Monday, March 31, 2014

Magnolia Gardens in Charleston

Dear Fellow Travelers,

Recently, Charleston, SC, was voted the best city in the world to visit, because of its broad appeal to foodies, nature lovers, architecture fans, et al. Make haste and see for yourself. 

But we went seeking the garden and home tour which runs every Spring from mid-March to mid-April. It is a fundraiser for the Historic Charleston Society. 
What a great balm for us-- to wash the gray and icy streets of Washington,DC from our normal reality and partake in actual Spring weather. It was a great taste of things to come. Magnolia Gardens has enough going for it that you can spend a whole day there. 

We took the tram ride and boat ride with naturalists who told us all about the local residents, ahem, gators, cormorants, ospreys, turtles called yellow gliders, great blue herons, egrets, hawks, vultures, anhingas, coots, mud hens, etc. 
Away from the swampy area, there were peacocks, a bobcat, goats, an albino raccoon, horses, etc. -- not to mention a bazillion chiggers living in the Spanish Moss, which is neither Spanish nor moss. It is an air plant epicyte. 

Magnolia has a beautiful glass conservatory with tropical plants from Barbados, where the Mr. Drayton and his family lived before acquiring Philadelphia's Ann Fox's dowry of 2000 or so acres of South Carolina's Ashley River wetlands. 

The plantation had rice fields, dams, and specially designed water gates to let the tidewater in when it was least brackish. 

I highly recommend Charleston for all its charms and its people. It reminds me strongly of home-- New Orleans. 

Your Imaginary Friend,
Mr. Peacock Shows Off for the Ladies

Swamp Cypresses

The Drayton Home

Eight Foot Long Feller

The Former Rice Fields

Huge Trees and Tons of Spanish Moss

Spanish Moss Choking Azaleas

The View of the Ashley River from Four Stories Up

Patsie Dresses Appropriately for South Carolina

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Strange Sightings in South Carolina

Who isn't drawn in by the allure of Peeps, Moon Pie Stores, and Bacon-flavored soda? 
I admit being a sugarholic, but draw the line at the bacon soda, bacon gum, and bacon lip balm. 
Piggies are very popular here!

The Moon Pie Store

South Battery Historic Charleston Tour

What is not to love in the month of March during the historic Charleston Home and Garden tour? Precious little. It runs through April 19, with different neighborhoods featured. 
A big wow, it has given me a severe case of real estate envy. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Saignon, France: The Lavender House

Dear Imaginary Friends,
Have you ever seen the lavender fields of Provence? The sights and the fragrances are breathtaking. The fields are even pretty when they are not in bloom. 
"The Lavender House", 8 x 10", Oil, $350
For sale

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sara Poly: Art League Landscape Instructor

Sara is a wonderful teacher who gives fantastic demos. Her speciality is wonderfully loose landscapes with dramatic lighting and harmonious colors. 
Your Imaginary Friend,

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Wheelbarrow

I love the way the sun sweeps low and wide across the grass! For sale, painted this week, $175, oil, 5" x 5".

Napa Valley, part deux

Finis! At last. For sale, 30" x 15", oil, $1200.

The Purple Coneflowers

What is the path least traveled? Maybe this one in Arlington. 
For sale, 5" x 7". $175. Painted this Tuesday. Comes in black wooden frame. 

The Azalea Walk

These azaleas line a shadowy path in Arlington. I love the backlit quality. 
For sale, oil, $175, 5" x 7".

The Little Barn

Completed last week. For sale: 7" x 5", oil, $175. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Honorably Mentioned

Dear Imaginary Friends,

I am pleased as punch to have received an Honorable Mention tonight at the Art League's Monthly Art Exhibit at Alexandria, Virginia's Torpedo Factory Art ceneter.  The show, which will hang for a month, is titled Colorfield. 
My piece, Whirligig, is a quiet contemplative piece consisting of vertical fields of color painted in acrylic over raw linen. 
Check it out!
Your imaginary friend,

St. Barth's: So OOh La La!

Dear Imaginary Friends,
Bonjour, mes amis!  A little bit of Caribbean paradise plus a little bit of France- away-from-France= St. Barth's in the Eastern Caribbean. But brace yourself for a very costly time there. 

This island with the famously death-defying airport strip adjacent to a well-used beach is a wealthy enclave of $30 million yachts and lovely vacation homes for the beautiful people. St. Barth was the setting for the airport landing scene in the Thomas Crown Affair, a popular movie. The pictures below tell the story far better than words. 
(All photos by S. Un. )
If you have a lot of cash and want a safe relaxing vacation, this is the place to go! The beaches are quite gorgeous. And the French accents are music to my ear. 
Although there are few hotels, the Eden Roc is on the lovely beach of St. Jean. 
Your Imaginary Friend,

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Baobab Tree: 250 Years Old

Dear Imaginary Friends,
If you visit St. Croix, be sure to take a peek at the Baobab Tree, 250 years old, sited in a rural neighborhood of modest homes. We had a tour last month, and learned that the slaves brought seeds from Africa. Three such large old trees exist on St. Croix. They have weathered countless storms.
There are many folkloric tales explaining how the baobab tree has three trunks. It is one of the most enduring life forms on our planet.

This photo gives you an idea of the scale of the tree.