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April 15, 2012

Robert Cleveland Parker - Mary Ethel Sheffield

This is the third of 4 blog posts in which I will outline information about one of my 4 grandparents and their ancestral line.

I started doing family research (genealogy) in 2000, using old fashioned methods.  I went back generation by generation using records on microfilm at the National Archives branch in NYC, the New York Public Library, and the NY Muncipal Archives - and obtained birth, marriage, death, census, passenger list, and naturalization documents for each ancestor.  After several years and many generations, I reached brick walls in each line, due to lack of existing records.  In the process I met distant cousins through genealogy message boards, and became friends and co-researchers with many of them.

I recently read that CURRENT genealogic researchers rarely use Genealogy message boards, but instead "google" names of interest, so blogs are now the most important method of making connections.  I therefore decided I would post information on each of my 4 ancestral lines here on my blog - which is usually used to share my art and textile passions.  This will be an extra post each month.

My father was born in Virginia and lived there and in West Virginia until he was a young man.  He then moved North to New Jersey and several years later met and married my mother.  I barely knew my "Southern" relatives, but since learned that my Paternal Grandfather's ancestors arrived in America early enough to include Revolutionary and Civil War soldiers and even a child kidnaped in the French-Indian War and returned 7 years later in a prisoner exchange at Fort Pitt.

My grandparents, Robert Cleveland Parker and Mary Ethel Sheffield. met in Washington Co. Virginia and eloped to be married in Bristol TN.  

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Cleve Parker was born in Ashe Co. NC to Thomas Jefferson Parker and Rachel Alice Graybeal. 

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Tom's parents were John Parker and Elizabeth Fair and this is as far as I can trace the Parker line.  I have US census information for John and Elizabeth from 1850 (Johnson Co. TN) to their deaths in Ashe Co. NC.  I researched all of the Wilkes and Ashe Co Parker Families from 1800 to 1840 and I'm looking for proof that John was the son of David Parker from Wilkes Co. NC.  I have no other information on Elizabeth Fair.

Rachel's parents were Jacob Graybeal and Rachel Catherine Shoun.  The Shoun family lived in Johnson Co. TN, adjacent to Ashe Co NC.  Other names in her family:  Andrew Shoun, Elizabeth Powell, Leonard Shoun, Barbary Slemp.

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Jacob's parents were Peter Graybeal Jr. and Mary Burkett and his grandparents were Peter Graybeal Sr. and Christina Wampler.  I did lots of research on Christina Wampler and have copies of original reports of her kidnapping as a child in PA by the Delaware Indians in 1757 and return in 1764 as part of a big prisoner exchange arranged by Lt. Henry Bouquet for General Gage - head of the British Forces in America during the French-Indian War.  She and Peter probably married in Maryland and then settled in Ashe Co. NC. 

I would be delighted to exchange information with other researchers of any of these families.

April 14, 2012

Doodling Sketchbook

I doodled alot when I was a student in middle school and high school.  And then I stopped almost completely.  After that I drew images for my children, or for applique quilt patterns, but rarely did I just fill up pages with random spontaneous doodles.  I'm sure that it is a wonderful creative technique and I'm fascinated enough by recent discoveries in neuroscience to realize that filling up parts of my brain with these random images must have some effect on creativity in general. 

I'm reading Jonah Lehrer's new book, Imagine: How Creativity Works, which is all about the newest neuroscience data on creativity and especially "aha" moments.  This makes me wonder what is really happening in my brain as I pay more attention to doodling sessions. 

I visit my Mother weekly at her retirement complex and during the cold weather we take long walks inside the complex and sit for an hour talking.  I now carry a doodle sketchbook and a dozen watercolor pencils and either sketch what I see, or just fill a page with doodles.  I use an old, previously unused spiral journal with toned paper - and never think about wasting paper.  I couldn't do this freely on good watercolor paper.

This page was done on a cold winter day - sitting in front of a fireplace.

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These next 3 were done by spontaneously doodling.  I have no idea why there are birds on almost every page (I just uploaded 3 of many weekly pages in my journal).  I am not a bird lover and only draw sea gulls when we are walking on the beach.

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April 10, 2012

Venice Sketches #12 and 13

I'm still sketching Venice scenes from my old photos in anticipation of our upcoming trip to Venice.  Painting canal water and showing the texture/decay of building surfaces are scarey to me, so I worked on both of those watercolor painting skills in these two paintings. 

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I started this project with two 30 inch strips of watercolor paper that I folded into accordion booklets.  Since I didn't carry any image over the folds, I'm now planning to cut each strip into two folios and bind these sketches into a small book with 4 folios and 16 pages.  This will be the first time that I sketch/paint first and bind into a book later.  I may decide that it is the perfect method for travel sketching.

The first 4 sketches and the accordion booklet can be seen here.

April 6, 2012

Playing with Wet On Wet Watercolor

There is a huge amount that I don't know about painting with watercolor and I periodically try to play with some techniques to improve my skills.   This week I scanned the book Wet On Wet Watercolor Painting by Ewa Karpinska and then painted - flooding my 140 lb watercolor paper with water.

Here are the 4 samples - each made by dropping in two colors while the surface was very wet.  I loved tilting the paper and watching the pigment flow.  As the paper dried, I added a few paint lines and tried to mop up a little color.

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New York street planters are filled with Spring flowers this month and I sketched tulips and daffodils while walking to the post office.  I painted the flowers and let them dry overnight.  The following day I thoroughly wet the backgrounds with water and dropped in a few colors. 

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I really enjoyed the lack of control painting with very wet paper and will continue to explore how to use more water to achieve effects I want.  Next:  Time to paint canal water in Venice for practice!

April 3, 2012

The End of the Old, the Beginning of the New

I finished my last sketchbook with two pages of heads drawn during classes at Columbia University.  The first page was done on a paper napkin with a ball point pen while we discussed Chekhov short stories.  The second page of sketches are of Professor de Bary, a very elderly Emeritus Professor of Chinese Studies - who is incredibly sharp.  I loved the opportunity to draw him while he appeared to be asleep, but he remembered more of the panel discussion comments than I did when he lifted up his head.

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I barely finished making my new watercolor sketchbook in time to continue with my daily sketches.  The bookcloth was made with soy wax and a potato masher as resist and thickened Procion MX dyes.  The sketchbook is a 6 signature book with Fabriano Artistico Soft Press 140 lb paper and Canson Mi Tientes end papers.

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The first page is a drawing of my watercolor palettes.  I have fun starting some of the sketchbooks with my paint palette even though I add and/or change paints infrequently.

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