Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Watercolor Finished!

Well, at least it's close enough to being finished that I can show it to you here. And once again I realize I am not a patient person... Actually, that was totally evident throughout this watercolor project which requires that you let layers dry before you work on or near them again. I had to actually walk away so I'd leave it alone. 
I thought this would be my least favorite projects of them all, but it turns out it was the one I enjoyed the most aside from the first charcoal drawing. This was definitely the most difficult of all the projects because with watercolor I really had to plan ahead as it is a most unforgiving medium (as I know from years of watching Daniel master it!).
The paper we used for this painting was Richeson Premium 300lb. cold press watercolor paper, and I used Winsor & Newton Winslor Blue and Burnt Sienna watercolor paints.
Tonight I am going back in to work on my graphite drawing some more and then on Thursday we have our final critique and are done with the class. I can hardly believe it!! It was so totally worth it!

I have much more to share with you, but that'll have to wait for another post. I hope you are all doing well and that all of you dealing with the floods up north are safe and sound!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Saturday Morning

Last night I slept for 10 (TEN!!) hours, in which I had three very vivid dreams that took place in parking garages, one of them in Zurich. I wonder what was going on with me?! In one of the dreams, I was a man with a wife and a son. Try figuring that one out... I always joke that the many dreams I have every night are my own personal movie theater - and never a scary dream in the bunch!
I probably would have slept even longer, if Daniel hadn't woken me up with: "Do you want to go to the cafe for breakfast?"
There's never a question which cafe he's talking about. Gallery Espresso, our favorite hangout in Savannah!
And breakfast doesn't just mean excellent coffee (a double latte for me!) and good eats, but it means spending a good long time relaxing, reading, looking at art and people watching.
It's probably good that we don't live right in Savannah or I might just move into this place!
Wishing all of you a good Saturday morning. And to those of you in the path of Hurricane Irene, I am thinking of you and keeping my fingers crossed that you are all safe!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Stormy Tybee Beach

We went to Tybee beach for just a little bit this afternoon to see the effects of Hurricane Irene passing well to the east of us.
It was warm, windy, rainy at times and aside from experienced surfers, nobody was allowed in the water.
The waves were amazing!!
And while waiting to pay for parking, I discovered these colorful beauties in someone's back yard. They look like they should be a painting, don't you think?
To all of you who will be in the path of this huge storm, I hope you, your loved ones and your homes will stay safe!

I'll be thinking of you!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Watercolor - WIP

Today in class, I had to finally put the first watercolor washes on this drawing/painting. I say "had to" because I am so cautious when it comes to those things where I could really mess up. There are some students in my class who jump right in and were painting with watercolor last class already. I admire that! 

I did my outline drawing first and then today I couldn't put it off any longer - I had to apply watercolor, sink or swim. And you know what? So far so good! I put down about three layers and am starting to see some nice values. I can already tell that I'm going to have fun working on some of the more detailed areas. Plus, I am amazed how different it is to paint with watercolor on really good paper rather than in our sketchbooks.

In other news, it looks like hurricane Irene is going to miss us here in Savannah and I really hope it won't make landfall at all. Then this afternoon, I heard that there was a pretty big earthquake in Virginia - I hope all of you are all alright in that area.

That said, I wish you all a peaceful Tuesday!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Middleton Place

For my birthday, Daniel had planned a weekend away for us without telling me where he was taking us. We had to postpone it for a week because I had sprained my ankle, but Friday he finally told me where we were going: Middleton Place near Charleston in South Carolina.
Such a gorgeous estate and strangely enough, half my family has already visited and stayed there - it's one of my aunt's favorite places!
And no wonder, it is simply beautiful. The historic houses are interesting and very well preserved with the old furniture and some amazing art, the gardens are stunning, the location on the Ashley River gorgeous and the stable yard adds another layer of interest and fun.
This little house is part of the rice fields growing Carolina Gold rice, some of which are still planted today for us tourists to see.
Handsome man and beautiful backdrop!
The restaurant at Middleton Place served local low-country food, which was absolutely delicious! I could have ordered about five more of those bread puddings with bourbon peaches. Actually, I ate one after lunch AND again after dinner... :)
This little guy sunned himself outside our window while we were eating lunch. Aren't those amazing colors?
Now, the inn where we stayed is on a different part of the huge estate and was fantastic. We both loved  the modern architecture
and spacious room (totally forgot to take a picture of it) with a view of the Ashley River.
On Saturday, Daniel had organized a massage therapist to come to the hotel to give me a massage. I couldn't believe it - I was spoiled rotten I tell you!!
After the massage (one of the best I've ever had - I like deep tissue massage and she had a gift for that!), a little champagne and then off to an excellent dinner with a fried green tomato napoleon for an appetizer and then delicious crab cakes for me and freshly caught wreckfish (what a name!) for Daniel. Dessert you ask? Of course! Another bread pudding for me and a Huguenot torte with cinnamon ice cream for Daniel. Yum!!
The next morning, we had breakfast at the lakehouse,
although I wouldn't really call this lovely pond a lake.
Still it was beautiful and cool enough to sit outside.
After breakfast came the best part. When you stay at the inn, it includes access to Middleton Place and all the tours. You can just walk on over and enjoy - and all that before the general public is admitted. So, we basically had the whole place to ourselves yesterday morning.
It was gorgeous and peaceful as the world was just waking up!
As we were walking, I had just mentioned to Daniel that I had not seen any evidence of alligators in all the ponds, when we spied this little guy. He still had his baby stripes. On the walkway by this pond, we saw some tracks of a huge alligator going into the river... So, they really were there, just not out in the open.
I don't think I'd ever seen a rice field, so I had to snap a photo of some of the plants. The posts of the old beds in the plantation house had carvings of rice plants - very elegant and pretty!

I love this photo Daniel took into the sun with the silhouette of the heron and the little gator head.

The magnificent Middleton Oak, which is estimated to be several hundred years old, was an impressive sight to see!

It's good this photo of me wasn't a close up. By then I was sweating profusely - it was so humid and already very warm in the sun!

Loved this statue!

I couldn't get enough of all the reflections in the water. Made me want to get my paints out!

Nature's sculpture - two cypress knees.
This was a gorgeous vine growing on other plants. Does anyone have an idea of what it is?
Not much was blooming there during the summer, but the few flowers we saw were stunning!
Another favorite part of the whole experience, the stable yards at Middleton Place with all the farm animals.

This was Eliza's House, which you can read more about here.

The barn was beautiful (can you see the horses peaking out?) and reminded me of barns in my home town in Germany.

Three resident kittens entertained us for quite a while...
Water buffalo visited by a peacock!
Another peacock near the former slave cemetery and in front of a huge bamboo stand.
A pond covered with duckweed. At some point we thought we saw a big fish, then thought it was a thrashing alligator, only to discover that it was giant snapping turtle that had caught a fish. Not a pond I'd want to swim in...
As we were leaving another look back over the still waters.

Then this egret sent us on our way... Thank you, Daniel, for a perfect weekend!!
We are planning to go back frequently (when the heirloom camellias are blooming in the winter and the azaleas in the spring), and are even planning to take Winslow. The Inn allows you to bring your pet, and while dogs are not permitted in the formal (touristy) part of Middleton Place, the rest of the huge estate has miles and miles of beautiful trails. We'll just have to wait until it gets a little cooler...
Now back home, this week my focus will be on working on my watercolor for class and getting ready just in case Hurricane Irene decides to follow the track they are predicting and make landfall on the Georgia coast. At this point, I'm not worried, just getting prepared...

Wishing you a beautiful Monday and a great week ahead!