Last week I visited the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary on the former campus of Wake Forest University, which moved to Winston-Salem, North Carolina in 1956.
I've lived in Wake Forest for six years but have never visited the campus. It's located in the center of a network of busy streets and doesn't have an obvious or welcoming entrance that many college campuses have today. I was also somewhat unsure whether outsiders were welcome on a seminary campus or if we would disrupt the spiritual equilibrium I imagined existed within.
Nevertheless, late one afternoon last week, on an unseasonably warm winter day, my son and I decided to check it out. The main campus quadrangle is a beautiful 25-acre space with towering cedars, oaks, and magnolias, and meandering paths which connect several historic Colonial Revival buildings. At the center of the green, there is a lovely polygonal gazebo which shelters an urn-shaped fountain and stands in delicate contrast to the imposing brick halls that line the perimeter.
The sun was low and cast a lovely warm light on the giant trees and buildings. My son noted that the air smelled so fresh; it was cool and vegetal from all of the ancient trees within the grounds. I took some pictures to use as reference photos for paintings as he ran along the paths, which were oddly deserted given the time of day. In fact, we only saw a handful of people on the quad in the half-hour we were there.
It was a memorable day and I hope to return soon, maybe with my plein air easel to do some painting next time. These two paintings were done in the studio after our visit.