Today I sat in the blazing late September sun. A white plastic chair and table provided by Elkins Perk Coffee Shop gave me this view of my local SEPTA train station, Elkins Park.
Built nearly 120 years ago this historic gem now features a community space run by Elkins Central. In this space, I've personally been to a yoga class, an art show, and an author's book tour event... and I taught an art class there so that a group of girl scouts could earn a badge. I hope to make it to a jazz concert there soon. If you ask me, Elkins Park rocks!
I have no idea why it took me so long.
Yesterday I explored a little nook that felt like a portal to the 17th century. The funny thing about this place is...I have driven by it nearly every day for most of my life.
The Richard Wall House was built in 1683 by a charming Quaker couple from the town of Cheltenham, England. They were among the "First Purchasers" to obtain land from William Penn in what we now know as Cheltenham Township.
My outdoor painting quest of Cheltenham Township has taken a dive into its rich 300 year history.
Since it's still plein air painting season (meaning it's not too hot and not too cold to paint outside), I went to High School Park and found this lovely spot along the meadow walk built in memory of Joshua Schwartz.
It only seems fitting that if I am a resident artist in Cheltenham that I paint Cheltenham. I foresee "Meadow Walk" as the first in a series. I'm putting on the hat of being a tourist in my own town!
That "Tourist in my own Town" theme, by the way, is an excellent writing prompt that was given to me by the great Mt. Airy writing teacher, Minter Krotzer. I, in turn, assigned that topic to countless unsuspecting 10th grade students when I taught high school English. We read an essay entitled "A Tourist in my own Town" by an American author for inspiration. I'm a bit embarrassed that I can't remember the author. Can anyone help me out?
During my family's John Muir quest in August we not only visited Glacier Bay, Alaska where through his observations he advanced the understanding of how glaciers shape the landscape, but we also made it to a few significant spots in California.
Yosemite Valley obviously was on that list. We also explored the coastal redwoods of Muir Woods, poked around his house and fruit orchard at the John Muir Historical Site in Martinez, and gazed in wonder as the setting sun cast its golden glow on the Grove of Giants (which he named) in Sequoia National Park.
I had the opportunity to sit with Half Dome for an hour or so and paint this watercolor while my son caught the light of the setting sun on the massive granite face with his camera. Plein air painting is truly a meditation. I almost enjoy the experience more than the final product, especially when the air has cooled off after a very hot day.