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A change of pace, and style.

Watercolor is, indeed, my medium (check a recent blog post on this topic) Why Watercolor? I have talked about how I love pen & ink with watercolor. It might not be much of "a change of pace", but it seems to be a HUGE change in style.

This idea began when the owner of Heather a Boutique in downtown Fredericksburg, Virginia had a quick chat with me while I visited her shop. Heather wondered whether some of the iconic sites in this historic district could be the subject of some of my greeting cards, maybe with Christmas motifs.

The thought stayed in my head for months, pushed back by the strange intervention of Covid-19. Heather's shop was one of so many in Fredericksburg that had to shut its doors in mid-March and continued to do so into the summer months. Like many shop owners, she had to devise creative ways of selling her wares remotely, by phone, email, and/or by appointments. It's been very hard on the independent shops.

Now to my revelation: Why not just pick a place, take a picture, pick up a pen, and start.

The result is quite striking, at least to my eye. Architecture has never been my strong suit. The curves of flowers and birds keep my arm loose, and accidents can be quickly adapted with the touch of some paint to the affected boo-boo.

The straight, bold, perspective lines of buildings and facades are unforgiving. "Oops" cannot happen with a pen or ruler. Can I do this? Yes. Yes, I can.

First, came the photographs. A foray down to Fredericksburg on a lovely day gave me at least three different places to dive into. I knew well enough not to do this on a Saturday afternoon. Even during the lockdown in March and April,

people were bound to be out walking their dogs along the tree-lined sidewalks.

Camera at the ready, I found parking spots (Fredericksburg is notoriously hard to park your car, and you had better beware: the local police might just mark your tires, and come back to boot that same tire if you haven't moved in the allotted time frame).

Here are the results:

Left to right:

  • Caroline Street looking south. This is "downtown Fredericksburg" with quaint shops, pubs, and sidewalk dining.

  • Carl's - Local ice cream stand drawing lines of fans for soft-serve cones, malts & shakes since 1947.

  • Fredericksburg National Cemetery. (National Park Service) final resting place for 15,000 soldiers killed during the civil war battles in this area.

  • Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop. Restored 18th building interprets colonial medical practices, including leeches and snakeroot.

  • Fredericksburg United Methodist Church

  • Kenmore (Georgian-style plantation home of Betty Washington, only sister of George)

  • University of Mary Washington - Bell Tower, a landmark on the campus.

  • Chatham Manor - Constructed in 1771

  • St George's Episcopal Church. Dating from the 1730s the church was used as a command post for the Union Army.

As you can see, this is a change from the fluid and soft style of my many watercolors. The jump to try my hand at architectural drawing is, indeed, a change. Isn't it nice to "shake it up" sometimes? It can be scary, yet refreshing.


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General History - Fredericksburg Virginia

Books covering the Civil War in the area of Fredericksburg, Chancellor, Spotsylvania

My recommendation of art supplies that were used in this artwork. Opinions remain my own.

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