Monday, July 23, 2018

Resettled in Tennessee

Uff dah!

Since leaving Pennsylvania for our new home in Tennessee in late May, life has been a blur. We landed at our new home just before Memorial Day. "New home" is a bit of a misnomer, because the house we bought is 91-years old. As with any old home, it has required a fair bit of our attention to resolve some maintenance issues. (We're now on a first name basis with our plumber.)

But as we near the end of July, things are rounding into shape and I'm getting back to my easel on a more routine basis. And it's not a moment too soon because I'm looking forward to exhibiting at a couple of shows this fall and I want to share some new subjects inspired by Knoxville, Tennessee.

Click image to enlarge: My studio mascot, Maple, rests on a rug near my painting easel. Part of getting my new space set up involved installing additional track lighting. I also set up a reading nook, toward the right of this image.


On top of moving and settling into a new home that needed some attention, I'm saddened to write that we also lost my father-in-law. We've been working hard to get my mother-in-law resettled, too, and it's been a summer of transitions on many levels.

Click image to enlarge: A second display easel, couch,
and work area round out the space.


Nonetheless, I have a couple of pieces in progress now with ambitious goals of many small works in the coming weeks. Until those are ready for public viewing, I'll have to leave you with a couple of peeks into my studio. When we first moved in, my studio space was completely filled with cardboard moving boxes because the floor plan of this house is so different from our old house. With our new location in Tennessee, I've combined what was previously three separate areas (studio, office and picture framing workshop) all into one larger space. It took a while for me to get things sorted out (especially while juggling myriad home repair contractors), but I finally have things organized now. I'm very pleased with the space because I have plenty of room for my art books, a reading area, and lots of great light for my work.

As an added bonus, my studio mascot, Maple, gives the space two paws up.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Change is in the Air

Blank canvas in studio

The first blank canvas in my new studio space in Knoxville, Tennessee.
I am super excited to be able to paint in this gorgeous space.


As I write, the snow is flying sideways on a howling, cold wind outside my window. We're now past mid-April, but Mother Nature does not seem to have received the memo that winter should be finished and spring on its way. I know that central Pennsylvania is not the only place suffering under the burden of January the 131st. Nonetheless, even if spring is not yet in the air, then change is.

A few weeks ago, my husband and I purchased a new home in Knoxville, Tennessee. Or maybe it would be more accurate to call it a new old home. We found a beautiful place that was built in 1927 and whose history includes a change of ownership via auction following the stock market crash of 1929.

Its most recent former owners were also artists. They did a jaw-dropping renovation to the upstairs area, where I will soon set up my art studio. To say that I'm excited about this totally new and different space would be the understatement of the year. I've already started to move some of my materials to our new address. Within the next month, we anticipate moving to Knoxville permanently.

But for now, my studio and my creative mind straddle two very different places and it's been an extremely busy time for me. I never appreciated how difficult it is to "stage" and sell a house until this interstate move (HGTV, I'm looking askance at you!), and I hope not to have to do it again for many, many years. It was very challenging given that my husband and I both work from our home and we have two large dogs. But we're on our way now, and I'm excited.

Stay tuned for a series of new paintings inspired by my new home in Tennessee as we get into summer. Until then, I'm off to pack some more boxes. Uff dah.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

New Year, New Home

Sarah Pollock Studio is moving to a new home later this year!

My husband accepted a new position as the Haslam Chair Chair of Business and Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. We'll move to Knoxville, Tennessee this summer after he completes his semester at Penn State.

It's a bittersweet decision for both of us because we've grown to truly love the landscape and history of Pennsylvania. Yet at the same time, we feel now is a good time to shake things up. We've always grown personally and professionally with each new home and we look forward to this next adventure. Eastern Tennessee offers the Smoky Mountains within close reach, so we know that we can find beautiful scenery there, too. And we're both ready to live in a larger community with more amenities.

Downtown Knoxville, Tennessee with the
restored Tennessee theater located along Gay Street

I visited Knoxville for the first time a few weeks ago. It strikes me as a "mini Pittsburgh," an old industrial town on the rebound from tough economic times. Everyone we spoke to was upbeat and described a renaissance within the city that has taken hold over the past 10-15 years, kicked off by -- of all things -- a central farmer's market in the downtown square that features over a 100 different vendors. Now, new businesses, residents, and visitors are returning to downtown and the "Scruffy City," derisively named by the Wall Street Journal after it hosted the 1982 World's Fair, is embracing an upbeat spin on its nickname.

The Old City district of Knoxville, Tennessee during a rainy evening.
I think I see a painting in here somewhere...

Knoxville is named for one of my favorite historical figures, Henry Knox. Henry Knox was a twenty-five-year-old bookseller from Boston when he met General George Washington just three days after Washington took command of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. It was Knox who marshalled untold manpower and eighty yoke of oxen to retrieve the artillery from Fort Ticonderoga in New York and move all of it to Boston in freezing, icy conditions during the winter of 1775-76.

Knoxville's historical legacy grew during the Civil War, when the city shifted between Union and Confederate control and reflected the larger split within Tennessee about where to cast its allegiance. Following the Civil War, the city became a manufacturing hub for textiles and iron works.

I'm looking forward to milder winters, more restaurants, and new landscapes for painting and bicycling. After I get resettled and set up my studio again, I'm also planning to continue exhibiting at various outdoor art shows along the East Coast. Stay tuned...