Final Thoughts on my Manassas National Battlefield Artist-in-Residence Experience

Jul 5, 2017 by

Final Thoughts on my Manassas National Battlefield Artist-in-Residence Experience

As I reflect on my two weeks at the park, I remember the people, landscape, history, and animals that came together to make the experience so meaningful.

Each day the park introduced me to something or someone new – the golden field of buttercups at Hazel Plain, the singing meadowlark on Henry Hill, the knowledgeable and kind rangers who helped me, and the interesting German couple whom I met at the Visitor Center – to name just a few. I learned more about the beautiful and serene landscape on Henry Hill that has so many stories to tell about what happened here. Through diaries, letters, and war documents I learned about people who lived through the war and its consequences including the Robinson and Thornberry families whose farms saw troops of both sides marching through and soldier and writer Samuel Fiske who under the pen name Dunn Brown, wrote poignantly about his experiences.

I led two public programs while here, the first on a rainy May 6 had only a handful of visitors, but was interesting and fun nonetheless. At the second program on nature journaling on May 9, we welcomed 35 visitors of all ages to sketch and write at the Stone Bridge on a lovely sunny day.

For any artist the gift of two weeks of uninterrupted creative time is a gift, but to have that time in such a lovely and historic landscape is a luxury that few experience. I have loved learning the sounds and sights of the park. Through hiking, painting, and researching, I got to know more about the character of this important place.

I appreciate this unique opportunity and would like to thank those who made it possible and also memorable – park rangers Kaitlyn, Courtney, and Bryan at headquarters and Ray and Jim at the Visitor Center.

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