Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Making New Friends

With the conclusion of my outdoor art show season last month, I've spent this month getting out and (finally) exploring the landscape of eastern Tennessee.

The decision to move to Tennessee and leave Pennsylvania was agonizing for me. But after 14 years in Pennsylvania, I was well acquainted with the beautiful state parks in the central region where we lived. I'd also ventured to quite a few equally gorgeous ones in other parts of the state, especially near the Poconos Mountains. By no means had I "seen it all," but there was a small, quiet gnawing in me that began to grow louder: I needed to shake up the snow globe and try something different.

Tennessee has a great reputation for its outdoor offerings. But my first months here didn't exactly go as planned.

As I've described in previous posts, the home we purchased needed a lot of attention and maintenance, eating up an inordinate amount of time. But what was worse was that shortly after we arrived, my trusty studio mascot and erstwhile woodlands companion, Maple, was diagnosed with elbow dysplasia. This has meant no more woodland hikes together. I mourned this new state of affairs throughout the summer. I was reluctant to go out alone, both from a sentimental and safety standpoint.

Then my father-in-law passed away and I did my best to support my husband while he and his sister got their mom resettled into assisted living, just a year after they lost their brother to cancer. Oh, and it was sizzling hot and humid, too. I was one sweaty Yankee all of this past summer.

Uff dah!

So, it's been a real treat to get out and explore a bit this month. The opportunity to work en plein air has nourished my soul.

I've spent most of my time venturing out the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, located about 45 minutes from our high maintenance home (did I just write that? Pardon my ruthless cynicism.) Anyways, the last time I passed through the Smokies was as a young and very car sick-prone child during a torturous summer family car trip. I'm on better terms now with the park.

Shown here are a couple of "Postcards from the Easel" with my field easel and small landscape works in progress. I'm slowly making friends with this new landscape, and I'm enjoying the cooler days of fall while I'm at it.