Saturday, January 20, 2007


We had a wonderful day today, packing up in the morning to head out on a mini road trip. Since Derek and I first met, one of our favorite things to do has been driving around the South, exploring the back roads and secret small-town finds. Today we deliberately headed to Cannon County, TN, where we were looking at a house (and also the landscape!). We ended up exploring a couple of natural areas. First, we drove to the top of Short Mountain, which is only 2092' but is the highest point in the region and had an incredible view of the Cumberland Plateau and central basin. After a burger at Joe's Place in Woodbury, TN we ended up at Flat Rock Cedar Glades and Barrens just outside Murfreesboro. It is a private piece of land owned by the Nature Conservancy, mostly cedars and limestone. We managed to get in a short hike at dusk, where I spotted this stand of sumac. I have always loved its luscious color even in the dead of winter. I couldn't resist painting it tonight.

Friday, January 19, 2007

winter dusk

I started my day very late today, and by the time I had finished the piece on my easel, it was almost sunset. This tree grows in the backyard of my next door neighbor, and the sun sets just behind it in the winter. I have always loved it, especially at sunset when the color seeps through the spaces in the branches. It was another cold, colorless day here in Nashville, but the dusk brought out all the brilliance that the day lacked.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

ohio dream

Talking to my family today made me just a little homesick for Ohio. My brother is planning a visit there over the weekend, and even though this time of year is not quite as hospitable as the summer, I still miss the landscape and the starkness of the winter, too. I found this image among several that I photographed in Ohio during a visit there last summer, along SR643 on the way to Holmes County. It is one of the most beautiful spots with a long view of hillside after hillside receding into the distance.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

prayer tree

This solid, wonderful tree grows outside the window of our yoga/meditation room, providing a perfect symbol of life and the natural world as a daily reminder. I have often wanted to paint it, and today seemed like a good day. It was so cold outside, and all the starkness of winter was apparent in the twisting branches of all the leafless trees. It was the kind of day with very little color anywhere, just dry, dormant texture. I could not think of a better image to convey this than my favorite everyday tree, whose bare bones are only visible in this season.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


On a very memorable trip to Madison County, NC, we hiked to the top of a mountain with our friends Lee and Naomi. At the top there was a bald where cattle were pastured, offering the an almost 360 degree view of the mountains surrounding. It was a steep and invigorating climb that we did not begin until nearly dusk, but we made the top in plenty of time to take some deep breaths and enjoy the meadow before heading back down along the fencerow. The sun went down during our descent and we made the rest of the hike in the dark, but it was an evening I will never forget, full of magic and promise.

Monday, January 15, 2007

...then again, maybe not

It seems that my trip to Egypt was not meant to be. After a week of battling flu and fever, and after two antibiotics, I dragged myself out of bed to the airport this morning, checked in, and promptly became so sick that I could not even get through security. They pulled my bag from the flight and that was that. So, after spending the day in bed fighting off the side effects of this latest antibiotic and doing plenty of crying, I decided to paint a Nile landscape from an image gathered on my previous trip. Hopefully we will reschedule in the next couple of months, but for now it is Tennessee for me.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


For the next 10 days, I will be travelling in Egypt with my mother. We will be in the Western Desert in the Dahkla and Kharga Oases for part of the trip, and the rest of the trip will be in Cairo. I will still be completing a new painting each day, but since I will not always have web access, I will be posting new pieces whenever technology allows! I am really looking forward to the change of scenery and subject matter (and media--since I will not be able to take flammable oil paints with me, I will be working in acrylic and mixed media.)

spoon creek

My kindergarten teacher Mrs. Doughty owned this dairy farm on Spoon Creek, and we visited there on a field trip to watch the cows being milked. The school bus passed the farm every morning, and whenever I visit home, I find myself driving past it to see the huge white farmhouse in the distance. I have always loved the way the land rests in the valley and thought of it as my ideal farm. With the cows grazing in the old pastures and the creek cutting deep through the land, it has always made a strong impression on me. On the particular day that I photographed this image, it was incredibly quiet there. The farm almost seemed abandoned and the old house where the farm workers lived had burned down. I stopped to listen to the absolute silence and snapped some pictures.