February in Maryland is still cold and rather dreary and this morning was no exception. I wanted to do a quick sketch in the morning. I ended up with two tree studies. I worked from my truck on my sturdy little U.Go easel. In the afternoon, the sun came out and the sky and clouds took on a magnificent show. Deep blue-grays, amber brownish gray trees, deep gray-blue water along the canal. I chose to stick with the somber morning colors, which I like too. Both studies were done in a couple of hours, just saying sometimes it’s better to move on especially when the studies are so small. I wanted an impression of the color and the forms and did not concern myself with much detail.
I love painting here at Noland’s Ferry. Here is a painting that I did a few years back on a brisk October Morning.”Peaceful Day at Noland’s Ferry” I spent several days working on site and a few hours in the studio. I like painting along the C& O Canal because of the beauty of course, but also because of the historical significance of places like Noland’s Ferry.
A LITTLE HISTORY OF NOLAND’S FERRY: This was a very important crossing on the Potomac for many settlers travelling from the north and the south. Earliest license was in 1735. It became known as the “Carolina Road”. Philip Noland took over management of the ferry in 1754. It was a very busy place of commerce. There used to be a country store, wagon shop, shoemaker, tailor and blacksmith shop and sadly there was even a slave market called the Licksville slave market. It is documented that George Washington used this ferry on his travels. Interesting to note that on May 10, 1776 Thomas Jefferson crossed here on his way to signing the Declaration of Independence. In 1848 a bridge was built to transport folks over the canal to the Ferry. As Washington DC became more developed this crossing became less popular and eventually like many ferries, it was eventually replaced by the construction of bridges.