The John Brown Museum at Harper’s Ferry

As you walk down Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia’s, Shenandoah Street on a golden autumn afternoon, your eyes fall on the John Brown Museum way down at the end of the road. Suddenly even though you’re bathed in rich, warm sunlight, you feel a chill … and you half expect to see old John Brown himself come stomping around the corner. Actually, I have no idea if the man ever stomped in his life, but given everything I’ve read about him, I’m betting he probably did.

His museum, just to your left, is a very pretty but somewhat every-day looking structure.  I love the gabled windows and that pretty white bannister’ed balcony.  But the history it holds … as well as the lingering emotions woo-ing around the corners … are dramatic and compelling.  And chilling.

The John Brown Museum Harper's Ferry ... © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art
The John Brown Museum Harper’s Ferry … © Lois Bryan Photography and Digital Art

Over the years, I’ve been to Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, a number of times.  When I was a kid, it was tradition for some of the neighbors and my parents to pack up picnic lunches and caravan there and spend a glorious autumn day.  To me, climbing all those steep steps near St John’s church and those giant rocks behind it was an adventure.  I even spent a long weekend at the Hilltop House, probably mid-90s, at a fiction writer’s convention.  The highlight of that trip had to be the after-dark ghost tour.  Big fun!

A more recent visit with my husband brought me face to face with so many memories.  Fortunately, this time I had my camera with me, and I’ve since added several captures from that day to my website.  Last night, working hard on some of the fabulous ideas and tutorials from the Karen Burns and Marie Otero digital art workshop I’m participating in, I created the  “The John Brown Museum, Harper’s Ferry” from one of my original photos from that trip.

I’m still deeply under the spell of creating abstract-y / impressionistic-y moods from my images.  I’m enjoying the journey tremendously, thanks to Karen Burns.  I may never be completely satisfied with what I’m creating, but I liked the above enough to add it to my website.  I guess if I’m ever in a place where I feel completely satisfied with what I’m doing, then I should just put down my tools and go find something else to learn how to do.

Maybe cooking?  I know that would please my husband.  I’ll have to think about that.

Cooking … ??


Original photographic image taken with the Nikon D300 and the 18-200mm vr Nikkor lens on a September afternoon in 2010. Treated to much work in Photoshop removing tourists and other architectural distractions, I then added the image to Corel Painter’s 2015 for a complete digital hand-painting with the Wacom tablet and pen. My sincere thanks to Karen Burns for all the fantastic tips and guidance on the impressionistic / impasto – y play I had with this one, as well as the hint of beautiful texture used.

For a view with better resolution and less of a watermark (and of course some cool product suggestions), click the image to be whisked away to my website.

As always, comments are welcome.  Any history buffs out there with some cool, little known John Brown or Harper’s Ferry stories, I’d love to hear them!!

I'd love to hear your thoughts!