Thursday, May 21, 2009

Vacation sketches

I gave my sketching kit a workout last week as my husband and I took a wonderful trip to Holly River State Park for a weeklong vacation.

Holly River is in an isolated area of central West Virginia, and it is our favorite of West Virginia's many wonderful state parks and forests. There are only 10 cabins, clustered in an amazing grove of old-growth hemlocks, and the soothing sounds of water rushing through Laurel Fork, down the hill about 20 yards, sends me peacefully to sleep each night.

We easily fell into a routine. After a morning of hiking, we would wash up and then venture out in late afternoon to find a comfortable swing or bench. I would then sketch or paint, while my husband read. Evenings consisted of lazy strolls through the park grounds, card games or a jigsaw puzzle.

I completed four sketches. A view of our cabin is at the top of this post.

Below is a view of the park office. All of the buildings at Holly River, most of which were built by the CCC boys during the Depression, are made of log or smooth river stone, or a combination of those materials.

My sketching kit performed admirably, and after the first sketch, I was able to adjust to the challenges of rendering linear perspective. Since I've fallen into the pattern of working from photographs, I find myself using the print's edges to develop vanishing points when drawing. For plein air work, that visual reference is gone. These sketches are a little off, but generally accurate, and I was pleased to make the adjustment.

For more about Holly River State Park, visit their Web site,

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