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  • Writer's pictureDr. S

Confessions Of A Traveling Artist - Hiawassee

Traveling is one of my favorite things to do. I enjoy going on short trips or long trips. Even if it's simply going to Atlanta to spend one night, I always enjoy it. We recently had the opportunity to go to the North Georgia Mountains on a family trip. This is a trip that Mike and I have made many times. We love to go to Hiawassee, stay at The Lodges, and rent a boat to go out on Lake Chatuge.

This weekend we decided to make this a family trip and go with my sisters and brother-in-laws. My sister knows someone who has a cabin and was able to get the cabin for us for the weekend. The cabin and the mountain views were absolutely beautiful. As soon as I pulled into the drive, I had to start taking photos. I took photos on my phone but of course I also took a good camera to take other photos of the views. The sunset and sunrise skyline in the horizon with the mountains is constantly changing and so I felt like I was constantly missing photo opportunities. Mike of course understands this is important to me so he also joined in and grabbed the camera and took photos as often as he could. My brother-in-law Ron pointed out some very specific photo opportunities and I grew very excited to get back to a canvas so that I could paint what I saw. I do not have the words to describe how breathtaking the view from the cabin high up on a hill was displayed. God's beauty is always breathtaking. I could sit for hours and just stare at the view and look at every detail in the clouds and the sunset on the lake. The way the sun glistens on the lake reminds me of bursts of light dancing in a celebratory rhythm. I tried to imagine how I would paint that scene. The colors were so vibrant that I'm not so sure that artificial paint can truly ever capture what a person sees. Historically we know that Monet and some of the other plein air painters felt the same way. They noted occasions when they just could not capture the colors. And this does not surprise me because the beauty that God creates cannot truly be replicated. Science has proven this for decades. Painting from photos can also be challenging. The camera also alters what a person sees. So, I put extra and purposeful effort into staring and studying and mentally preparing for how to paint this beauty.

The weekend was very relaxing, which was the goal, and I was able to connect with my two sisters and brother-in-laws. I'm very thankful for Mike and all that he does when we travel. We rented a pontoon boat and went out on Lake Chatuge and though we thought it was going to rain, I knew that once we were traveling on the lake, just being in the serenity of the lake would make it all okay. As long as it didn't just pour down and storm. It was chilly so we went by a local store and purchased a throw blanket that in my mind I would just throw over me to stay cozy and enjoy the ride. Mike was the captain of the boat and certainly deserves praise for doing a great job because the rest of us were able to relax and enjoy the ride. One brother-in-law fished from the boat and the second brother-in-law joined in eventually. The sun came out and we could not have asked for better weather in the afternoon. We left on Sunday afternoon completely refreshed.

As I drove home, I was very much like a child at Christmas. I could not wait to get home and start to paint the beauty that I saw in the mountain views from the cabin. I knew I needed to stay aware of the speed limit. I knew I had to be safe, to use wisdom while driving, watch out for others, and arrive alive. However, the excitement was building and so this was difficult. I am thankful my journey was a simple straight shot four lane highway all the way home.

North Georgia is my old stomping grounds. I was raised in Gainesville Georgia however early in my career I drove a lot to Hiawassee, Blairsville, Toccoa, and Helen traveling for work. My daddy was a proud country boy who absolutely loved the mountains and so the mountains have a warm place in my heart. My daddy would say, “This is God's country!” He wasn't crazy about going to the crowded cities so I'm not real sure where I got that from because I would argue that I'm a city girl. I very much enjoy going to the city and being in the crowd and having plenty to do while having everything at my fingertips. But I also enjoy going to the North Georgia Mountains taking in God's Beauty and relaxing. I guess I'm a hybrid of sorts and the artist in me can always find something beautiful to paint or draw. As I have said, I can sit for hours and just imagine how I would paint a building or draw a sunset.

Art is all around us, you just must look for it. I would even argue that abstract art is not as modern and contemporary as we would like to think. Simply look at the clouds and you will see they are very abstract. Depending on how you look at them you're going to see different forms or objects. Depending on perspective you can see abstract city buildings or even the North Georgia Mountains in the clouds and in nature all around us. When I travel to the North Georgia Mountains not only do I experience a lot of mountain history, but more importantly my own childhood memories and my own evolution for the last few years are clear and present in my mind. I returned, reset, and recharged. I returned with new ideas for the gallery, for my own professional art, and for other areas in my life. I want to grow and experience. I truly want to experience life. I do not simply want to exist. I want to experience everything God has to offer. I want to experience connection with others, I want to experience good food, I want to see the culture in other places, I want to experience! This was another trip where I was able to do that, and I am so thankful and blessed. If you see me dazing off then most likely I am already planning the next road trip, the next overnight trip, and the next adventure. I make no apologies for being a dreamer.

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