"Garden Bridge in Winter" A New Painting by Katherine M Schneider

A long white bridge crossing the dark waters of a cypress pond is a favorite view of visitors to Magnolia Gardens. The graceful curves of the bridge contrast with the straight trunks of cypress trees reflected in the dark water. It's a memorable sight.

The vista is often painted with brightly colored azaleas in the Spring. It's rarely painted when the rich colors of Autumn reflect in the bright winter light on the pond, as I have here.

The painting is one of six artworks I have entered in the 2009 Winter Garden Festival Art Show at Magnolia Gardens Jan. 24 - Feb. 28th. The Plantation Gallery Gift Shop is located on the ground level of the Manor House.

"Garden Bridge in Winter"
Mixed Media/Oil
Framed size: 17"x 20"
Price: $450.00

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens Winter Festival 2009 - Art Show Opening Reception

The paintings were hung, tea was served, and plein air artists painted at the opening of the 2009 Magnolia Gardens Winter Festival.
Here's an ink drawing I sketched today of the entrance to the Plantation Gift Shop and Gallery. Covered by the large second story porch, the entrance to the Gift Shop and Gallery is a dry spot to sketch on a rainy day.

Artists painted throughout the gardens, including the lawn in front of the Plantation House.
At 6:00 pm Charleston Artist Guild (CAG) member, Dab (www.Dabism.com)was still painting in the misting rain. He said it takes about an hour to set up his elaborate plein air equipment, but then he is ready to paint in any weather.

The Art Gallery is full of exciting new artwork by members of the Chas. Artist Guild who will be at the Gardens painting tomorrow and throughout the Winter Festival, January 23 - Feb.28th. New paintings(Click here) will continue to be added to the show as they are created by the artists.

If you're in the area, come out to Magnolia Gardens to see the beautiful winter blooming camellias and the fresh artwork in the Plantation Gallery Gift Shop.

A Charcoal Drawing of a Mossy Live Oak

Few things are as relaxing as sitting under an ancient live oak watching the Spanish moss sway in the breeze as sunlight shines through the leafy canopy.
Ancient Live Oaks seem to have a magic all their own. It's in their leaves and branches and huge, twisting trunks. It's in the grey moss and soft, filtered sunlight moving on the ground underneath. Live Oaks are one of Nature's best creations.

After a busy holiday season, drawing in the peace and quiet of this oak lined dirt road at Magnolia Gardens was a real pleasure.

I hope you too will feel the relaxing effect of the swaying Spanish moss in this plein air drawing of an ancient oak at Magnolia Plantation.

"A Mossy Live Oak"
Charcoal drawn on paper
Image size: 14"x 11"
Framed dimensions: 17" x 20"

Magnolia Gardens Winter Festival 2009 - Plein Air Drawing and Painting

I was back out at Magnolia Plantation this afternoon drawing and painting the path to the Manor House in preparation for upcoming Art Shows during the Winter Garden Festival 2009.

This year, there will be two exhibits during the festival. Original artwork created this year in the Winter Garden will be showcased in the Art Gallery at the Manor House Gift Shop. On Sat. Jan. 24, there will be Afternoon Tea from 1-5 pm to meet the artists and see the new artwork. The artwork will remain in the gallery until March 31. (See gallery here.)

The second show will be a Juried Exhibition and sale in the Carriage House at Magnolia Gardens entitled "The Girl with the Gold Earring". Magnolia Plantation is sponsoring this exhibit to highlight a recently found gold artifact at an archeological dig on the plantation. This show will be on display from Feb. 2 - Feb. 19, 2009.

Weather permitting, I will be painting en plein air in the gardens with painters from The Charleston Artist Guild and The Charleston Out Door Painters Asso. Jan. 24, 2009.

If you're in the area, stop by and see the beautiful winter blooming camellias in the garden and the new original artwork in the two Winter Festival Art Shows.

Three Generations of a Lowcountry Family at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

Members of the Leach family have lived and worked at Magnolia Plantation for generations Their family story is an important part of a new project at Magnolia Plantation to tell the history of the men and women who have worked here for over three centuries.

At 86, Mr. Johnny Leach is still an active member of the Magnolia Gardens staff. Mr. Isaac Leach (age 50) keeps the gardens beautiful for visitors by working on insect and disease control on the many historic plant species, in addition to maintaining the properties numerous ponds. Jackson Leach (age 18) works in grounds keeping and will be a historical interpreter when the newly restored cabins are open to the public.

