Painting Trip, Days 5 & 6

(Note – still posting late due to exhaustion! Trying to stay current…)

Well, I missed a couple days because I was just too tuckered to write about it. I’ll catch up now…

Friday, was our last day of the painting workshop. Again I went in two hours early to paint but I could feel myself wearing down. I had packed my lunch and I also went through McD’s for a coffee and a breakfast sandwich to take with me.

Fortune was with me as I pulled into the North Entrance parking lot and there was an available space. This would make it easier to load up everything at the end of the day.

I trekked through the lot, into the building and was halfway down the hall when I realized I left my breakfast sandwich in the car. I hesitated for a moment, but I realized I DID have my coffee. That would have to do. I didn’t have it in me to go back to the car for a sandwich. And if that’s all I lose on a trip like this, then I’m good.

Up the four flights of stairs I went, hopefully for the last time, and felt my knees about to give out. By the last flight I was literally pulling myself up by the railing and willing my legs to keep going. I was just glad it was early and no one else could see me struggling on the stairs. “Last day… last day… last day…” I told myself with each step.

When John walked in about 8:30, he grinned at me and said, “first one here and last one to leave!”

“Yep,” I replied, “I don’t want to miss anything!”

Gradually everyone else wandered in and we all settled down to painting for the rest of the morning. After lunch, we looked at numerous slides of paintings and went over all the lessons of the week. It was a lot of information and I felt like my brain was completely full.

Here’s Nancy Marshall, who owns Walls Gallery at the Greenbrier with her husband David. She and artist John Poon are discussing her work in progress.

Nancy & John 2

There was a final critique of the work we had done and I was pleased with my efforts. I don’t have anything else finished enough to show here, but soon I will.

Then, of course, it was time to pack up. I had been dreading this moment. Again I was fortunate. My classmate, Lorine, offered to go get a hotel cart for us to share. Oh joy! She went for the cart and I began scraping my palette clean. It’s a messy job and I was just finishing pulling everything together when Lorine got back. Her gear is acrylic (mine is oil) so she didn’t have as much to clean up.

It was a long journey back down as the elevators are tucked away and not very convenient. When we got outside, I made two trips to the car and back. I still wanted to stop in the Gallery and chat with Nancy – who had organized this whole class – before I left. The gallery is quite beautiful and high-end for our part of the country. Nancy has been in the gallery business for over 30 years and she works tirelessly to promote truly fine art from both the artist side and the client side. Artists generally need professional representation and buyers generally need guidance in developing their collections. Nancy and David, being artists themselves, are truly expert at the entire process.

Nancy was kind enough to let me snap some photos of some of the gallery pieces for my own enjoyment later. My favorite piece in Walls Gallery right now is a very large landscape (48×60) by John Poon. My photo does not do it justice or portray the absolute glow it has in real life. Also, David makes sure that the Gallery pieces are framed correctly. He designs the frames, has them milled from raw wood and finished by skilled craftsmen in 24 carat gold leaf. Some are finished in equally fine silver. Here is John’s exquisite landscape priced at $24,500.

Poon Landscape

And here’s a funny tidbit… just a few days ago, when John arrived to teach this class, he was looking at this painting on the gallery wall. He immediately saw an area he wasn’t completely happy with, so he snuck down to the gallery at 2am, got out his paints and touched it up. He was careful to stay out of sight of security so as not to get caught!

So that’s it for this workshop for me. I am beyond tired but I can honestly say it is the best class I’ve ever taken. I can’t wait to type up my notes and think more about it all as I plan to paint more. This workshop did exactly what a workshop should do… refresh, stimulate and enable the artist to grow. I’m so happy to have had this opportunity.

