Sunday, November 20, 2011

New Hampshire, British Columbia, and Maryland!

One early Fall day we drove to the southwestern part of the state, and I drew this bridge in Gilsum, NH. Bruce, my engineer husband, marveled at its dry-stone (mortarless) construction. It has been holding steady since 1863. The Ashuelot River rushes along 36 feet below. The hillside was very steep. I made sure my footing was very secure before I got lost in the drawing process.

In Greenville, NH, it is the Souhegan River that powered the cotton and woolen mills. The textile industry went south a long time ago. Literally. The New England mills lost the industry to the southern states when water power became less important in the manufacturing process. Most of the mills are now reused for other purposes. They were built to last, and are structurally strong. It was misting heavily when I drew this. I was forced to draw quickly as soggy paper is no fun.

On with my water theme of the month. This is the view of Lake Okanagan from the Summerhill Pyramid Winery in Kelowna, British Columbia. The grapes are pinot noir, and they did look nearly black. There are 120 wineries in this lake valley in Canada. How lucky we are that our daughter and her family have just moved there.

During our visit in late October and early November, the grape leaves were turning yellow, and people were on the steep hillsides harvesting the fat clusters of grapes. We had a tasting of 4 whites and bought a bottle of Riesling. There is a real resemblance to the Mosel valley in Germany here, minus the castle ruins.

On the far left on the lake is the floating bridge, the Bennet Bridge. This leads to the west side of Kelowna, and is the highway to Vancouver, four hours and one mountain range to the west. It is very rugged terrain getting to Vancouver. We did it once in the winter. And only once. Don’t ask.

Most places in the Okanagan valley seem to include a view of the beautiful lake. Okanagan Lavender Farm is no exception. It was our first visit, and the herbs had been harvested for the year. So we didn’t walk through the gardens, and I had to use my imagination to ‘see’ the pale purple colors. I added a bit into my painting in the distant hills. I’ll return in a different season. The gift shop was lovely and the products first rate. The complimentary lavender tea was refreshing too.

Here we have the view of Lake Okanagan from our daughter’s (and family) home in British Columbia, Canada. It is new to them, and was built eight years ago. They are fortunate to be able to peek between the houses across the street where the public walkway leads down the very steep hill. It is a semi-arid climate. So the many wineries, orchards, and home lawns and trees are all irrigated. It is magically beautiful. I spent a lot of time watching the weather roll around the hills, canyons and play with the water surface.

Our other daughter and her family live in Baltimore (Maryland, USA), so that explains the existence of the next five drawings. Baltimore is located just north of Washington, D.C.

The water theme continues with this drawing from the Baltimore Inner Harbor, and the National Aquarium. In the background is the partial sign to the Legg-Mason building. I was sure to include this sign as a very special branch of our family is the Masons. (Think grandchildren.
) The neon Domino Sugar sign is famous in the area as a long time part of the scenery. As a major port city and the terminus of the first railroad to the west, Baltimore has always been engaged in industries that process raw materials into finished products--be they coming from the west and heading out worldwide, or coming by sea and heading into the heartland.

I just couldn’t resist drawing the dragon paddle boat. There perhaps 50 of them circling around on the warm sunny November day.
I did not investigate the submarine with is docked next to the aquarium. It’s a historical exhibit, no longer in active service.

The Inner Harbor is very popular with tourists and locals alike. It was redeveloped from a scene of rotting piers in the early 1980s by the Rouse Company and kicked off the revitalization of the whole area. This company also redid the historic Quincy Market in Boston, the South Street Seaport in New York City, and others around the country.

This is the former Rouse Company headquarters in Columbia, Maryland. We lived in this town from 1973 to 2008. But I don’t remember drawing this building before. I was asked to draw it by the town archivist. It was designed by renown architect Frank Gehry in his early days, about 1966. It may be ‘repurposed’ by the new owners. That sounds bad, and I’m glad I got it on paper. The metal sculpture is by J. A. Benson.

James Rouse founded Columbia and lived here too for a long time. He has died now, but his best ideas live on.

My daughter and I went to the Sunday market under the Jones Falls Expressway (JFX in Baltimore terminology). There is not a lot of traffic rumbling above on a Sunday morning. I sat on the curb and drew this. Mercy is the name of a hospital. I love this market. All manner of humanity go there, and the prepared foods smell so good.

I felt like I could have sat there for hours and drawn a 360 degree view. Another time, a bigger sheet of paper.

Part of Baltimore is called Little Italy. There are too many restaurants to count, but this is one...the Gia Ristorante. Other members of our family have eaten here, and they say it is excellent. So far, I have just admired the paintings all over the exterior walls of the place.

There are so many, that I felt a little overwhelmed. I chose to draw this back door, the door to the kitchen. To the right of the door is the painted iron fence and the painted tree. Another time I will tackle the more complex front side of the building. It has a faux-collage of family photos.

Everything in Little Italy is human scale and has a real charm. It is an easy stroll from the touristy Inner Harbor.

Believe it or not, the name of this Baltimore landmark building is the Bromo-Seltzer Tower. It says so in letters around the clock face. Count them--there are 12!

The tower was built in 1911, by Captain Isaac Emerson, the inventor of Bromo-Seltzer, a head ache remedy. Originally and for 25 years, a 51 foot (15.5 meter) high blue-lit replica of the namesake bottle revolved on the top. World travelers will recognize that the tower itself is an accurate copy of the Palazzo Vecchio tower in Florence, Italy.

I’m glad that the bottle atop the tower was judged unstable and removed in 1936. The tower now houses artists’ studios. The former factory space on the ground floor is a fire house.

I’ve always liked the tower (and the real one in Italy!) and drew it from this angle to emphasize the difference in scale with the other buildings on the street. When it was built it was the tallest building in the city.

In a ninety degree turn from the last scene, is this one on Baltimore Street, pretty much at the intersection of Little Italy and the Inner Harbor. From left to right, the St. Vincent de Paul Church, the shot tower, a red cast iron building, and the Charles Carroll 1840 House. The latter, formerly owned by the city of Baltimore, is now a 13 room hotel and inn.

I just read online that the cast iron building was built a couple of miles west, where the Baltimore Convention center is now, and it was unbolted, moved and reassembled here in a vacant space. How great is that! Now it houses a restaurant and Latin ballroom.

If you are a history buff, read up on Charles Carroll of Carrollton, who owned the house on the corner. Since the Maryland colony was founded by Catholics, I had always thought that they were at the top of society, or at least a part of it. But I read that the Carrolls, being Catholic, were not allowed to vote, or practice law. No wonder Charles Carroll was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was later elected to both the Maryland State Senate and the US Senate in nearby Washington D.C. When forced to choose, he chose the State Senate.

Here are the dogs that happily inhabit the Baltimore home of our older daughter and her husband. The peeking pug is Edgar, the nonchalant pug is Chuck, and the gentle giant great Dane curled up with her back to the viewer is Roxy. They are napping in the home office.

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