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The Making of: Mabry Mill – Winter

If you live in the southeastern United States, especially North Carolina and Virginia, chances are you’ve ridden on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The parkway is a scenic route that runs through North Carolina and Virginia for 469 miles scenic from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Shenandoah Mountains.  I’ve spent a lot of time on the parkway in my lifetime but until I started this piece I didn’t know it wasn’t completed until 1987.  The project began under President Franklin Roosevelt as part of the New Deal projects established during the depression.
Today it is enjoyed by over 15 million visitors annually and includes many scenic and historical points.  Several mountains and state or national parks are accessible from the parkway.  Just a few include Mt. Pisgah, Craggy Dome, Mt. Mitchell, and Grandfather Mountain.  There are also historical sites like the Cherokee Indian Reservation, the Biltmore Estate, Daniel Boone’s Trace,  the Johnson Farm at Peaks of Otter, and Mabry Mill.  (For more things to see along the parkway view the map or go to the Parkway website.)
One of my first paintings was of Mabry Mill in the summertime but I began a series of paintings of the mill at different seasons back in 2011.  So far I’ve completed the winter and fall paintings.  I plan to paint a spring and another summer view of the mill in the future.
This week’s subject for ‘The Making Of:’ blog pieces is “Mabry Mill – Winter”.  In 2009 I drove on the parkway while there was still a lot of snow around and it was so cold the pond was mostly frozen over.  Even the mill-wheel water was frozen.  From the photographs I took that day I sketched and painted this view of one of the most popular places on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

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