Greenbrier Red Lobby1I didn’t have a chance to see a lot of the Greenbrier, but I did decide to go to the Ladies’ before I left for the last time. I had to go up to a different floor and I walked up on this “lobby” that was too big to even capture in one photo. I took a couple shots here… I can’t imagine what other gems are in this place that I didn’t get a chance to see! (You reallly MUST click on these photos to enlarge them to see the grandeur!!!!)Greenbrier Red Lobby2

Driving back to Lewisburg I felt the tiredness wash over me so I did not go out to eat. I had enough leftovers at my room that needed to be consumed or they would go to waste. So one more chat with Lynn, a bite to eat, a hot bath and to bed. In the morning I need to pack up and move on. Lynn’s home was a delightful respite that made my stay so enjoyable.

Now here’s an unexpected twist…

I’ve been planning this trip for weeks and somehow I did not book accommodations for Saturday night. What?

Well, nothing to do but roll with it. My next stop is a motel in Knoxville TN so I called and asked them to add Saturday night to my Sunday night reservation. Turns out it wasn’t so simple. I had a special rate for Sunday because I had booked more than two weeks ahead ($84) but now there was some big ball game in town and there were no rooms available anywhere. However, Country Inn & Suites would have mercy on me and squeeze me in on Saturday night for an additional $300…

I guffawed… and guffawed again because I’m so tired I’m slaphappy.

So a last minute scramble on AirBNB found me a room for two nights in Sevierville TN for even less than the Country Inn’s special rate. I enjoyed calling them back to completely cancel.

When I woke up Saturday morning it was time to pack. I rolled out of bed and went down the 3 stairs to the main floor and my knees screamed in protest. Ohhh… I finally let down my vigilance and realized I’m gonna pay for all those stairs. I need the Tin Man’s oil can for my joints and some ibuprofen to keep going.

Lynn and I hugged goodbye and I was on the road right at 9am. I had almost 5 hours to go through the mountains and it took me 6 hours because I stopped a couple times. Which was fine with me as I’m not in a rush and I’m enjoying the drive and the view. I actually saw 3 different accidents – all on the other side of the divided highway, thank goodness. One was a jack-knifed truck with traffic at a standstill for about a mile. People were milling around outside their cars while they waited.

I couldn’t quite see the second accident – only the wrecker’s lights – and again the road was closed and traffic backed up for a good mile. Eeks. Made me be much more watchful.

The third one was a lady who had catapulted right down into the middle of the large grass median. She had left a trail of deep tracks and was just emerging from her vehicle looking pretty shaken. Must have been a wild ride but she looked ok. Yikes!

At any rate, I found my destination even after missing the turnoff twice. But that’s normal for me. Now I’m settled into someone’s Mountain home, first floor all to myself. The owner, Liz, and her adult son James are extremely welcoming. They fussed over me nonstop and made sure I was comfortable. Liz also told me to keep the outside door shut all the time because the free-roaming chickens like to come right on in. And that is true! Every time I went to the car, they would run up to investigate. They must think seeing humans means food or something.

I grabbed my camera and took some photos of the chickens. Look at this strange little silky… isn’t he a hoot?!

silky 3

I also snapped some shots of the view of the mountain…

TN mountain 5

And then… my camera went black. Time to charge the battery. Except the battery won’t charge. I fooled and fooled with it but I don’t know if the problem is the battery or the charger or both. This is AGGRAVATING!!! I’m only half way through my trip and I NEED this camera! I’ll have to deal with it tomorrow.

Later in the evening I went to sit outside and Liz and her grandson Josiah came up to chat. Josiah introduced himself and gave me a nice firm handshake – which was very impressive. He and I began to talk.

“Are you a real artist?” Josiah asked.

“Indeed I am,” I replied. “Would you like to see a couple sketchbooks?”

His eyes lit up and at that, his brother and sister and Liz and her son James (the kids’ uncle) all gathered round. James is an accomplished photographer and musician and showed me an unusual instrument he was currently working to master. I can’t even tell you what it is since I had never seen one before!

So we looked through my sketchbooks and everyone loved them. Josiah asked me, “what’s your secret? How do you draw so well?”

I told him there really isn’t a secret – it’s a lot of learning and practicing, but if you want to do it you probably can. Then I could see the wheels turning in Josiah’s head.

