Sketching at the Hermitage, March 15th, 2018

There was an impressive celebration at the Hermitage on March 15th, 2018.  It was the 251st birthday celebration for General and President Andrew Jackson. I had taken some vacation time to attend, and it was a perfect day.  Conditions were 66 degrees, sunny, with some wind.

I took time to tour the inside of the mansion while the “First Ladies at the Mansion” presentation put on by members of the American Historical Theatre was going on outside.  By going then, I was able to be in a quiet space, before the schoolchildren went inside.

The mansion is currently undergoing efforts to put in a new fire suppression system, so the rooms don’t have everything in them that they normally do.

I have previously asked several different employees about sketching inside the mansion, since photography is strictly forbidden. Nobody has said that I couldn’t.  I didn’t have an opportunity to ask again since the docent was busy, so I began sketching in the small lobby that connects the overseer’s office and the study.  I also sketched upstairs during the lecture, and took notes since the history of the place and family is fascinating.  The docent noticed me and asked what I was doing.  I showed her the sketch. She was pleased and continued with her speech.

I sketched this with a pen instead of my usual watercolor pencils to be less obtrusive.


Then I was fortunate to catch the end of the “First Ladies” presentation, and began to sketch there.


The initial sketch of the “First Ladies” – (this one is Abigail Adams) and the wreath-laying ceremony are on the same page. This is before I have added more color and water.


I thought I was late to the wreath-laying ceremony, but I ended up being in a perfect place to sketch.  The audience was on the other side of the fence, in the cow pasture.  (There is a herd of Banded – or Belted- Galloways here, by the way.)  I was able to stand in front of the fence, at the corner, out of the way but with a fantastic view of the National Guardsmen. It was at this point that I regretted not bringing the navy blue I’d spotted last night. I can only carry 12 colors, so I will always have to adapt. Too many colors can be too much to juggle on site.


I also went around the fence, and sitting down on the grass, got to sketch the speakers.  The person speaking is Justice Cornelia Clark of the Tennessee Supreme Court.


Initial sketch –


Finished –

The National Anthem was played, and I sang along.  About a third of the way through I remembered to put my hand over my heart and take my hat off.  I think it would be lovely to have more opportunities to sing the National Anthem so these important parts of it aren’t forgotten.

After the ceremony, a person in the National Guard gestured for me to come over – asking with gestures if I was sketching.  I briefly thought he was signing, so I started to reply in ASL, since I have just spent 8 weeks learning some of it.  I finally got over to where they were and we chatted a bit about sketching and the day and signing. That is part of the interesting part of sketching – you get to meet new people.  I told them I will post the finished work on my blog and gave him my card.

So here it is –

The guard told me that a photographer snapped a photo of my sketch over my shoulder, which is kind of cool and kind of intrusive at the same time. I’m happy that people think my sketching is interesting, but it seems rude to not ask to see what I am doing, and surreptitiously snap a photo.

There were also presentations about the life of a soldier in 1812. I got to see Meyers Brown, who is helping at my library with preserving the antique photos of Old Hickory. He was in full militia regalia.

meyers brown

There were people in costume, including General Jackson and his wife Rachel.

I knew I would not have time to sketch them, and that it would draw a crowd.  I like to sketch privately so I don’t become self-conscious.  Nothing ruins a sketch for me than having someone look on.

And there was Irish music (since General Jackson was the son of Irish immigrants) performed by Brian Finnegan and Joseph Carmichael of Music City Irish Fest.  It was excellent.

Events went on until 4, but I had to be at work at 1. All in all, a lovely morning!


Weekly sketch 3-2-18, Cheekwood

Cheekwood Botanical Garden, Friday 3-2-18, 1-2:30 pm. 56 degrees and sunny.

A brave day, I drove here by myself.  I didn’t let the monsters in my head win.  This is part of why I bought a membership here – to encourage me to go sketch.

This is the “Ruins” section – there are fragments of the original columns from the Tennessee Capital building, which was finished in 1854.  The limestone columns didn’t endure the weather and started to decay.  They were salvaged and brought here, to create a sort of small amphitheater.

(My scanner make the colors unusually bright and vivid)

scan cheek art1cheekwood 030218B

And an unusual view of the Japanese section –

Photo of sketch-

scannedcheek art2cheekwood 030218A

Jane and Horatio

I went on an adventure on my day off to sketch at Tulip Grove.  It is an estate attached to the Hermitage, in Tennessee.  It was the first time I’d had an opportunity to go back since getting my membership. It has been bitterly cold this winter – not conducive for outside activities.

When I go to a place to sketch, I like to walk around first and see what catches my eye.

Strangely, the most interesting thing about this locale wasn’t the building (which was locked) but the sundial / memorial in the back yard.

Here is my picture of it.

at TG1

Here is my sketch.

Tulip Grove Berry

This was sketched around 3:30 pm, Friday January 26th, 2018. It was 56 degrees and sunny.  The sun set in about an hour.

It says this on the stone (Marble? Granite?) base –

“The memory of Jane Berry Buntin and her son Horatio live on at Tulip Grove. Their home 1915 – 1964.”

Here is a picture from above –

at TG2

So who are (were) these people? Why were they living at Tulip Grove- a historical mansion?  It had been built for Andrew Jackson Donelson – the heir to Andrew Jackson.  He was his wife’s nephew – they never had children.


I did some research.


Jane Elizabeth Berry married Charles Erwin Buntin.  They had four children – Charles Erwin (Jr.), Rachael Craighead, Horatio (Ratio) Berry, and William (Billie).  They are listed in the book “Notable Southern Families, Volume 2”.  Berry is the important line – all the wealth comes from her side.  Horatio was a common name in her family.


