"Friendfield Slave Village Church" plein air painting amid preservation work

Friendfield Village was home to enslaved Africans and later freedman who lived in the cabins from the early 1800's until 1952. In addition to homes, the village eventually included a school house, doctor's office, and church. The church at Friendfield was built in 1890 with the addition of the bell tower in 1905.

"Friendfield Village Church"
Oil painting on panel
Dimensions : 14" x 11"
Price on request

I had the privileged of joining artists from the Plein Air Landscape Society (PALS) to paint on location at Hobcaw Barony, a 17,500 acre research reserve and historic site managed by the Belle W. Baruch Foundation.

As we painted, work was in progress to preserve and stabilize the wood structures in this former slave community.

Brick footings and fireplaces have been strengthened, roofs repaired and cabins painted.

As at other historic sites in the SC Lowcountry (click here for Magnolia Plantation Slave Cabin Restoration Project), the Belle W. Baruch Foundation realizes the value of preserving the buildings at Friendfield Village to show how enslaved Africans lived on this southern plantation during the days of growing "Carolina Gold" rice in tidal rice fields during the 1800's and later as freedman descendants of slaves continued to live and work on the land when it became a winter hunting retreat in the 20th century. Click here to see a historic photo of a wedding party heading to the Friendfield Church.

Out of the Frame and Back On the Easel

I'm renewing my effort on this oil painting of two young girls who are members of a singing group which performs spiritual and sacred music of the SC Lowcountry. Originally I planned to leave the painting loose and "sketchy", but think I'll add a bit more finish to the work.

I've been inspired to resume my efforts by seeing the work of three accomplished artists -Nancy Guzik, Susan Lyon, and Mary Whyte. Each painter brings a sense of spontaneity and freshness to their work which is built on mastery of draftsmanship, paint handling and creative vision.
All three artists have had their artwork featured in recent publications for the members of the Portrait Society of America of which I'm a member. Check out their work and be inspired too.

Now off to my easel...

Charcoal Drawing of the" Little Dancer" Statue at White Point Gardens

Spring has sprung in Charleston. People relaxed on benches and blankets, as I drew in my sketchbook at White Point Gardens today.
Here's my charcoal drawing of the "Little Dancer" bronze statue by the accomplished 20th century Charleston sculptor Willard Hirsch at the Children's Fountain in White Point Gardens.

Although a popular attraction for children of all ages visiting the Battery, it's not widely known (because the City Of Charleston has never installed a dedication plaque- click here for article) that the 20" statue was created for the fountain in 1962 from a figure Mr. Hirsch had designed about 15 years earlier. It was cast in bronze in New York and installed on a granite base placed lower to the ground for easy access by children.
Also significant is the fact that the "Little Dancer" statue at the fountain is included in the Smithsonian Institution Inventory of American Sculpture. Click here for link to Siris.

Charlestonian Sallie C. Carrington was the generous benefactor who requested the drinking fountain be dedicated to "The Children of Charleston".

Channel 4 (ABC) News reporter Neville Miller and cameraman Shamir Bryan were also at the park. The men were hard at work surveying people on preferences for a state marine mammal - the Right Whale or Bottle nosed Dolphin.

When I asked to take their picture, cameraman Shamir Bryan said he's not used to being on the other side of a camera, but was a good sport and even held the "Little Dancer's" hand as he and Neville took time out for a photo.

Charleston White Point Gardens Renovations

The Bandstand at White Point Gardens is one of the most recognized structures in Charleston. Its charming setting among graceful live oaks near Charleston Harbor makes it a frequent subject of photo's and painting's of Historic Charleston.
Yesterday (3.3.09), the City of Charleston announced an $885,000 project to improve White Point Gardens which includes plans to renovate and restore the 102 yr. old bandstand. A $273,500 contract will include repairs to the 1907 structure's brickwork and will lower the base from its present 6 ft. elevation to the original 3 ft.

I'm posting my recent ink drawing of the bandstand with its 6 foot tall platform rising from ground. I'll need to redraw the structure in the future when the base of the bandstand is lowered 3 feet.

Although it will be nice to see the restoration, I wonder if the bandstand will look quite as grand or provide as nice a view when it's lowered 3 feet to the ground.

Hopefully the White Point Garden renovation plan can be modified to include the long overdue placement of a plaque to identify the Charleston Children's Fountain (click here for article) and its beloved "Little Dancer" bronze statue by Charleston sculptor Willard N. Hirsch.