Tagged: realism

Undreamed Shores

Breaker

The Breaker. Walnut ink on hand-prepared paper.

That’s the title of my new show going up Friday, January 5 at Arts of the Albemarle:

  • 516 E. Main St., Elizabeth City, NC; map here
  • Friday, January 5, 2017, 5-9pm

View 20 paintings and drawings featuring the North Carolina landscape in all weathers.

 

 

Oil on paper. 18 x 24″

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First place

elliottbsj300

Above an image of “Barn and Mist,” which I submitted to this year’s LandMark competition at Arts of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City.  Gimlet-eyed readers will recognize a detail of the same as the main image of this blog.  It took first prize.

Many thanks to Darlene Tighe and Keli Hindenach, the gallery manager and excutive director who put on the event during the approach of the tropical storm and sometime-hurricane Hilene. Likwise to Munroe Bell who beat the storm in time to judge the work.

I have painted this region for almost a decade and have loved it even longer.  It was a delight to be in a room full of people who love it.

The picture is for sale at Arts of the Albemarle.  Call them at 252-338-6455. Armed with this and a few books by Bland Simpson, you’d be all set.  Or as they say in Northeastern North Carolina, you’d be right,  I reckon.

 

 

Down East

Change at a break-neck pace.

In Pasquotank County, they’re getting a wind farm.  In Perquimans County, I heard they changed the name of Hog Alley to something-or-other Road, and they even paved it over: “I mean, you wouldn’t know it to look at it.”

Across the river in Bertie County, they still operate a cable ferry between Sans Souci and Woodard, although “they” aren’t who you think they are.  “They” in this case is not the ferry authority, but another part of the Department of Transportation that runs inland ferries.

One of the last two cable ferries in North Carolina.  The other is here.

One of the last two cable ferries in North Carolina. The other is here.

In small communities, or even suburbs without a dense urban plant, “they” are busy people.  People whose actions you see but whose faces you don’t.  That’s why “they” seldom earn our trust.

That said, I confess to a certain fondness for “them,” provided they leave things behind.  Children’s building-block edifices are charming; in a more solemn but no less poignant way are the remains of the dead, left where they did the work that sustained them.  Like these houses:

Nineteenth-century farmhouse in norther Chowan County.  Oil on paper.  12 x 16in.

Nineteenth-century farmhouse in northern Chowan County. Oil on paper. 12 x 16in.

Burnt-out house in northern Chowan County.  Oil on paper. 12 x 16in.

Burnt-out house in northern Chowan County. Oil on paper. 12 x 16in.

Even the gratuitous hand-work is telling.  Like the “V” for the more usual “U” in the Perquimans County High School facade. Someone made that decision about lettering to give an air of Latinate dignity to poor students in an overlooked part of the world.  It was put there before someone decided to abandon the world of learning and human children and masonry for that of information, human resources, and trailers.

File photo from WAVY10, a Hampton Roads area television station.

File photo from WAVY10, a Hampton Roads area television station.

 

 

Places in-between 1: The Coggins Farm

When most people think of countryside, they think of wilderness because it offers an escape from suburban sprawl.  Somewhere in the American landscape there remains a wilderness for us if we could but outrun the tacky sameness that our cities disgorge.

There is, though, another countryside, just as rare, and far more overlooked.  It is composed of small-holdings, and it is vanishing.  Before the Wild West, there was the West of Thomas Jefferson’s America, which began at the Eastern Continental Divide.  The farms founded before industry changed the scale of agriculture were incredibly diverse places.  Here is one such:

Pastures and oaks at the Coggins Farm

Pastures and oaks at the Coggins Farm

In practice, each farm was like a little world, producing meat, dairy, plants, and fuel, as well as harboring fish, game, honey, stone and wild fowl.

I was lucky enough to spend the day painting at the Coggins Farm east of Asheville, NC. Not currently productive, the place is currently the center of local controversy over its future.  You can read about it here, on the website of an enterprise to reconnect the land to its original developer’s purpose of long-term provision.

Taking advantage of the view above.

Taking advantage of the view above.

It’s a treat to stand where such a variety of work was once done by hand.

The bottom half on an oil painting.  This is wet oil paint on paper treated with natural gesso, photographed in the shade.

The bottom half on an oil painting. This is wet oil paint on paper treated with natural gesso, photographed in the shade.

In Good Company

“The Pathless Woods,” the show of animal studies and landscapes to benefit The Asheville Humane Society, is now online.  I’m gratified to see my work next to that of some fine painters. You can view the show here:

http://alchemyfineart.net/new-page/

Toby Elliott's Chickens

Lawn Chickens. Oil on panel. 8 x 12″