I guess I’ll start with the art and fill in the rest. I made the conscious decision not to take my needle felting along. That spared me the suspicious looks I get at security checkpoints at the airport. I took pencil crayons and charcoal pencils, and I picked up rice paper at a local art supply shop. The felt tiles I’ve been working on were calling to me, so I took the chance to do some small studies in composition and color to decide which elements I want to commit to art pieces.
I practiced positioning colors in different sectors of the pieces to try to draw my eye in different ways. I was very much influenced by the nature scenes around me, so you’ll see a lot of sandy, grassy or wavy motifs. There are also a lot of seashell shapes, and even a wine bottle or two. Hmm, I wonder how that got in there? I’ll sift through what I have for use as templates for future tiles.
The weather this year was a little cooler and cloudier than past trips we’ve made. That sent us off to new adventures, such as a drive to Jockey’s Ridge State Park. This is the largest sand dune on the outer banks and a great place to climb. Actually, it’s a great place to climb up once, and an even better place for the kids to roll or run down the dunes. Everyone sleeps better at night when that happens! We also did a couple of trips to mini-golf courses. This year I came out with the lowest scores on both trips! The bad news is that the winner has to buy ice cream for the family, so I’m on notice until I pay off one more debt. Later in the week we had a couple of sunny, warm days where we drove to the beach by the Currituck lighthouse. There’s a great beach beyond the dunes for kid-friendly swimming. The boys spent most of their time body surfing or riding a boogie board we found at our rental house, while I guarded the blanket and kept the ghost crabs at bay. They’re fun to watch emerge when things quiet down around you to clear the sand out of their hole. That’s a heroic task on a windy, sandy beach, but they seem up to it. I managed to do some shell collecting too. Mostly I collected small, polished fragments that might well become fish skeletons. And to cap off each long day of exploring, a trip to the hot tub on the back deck was a great way to unwind.
When vacationing on the outer banks, eating fresh seafood is part of the equation for us. This year we discovered Carawan’s seafood market and got fresh tuna, redfish and flounder. Each ended up as a delightful meal, culminating with a pan-seared tuna with toasty garlic, onion and lime in the mix. We ate it with fresh bread and a nice Ganache, based on the advice of our new best friend Chip at Chip’s Wine and Beer Market in Kill Devil Hills. Chip taught us about matching different kinds of food with wine based on which part of the palate you taste the wine, and he taught us to value growing climate over grape varietal when making a selection. We learned a lot and had a lot of fun chatting with Chip. He has a tremendous selection and his shop is a must-stop site for wine drinkers on the outer banks.
Well, all good things must come to an end, and our week on the sand and in the surf is no exception. On our drive back to Norfolk we did stop in at the Botanical Gardens next to the airport. It’s well worth the trip, with hundreds of rose varieties in bloom, a native garden, flowering trees, a kids garden, a butterfly enclosure, a coniferous garden, a half-hour tram ride—it’s just a great place to spend the day. But now that I’m back I have to shift my artist persona into high gear. I’ll be hanging a show Wednesday in the Phi Gallery at the Hotel Indigo in Columbus, Indiana (the reception is June 10 from 5:30-7:00 pm.). Then later this week I head for Ohio to participate in the Columbus Arts Festival this weekend. It’s my first time in the show so I’m excited to see how it plays out. If you’re in the area, stop by and say hello!
Until next week…