A Moment in Spring

The changes come slowly at first: light in the morning, bird song, blossoming trees, ephemeral wildflowers in the woods. The Eastern phoebe wags its tail and sings its name outside my window, waking the world to the new season. Spring is the perfect time of year to note the incremental changes unfolding in the world. Like the phoebe, my sketchbook celebrates this moment in time, calling out the beauty and greening of the day.

Tips and Techniques– You can make this type of page all in one go or over the course of days or weeks. I typically go outside and look around until something strikes me and I put it down on the page. Then I move to the next thing and the next until the page is full. If you have time, you can paint as you go. If not, paint later using a photo reference or a cutting. Add text, or not, depending on what you want to convey and whether a theme emerges that you want to highlight.

33 Comments on “A Moment in Spring

  1. It was so incredible to watch (and try to draw along) as you expertly placed each element on these two pages during the Winslow Spring Fling! Your final pages finished beautifully. I could almost reach out and touch the phoebe as he is witness to the unfolding of spring buds. Thanks so much for sharing your art and techniques, Jean! Someday I would love to meet you and learn, in person, from dozens of your guided classes!

    • Hi Barb- So glad you could join in yesterday. My desk is covered in pollen this morning. But the painting is done and I am happy with the way it unfolded. I hope we can meet in person and do some sketching together. I’d love to get back to the Southwest sometime– there are so many incredible landscapes, plants, and wildlife, and the Native American cultures are so central to the sense of place. I’d love to carve out time in the next few years to travel your way. In the meantime…I’m glad to connect through the virtual space.

      • What an honor it would be to meet up with you somewhere in the SW for a sketching extravaganza! I hope you can make it your way someday. I’d love to meet and sketch with you on your amazing turf. Thanks for all you do to inspire nature journalers.

  2. I really like the lettering (if that is what it’s called) on the pages. It sort of completes the story, and is so beautiful in itself.
    I used to love to sketch, and even do a bit of pen and ink with watercolours… just for relaxation and fun, never particularly good at it but seeing as it was just for myself, that didn’t really matter. Now that I’m retired and have moved to a lovely seaside town, I plan to get out my old sketchbooks, and buy some art supplies. Yippee!
    My new home has some slightly different plants and critters (Ontario to Nova Scotia!), and just this morning on my dog walk I noticed some cute little white flowering low growing plants which I’ve never seen before… I thought, oh…I should make those my first drawing in so many years! Oh my, and the mosses and lichens!
    Just telling you this to show how much you have inspired me!

    • Margo- Thanks for writing. It sounds like you have some wonderful opportunities ahead in NS to sketch and learn more about your new home place. I’m glad to provide some spark. There is so much to discover out there! Best of luck with your getting back to something you love.

  3. That was such a fun afternoon – and hour flies by in mere moments!! Thank you, and Winslow Centre for putting forward these nuggets of time so that anyone anywhere can watch and learn!!!

    • Thanks Sheryl. The hour certainly did fly by. I sent Martha a few process sketches to post with the recording so you can see the page unfolding. Thanks for being there!

  4. I’m sorry I had to missed your Winslow Spring Fling program but I look forward to the recording. Thank you and Winslow Art Center for the generosity of your time and teaching. Watching you create and explain as you go along has helped me so much with my own art techniques; your classes have been invaluable!

    • Thanks so much, Marleny! That’s very nice to hear. You seem to have really hit your stride with your artwork. I’m glad you see your accomplishments and growing skill and confidence.

  5. Kudos and cheers for you and Winslow Art!!! Another great demo and beautiful page. My sketchbook is getting better but have to work harder on my lettering. You have such a variety of beautiful lettering styles. I’m curious what pen you used for the lettering on this page.

    • Hi Pat- Thanks for joining yesterday. I used the same Micron 02 black pen for the lettering that I used for sketching. I just build up the thicker lines to add interest and flair to the letters. Try it!

      • Thank you. I’m going to have to practice, practice, practice!

  6. Jean, the beauty you present of the natural world always brings happiness to my day! I’ve been watching my redbud bloom and begin its leafing out and the new leave appear on the tulip tree. The finches on the feeders make me laugh and the angry squirrels are funnier than ever! Thank you.

  7. Those opening four sentences are so beautifully written, Jean. It shows that your keen observational skills apply not only to your lively drawings but also to your accompanying words that enable me to imagine your home environment. I look forward to watching the recording to pause and sketch along with you.

    • Thank you so much Lisa. You may want to have some cuttings of your own to try since I was drawing from tree cuttings for this. You can skip the bird and just focus on things in your own yard.

  8. I enjoyed your class yesterday, and, as always, I learn so much. Your Eastern Phoebe looks so lifelike that I expect it to fly off the page any moment. A couple of summers ago, I decided to do a comparison of two hummingbird plants I have in my yard. Our summers are extremely hot and humid during the day and nights aren’t much of an improvement. So I brought blossoms, leaves, and seed pods into my house to sketch and paint. I discovered that my Turk’s Cap will never be a cut flower. I barely managed to paint it before it wilted completely. Looking forward to the class on greens. You not only do beautiful work, but you are an excellent teacher.

    • Thank you Peggy. That means a lot to me. I am an educator at heart, so I’m very happy to have opportunities to teach and encourage others on their artistic journeys. I know what you mean about certain flowers– you find out fast which ones don’t like coming inside.

  9. Pingback: A Moment in Spring – Tonya LaLonde

  10. Enjoyed your class. It inspired me to make my own sketckbook page featuring a goldfinch working on his summer plumage and some tree twigs.

  11. Hi Jean, I am enjoying your Painting the Colors of Spring. I will not be present for the live class next class on April 27 as I will be in the Lake District. Will catch up once I am back. As I mentioned, I am going to the Arts and Birding August 20-25 at Hog Island. I’m so sorry that you will not be there, but I am excited to experience the session. I think I have figured out the transportation now, but if you have any advice regarding the session, I would appreciate it. Mary Linn

  12. Hi, Jean, Looking at your sketches give me so much joy and I really appreciate your helpful comments. I wish I lived close enough to attend one of your workshops.

    • Thanks Liz. I’m glad I’ve been able to teach online– it’s opened up new possibilities. But I like teaching in person best. It’s nice to meet people in person and see artwork as it is evolving.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: