It’s only possible to circle a project so many times before the ruts in the floor start to trip one up. So after some circling and in the interests of not falling on my nose, I have embarked on some painting studies of the Pine Creek Gorge area. The class of 1960, Jersey Shore (Pennsylvania) High School, is putting together a scholarship fund for contemporary students graduating from Jersey Shore High.
Before I begin, however, I want you to know that if any of the Pennsylvania paintings on this site ring your bell, they can be bought for $100 for the smaller ones ($175 for the larger), with shipping and framing extra. All proceeds will go to the Jersey Shore High School Class of 1960 scholarship fund and are fully tax deductible. Sandra Shiavo Lazlo, of Atlanta Georgia, is our chairperson for the scholarship fund, and if you wish to buy a piece, we will supply you with all the necessary paperwork and lovely information about what your money is doing for the good of the world.
On with the paintings:
This first is something of a composite, using Charlie Bierly’s photos plus my memories of fog in the Pine Creek Gorge. That fog was my entry into Chinese paintings whose fog so resembles what I saw in the forests and mountains of home.
These north-central Pennsylvania mountains are not part of the ridge and valley formations of Pennsylvania, but rather have been carved through flat highlands by a series of events during the last ice age. Pine Creek, known locally as “The Crick,” has a rather spectacular gorge area. It is a designated National Natural Landmark and flows a total of about 47 miles, out from the protected scenic gorge area into narrow valleys, and finally into the West Branch of the Susquehanna River at Jersey Shore.
The painting above, The Gorge with Fog, is 12 x 16″, oil on board.
I did more of the Gorge itself, with the Crick far below, but those paintings are still, ahem, being processed. However, Charlie sent me photos of several side streams, featuring waterfalls and tumbling runs. The following is 18 x 24 inches, oil on board. I did this and a second of this little side stream, called Little Four-Mile Run; Charlie says (in his comment below)
“The Turkey Path follows the [Little Four-Mile]run from the top of the Pine Creek Gorge to the canyon floor and is a mile long.”
Little Four Mile Run, Pine Creek Series, 18 x24″, oil on board, 2008
By the way, the word “run” as it is used here is a colloquialism which means something like “brook” or “very small stream.” In my American Heritage Dictionary, this use of “run” as a small, fast-flowing stream” is #17 under noun definitions of “run”; there are 32 noun definitions, 52 verb definitions, plus variations which have their own numbering systems, such as “phrasal verbs,” like “run across” and “run along.” There’s another set of “slang” definitions, the first being “diarrhea.” More than you wanted to know, but fascinating nevertheless at least if you are fascinated by such stuff.
I have another painting of this rushy run, which will appear another day. –June