Spring Gems

When you think of spring, what colors come to mind? Though red is not typically on my list, there are several species that wear shades of ruby and garnet that sing out amidst spring’s palette of greens. I went looking for Jack-in-the-Pulpit in a nearby nature preserve and, though I found a few, it was the display of red trilliums on the forest floor that was in its full glory. The following day, the rose-breasted grosbeak, one of my favorite migratory birds, returned to our yard. The male’s beautiful deep red breast is a showstopper. That sent me looking for a few other red standouts to add to this page. How glad I am to capture this priceless display of spring gems!

Tips and Techniques– Once you start looking at color – or looking for a certain color – it’s amazing what you’ll find. Try this: pick your favorite spring color and devote a page of your sketchbook to as many things as you can find that are that color. The subtle variations will help you get to know your paints and give you valuable practice in color mixing.

25 Comments on “Spring Gems

  1. Excellent tip and what a wonderful sketch! I just saw a lone red (purpleish) trillium today!
    This is such a beautiful composition. A Springtime feast for the eyes!

  2. Yes!!! Maroon stood out to me in such a strong way this spring! We have wild ginger here and the flowers are the same color as the trillium. We also have pawpaw trees and their flower is so dark maroon it is almost black.

    I love your page!



    • Oh yes! Ginger! We have some of that too and those purple-maroon flowers are a treat to see…though you have to go looking. No pawpaw here, I’ll have to look that up. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I saw a gay wing today with that lovely purple. Maybe I’ll do a purple page (lilac season soon) – thanks for the idea! So many wildflowers now. Best time of year in my book

  4. Love this. Everything that May is about and I have seen. Thank you Jean. Terri from Tern the Page

    • Thanks Terri. Don’t you just love this time of year? The migrants are winging in each day and it’s so great to see and hear them around our property. Still working my way through A World on the Wing…I decided to skep ahead to the last chapter and then go back to the middle and read forward.

  5. I love the idea of picking a color and then looking forward to representation of nature. This is a beautiful page.

  6. What a beautiful entry in your journal! As I was scrolling through the Headlines in the Reader, your reds really popped out at me…..love them!

    • Thanks Teresa– This page started with a bit of frustration with a water brush, sitting on cold ground to paint the Jack-in-the-Pulpit and trillium, but ended up being a fun page to complete.

  7. You continue to amaze! If I could stop gardening for a few minutes maybe I could sketch! I will put that into my day and give it as a gift to myself…thank you for the inspiration. Love the color idea and look forward to next class at Winslow. Hope more are coming.

    • I haven’t planted my garden yet, but will need to take a break from sketching to do so soon. My main objective is to grow things I want to paint– sort of an “Art Garden” — plus tomatoes (which are also nice to paint). I anticipate having another class at Winslow starting in July.

      • Eeek! Another class! Can’t wait! Let the anxiety of getting in or not getting in begin! 😬 😉

      • Oh…I hope it’s not that way! I’m thinking about a class call “Drawn to Nature” exploring various artistic/sketching approaches to deepening our sense of place and connection with nature. I’ve got to nail down dates and will try to post well in advance.

      • I didn’t mean that in a bad way. It’s just the nature of art courses I think—more students than there are spaces. I will definitely keep watch for whatever you have coming up!

  8. I love how your pages grow organically. You allow for the unexpected, and you’re comfortable with leaving blank spaces to fill in with later finds. And everything comes together so nicely in the end. The reds are eye catching for sure, but it’s that maiden fern I really love—so delicate. As always, your greens are gorgeous.

    • Hi Susan- I was glad to find the maidenhair fern as well and it’s probably good that I painted it before decided that this page was going to be about reds. We have a lot of ferns in our yard and woods, but no maidenhair. It’s such a lovely species. Hope you’re doing well and enjoying some spring sketching!

      • Violets are thriving here during this unusually cool spring, so I’ve been sketching them. They were everywhere in NY where I grew up, but I rarely saw them here in OH. Then I found a woman who grows native violets, and I bought a few plants from her. Many people see them as weeds, but I just love them.

  9. I can’t tell you how delightful I found that page of red. Wow. Yes, we get wild ginger here here in Madison, WI but the flowers are hard to find under those HUGE leaves. They are just opening here. It is a new plant for me. We do have the prairie trillium…more white than red. We also have a drooping trillium (I think it’s called). That you for the inspiration.

  10. Lovely! May is so full of color! I always look forward to the return of our migrants especially grosbeaks and hummers.

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