Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Lock No. 12

Last Sunday afforded the most ideal conditions for winter plein air. Beautiful fresh snow, blue skies with billowy clouds and best of all (for a watercolor painter especially!) above freezing temps! I couldn't wait to get out to paint.

I decided to drive down to the river, to the little town where I grew up -- Lumberville, Pennsylvania. Or, as the state highway sign says (thanks to the addition of a grafitti "S") -- Slumberville. I think it's kind of humorous that forty some years later this is still being done to the sign entering the village.

It is a peaceful. I have the fondest memories of growing up here along the Delaware River and it's neighboring canal. The towpath that runs between them was my "playground" as well as the wooded hillsides running along the river's path. It is so wonderful to have moved back, closer to "home."

The old lock (Lock No. 12) in Lumberville is still standing and sadly the canal has fallen to disrepair and damage from past storms. When I was growing up the canal was still operational and we use to ice skate in winters and canoe come spring's thaw. I decided to stop and walk down the towpath a bit. There was a wonderful view looking through the locks with a great play of light and shadow.

 Lock No. 12, Lumberville, PA
plein air watercolor, 11" x 8"

Funny, for all the times spent on this familiar ground, I had never really looked back this way and up to the ridge beyond. I could see snow covered hills with bare trees revealing blue skies. The trees tops were pink and gold in the late afternoon sun. And beside me was the constant sound of the river flowing by, its gurgling and swooshing sounds passing through rocks and brush along the shore's edge.

It's kind of surreal to come back to a place filled with childhood memories and realize that many years later those very sounds can flood right back into your being. And be so familiar.

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