Friday, August 16, 2013

Indian Pipes from Life!

This has been a great day for drawing.  I didn't have to search for things to draw;  they just presented themselves.  On the left above, a tiny bowl from Aman, Jordan, given to us many years ago by our Jordanian exchange student on the day he arrived to live with us for a year.  It's part of a set, meant for drinking very strong coffee out of.  A few have broken over the years, but several still sit on a shelf in our house, this one filled with lavender flowers.  

I made the drawing on the right during the meeting of my wonderful critique group this morning.  This is Tessie, a papier mache dog made by Margaret Cogswell, who has led our group for around 6 years.  She brought this fabulous creature for critique, and I decided on the spot that I have to buy it from her when she's ready to let it go.  My drawing doesn't come near to describing this creature.
This is another rendition of Tessie, closer to Margaret's, but the sirface lacks the subtlety of Margaret's piece.  To get an idea of Margaret's work, check out her book Book Play, published by Sterling/Lark in 2013.  You can order a copy from Malaprop's Bookstore in Asheville (, and you will love this book!

And to cap off an already spectacular day, this afternoon my friend Deborah and I went for a hike up a trail in Asheville that leads to the Mountains to the Sea Trail.  We had climbed up to the level of the Blue Ridge Parkway and decided to turn around.  On the way down I saw some pale, whitish things on the right hand side of the trial near some rhododendrons, pines, and mushrooms that looked like a kind of Russula mushroom that's supposed to be in the environment of Indian Pipes.  I bent down to get a closer look, and sure enough:  two little Indian Pipes growing right there on the side of the trail!  We looked around for more, and a few feet up the bank beside the trail we saw a dozen or so tall specimens, some in the seeding stage, others with blossoms still closed and necks turned down.  We had completely missed them on our way up the trail.

I didn't have my sketchbook with me!  I didn't even have my phone!  What had I been thinking?  There was nothing for it but to scramble down the trail, counting the switchbacks, hike back to Deborah's where I had left my car, and then turn around and hike back up to the Indian Pipes.  I crouched on the ground drawing, and mosquitoes left me alone for long enough to get the big drawing done.  Then they started biting, but I kept drawing until I had gotten the one with the open flower as well as the small one just emerging from the forest floor.  They were so beautiful, glowing like wax candles, so pale and perfect.  As I climbed back down the trail I made a quick map so that I can find them when I get back up there tomorrow.

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