Sunday, January 16, 2011

Photo Essay: A Winter's Tale of Ellwood City, PA

Tracks along the Beaver River

River in Flux from the Koppel Bridge

Home for the Holidays, Welcome Wreaths

School's Out Forever, Past Ellwood Ewing Elementary School

What do snowmen eat for breakfast? Frosted Flakes.
Ewing Park Holiday Display

Connoquenessing Creek, a Tributary to the Beaver River

Off Main Street

A Walk through the Park

Nature Trail, Ewing Park in Ellwood City

Misty Morning near the High School

Koppel Plant, Industrial Might: Past and Present

Lincoln High School, 8:50 a.m.

Snowy Path on a Winter's Day

Pine and Ice

Photo Essay: A Winter's Tale of Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, December 29, 2010
by Cindy Morawski

Here's one person's perspective through photography. My focus~~Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday, December 29, 2010. I also wanted to explain that I didn't try to capture everything about Ellwood, but I was interested in what I could see outdoors in the way of cityscapes, landscapes, buildings, and bridges. I didn't grow up here either. It wasn't until my brother and mother moved here from the Enon Valley area awhile ago that I even took special notice of it. Now it's a place that I visit for birthdays, holidays, and vacations. I get reconnected with my family here. I've adopted this place so to speak. It's on my geographical and social radar.
Ellwood City is located in Western Pennsylvania. It's about an hour north of Pittsburgh and about an hour east of Youngstown, Ohio. Its past speaks about steel and manufacturing. It's present tells a different story. It seems to me like a place that is trying to reinvent itself for the future. I hope it will not only survive but thrive in the 21st century. Like a lot of small American towns in our post-industrial era, it appears a little fragile from someone on the outside, looking in. Although everytime I visit, I meet lots of strong people who love their city and will not only stay in Ellwood, but they'll work to make their home strong too. I have a great deal of respect for that. My hat's off to you~~Ellwood!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Winter Landscape for January 2011

December River, Water and Ice from the Koppel Bridge
Winter Landscape for 2011

Traveling back to Western Pennsylvania in late December was like tripping into a past time tunnel. When my jet plane banked and headed into the Pittsburgh area on December 28th, I couldn't help but stare out at the cold and stark landscape. The cityscape's lights and snowy features below winked up at me, a reminder of where I would soon be landing. After gathering my bags and picking up the keys for my rental car, I headed out the door. Blast! Cold teen temperatures assaulted my warm cheeks. Wisps of cold air blew through my mouth like I was chain-smoking. Whew! It had been awhile since I had been this far north in the winter. Brrrrr! Looking around for my Mazda 3 rental, I clicked the trunk open, deposited my suitcase, and hurriedly jumped inside. Searching frantically for the car's heater, I momentarily slid back to a remembered time when I was sliding sidewise down a steep hill on the way back to college after a weekend home visit. The icy slope held no traction for my car's tires, and I free-wheeled in reverse all the way back down the hill. After taking a deep breath for a second run, I made it to the hilltop, relieved that I hadn't ploughed into any oncoming traffic. Yes, winter is not for the faint-hearted in these cold climates!
On the second day back for my holiday visit to Pennsylvania, I decided to travel by foot across the longest local bridge, one that connected the towns of Koppel and Ellwood City. I wanted to have a good view of the Beaver River, a waterway that eventually flowed into Pittsburgh and the Ohio River. I noticed that the river had been frozen, but it was melting and in transition with huge ice floes floating around like lily pads in a pond. The sun sparkled off the water and ice that afternoon, the mist banked into corners farther back into the hills and woods. The effect seemed ethereal and magic-like. Dressed warmly, I lingered and looked at that December River, a scene I didn't want too soon to forget. The snow padded the riverbanks and gave fresh touches to dreary tans and grays. The bare trees stood like sentinels in place, guarding the river's flow in time and space. I photographed the river as I sludged through the snow on the pedestrian's walkway. Judging by the amount of snow on the path, the bridge was crossed normally not by foot but by car.
After getting my mother returned home safely, visiting with family and friends, and taking in the local winter landscapes, I headed back to Texas. I couldn't wait to look at my photographs and get started with a painting. The painting materialized from a couple of edited photographs. I started with an underpainting of pastel and mineral spirits. Then I sketched in my design and composition. After that, I worked on my values, complimentary colors, and details. I wanted to give an impression rather than a realistic view of the river. I also wanted to provide a real feel for the chilly side of a blue winter landscape. For practical matters, this painting's image measures 11 x 14. The price mentioned in my gallery also includes the framing.
I hope you'll come by and see my new landscapes. Please call ahead for an appointment and I'll put the kettle on as well. For 2011, I also have art calendars available for sale that feature landscapes that celebrate the seasons. Please put your order in soon, and if you mention this blog, I'll take off 20 percent. Hope you have a happy and healthy new year in 2011!!
Mockingbird Studio
8603 Waldon Hts.
San Antonio, TX 78254
Phone: 210-522-0706