Isaac, Jackson, and Mr. Johnny Leach revisited their former home on what they refer to as "the street" today to see the work that has been done to restore the cabins.
Mr. Leach (on the left) shows his son and grandson the addition to the old family cabin he built by himself over 50 years ago. He rigged a special rope pulling system to lift the metal sheets onto the roof by himself. Isaac Leach remembers a large wooden barrel that was used to white wash the cabin many years ago when he was a boy. All three men lived in the cabin, although Jackson was only 2 when he moved with his family to a new home.

New staff members meet with the Leach's at "the Street". Historical interpreter Preston Cooley and Managing Site Historian D.J. Tucker discuss plans for the historical sites opening in February with Jackson, Johnny, and Isaac Leach.

I'll post today's plein air drawing from the site tomorrow.
As both an artist and a former Park Ranger Historian with the National Park Service who interpreted the history of Fort Moultrie and Fort Sumter in the 70's, I'm enjoying meeting those who are involved in the development of this historic site. When it's completed, Slave Cabin Row (aka "The Street") will be a unique addition to the history of the Lowcountry, telling the story of how the lives of workers on a southern plantation changed through the years from the colonial era up to the present.

Slave Cabin Row Restoration Project at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens 2008

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens has completed restoration work on 5 slave cabins at "Slave Cabin Row".
On a recent plein air painting trip, I was given a tour of the site by Kevin Meek, owner of Rock Creek Craftsmen. His company has restored the cabins at Magnolia to show the evolving story of enslaved Africans and later freedman living in the structures from the Colonial period up to recent history (1969). Click here for more news coverage of the project.

Each of the cabins on Slave Cabin Row has been restored to demonstrate the building materials and living conditions of a different historical period.

Magnolia Plantation is the only Lowcountry Historical site that has cabins showing the changing conditions of the workers and buildings as life on the plantation changed over time.
Sean Connolly, Project Manager and Kevin Meek discuss work at two of the "older" period cabins.

Connolly, Meek, and Project Technician Kate Fowler are pictured by the Leach Family cabin. Members of the Leach family (click here for photo's of the Leach family) lived in this cabin until 1969. The oral history from members of the Leach family who are still working at Magnolia Plantation will be included in the historical interpretation of the site.
At this time the cabins are unfurnished, but the project includes plans to add historic objects to at least one of the buildings.

I, along with other exhibiting members of the Charleston Artist Guild, have been invited to create new paintings of the winter garden to exhibit during the 2009 Winter Garden Festival in the Plantation Gallery and Gift Shop.

The restoration project unearthed an artifact of particular interest. A handcrafted 14 caret gold object about the size of a cuff link was found in an area where the oldest cabins once existed.
The artifact may have had various uses, possibly as an earring. The owner of the gold artifact is a mystery as is it's origin.

Here are photos of my mortar and pestle and spinning wheel (circa 1800) in the cabin. Both are similar to those which would have been used on the plantation in the Colonial Era.

I think they add an interesting element to the story about the lives of the people who lived on Slave Cabin Row at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. For information about the restoration work of former slave cabins at Friendfield Village click here.

"Misty Morning on the Creek" A New Plein Air Painting by Katherine M. Schneider

I returned to the tidal creek at Poplar Grove I tried to paint last year. Click here to see that painting.

This time I decided to paint the creek on a misty morning rather than in the late afternoon sunlight.

The finished painting shows the creek filling with the incoming tide on a misty winter morning. I like the effect the mist and rain give to the marsh in the far distance. The gray light coming through the clouds makes the marsh grass and trees seem softer too.

I used my car's back hatch to keep dry while painting in the wet weather. Here's a photo of my canvas with some of the paint wiped down to the sienna colored under painting. This time out, I knew I'd have to focus first on painting the tidal water coming into the creek. This is a shallow creek and the water level changes very quickly. Notice the change in the water level and the disappearing creek banks compared to the painting in this photo taken at the end of the painting session.

While I was painting , John Tarkany the owner of the land on the left side of the creek came by to chat. As a Landscape Architect, he has a special appreciation of the beauty of his creek side property.
I enjoyed a tour of the property with a lively discussion of its history and horticulture.

This creek has a special feel that has to be experienced to be appreciated.
I hope you can get a sense of the place from my painting "Misty Morning on the Creek".

"Misty Morning on the Creek"
Oil on canvas panel
Size: 11" x 14"
Price: $450.00