Wilderness Wildlife Week

Wilderness Wildlife Week Photos

I got an online newsletter from Jim Eastin at “Taking Better Photos” which reminded me of the Wilderness Wildlife Week in Pigeon Forge, just up the road from Gatlinburg.  This event takes place at the Music Road Hotel and Convention Center. All lectures and seminars are FREE to the public. Jim Eastin will be teaching classes there on January 12th and 17th. In addition to classes there are organized hikes and field trips as well. There is even a photo contest for you amateur photographers.

What a wonderful way to take a mid-winter vacation with the family! We haven’t attended yet but it is on my bucket list to get to some of these interesting lectures about the area.  You can view the Class List to see the subjects and find out who is presenting, or pack your lunch and head out with the group on an organized hike. There is a wide array of subjects from photography to snakes to fly fishing to music. A bit of everything for everyone including classes for kids. Sounds fun!

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Art in the Smokies

There are a number of art galleries in Gatlinburg, most of which are on the Arts & Crafts eight-mile loop in Gatlinburg.  Two of my favorites are Jim Gray Gallery, which also has a store in Pigeon Forge, and The Paul Murray Gallery.

Paul Murray Gallery

Aunt Emily

Paul Murray is my absolute favorite Smoky Mountain artist. Paul Murray spent part of his early life in the deep mountains and captures the essence of what the mountain people represent; simplicity and joy. He uses pencil, watercolor, oil and pastels. His art can be very haunting like this pencil sketch of Aunt Emily, but there is no other artist’s work I’ve seen that captures the essence of people as much as Paul Murray’s.

The best part of seeing Paul Murray’s art however is experiencing his ‘gallery’. You’ll find it on Glades Rd. Look for the old house with the dilapidated porch. Don’t be afraid to go in, you’ll experience not only the art, but have a better idea of the simple way of life of these mountain people.

Jim Gray Gallery

Jim Gray gallery is also found on the eight-mile loop that begins on Glades Rd. and is part of the Arts community. In addition to his own work Jim features the art of family members and other artists as well. Jim Gray paints watercolors of a lot of different subjects. Of course my favorites are paintings of the Smoky Mountains.

I love his water colors of the Smokies. He is really able to evoke the feelings you get when you are touring in the park or experiencing a stay in the mountains. There is nothing like waking up to seeing the ‘smoke’ in the mountains, and Jim captures this beautifully.

Useful Links:
http://www.paulmurray.com/gallery_appalachia.html#1018
http://jimgraygallery.com/
http://www.gatlinburgcrafts.com/map.html


Tulip Trees and Photography

Tulip Tree off the front porch of Southern Serenity

We attended “Taking Better Photos” which is a photography class conducted by Jim Eastin – it was fabulous!!  All 6 of our group loved the class and we definitely learned a lot about how to get more from our cameras.  In addition to the tips about photography Jim fills you in on Park history and the local flora and fauna.

Turns out we have Tulip trees right off the front porch of Southern Serenity.  Tulip trees grow very tall, the tallest in the eastern US.  The tallest recorded is 179 feet.  These trees  were important to the Smoky Mountain settlers, they provided long, straight trunks to use for milling the lumber that would create their homes and farm buildings.  You may know them as some kind of poplar, but I will forever remember them as Tulip trees now.

Take the photo class, it’s worth every penny.  And remember to seek out these majestic trees and appreciate their role in local history when you hike the Smoky Mountains.