A "toe hold" on life..... "Life is complicated... Just do your best"
Fungi... of every shape and colour suddenly poked their heads out of hiding after the rain everywhere on the cool, shaded pine needle-strewn forest floor. Their powerful urge to reach the surface... and light was obvious... as their caps still tabled the leaf loam and mulch of the woodland floor and stony detritus from which they struggled to emerge. This particular Shaggy Mane "fungi family" caught my eye... and I marvelled at their delicate beauty. Their life spanned less than two days. Unlike many other mushroom species... their spores do not dry out and become dispersed by the wind. Instead, their cups consume themselves into an inky, gelatinous mass which is carried by insect and animal life to other sites to begin new colonies.
Well off the beaten path and west of the bridge location where we first painted, we came across this "perfect subject"... with interesting structure... rich colour... and undisturbed solitude... except for the constant chuckle of the brook as it made its way back into LaRue's Mill Creek. This would be our shared painting place for the morning. Though both paintings were, as is always the case, distinctly different in interpretation... they did share the essence of this wonderful landscape setting. Both winners!
Here is my two hour 14x18 inch canvas... "Simply...Autumn At Its Best"..."fresh" from the field... no need for reworking later. David took his home rather than leave it for exhibition after the event I guess that he feels much the same as I do about the time we spent and the pictures we made ... together! A memorable autumn morning shared with a kindred spirit.... "out there."
Our small group of four painters had spent the entire two days painting at the rear of the estate property, but we had noticed sites of interest... and worth considering at the front, as we travelled into the back country. We decided to move up into these areas in the open meadows and flats to finish up the second day. Here was the site that I chose to settle into.... LaRue's Mill Creek, as it passes gently through the front eastern edge of the Eagle Point property. It's quiet, pastoral quality... juxtaposed with its strong pictorial structure spoke to me strongly. So did the flat ground under my feet... and the warmth of the late sun on my back. A great way to close out a perfect second day of painting!
Here's the resulting 11x14 inch sketch made during two hours... "Autumn Meanders In... at Eagle Point Winery." Quick brushwork and shapes were my focus... not detail and photo-like finish. I left the field... rejuvenated and truly happy that everyone shared my feelings of enjoyment and joy felt that came as a direct result of our being together as a group in this painting adventure. The remainder of the evening... hosted by Eagle Point Operation Manager, Debra Marshall would merely amplify these good feelings and camaraderie!
The "Order of Good Cheer"
The "Order of Good Cheer" tradition was created and first enjoyed in New France... now Quebec by the expedition headed by Samuel de Champlain... still considered to be the mythic "Father of New France. It was created by the cartographer-geographer-statesman-soldier solely to combat the malaise... sickness from winter harshness, hardships, hunger and death experienced by these French settler- colonists. What began as a single celebration on November 14th, 1606, developed into a weekly feasting event that even included theatre productions to maintain the high spirits of the suffering inhabitants of the Habitation settlement. There was even an official "Chain of Office" awarded at each celebration which was worn around the neck of the deserving individual chosen to be celebrated.
Harvest Blend Folk...sharing "Good Cheer" at the Eagle Point Winery tasting room prior to...
A sumptuous harvest feast... totally prepared and served by Winery Manager and Hostess,Debra Marshall. That piping hot... "down home" harvest stew made from "local flavors" organic beef and fall vegetables... served with homemade buttermilk biscuits and bread and glasses of winery Riesling and Merlot filled the wearied souls and empty stomachs of all ten artists back to the top. It was perhaps the feeling of "plenty and bounty" that I enjoyed at that moment ... in the glow and warmth of my fellow artists that caused me to reflect back in time to Champlain's first Order of Good Cheer gathering and celebration. Were they not the same... four hundred years apart in time???...
Stay Tuned for... Harvest Blend Finale - Part Three... tomorrow
I feel deeply blessed... and give thanks for the small blessings I have received.
Good Fall Painting to ALL!