creative energy was incredible, and now I am confident that my idea of an “Art Circus” will be something special.  I am going to be on the road for another week.  If any artists are interested in coming down to Florida to make some art, let’s meet up!  I’ll be in the Ocala National Forest from Thursday-Sunday if anybody wants to escape the cold and do some camping.

 

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The St. Augustine Blues

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I was looking forward to visiting St. Augustine.  It is the oldest city in America (1500’s)

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It has all the things I love:

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Old Buildings

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Interesting architecture

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Boats

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Good weather

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And a little bit kooky history with Ponce de Leon and his search for the fountain of youth

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In spite of  all the inspiring surroundings, I was overcome with a sadness and depression.
I felt like the whole ‘living my dream’ thing was a huge mistake.

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I shared some of my feelings on facebook, and got some amazing feedback about staying inspired and  the creative process.

I was reminded that my experience was not unique…everybody goes through some creative ‘block’ from time to time.

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I realized that I was trying too hard to produce something creative and amazing every day.

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I was like a fish swimming against the tide, I was putting out a lot of effort, and getting nowhere.

I should just go with the flow, and let the ideas come to me.

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So I took a long (3 hour) walk on the beach, with no camera, no sketchbook, and no goal of making anything.  I was just going to enjoy being a part of the world.

I had a breakthrough while watching fishermen at work.  I had never seen that style of fishing, and I don’t know exactly why, but the ‘block’ vanished,  I was inspired again, I felt good about my plan, and I was happy to be out in the world!

So today’s lesson was:  don’t try so hard + go with the flow.

ps.  even though i didn’t take any art supplies on my walk,  i did have my phone, and was able to get a few photos of the fishermen

 

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Savannah

I first heard about Savannah because it has one of the best art schools on the east coast.IMG_0431
An interesting thing about the school is that it is one of the rare places where you can get a degree in Architecture Historical Preservation.IMG_0437
The school has been a big part of preserving a large part of Savannah’s Historical district.

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Savannah is one of the few urban areas in the south with a lots of buildings from the pre-civil war era.
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most of the cities in the south were destroyed by the North.
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With it’s many blocks of old buildings, a visit to Savannah is like a trip back in time.

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The neighborhoods are built around ‘squares’ with parks in the middle.

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Sorry for so sharing so many pictures, but these are just a tiny fraction of the beautiful parts of Savannah.

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You can imagine how hard it has been for me, as an artist, to choose where I wanted to make art, and how I wanted to capture the feeling of the city

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I ended up deciding to make a broad sketch of the city and include as much as possible.

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Savannah sits on the river and is a big port town.
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There are lots of big boats along the river

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And old factories converted into shops and restaurants

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So while i was sitting by the river, I sketched this view of the town, it’s city hall, boats, bridge and warehouse with my ipad.
I feel like it captured the essence of the town, and will make a great composition for block prints and paintings.

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Beaufort, SC

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I spent the day in Beaufort, SC,  sketching with my ipad.   It isn’t quite paper, but I like the portability of drawing with a tablet.

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It’s easy to get overwhelmed when visiting a new exciting place.  Ipad sketches let me work without having to carry a lot of supplies.

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I don’t work from photos, but I will work from sketches.  For me, drawing is the most important part of the creative process.  I try my best to copy the feeling of a place without

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Now that I have figured out the composition, I can use these designs for prints, paintings, or drawings.marsh
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Beaufort is in part of the lowcountry region of the coastal US.IMG_0154
The first freed slaves of the south lived in this region, this area was relatively isolated, and over time, they created their own distinct culture.
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Gullah is a uniquely American culture based on lowcountry and African traditions.
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The Gullah culture no longer enjoys the isolation it experienced 100 years ago, and struggles to keep it’s identity in a region that is rapidly being developed into a resort destination.

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I have heard that many families are losing their land because they can’t afford the skyrocketing property taxes due to gentrification.IMG_0247
It’s easy to see why Beaufort would be such an attractive place for resort development.

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It South Carolina’s second oldest city (1711)

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and has many beautiful, historic homes.

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There are so many, I’ll only show two, but much of the city is big old houses with columns and porches.
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I had an interesting experience while visiting an ancient cemetary:

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There were confederate flags at the graves of the Civil War Veterans, and it made me pause and think about history.  Standing here where it happened is very different from reading a book.

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Family Portraits

While visiting my parents, they let me practice my photograph skills.  I’m trying to learn how to use light to make nice portraits.

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Mom and Granny.  Mom is sunburned from riding her bike  (over 1200 miles so far this year)

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I thought this one was sweet because it reminds me of daughter taking care of mother.

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Dad showing off his fancy bike wheel
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Along with his custom (Mom made it) cycling uniform

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Old Washington, KY


I love old houses. The United States is a relatively young country, so there aren’t many old buildings to start with.

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Old houses are not always easy to live in, and many old houses have been destroyed to make room for more modern, convenient buildings.


I am very lucky to live in a house from the 1790s. It is one of the oldest standing homes in Kentucky, and one of Kentucky’s first settlements, Old Washington.

Old Washington is a unique community

because the little village has a large concentration of 1790’s and early 1800’s building still standing.
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Over the years, generations of historians have worked hard to preserve the buildings and integrity of the neighborhood.

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There is a constant battle with people who want to modernize.

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I love progress, but I also love history, and I hate to see one replace the other.

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Photographs are a great way to see how things used to be,

but nothing compares to walking down a street,


and seeing these incredible buildings

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These photos only scratch the surface of all the beautiful historical things you will see in old Washington, Click here to see a photo album from a recent walk in the snow