Stone Creek houses many little waterfalls and surrounds a few little islands! These islands have been cleared and named as well… Solomons Stone Island, and Circle Stone Island. Each island has been cleared so that people can camp and enjoy the water all around them.
My friend Eli ArtSparkle came to visit last weekend and I took her out to the woods and let her pick the spot we would sit for our artmaking. This specific spot is a beautiful place to sit on huge rocks that Brenda and Theo arranged.
Having Eli here really reinforced that my idea of a Plein Air workshop here at Burns Valley is something that I must plan! I can only imagine what beautiful work would be created from having many different artists here, inspired by the land.
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The sound of water flowing always brings me back to center. Helping me to let go of all my thoughts and feelings in the moment. Showing me how quickly things change, and how no matter what… life still goes on.
Sitting in the woods at Burns Valley Herbals and Retreat has really given me a deeper realization of how important being in nature is for our being. The sounds of the earth fill my mind and heart, allowing me to be present in each breath. From birds flying overhead, to cows in the valley and peepers in the pond… the sounds of spring help wash away the cold winter.
Spending time in the woods with gratitude for each moment. Being able to see how the brown dead leaves make way for new green growth on the side of the mountain. Water rushing over the mossy rocks. Every now and then finding a back up of leaves and branches that need clearing. Just like our lives… every now and then, seeing how there is a build up of emotion or attachment to things that no longer serve our highest good.
I have been drawn to jump right into the water to clear away what is holding it back from flowing freely. Using this analogy as a reminder to keep my own energy flowing freely. Every now and then, jumping in the water to release, and to celebrate what we’ve let go of and what we have to look forward to.
Moving debris, and rearranging rocks to create a bank where we want to the water to flow. Such is life. Water is life.
Yesterday and today I had the pleasure of attending another Baltimore County public schools Art teacher workshop, Plein Air Painting at Cromwell Valley park.
This park is BEAUTIFUL! A hidden gem for sure. There are beautiful old structures, meadows, many different trees, and a beautiful creek! We found beautiful rocks, river glass, and a mulberry tree!
It was supposed to rain both days, but it held out for us to get two beautiful days to paint plein air.
En plein air (French pronunciation: [ɑ̃ plɛn ɛːʁ], French for outdoors, or plein air painting) is the act of painting outdoors.
My friend Eli and I chose a beautiful spot at the creek that faced lovely rocks!
Normally I paint with acrylics and with an more abstract flair, but these past two days I decided to paint with watercolors. I used Jack Richeson Watercolor palette and I love to results.
One problem I found in the beginning was that I needed to retrain my brain to see the landscape lightest to darkest. I didn’t leave any of the white from the paper in my first painting. So that is something that I really worked on during the second day.
For my second painting I started out very light. It took more time, but I felt less frustrated with trying to get the right values where the light was reflecting.
Overall this workshop has given me an opportunity to hone my skills with using watercolor.
Thanks for another awesome professional development, BCPS!
For the first three days of summer break, I participated in a Baltimore County Public Schools Art Educator workshop at the Hampton National Historic Site.
The first workshop was “Painting with Pastels. We got an overview of some of the history of the site prior to choosing where and what to create and were able to roam where we pleased to create art inspired by the park.
We gathered together around 2pm to discuss all of the work we’ve created! The workshop was scheduled to be over at 3 but we didn’t even finish our talk until 3:40! Art teachers really like to discuss each others work.
The next workshop was Plein Air Painting for 2 days! The weather was gorgeous and I surely got some vitamin D. I love being able to create art inspired by a place I am drawn to. The Hampton National Historic Site is one of those places. Baltimore County Teachers have come to Hampton for the past 4 years to practice our skills using our very own National Park. Most teachers use this workshop to create their own art for the Student/Teacher Art Exhibit the Hampton Historic Inc. facilitates in April. Teachers also take their inspiration back to their classroom and teach their students about Hampton while creating art that is inspired by the site.
Last year there were over 100 submissions into the 4th Annual Student/Teacher Art Exhibit. This is a perfect opportunity for teachers and students to be recognized for their amazing work.
This year I decided to do an intuitive painting for the plein air workshop. I used tools, and my color combination layer to create an emotionally fill painting.
When I first started painting I was drawn to the Bee Balm flowers, so I started with them in mind. After making my first two layers of colors I noticed a mark that looked like a woman! I knew I had to keep her, as I felt like maybe she was Eliza Ridgely or her daughter.
Eliza Ridgely was an avid gardener, and in the 1830s and 1840s she improved the gardens and enhanced the landscape at Hampton, planting exotic trees such as the Lebanon Cedar which still stands on the house’s south lawn. She is said to have brought this herself as a seedling from Europe, carrying it in a shoebox. She did a lot for her slaves, was which was unheard of in her time. She took care to make sure they were clothed, fed, given gifts during Christmas, church services on Sunday and even marriages between the slaves, not caring that slaves weren’t able to actually be apart of a civil act.
Eliza’s daughter, Eliza, did not want to be the lady of the house and take over the duties her mother had so willingly adopted. Her daughter wanted to be friends with the slaves, and to be free to be a normal girl. She felt trapped in the life she was born into.
While I was painting I kept hearing, “everyone has a story.” A lot of times the major story focused on at the mansion is the story of the enslaved people at Hampton. I appreciate the awareness and knowledge I gain from the park rangers about the life of the enslaved. I know their story is vital to the Ridgely family history… without their slaves, life for the Ridgely’s wouldn’t have been the same. But it is also important to see that within every experience, there are multiple perspectives, there are multiple stories to be told.
The Ojibwe teach that not one road is higher than the next…that each road shines light on the others. Each of our perspectives, each of our stories are valuable and vital to the totality of our life experiences.
I am grateful to be able to learn multiple perspectives about the history of the Hampton National Historic Site, from life as an enslaved person to the life of the family. I am able to learn about plants, flowers and landscaping along with art and culture in the 1800’s. There is still much to uncover and learn about Hampton and I look forward to how the history at this location resonates with experiences I have in my life.
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