Monday, March 14, 2011

Millheim & Rebersburg, PA

Last Saturday we succumbed to cabin fever - and so an outing was devised. We chose to travel northeast to avoid the clouds approaching from the southwest. We ended up in the village of Millheim, PA and had lunch at the Elk Creek Cafe & Aleworks on Main Street, also known as Rte. 45. The cafe is only a bit over 3 years old and is known for having live entertainment and home-brewed ales. Their slogan: Eat Fresh • Drink Local • Hear Great Music ... it's a Valley Thing!

The cafe is known as a supporter of all that is "local," including food, drink, music AND art. They offer 15 different locally microbrewed ales - all of which have fascinating names such as Winkleblink Ale; Poe Paddy Porter; Brookie Brown Ale; and Great Blue Heron Pale Ale. You'll find more info and tasty descriptions here. For the menu listings, look here - note they have vegan dishes, too. Their House Potato Chips and their regular french fries are marvelous!

The Cafe is painted a soft, warm yellow (inside & out) and decorated with hand-painted, stylized fish representing the local trout. The fish actually remind me of the Celtic Salmon frequently decorating Irish themed objects of every sort. There is a large raised platform stage and many sound speakers placed strategically throughout making sure everyone everywhere will have a surround-sound experience. Alas, we were there for lunch so we missed out on the music - but certainly did not miss seeing the wonderful watercolor paintings that lined 2 walls of the Cafe. The artist this month is Judith Bogert - a local from Spring Mills, PA, of course! Her floral representations are lovely, her tea cups and lace doilies amazingly detailed.

The clientele at the Cafe was a thorough mix of folks - many local folks as well as travelers passing through on their way to State College (south) or Lewistown (north) or further. We saw groups of women, young families, couples, teens, and old timers all enjoying themselves as much as we were. It's a "happening place" and the owner and staff are wonderfully friendly as well as good at what they do.

On the side of the Elk Creek Cafe building is this wonderful mural depicting the town. Since the one and only stop light is at this corner, anyone traveling south gets to see the colorfully cheerful welcome to the town. Note the quilt blocks that surround the mural. There's also a long wash line with clothes hanging from it that trails to the very back of the building. It's amazing!

Down the street a bit is the Millheim Hotel and Restaurant (limited restaurant hours). Across the street is OIP (Original Italian Pizza) and a soon-to-be-opened art gallery with loft studios above.
The Millheim Hotel

There's a funeral parlor, many churches, some wonderful old Victorian homes, and so much more - as well as the beautiful Elk Creek, which was filled to overflowing due to our rains and snow melt of the past week or so.

We drove on to Rebersburg, a tad west and a tad north. It's a tiny village in Amish Country - the only business in town was an Amish General Store, which had plenty of visitors on Saturday afternoon.

An old church bore an old Chevrolet sign - an odd happenstance, to be sure. I liked and photographed the church windows...Frank photographed the sign.

The Clover Farm Store was no longer open and was For Sale. Many years ago when we lived upstate in Athens, PA near the NY state border, there was a Clover Farm where our kids used to love to go to pick out their quarter candy, etc. This sign brought back all sorts of happy memories of our 16 years on the dike of the Susquehanna River.

We passed a large number of small farms in the valley - many of which we Amish. It's pretty easy to distinguish the difference other than the lack of motorized vehicles. There are no electric lines criss-crossing the roadway to their homes. All the farms appear to be thriving, yet we know that our local farmers are struggling to keep their farms. Dairy farmers are particularly hard pressed and many have sold off their herds because they cannot afford the feed when milk prices are so low.

This appeared to be a Maple Syrup and Orchard shop, not currently open. It was quite attractive, as you can see.

We returned home through Centre Hall, PA and I saw an interesting store, The Beaten Path - Studio & Shop, located across the street from the Post Office. They sell art, antiques, jewelry, collectibles and "useful things." I know I'll be going back to visit there in the near future!

Friday, March 11, 2011

My Adventures of the Last Month or so...

First, there was the quilt project - the latest challenge for our Art Critique Quilting Group. The challenge: create a small quilt using a majority of black, white, + gray fabrics, with one additional color allowed - in small amounts. Here is my possibly finished quilt - I may add some acrylic opalescent white paint on the brush and undergrowth for snow. Will wait and decide later.

WINTER MOON - 16"x20" (c)Pat Dolan 2011

detail shot showing how I love to draw with my sewing machine!

Second: the weather - which is almost typical March weather in that there's a wide variety of temperature and types of precip. Last weekend we received 10-11" of snow (forecast called for 1-3"). The morning of the snowstorm, the robins arrived in large numbers. Even our resident mallard duck pair had returned to the neighborhood. Then there was snow - lots and lots of snow.

Yesterday morning, these were the views out my studio windows - prior to 1.75" of rain:

Obviously, the snow has been melting quickly - the rivers and creeks are swollen with melt-off and rain water.

Aside from quilting and the weather, I've continued my experiments with soft pastels. They offer instant gratification of resplendent colors - of course, it helps if the basic drawing/concept has good solid design. Below are a few of my the things I have been playing with.

SUNLIGHT THROUGH THE PINES - approx. 19" x 25" (c)Pat Dolan 2011
on blue/gray Canson Mi-Teintes Drawing Paper

Below: STONE WALL approx 10"x12" (c)Pat Dolan 2011
Step One: the drawing with the photo inspiration

Step Two: laying in the base colors

Step Three: finished piece

Here's a collage done in a workshop with Anne Kenyon, a local artist>

And more pastel paintings...

Above: SNOW STREAM - 6"x9" incomplete at this time

Below: TIGER LILY - approx. 9" x 12" (c)Pat Dolan 2011

MILLBROOK MARSH IN THE FOG - 16" x 25" (c)Pat Dolan 2011

I may make some changes to the above - it seems somehow lacking... perhaps it's the effect of the fog. But it doesn't look 'done' to me.

My Inspiration - a drawing from one of my old sketchbooks


This piece was done the night I learned of my favorite Uncle Bill's passing. He was the last of my parents generation - we are now all orphans staring into our own lift/death/resurrection possibilities...