Things Are Alive 13

On the Lip of the Gorge (Highlands, Fentress Co, TN)

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Little did I know that when 11 years ago I thrashed about “Lot 11” at the gated equestrian community of the Highlands, Grandma, Kathy and Daddy would soon be going to the other side. Or that my mother would subsequently sell “Leatherwood Retreat” and build a house on “Lot 10” of the Highlands. At the age of 80, grieving the loss of her mother, her daughter, and her husband, she chose a home design for the lot and supervised the building of the house “on the lip of the gorge.”

I had fallen in love with the place because of its raw beauty, the constant sound of a waterfall cascading into the deep gorge, and the presence of what appeared to be a deep cave in the far wall of the gorge. Now we take the long flight to Knoxville, the long drive to the Highlands, and sit in the sun room at my mother’s (and sister Chrissy’s) house. I draw the scene I love while listening to that waterfall (to the left of the picture, not visible except during the winter when the leaves are off the trees).

The objects in the “yard” are benches that Brian built several years ago. It was our idea that there could be benches at various spots from which to behold this view worthy of a national park. Seen from the sun room or back deck, the benches seem to have an identity of their own that goes beyond being just something to sit upon. They remind us a bit of Stonehenge.

The drawing was done over a period of about four days. The sun is setting in a clear sky. The robin in the foreground represents the robin that came to me each morning at sunrise on the other side of the house. The “time and space stretch” enabled me to include the robin. (When we returned to “Leatherwood Retreat” after my dad’s funeral on March 5, 2003, there were hundreds of robins standing at attention on the lawn. Ever since, I think of my dad when I see a robin, and feel somehow that he is close by.)

Click on the arrow below the picture to hear the sound of the whippoorwill.

Things Are Alive 12

Mother's World (Highlands, Fentress Co, TN)

Mother is bouncing back like a cat with nine lives from a major medical treatment of chemotherapy, radiation, and radical surgery. Her “recovery nest” has served her well. She still spends a lot of time there, but is now more and more her old self, ranging farther afield. She has shown decisiveness and fortitude in her fight against cancer– which was her attitude throughout. My sister Chrissy has been her constant companion and caretaker. The Highlands of the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River are the ever-mysterious wild and natural landscape in which her recovery has occurred.

Daddy’s recliner is in the picture. He passed away in 2003, taken from us swiftly and unexpectedly, right after having his morning coffee. I remember his hand working the lever on the side of the recliner. He sits there vividly in my memory, clear as a bell.

Things Are Alive 11

Marsh Madness (Edisto Island, SC)

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Edisto Island is thick with live oaks draped with Spanish moss, loblolly pines, and palmetto trees. It is flanked by the Atlantic Ocean and marshes teeming with wildlife. It is a mysterious place that holds the secrets of the Gullah people and allows for us outsiders to wonder about their history and lives. The time share condo from which I drew this picture was purchased after years of a family tradition of vacationing in Edisto. This tradition began when Aunt Mary Siddall Logan came in the 1930’s as a child with her parents, who built a beach house that still stands by the sea. The marshes and forest that magnetized my attention are in the central “peephole” in the background of the picture.

Click on the arrow below the picture to hear the “tune bird.” (This bird has a definite melody that it repeats over and over– haven’t yet identified the real name.)

Things Are Alive 10

Graceful Afternoon (City Market)

After I had chosen the boundaries for the drawing and had begun to draw, the person on the right sat down.  I didn’t see her face. As I drew her,  the thought passed through my mind that her hair looked like Grace Merritt’s hair. But it was a fleeting thought and I was intent on the drawing process. When she left, engrossed in the drawing process, I still saw only her back. Later in the day, Grace walked into Snow City Cafe to see Anda, who was setting up her art show for First Friday. I immediately recognized the sweater and the hair. I had been drawing Grace, Anda and Ben’s roommate! Thus, the caption for the drawing presented itself.

Things Are Alive 9

A Chugach Peek

I was drawn to the bridge joining Nordstrom’s and Penney’s for several reasons. There’s a coffee stand right inside Nordie’s; Anda and I often go there to sit and talk or journal in the middle of a shopping spree. It’s a comfortable place to sit and draw both city and mountains– and comfort is my middle name!  An unanticipated effect happened after I finished drawing. I looked at the Penney’s Parking Garage, which is a shade of bright yellow (not my favorite in such large proportions)– and– I felt a sense of affection for it! The attention I had put into the drawing process had taken my mind beyond its normal reaction patterns.