Going for a Walk in Manassas Bog / by Jeannine Cook

Several weeks ago, I went with Coastal Wildscapes organisation to a deceptively ordinary-looking place near Bellville, Georgia, called Manassas Bog. It was a hot day in an area that is showing the effects of drought, and the group of us followed each other down dusty, sandy roads to a fenced off area beneath power lines.

Soon, however, the enthusiasm of our hosts had us all excited and fascinated. This seemingly featureless area is home to a multiplicity of plants, rare and more common, many of which were in full, glorious bloom. As we walked along the rolling hill terrain, people were photographing left, right and center. But I suddenly knew that here was a source of many potential silverpoint drawings, although I was not yet at all clear how or even, really, why. Instinctively, I began selecting dried seeds, grasses and dead flowers when one of them "spoke" to me. By the end of the long and interesting morning's walks, I had a handful of "trophies" that I carefully put in the car to bring home. I had no idea what I would do with them; I just knew they promised..

The results of this wonderful walk in Manassas Bog were two silverpoint drawings, one of which I am donating to Coastal Wildscapes to use for fund-raising. I spent time allowing the subconscious dialogue I had had with these dried materials to float up to my conscious mind. I then started trying out arrangements of the different pieces, until it seemed a possible mix and composition. A loose graphite study helped me in deciding how to position things on the page. Finally, I settled down to the often slow development of each silverpoint drawing. Each one brought out a different reaction in me, but both gave me fascination and delight.

The silverpoint on the left is Seen at Manassas Bog. The drawing on the right, A Day at Manassas Bog, is the drawing I have donated to Coastal Wildscapes. I did enjoy my walk in Manassas Bog!