Normal comings and goings in front of the farm….This VIRTUAL trip replaces what would have been a scheduled holiday with my son Jarrod and his partner Kendle on the farm they manage in Pennsylvania Amish Country.
Much of it for me is a walk down memory lane. On my way I will be filling sketch books and hope that those who choose to join me will do the same.
Jarrod and Kendle have known one another since they were six years old. Kendle’s Mother is an artist friend…and Kendle’s grandmother made my daughter’s banky boo:). A fine equestrian, Kendle grew up in the saddle. First a little history.
As I board my flight at London Heathrow – destination Philadelphia, Pa. I think about all that has happened during the 54 years since I first visited the States in January 1966.
Fresh out of art school and recently married, I agreed to go to the States for a two year visit. My first husband had family living there and wanted to experience it for himself. I was twenty years old.
We sailed on the SS United States liner from Southampton to New York….where we took a Greyhound bus to Miami. There we were met by my husband’s uncle who drove us to Key West Florida where we stayed for three months.
It had been an exceptionally rough Atlantic crossing causing most passengers, including myself, to be sick. However my sickness didn’t go away. Two months after arriving in Key West it was confirmed that I was pregnant.
Jarrod was born on 10th September 1966 in Ft. Lauderdale’s brand new Holy Cross Hospital. His birth, (for which I will be forever grateful,) changed the direction of my life.
Jarrod 54 years later with chicken 🙂
My first marriage was dissolved and in 1968 I was a single mother living on Staten Island New York with a young child to support. A friend got me an interview at White Weld & Co. on Wall Street as a Gal Friday. (I had no idea what that meant). I was young and my mind quick…and so it wasn’t too long before it was suggested that I take the examination to become a registered representative with the New York Stock Exchange. I passed and became one of the first female registered representatives to work on a block stock trading desk.
I commuted to Manhattan on the Staten Island Ferry and watched the twin towers being built.
(much more about this and other chapters of my life in a book I am writing)
This would eventually lead me to White, Weld’s Philadelphia office where I met my second husband, Bill Reed. We were married in 1972 at the historical ‘Beehive’ on South Concord Road Birmingham township, very close to the Amish Country we will visit on this trip.
I lived and worked in the West Chester Pa area for 23 years. Both children grew up and went to school there. West Chester is where my career as a professional artist began and it was at the Chester County Arts Association that I had my first solo exhibition in 1976. So many happy memories and life long friends come from that time.
Two of the houses I lived in during those twenty three years were built by the Amish. They are fabulous builders. (Photographs will follow….)
All of these thoughts and many more are moving through my mind as we cross the Atlantic.
Upon arrival Jarrod is waiting for me and ready to drive the 50 miles back to the farm. Such a happy moment and as you can imagine non stop talking all the way.
Arriving at the farm….
Amish life across the road from the farm. And waiting for us are the Twins – like little sentinels.A quick watercolour of the Twins…..Although born in London, I grew up in Kent and so am a country girl at heart. Being surrounded by landscape and many animals is what I love.
And then there is Sheila the dog – loads of chickens and of course Kendle and Jarrod...Time to relax on the deck and listen to Jarrod the musician serenade me while I make a quick sketch. These are the special moments in life. After more conversation Kendle (who is a fantastic cook) brought our quiche and salad for a lovely supper.
And then to bed.
Tomorrow…fresh farm eggs for breakfast, a tour of the farm and sketching. Plus more about the Amish neighbours.
My plan is to share what I am doing in my sketch book each day. For those who wish to join me on my VIRTUAL holiday please feel free to use any of the images on this blog as JUMPING OFF POINTS for your own sketches.
After I return to London I will do some tutorials from some of the sketches.
As far as subject matter is concerned….we have landscape, portraiture, animals, hummingbirds and the Amish..…See you tomorrow.