Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Greetings from the Wilderness!

Well hello again fellow pioneers! Just wanted to update you on where we're at, specifically. I'm vacationing in the North Carolina mountains with the wife at a place called Knight's Knoll. It belongs to Enivronmental Scientist, Debra Segal, who I recently worked with as her illustrator on her upcoming book, Idylwild Cowgirls, coming out soon!

Knight's Knoll


Debra was nice enough to offer my wife and I her cabin to stay at over the Spring. My wife is a huge hiking/outdoor enthusiast, and I knew it would make her happy to get away from the hustle and bustle and commune with nature again.

Knight's Knoll is located near Mount Mitchell, which is the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi River! The surrounding area is also host to a series of hiking trails, waterfalls and lakes.

As well as being an opprtunity for my wife to cut loose after a grueling semester of DNP schooling, I thought it would provide an opportunity to expand my relationship with nature, becoming a little more fluent in the ways of the wild (as much as staying in a cabin and going down hiking trails can).
I also thought it would help me with inspiration for A Land Remembered. Yes, the Carolina mountains are very different from the flat Florida wilderness, but it's still outside of a city, in the middle of nature, surrounded by forests and wildlife, not much different from the MacIvey's farm in the North Florida wilds.      
So I packed my art supplies with me, right along with the hiking and camping equipment with all the expectations that I'd dig in and get some real work done. Well, on our first night, it didn't disappoint.

One of the best things about being away from the city is the lights. When you're not surrounded by artificial light, you have so much more clarity to see the stars. I remember when visiting Gold Head Branch State Park with the family when I was a kid, my dad would take us outside to roast marshmallows and look at the stars. You could see thousands of them, clear as day!

You also get a sense for just how dark it can be in the country without streetlights and buildings. It's a spooky yet beautiful feeling to experience the world around you as it was meant to be seen without all the intrusions of man and his technology, again, a chance to see the world as the MacIvey's may have at the end of a busy day of cattle herding.

Not my photo, but a great shot of the stars over North Carolina

This  experience was especially helpful, as I'm currently working on the pages introducing Glenda, Zech's future wife. In the scene, he offers her a ride on Ishmel, and they take to the Florida woods for a night ride that ends up introducing Zech to the idea of love and companionship. 

I used the experience of our first evening in the mountains, the quiet, dark, yet enchanting nature of the stars and deep woods to develop the scene below. The low hanging moon, the bright stars and the density of the woods surrounding the couple as they experience their first evening ride together! 

"You wanna ride him?"