Sunday, November 24, 2019
New Jersey and Alabama
I wistfully watched the Manhattan skyline grow more and more distant out the back window of my uber ride from Newark airport to the New Jersey home where the workshop would be held. I wished I had planned better...New York City. In November. Glittering and glowing Christmas decorations. Magical store windows. I haven't seen New York at Christmas time since I was 8 years old. I should kick myself.
But it was wonderful getting to know Christina Debarry (President Emeritus of the Pastel Society of America, Vice-President of the Allied Artists of America), at whose home I taught and slept. And I loved spending 3 days with 17 lovely artists from the Pastel Society of New Jersey. We hired beautiful Melina to pose for a day while we painted from life, and we spent the last hour photographing her setting the table and arranging flowers. We painted from our photos the last two days.
Christina made me feel like I'd made a new friend, and told me I was welcome back anytime I wanted to do new York. I'm gunna' take her up on it Keep an eye out for me, Christina!
Early in the morning the day after our class ended, I had to fly back home to Atlanta, gather fresh laundry, pile all my art stuff into my car, and drive two hours to central Alabama for my next 3 day class.
I was annoyed with myself for my insane scheduling and was afraid it would color everything in the upcoming class. But two hours later I found myself enthralled on winding roads in the dense hilly woods around Lake Martin, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains at the height of autumn. The sunset reflecting on the lake was so brilliant, I thought there must have been a huge fire somewhere on the opposite shore. It all took my breath away.
The Tallapoosa School of Art is a fancy name for the family home of Dorothy and George Littleton, who have transformed what was once a small family lakeside cabin into multiple cabins with multiple stories with charming suites and bedrooms to accommodate artists for workshops and retreats. I spent the next 3 days working with 5 artists (6 if you include Dorothy, who was running back and forth from the kitchen in the big house to prepare meals for us). I slept in a loft overlooking the studio. The other artists would walk the winding pathways downhill and climb up long staircases to their respective cabins on the lake. We gathered in the evenings at Dorothy's and George's home (the big house) for drinks and dinner before a roaring fire.
It was heavenly and I hated to leave it. But I do want my artist friends, particularly Atlanta artists, to be aware of this creative and nurturing place only 2 hours from Atlanta. It's affordable and so worth the drive.
But now I'm home. I'm paying my bills, catching up on my laundry, and wondering how I'm going to get my sick cat into the carrier to get her to the vet tomorrow morning. It is a conundrum. I've tried it before and it didn't happen.
Posted by Margaret Dyer at Sunday, November 24, 2019