Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Great Smokies     Link to Art of the Day by James Day
For those of you who haven't yet gone to this great blogpost on my work by James Day check it out. And besides being an artist himself James in one saavy guy when it comes to technology and web development.

'Great Smokies', 44" x 48", colored pencil on acrylic ground on panel
fixed and varnished
Fran Hardy copyright

Here is my most recently completed tree. I am leaving more and more 'breathing room' around them to give the trees the presence they deserve. Below is a close-up of some of the obsessive detail.

 I got lost in the bark, the knobbiness and the moss as the Great Smokies is a temperate rainforest which I did not know until I taught at Arrowmont in Gatlinburg, Tenn. They let me and my friend and fellow artist Nancy Dillen who has also taught there many times stay there afterwards and explore the fascinating and lush woods. We got drenched at some time in every daily hike we took and coming from New Mexico it is green, green, green. For those who like to take various art and craft workshops Arrowmont is a great place to go and you are in walking distance to the entrance of the Great Smokies National Park.
Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts is a national art education center. The School offers weekend, one- and two-week workshops for the beginner to advanced artist, taught by national and international practicing studio artists and university faculty. Students work and learn in professionally equipped studios on a 14-acre residential campus in Gatlinburg, TN. A series of weekly classes are also offered for residents of the local community. Workshops and classes are offered in ceramics, fiber, metals/jewelry, painting, drawing, photography, warm glass, woodturning, woodworking, mixed media, books and paper.
An Artists-in-Residence Program provides a supportive, stimulating work and learning environment for five early-career artists during a year-long residency. Conferences and symposia bring together artists, art educators, collectors and others to work in the studios, engage in dialogue about making art and to discuss issues and trends in the field.
My friend Nancy taught for many years and is now doing her painting full-time. She has a wonderful quirky view especially in her animal fantasy pieces. She makes her own paints with raw pigments so her colors are very rich and brilliant. Below are two of her pieces inspired by the Great Smokies. Go to her website to get a better sense of her diverse work.
"Dawn Patrol" by Nancy Dillen copyright

'Separate but Equal' by Nancy Dillen copyright

"Trumpeter's Jubilee" by Nancy Dillen copyright

I love her sense of fantasy and color.

For me doing the 'Great Smokies' piece was also a rite of passage as for some reason I did not think to take precautions against ticks which are here in New Mexico but are far less of an issue. I will never know for sure as I did not see the tick or the bite but I think I got lyme disease in the woods there and since it was not discovered for at least a year as my symptoms mounted I will apparently never be totally be free of it. 
For those of you who love nature as much as I do I will be interviewing my brilliant doctor (not many doctors are truly lyme literate and there is a lot of misinformation about it.) We will be talking about prevention and early treatment as well as later interventions for those who like me don't realize they have been infected or even bit by a tick in an interview with my doctor on this site soon. Bob and I took lots of precautions during our filming in Oklahoma and were glad as we found dead seed ticks on our socks which had been treated with permetrin. Lyme is an epidemic back east but there are other places across the country where you can get it and believe me you don't want to!
For more information on the Great Smokies National Park
Blue MountainsAutumn - Along Newfound Gap RoadWinter - Snowy StreamSummer - Ramsey Cascades

A Wondrous Diversity of Life
Ridge upon ridge of forest straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. World renowned for its diversity of plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains, and the quality of its remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture, this is America’s most visited national park.

I enjoy getting comments on this blog and let me know what kind of information etc you find the most interesting. Thanks, Fran

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