This is a good place to sojourn in, though with ease of access, it is being increasingly discovered. Folks bring the same stuff they yearn to escape from! There are some discoveries I won’t tell you about, gems which I have painted.
Isn’t it interesting that the Blueridge Mountains are not bound by straight lines like State and County demarcations? Organic rather than organisational.
Grassy Creek and Grayson Highlands
I spent a few years up here ….
River House, Grassy Creek, NC
Gayle Winston was most hospitable when she invited me to stay at the River House for a year in 2005/2006 – a highly recommended place to stay, offering bed and breakfast and wonderful evening meals, by the side of the North Fork of the New River. The nicest place to stay in Ashe County.
Three Top Mountain, NC
Looking from Bear Pen
Horse Doctor, Ashe County, NC
S. Carolina Coast
The South Carolina coast, between Murrell’s Inlet and Georgetown, is where I spent 18 months from the end of 2011 until Spring 2013. I was encouraged to vacate the mountains, having interrupted my sojourn there, care of a dificult landlady. However, just because something unpleasant occurs, doesn’t mean that the Lord can’t use it for your good. That interlude by the coast proved to be very prolific. The highlight was spending time in Brookgreen Gardens, and enjoying three months as resident artist at Hobcaw Barony.
Lady with Parasol, Brookgreen Gardens, SC
I was introduced to these gardens in 2006, and spent some 18 months visiting there a little later, during which time I visited the gardens almost every day. Watching the seasons was a great delight.
Old Live Oak, Brookgreen Gardens,SC
Shimmering colours, mesmerising.
We arrived in the US in 2000, straight from Israel to New Mexico, a relatively simple transition from the Middle East to the high desert of Santa Fe. The area offers spectacular skies and mountains and beautiful sunsets. Our sojourn lasted about 18 months before moving on eastwards to North Carolina.
Grand Canyon, AZ
Dramatic scenery whichever day you choose.
Grand Canyon from the Southern Rim in winter
The landscape takes on the appearance of a massive sculpture accentuated by the shadows against the warm stone.
Sunsets offer a beautiful and varied conclusion to the day, matched only by the excitement of a good sunrise. The sunset of the south-west is probably the most spectacular live experience, where monsoon rains provide a beautiful veil in the performance.
I’ve often seen it rain gently in front of the golden ball, where moisture evaporates before it reaches the ground, which desperately waits for it. How God is able to produce such beautiful paint strokes. Each time so varied in its magnificence.
On the other hand, I’ve seen some remarkable displays of light in the south-east where the areas contain more humid atmosphere and the performances more subtle.
Sunset over Wilburn Ridge, Grayson Highlands, VA
Watching sunsets over Wilburn Ridge was always something to look forward to and anticipate with excitement.
Sunset, Grassy Creek, NC
Late afternoon along Grassy Creek Road
The ladies always love flowers and you can’t go wrong painting them. I am reminded of my time exploring the Galilee in the spring, where Jesus must have crouched close to the ground to record his observation in the following words, “Even Solomon in all his glory was not attired as one of these!”
Star Magnolia, Brookgreen Gardens, SC
This beautiful flower always displays a cheerful disposition.
Here again, the Azalea performs a masterly presentation for a brief moment in time.
The butterfly is a remarkable piece of engineering, and arrayed in beautiful patterns with wings animated by tiny muscles. I particularly enjoyed observing them in Brookgreen Gardens. Those in captivity in the butterfly house would land on your nose and ears, while the same ones outside the cage would fly away if you got within ten feet of them! Again, I’m reminded by how they are pronounced in Hebrew as “Parr-Parr”, which is how they sound when fluttering close to your ear.
Painted Lady Butterfly
An opportunity to play around with complimentary colours as the little insects feasts on hydrangea Brookgreen Gardens, SC.
Painted Lady Butterfly
Here we have a composition where the butterfly arranges itself amongst the foliage and flowers, almost in camouflage
"Jerusalem" which translates to "City of Peace" the City of the Great King, is quite a remarkable place, having been subjected to very many wars, riveting our attention it keeps coming back!
Claimed by many, if not the whole world, it is fascinating from an artistic perspective. It's best vantage point is viewed from the South where it has been preserved from covetous developers by East or West, at least up 'till now. It was my home-base for nine years from where I traveled to neighboring countries.
Jerusalem of Gold
The light stone animated by the sunlight.
Walls of Jerusalem
The walls can often appear as if they float, sandwiched between the heavenly expanse and the firm ground beneath.
Names are transitory.
I am trying to be inclusive here, in an attempt to rise above legalism of a political kind. Modern walls have gone up in an ugly attempt to enforce separations while talking of unified authority. A frightful mess, more of a family kind. The flesh of one, or the other, gets caught up in the same razor wire even as the wind blows oblivious.
I have observed the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians as more of a family dysfunction, at its root.
