Juanita Bellavance, Riverbank terrain concept drawing, From the Chestatee River portfolio, 2021, Acrylic on canvas, 24 x 24 inches
This new body of work was started on January first of 2021 and was developed through March 31. The idea is to visit the Chestatee River in Dahlonega, GA which I enjoy and think about often. It's only a short drive from my home and I've made drawings from photo references. After weeks of studies, I have composed a body of paintings directly from my site-specific experience and sketches.
The name "Chestatee" originates from the Cherokee language and roughly translates to "place of lights" or "river of lights" due to the history of the Cherokee people using the forests around the river as hunting grounds. They would often use pine torches to light their way.
Until the completion of the Buford Dam and Lake Lanier in 1956. the Chestatee flowed directly into the Chattahoochee River at the Dawson/Hall County line.
In 1857, the Boley Fields Vein was discovered and produced thousands of pennyweights of gold until it was lost. Later, in an attempt to relocate the vein, the river was rerouted 1/2 mile to a new channel.