Surprise, Watercolor Painting

Stone Gables B&B soon to open in Virginia countryside

B&B

Illustration; “Stone Gables,” approx.  6.5 ” x 10.25 ” watercolor and Uniball white gel pen on Saunders Waterford 300 lb watercolor paper by Black Elephant Blog author (2018)

Last weekend we were hosted for an afternoon get-together at a soon-to-open bed & breakfast establishment tucked away in the rolling hills of Virginia wine country.  Once a barn, this establishment is now more like an estate with lush green fields, hills, a pond and a pool.  A  tall water fountain, the view beyond of outdoor terraces, a screened-porch bar area with tall tables and high chairs for enjoying the view, a gorgeous dining room and enormous well-appointed kitchen are only what greets you when you enter.  Beyond this are six beautiful bedrooms each with a modern well-designed bath, including a bridal suite.   You simply cannot imagine that this was a barn though some of the features of the barn have been kept in the current design.

Best of all, I’ve known one of the owners since she was a very little girl–many years ago in a distant land in Asia–where we both were living as part of foreign service families assigned abroad.  This B&B is a dream of hers and it’s now coming to life.  We were so pleased to get an early bird look at what will soon be available to others.  It’s called Stone Gables B& B and is near Leesburg, VA and a half hour’s drive from the Silver Line Metro station in Reston, VA, from which point it’s only 30-40 minute train ride into the heart of Washington, D.C.  Future guests here are in for a wonderful surprise!

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urban sketching, Watercolor Painting

Georgetown Market Sketch

Dean &Deluca

Illustration: “Dean & DeLuca cafe,” Watercolor in Stillman & Birn Beta Series sketchbook by Black Elephant Blog author (2018)

After nearly a month of rain, the sun is shining in Washington, D.C.  and the humidity is high.  This is more normal weather for mid-summer in this area.  Georgetown in Washington, D.C. was buzzing with visitors and university students this afternoon.  This is a part of the city I’ve come to know well since I first arrived here to attend the university many years ago.  It’s always nice to see the townhouses of Georgetown with their interesting and sometimes quirky architectural details, ornate backyards surrounded by tall brick walls,  the mature trees shading the streets, the great colors, and the tracks of the abandoned streetcars.  There are memories everywhere in this area.

Later, after a bit of walking and shopping, it was time to duck into an air conditioned place–the market house of Dean & DeLuca–and have an iced coffee and sketch with some fellow weekend artists, while others nearby read a book or chatted with friends.

This historic red-brick building dates back to 1865 when it was constructed on top of the foundations of an even earlier 1796 structure – Washington’s oldest market, according to Architect of the Capital blog.

Georgetown Market 1937

Photo: “Georgetown Market,” National Park Service, 1937, Architect of the Capital blog

Running alongside it, on a passageway between M Street and the C&O Canal, is a dramatic green metal arcade covering a brick patio space where one can sit at any of the many tables.   (One can see from the black-and-white photo of the market as it appeared in 1937 that this arcade  structure did not exist then and is an addition to the market.)

inset

Illustration: Detail of sketch in watercolor and Uniball gold gel pen by Black Elephant Blog author (2018)

It’s a great people-watching spot, and many of the sketchers today drew other people, either from real life or from their extremely rich imaginations.  It’s always fun to see the artwork other people produce on these occasions, and to hear what they are thinking about art and the work that they do.  The stories they tell are reminders, as if one needed any, that the times are very different today for many people than they were even a few years ago.  Issues raised included the cost of a university education, living in Washington, D.C., and the contrasts with countries abroad that consider education and health care public goods and thus ensure that they are affordable.  All in all, there was much “food for thought” after an afternoon spent sketching in a food market.

 

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Uncategorized, Watercolor Painting

Washington D.C. Capitol Watercolor

Capitol

Illustration: “U.S. Capitol,” Watercolor and pen-and-ink on Arches CP paper approx 14″ x 9″ by Black Elephant Blog author (2018)

In July, tourists of many nationalities visit Washington, D.C.  On a short walk, one can hear Polish, Spanish, Chinese and other languages.  The nation’s capitol is a visitor-friendly place, with lots of sights within easy walking distance of each other, great restaurants, and good transportation.  Plus, lately, the weather’s been great too, making it fun for locals to join in the admiration of this beautiful city.  On such an outing today, I encountered a few very forward squirrels, who apparently wanted a closer look to make sure my paints were not edible.

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Uncategorized, Watercolor Painting

Beach Scene

Our week at the beach has been lovely, with clear sunny skies, and a breeze to keep things cool.  But soon it’s time to pack up and head home, so all the family is making the most of the beach, gazing at the water, and enjoying the sound of the waves.

beach scene

Illustration: “Cheers,” Watercolor on Arches rough paper (approx. 10″ x 7″) by Black Elephant Blog author (2018)

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Watercolor Painting

Lazy Days in Duck, N.C.

The week after the holiday week is proving to be a quiet one here in the Outer Banks.  People are enjoying the beautiful weather–breezy and sunny without humidity–by biking, going to the beach, or walking on the boardwalk on the sound side.  It’s been great to paint the scene below from a spot on the boardwalk in the shade of a tree conveniently located behind a popular pizza joint playing music from the ’80s and 90s: with a perfect breeze and a gorgeous scene, it’s obvious you can’t ask for anything more than this!  The tide is low and the kayakers setting out right below this promenade have to drag their kayaks across some muddy banks and reeds before being able to float.

Soundside

Illustration: “Currituck Sound”, Watercolor and gouache on Arches CP watercolor paper by Black Elephant Blog (2018)

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Uncategorized, urban sketching, Watercolor Painting

Beautiful Boston in Plein Air

Beautiful days in Boston this week have made it a delight to do some sketching outdoors.

Boston Commons

Illustration: “Boston Common,” Watercolor and pen-and-ink in a sketchbook by Black Elephant Blog author (2018)

Lots of people are sitting around outside or out biking, jogging, rowing, dog-walking, playing softball, shopping, sipping wine or coffee, and enjoying the great weather. Sun worshippers pack outdoor cafes.  There is a holiday feeling here in the middle of the week. You do not want to be working in an office on such spectacular days!

CharlesRiver

Illustration: “Harvard Boathouse” in watercolor by Black Elephant Blog author (2018)

One can soak up the strength and vitality of this country in a great city like Boston.

BostonPublicLibrary

Illustration: “Boston Public Library,” watercolor and pen-and-ink in a Pentalic sketchbook by Black Elephant Blog author 2018)

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