The modern naming of the territory became Israel officially, while pronouncements of it as a Jewish State is a bone of contention. After all, Israel is descriptive of a more elabourate entity which included the House of Israel (not just the House of Judah, as well as strangers as joint inheritors of blessings through living and abiding there. If it was simply a Jewish State one could expect it to be renamed Habayit Hayehudi.
Soon after arriving here, I devoured the desert places ……
Pristine Judean wilderness, before being disturbed by alien settlements
Lebanon was very hospitable to me.
As soon as I arrived, the passport control officer knew where I was traveling from, and wished me well. My guide pointed up from the ruins of Baalbek, towards the darting Israeli F16 above, shouting “Look your friends!”. I tried to keep a straight face…
Mount Lebanon from the Bekaa Valley
Spring displays the receding snow juxtaposed against the new blossom in the warm valley below.
Bcharre and Kadisha Valley
Hand-crafted fields express a human scale sorely missed in the post modern era.
Syria is often associated with trouble. However my travels allowed me to taste a very different country, beautiful and hospitable, especially among ordinary people, rather than the high-minded ones.
I enjoyed visiting the souqs of Aleppo and Damascus as well as the countryside in between. This was only the 1990s and I didn’t perceive the tensions that must have been percolating, only to be stirred up by conflict next door.
Ommayad Courtyard, Damascus
Hints of Venice in the pools of sunlight and reflections in polished floor slabs and tented figures gliding along the surface.
Krak des Chevaliers
Intact Crusader Castle, well preserved as an authentic piece of history.
I observed with excitement the crafting of the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan under PM Rabin and King Hussein 1994. In 1995, I crossed over from Eilat to Aqaba by the Red Sea and was mindful of my first vacation in this area in 1982, when the border was firmly closed. At that earlier time, we camped on the beach and I could look over the border to King Hussein’s Winter Palace, just a few hundred yards away.
As I drove over, quickly going through the passport procedures, I found myself curious and drove towards the Kings Palace. I was met by a gatekeeper and left him with a set of prints as a token gesture for the King :-)
That was the first of a number of spring visits, and I gravitated to Wadi Rum and Petra.
Wadi Rum, Jordan
Made famous through Lawrence of Arabia
Camel Rider, Wadi Rum, Jordan
Animations in the morning light.
I have kept Sinai as a separate category, partly due to its uniqueness, and somewhat influenced by meeting Bedouins who would prefer to see themselves not ruled by Egyptians!
I was in this area in 1982, watching Israelis evacuate Sinai, following their agreement with President Anwar Sadat. it was an emotional spectacle, as the Bedouins enjoyed access to Israeli healthcare, amongst other things, prior to the withdrawal.
Last Light over Sinai
Last Light over Sinai
Egypt : Full of shapes and wonders of the ancient world. Of course, the pyramids are a mystery, and I’m happy for them to remain such. As an architect, their geometric shapes are easy to be drawn to.
I enjoyed my travels from Giza to Luxor and Aswan, with the awareness that the Nile River binds them together.
Some years later, when I travelled to Santa Fe, it struck me how much influence North Africa had on New Mexico. The Adobe houses in Egypt, with turquoise window frames, were emulated in Santa Fe and elsewhere in the south-west. All because North Africans invaded Spain, where they spent centuries influencing society. And the Spanish Conquistadores exported this unique style to the New World. Such is the power of migration!
Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
Camel Riders, Egypt
I have fond memories of the UK, where I was raised. And Ireland, where I was married. Beautiful countries and much of that beauty maintained by stringent planning regulations. Something I wish they had in the Appalachian Mountains where I currently live.
Grateful to the UK for absorbing refugees after the Second World War, I was raised by the side of the English Lake District – such a beautiful exposure in my formative years. I can see myself painting the English Lake District in future reminiscences.
Wastwater, English Lake District
Cliffs of Moher
County Clare, Ireland
By 2008, I ran out of all my Visa extensions for the United States. I had to keep my nose clean with the Feds. I was due to have a Green Card issued, but it was delayed. So, I packed up my truck, my dog, my painting gear, and off we went.
Most of the paintings done in British Columbia, my refuge for this transition, were oil paintings done plein air.
Thank you British Columbia for your kind hospitality and your magnificent landscapes.
Lake Louise, Jasper National Park, BC, Canada
Lake Kooteney, Brittish Columbia, Canada
Rhub al-Khali Desert, Saudi Arabia
Beautiful textures, seen from 25,000 miles above the Earth. I might not be able to travel and explore due to my stroke, but I can via satellite, c/o Google Earth!
Art therapy? is there such a thing? I always find it difficult to paint, so I have decided to try out a different modus – where there is nothing to lose but a piece of paper with some pigment on it.
These paintings invariably have an inspiration as a starting point; patterns on a butterfly wing or streams of colour in a brook.
Twist and Turns
Inspired by Painted Lady butterfly
Threads of Color
Inspired by reflections in Wilson Creek, Grayson Highlands, VA in the Fall