Friday, September 23, 2011

Vermont Pumpkin Patch

This my my interpretation of a photograph that I took at the pumpkin patch behind the Vermont Country Store on vacation a few years ago. I actually drew the painting a few weeks ago, but was afraid to apply paint to paper. I was not comfortable with mixing colors so I decided to wait until I started my class. 
I like certain aspects of this better than others. I like the background and I like my vague attempt at creating some shadows. I have had a problem with not knowing when to stop in the past so I was very conscious about keeping it light. I like the little shed and I like the yellow that I added in front of the shack that helps to outline the contour of the land. 
I am not crazy about the pumpkin patch and I really don't like the green. I used green straight from a tube. If I had mixed it using my palette, I probably would have been happier with it. It looks best if you squint : )
All in all, not bad for my very first watercolor painting. The exercises that we are doing in my painting class, creating a color wheel and a complimentary color chart were fun too. Creating these are good practice for color mixing.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Paddling on the Chattahoochee

Paddling on the Hooch
We went for a paddle on the Chattahoochee River today near Uchee Creek on Fort Benning. The sky was overcast and there was a nice breeze. This is a good location for beginning paddlers. We paddled north for about an hour; about 2.5 miles. We were about a quarter mile short of Eddy Bridge. That will be our goal for next time.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Kayaking 101

Interest in kayaking is kicking up in the local area with the river restoration project. Needless to say, TOM and I are not immune to the hype, so we decided to give it a try. 

I did some preliminary research about lessons, local spots that are good for beginners, equipment rental fees, and the kind of kayak to rent...sit-on or sit-in.  

We opted for recreational, sit-on kayaks. They are slower and less responsive, but we figured it would be easier with my weak knee to get on and off, rather than in and out. I really did not want to end up the water, soaked from head-to-toe, before even getting started. 

We also purchased a disposable, waterproof camera. I guess we were expecting to get wet at some point :) I really did not want my Nikon to end up on the bottom of the lake. 

Lessons: I found a website, Smart Kayaking for Beginners, that was very helpful. That saved us about $50 for a lesson that would have taken place on the Chattahoochee River. You can watch the education video clips in the comfort of you home and hopefully, you will remember what they said when you have to put it into practice.

Buy vs. Rent: The obvious solution was to rent equipment. You don't want to buy expensive equipment and then discover that you don't like the activity. The local outfitters charge $40 a day per kayak, x2. $80, for a couple of hours (at most) of fun. Then I remembered that TOM is retired military and we can rent equipment from MWR at Fort Benning for $10 a day.

We headed out to Chewacla State Park in Auburn, AL for our first expedition; a small stream-fed lake. Because of the drought, the stream was low so we were only able to paddle up a short distance, but this is a good location for beginners to get the hang of things. The only disadvantage to this location was the hill that we had to carry/drag the kayaks down and up.

The waterproof camera had an 800 ISO so many of the shots are overexposed. Because of this, I tweaked the shots to give a warmer, aged look. Also, what you see is what you get, no zooming in our out. For the most part, I am happy with how they turned out. 

We spent 90 minutes at Chewacla. We got comfortable with the equipment and the paddling. The trickiest part was getting into the kayak. It would be easy to overcompensate and flip into the water. 

Interesting perspective...shooting from the water toward the land. Additionally, framing a shot could be challenging because the kayak would drift.

We saw some turtles and TOM saw a deer. He also brought his fishing rod and he appeared to be very comfortable with casting, and even did some 'trolling'. I am not sure what he would of done had he actually caught a fish : )

At the end of the day, we concluded that this is an activity that we would like to continue. It was quiet and peaceful on the lake. The activity was not overly strenuous, unless you to pick up your pace. In that case, it would be a very good cardio workout. 

We will continue to rent equipment for the time being. 

I did get a blister on one hand, so next time I will wear some gloves.  

Happy Paddling!