A Painting in Memory of the 600-Year-Old Great White Oak

Art, New Jersey, Outdoor Adventure, watercolor

It was the tree that the town of Basking Ridge, NJ grew and developed around. Further back, the story goes that George Washington talked strategy underneath this tree. And now a few months ago, with great sorrow, we said goodbye to the 600-year-old giant. The tree was taken down at the site of the old church and cemetery. But, the oak’s lineage lives on! One of its acorns has now grown into a 25 foot tall descendant and it was planted at the site of the old tree. Below is a painting to remember this giant oak and all the joy it has brought to locals and visitors alike.

Watercolor on Arches Rough Paper

Original 14″ x 20″

Great White Oak, Basking Ridge, NJ

Original paintings and prints available on our Etsy Shop!

 

Emmerich Greenhouse Painting

Art, Outdoor Adventure, watercolor

On a drizzly, humid summer morning, Brandy and I set out to paint in Warwick, NY. We drove around looking for something interesting to paint. Finding parking was not easy, especially near interesting enough places. Then, we zoomed past an old farm building – Emmerich Greenhouses. The parking worked out and the folks working the greenhouses were very friendly. I haven’t lived near Warwick very long and I am always excited to discover places of heritage (especially, places that are not heavily advertised). These greenhouses were started by Chris Emmerich in 1982 and still going strong!

 

Watercolor on Arches Rough Paper

Original 14″ x 20″

emmerich-greenhouses.jpg

Original paintings and prints available on our Etsy Shop!

What To Paint? – Creative Process

Art, Outdoor Adventure, watercolor

Dear fellow artists and wanderers,

I’m going to let you into my world.

I put together a short video that outlines my typical creative process for painting nature scenes in watercolor. It is quite simple: wander around someplace, find something that you think is interesting, take a picture, and put it down on paper. You might be thinking: yeah, easier said than done, but I hope you might draw some inspiration or ideas from my process. Please enjoy!

I rarely paint in plein air, but I would like to get into that habit. I don’t mind the cold or the occasional curious observer.  It’s just that I am spoiled by the ease of working from a photograph, indoors where I don’t have to worry about the light changing rapidly or the wind blowing away my art supplies. Still, I plan on sacrificing these creature comforts for a different experience and greater challenge…maybe.

What does your creative process look like?

One of the happiest of places to wander surprised us this weekend.

Art, New Jersey, Outdoor Adventure

When we can’t find the time to wander for countless hours and miles…we escape to “our happy place” — Natirar Park. Spanning 491 acres, through Peapack-Gladstone, Far Hills and Bedminster, Natirar Park reminds us of the hills, streams, vistas and open spaces still alive with wonder and beauty in New Jersey.

We have sat on every bench, appreciated the beauty of the spring wildflowers, followed sights and sounds of migrating birds, used the shade of the large trees to nap after spending the day sipping wine at the Wine Festival, breathed in the crisp air of autumn as the scenery changed to bright yellows, oranges and reds, and have reminded ourselves what it was like to have a true snow day; sledding until our bones ached and all we craved was hot chocolate.

Yet, this weekend our routine trip to Natirar still managed to surprise us.

We walked the lower and upper loop, stopped to sit on our favorite bench and even met an English White Golden Retriever. After returning to the car, a pitstop at the porta potty and a couple of “Are you hungry’s?” and “I don’t know, are you hungry’s”, we decided to go get something to eat.

But this time, instead of heading back toward home we put our faith in Yelp (which we do a lot when we are traveling, so why not when we are close to home, right?). And to our surprise, we were just 3 miles from satisfying our hunger. We set out for Gladstone Market thinking we would grab a quick sandwich or soup; yet when we reached our destination, we realized that the Gladstone Market shares a parking lot with the Gladstone Tavern. So after getting over the fact that we were probably under dressed, we walked left instead of right and landed on the porch of the Tavern quickly noticing the large horse statue that occupies the front entrance. (Very fitting, especially with the Far Hills horse race held each year just up the road.)

The first impression is very open, friendly, and inviting. If we were underdressed, we would of never known. We sat by the window looking out at the porch and that large horse. After some debating (because the menu is that good) we decided to share a few of the appetizer options. Guacamole (made to order) with warm Tortillas, Crab Tots, and Chicken Quesadilla with shredded brussel sprouts. We licked the plates clean! Perfect portions and the 3 sauces that accompany the Crab Tots really manage to bring out the flavor. But after having appetizers that good, we would have done a disservice to ourselves if we did not look at the dessert menu.

Not only do they have a dessert called “Hot Chocolate”, but they house churn the ice cream! So we went with the Little Apple Pie. A scoop of maple walnut is included and we added an extra scoop of the peanut-chocolate chip! It was delicious! We will definitely be back! A great surprise Sunday adventure indeed!

Washington’s Birthday

Art, New Jersey, Outdoor Adventure

Today, Presidents’ Day is a day to celebrate all U.S. presidents. But, some still refer to this day as “Washington’s Birthday”. This holiday was originally established in 1885 to honor President George Washington, though his actual birthday is February 22nd. Coincidentally, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, and William Henry Harrison were also born in February.

Washington was commander in chief of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. Jockey Hollow (the inspiration for this watercolor) was used as a winter encampment by the Continental Army. Here, the soldiers suffered hunger, from lack of resources, and miserable cold and stormy winter conditions.  As I hike through the hills of Jockey Hollow, I imagine this place some 240 years ago.

Big Thaw

Art, New Jersey

 

The “Blizzard of 2016” rolled in and left a nice 30-inch snow portion for NJ folk to savor. But, this dish disappeared quickly – a big thaw began as the warm air crept in, melting the stuff away along Caitlin and the Twins’ creation, Ronnie the snowman. The big thaw inspired this watercolor. It is a slightly exaggerated view from the parking lot shared by tavern employees, shoppers, and residents of the old apartment building (that’s us). You may have seen the same building in an earlier post, but the Sycamores are brandy new. Enjoy!