“How old do you think I am?” he asked.

“12,” I guessed.

Josiah laughed out loud.

“Up or down?” I asked.






“Don’t even tell me you are 9!”

“Yep,” grinned Josiah.

Now this kid is tall, charming, articulate and handsome. The world better watch out on this one…

“OK,” I said. “Do you think you can draw something as simple as a coffee cup?”

“Of course,” he said. “If I had a pencil and paper…”

“You wait right here,” I instructed. And I went back inside and got pencil, paper and a coffee cup. I brought it back outside and sat him on the ground and the cup on the concrete in front of him. “Draw,” I told him.

beginner coffee cupJosiah did a good job but it was a typical newbie drawing where the top of the cup was way too round and the bottom very flat. It’s just a matter of not understanding the shape of a cylinder. And how would he if no one had shown him?

I said, “OK, Josiah, good job. Now I want you to go inside and bring me out one of those bar stools.” He and his 7 year old brother Brandon raced to get the stool. We set it up in front of where I was sitting and set the coffee cup on it for me to draw. “Stand right beside me, Josiah, and watch.” He jumped into place. His Uncle James scooted right in beside him.

coffe cupI began to draw with an oval for the top and explained the perspective. Then I drew a dotted line down the center and told Josiah that since the cup is exactly the same on both sides, you can match the sides up with a center line. You also draw a curved line at the bottom. Then I pointed out the shadow and put that in.

Josiah was adorable. He kept looking at his Uncle James and saying, “I can see it before she even draws it!” And I knew he could FEEL it, which is what I always do. And that’s something you can’t teach. Josiah’s got it and he doesn’t even know it yet.

At that point a few raindrops started coming down and Josiah was disappointed to stop even though James had gotten the kids a movie to watch. So we all piled back into my digs, James drug out a folding table and set it up and we continued. Brandon wanted in on the action so James found another coffee cup, I got out some more pencils and paper and we all began to draw. I told the kids they would miss their movie if they didn’t go upstairs soon, but they didn’t care. “We never get art lessons!” exclaimed Josiah.

Josiah also grew thoughtful and told me he missed his grandmother who passed away a while back. Then he commented to me… “you have the same face.”

“A grandma face?” I asked.

“Yeh,” he said, and smiled at me. It made my heart swell right up with affection for this child I don’t even know. I hope Josiah will remember this evening when an artist visitor came to stay for a couple days at his granny’s house. I know I will.

James wrote down a supply list to get the kids (and himself) for later and we had a blast. And Brandon was exceptional! I think he has natural talent that just needs guided and he’ll end up an architect or an artist or both.

Finally the kids’ parents came back to collect them and they were still in my place drawing their little hearts out. Completely missed their movie and didn’t care. I even fed them some candy that they don’t normally get, so they were happy. In fact, Brandon took a couple pieces of candy and ran them upstairs to his little sister Serenity, age 5, so she didn’t miss anything. He’s a sweet little guy.

So my trip continues to be eventful and fun and full of the unexpected. Now I need to find a camera battery or charger or both. Egads… of all times!!!

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. James Flash
    Sep 13, 2015 @ 19:56:28

    Hey, this is James. We all have enjoyed your visit with us so much. I loved the way you told exactly what happened. It was fun to read. That was funny how the boys didn’t care that they didn’t get to see Ant Man the movie. lol
    I am going to continually remind the kids of everything that you taught us.
    The instrument I was playing is called an Erhu and there are some very beautiful Erhu songs out there on youtube and music sites. Check it out
    So you know how it should sound. lol
    Thank you so much for the sweet care packages you made us, the children will be so excited when I tell them, they wont want to wait to get them. This has been such a memorable occasion for us! tysm 🙂


  2. Patti
    Sep 18, 2015 @ 01:22:45

    This was priceless and these kids are jewels!! No wonder your heart swelled. We love being “grannys” and when it’s to children you just met?…….Marvelous!!! ~ Patti ❤


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