Jane was born May 29, 1883 in Tennessee. Her parents were also from Tennessee.


Charles Sr. was born April 7, 1880 in Tennessee. His parents were also from Tennessee.


Charles Erwin Jr. was born January 5, 1909 (died May 3, 1985, at 76)

Rachel Craighead was born February 8, 1910 (died January 22, 2001, at 90)

Horatio Berry was born September 15, 1911 (died February 23, 1984, at 72)

William Allison was born January 24, 1914 (died November 2, 1996 at 82)


Jane and Charles bought Tulip Grove in 1914.  It is 26.33 acres and has a mansion.


In the 1920 census both parents and all four children are living there.


Charles Sr. died July 3, 1932.


In the 1940 census, Jane is 56 and living with Horatio, who was 28 and William who was 25. They are all listed as employed as farmers, but there is no income listed. All three Buntins are listed as having completed the second year of college.


A white female housekeeper named Francis Hayes (38 years old, completed high school) is also living there.


The home value is listed as $35,000 in 1940.


In 1944 there is a lawsuit against Jane concerning property she owned at 306 and 308 Second Avenue North, which was leased to the Stephens Manufacturing Company, which started 1/1/1942.  This means she was involved in real estate at least as early as 1942.


In 1962 she sold 175 to 200 acres in Hendersonville to Maddux Realty and Construction Company.  She is listed in the article as “a descendant of the surveyor who gave Tennessee its namesake, Daniel Smith”.  The Berry family owned what was Indian Lake (now part of Old Hickory Lake) – it was a land grant from the Revolutionary War that had remained in the family.


She was active in the Ladies’ Hermitage Association (LHA) and signed a warranty deed 3/11/1964 transferring Tulip Grove  to the LHA with the agreement that she and her heirs were to be paid one-third of all gate receipts to Tulip Grove for 99 years, in monthly installments.   If they didn’t make at least $600 within 6 months (except in the case of renovations or restoration) then the contract is null and void and the property returns to the heirs.


From 1965 to 2001 the family received $300,000.  The LHA closed Tulip Grove to the general public in 2001 and paid the minimum amount of $600 every 6 months.


Her heir and granddaughter, Jane Berry Field, sued the LHA around 2011 because they hosted private paid events at Tulip Grove and didn’t give the family any proceeds from those events.


Jane died at age 98, Friday, July 3, 1981, while living at the Imperial House Apartments.  She was buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery, 1101 Lebanon Pike, Nashville TN.  All four of her children were buried there as well.


The Imperial House Apartments were located near St. Thomas Hospital, and operated from 1963 to 2017, when they were demolished.  They were damaged in the 2010 flood.

I still do not know why only Horatio is mentioned along with Jane on the memorial.  Why are the other children not named?


Horatio was married to Willie Davis (Johnson) Buntin.  She was born May 24, 1911 and died October 17, 2001.  She is listed as “Mrs. Horatio Buntin” in a news article about President Lyndon Johnson (a distant relation of hers), when he visited the Hermitage in 1967.  She is listed as a Regent of the Ladies Hermitage Association.

Birthday sketching at Cheekwood

In the Japanese Garden at Cheekwood. 62 degrees, cloudy, around 3 pm. A Thursday, so almost no visitors. 11/30/17

The entrance gate.


In progress –

This wasn’t enough. I wanted to sketch the stone lantern. There is a memorial bench nearby. Generally, in a Japanese Garden, a bench is placed to remind you to stop here. There is a view that you need to see.
japanese lantern

This is a Kasuga-style lantern. Stone lanterns, “ishidoro”, before use in the tea gardens, were used along the approaches to or within the grounds of temples and shrines.


A scan of this, with a leaf of a Japanese maple taken from brunch at First Watch earlier. The same colors were in this garden. The scan has made this much darker.


Here it is with more color and water added. I’ve adjusted the settings to look more realistic.


This is the main focus of the garden. There is a large covered area to view it from. The rails cut into the view.

and to the left
garden 2

In progress –

There were very few people in the garden today.  It was a Thursday and very overcast.  However, this is perfect for taking photographs or sketching.  Another lady came by and sat in the covered area – also to sketch.  We acknowledged each other’s presence but stayed respectfully silent.  Even when my husband came to sit next to me, we whispered.  It is a sacred place.

To my eyes, there appeared to be a cherry tree in bloom to the far left.  That normally happens in April.  Magic.

A scan of this –


Later – with more color and water added.


Because the garden was so “busy” with color and plantings, I decided to sketch it quickly with just dark grey.  I like how it looks like Japanese calligraphy – that words are pictures, and pictures are words.


The bottom of the sketch is a quick view inside the tatami room at the Japanese restaurant where we went for supper. Normally for a large group – you can get it if there is just a couple of you if you ask and nobody else has reserved it.

Later, with water added to the lower sketch –


Here are quick sketches of our food and a corner of the room with one of the legless chairs. These are dry – no water added.



Later, with water –


The colors are better in real life – but so is everything, after all.


Tuesday at the cemetery

11/14/17 Tuesday morning before work.  9:45 to 10:40 am.  50 degrees, sunny.  Calvary Cemetery.  More leaves on the ground than on the trees.


Pictures taken on site –

The mausoleum is at the center of the first picture and sketch.  I walked to it and sketched it as well.  Basic colors and shapes done on site, more color added at home from the reference pictures.