I was mostly off the grid last week, hanging out in the mountains while Elmore took a class in coopering at Country Workshops woodworking school. It's on a lovely farm many of my paintings and prints have originated over the years. I went out sketching a couple of mornings with the printmaker next door.
My lasting image from this trip, though, was of the French Broad River. I had driven into the town of Hot Springs partway through the week and spotted this view as I crossed the highway bridge going out of town. I thought about it for several days and convinced Elmore (not too hard) to run this river on our last day so I could go back and paint while I was waiting for him at the takeout.
I did the top one first, with more pencil detail than usual, since I want to make a print from it. The pencil lines will help me decide where and what patterns to make my cuts in the block.
Then I decided I might like a vertical composition better, so I did a fast second sketch (below). It was not the most comfortable place to paint, perched on the narrow sidewalk of a highway bridge with big mountain pickups roaring past, so I kept the second sketch fast. I'm excited about the image, and it will be the next print I start once I finish a couple I have going now.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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