Progress Unfolding

Many thanks for all of your kind notes and best wishes for a swift recovery from my broken wrist and surgery. The outpouring of support was such a nice gift amidst this trying time. I am so pleased to report that surgery went well and my hard cast was swapped for a removable brace last week. I’ve started OT and I have a lot of work ahead to regain range of motion and strength. While I’m thrilled to now be able to tie my shoes and use a fork with my right… Read More

Unexpected Break

The air was cold and crisp, the ice smooth as glass. Perfect for a family skating party. I wish I could say I was in the midst of landing a lovely spin or graceful figure eight, but I was merely trying to tell another skater that his laces were dragging when I suddenly hit the ice. I was able to get up and complete skating the counterclockwise loop to get off the rink, but I quickly realized that my right wrist was not looking or feeling good. Long story short, I must… Read More

December at Home

With snow yet to come and trees now bare bones, slate colored skies, tawny fields, and dun-colored woods dominate the landscape. Here and there, white pines tower above it all, making me think that that’s where I’d be if I were a bird in December. I’ve drawn the land around my home in different seasons, and I like the way using a grid with a variety of small vignettes helps me to convey a sense of place. Looking back, August and September were certainly more colorful and January brighter, but I do… Read More

November’s Nest

I spy the nest in a thicket at the edge of the field. There’s no way to reach it but to wade in. I follow an old deer trail that takes me part way, and then battle brambles, thorns, and waist-high goldenrod stems to reach the prize. Unlike many nests at this time of year, this one is still quite intact. Whoever wove it did a beautiful job. Tips and Techniques– I always do some research about my subjects, especially nests. Like identifying birds, identifying nests requires a process of elimination. At… Read More

Out of Season

Usually, I would bring you beach finds in summer, when freshly found and still holding a hint of sea and salt air. But here they are in November, a collection of small treasures that I pulled out for my latest Drawn to Nature class. I used them to illustrate ways to record discoveries and layout sketchbook pages when out exploring. Like a puzzle whose picture is revealed only when complete, these types of pages are built piece by piece and end up capturing a particular place or moment in time. So, though… Read More

Grounded

After the grand display of autumn’s boldest colors, the leaves come down. One by one they fall, by day and night, in windswept flurries and slow-motion descents. I collect a sample of oak, maple, beech, hickory; trying to preserve the quickly fading splendor. But in the turning of the season, all is not lost. The Earth is grounded in beauty, change, quiet, and renewal…and so are we. Tips and Techniques– I always think that painting leaves will be easier than it is. There must be a way to simply splash bold colors… Read More

Noticing

Sometimes, painting is about the obvious things: the beauty that’s right in front of you, bold colors, compelling light, big picture views. But more often for me, it’s about the things you might pass by: the subtle, the small, the imperfect. Learning to notice is more important than pencil, paper, or paint. I had ample opportunities to sketch both bigger views and subtleties when in Maine recently. Which is more compelling to you?

Blue Mussels on a Rainy Day

October in Maine: a gift. As lovely and as simple as blue mussels on a rainy day. As steady as the ocean lapping on shore, loons calling their lonesome cry from the expanse of blue. As surprising as a pair of kingfishers rattling in flight across a cove. As beautiful as flames of crimson and gold maples and burnt sienna salt marsh hay glowing in the sun. Today, I send you the mussels. More gifts to come.

Finally Fall

The season of brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows is upon us here in the Northeast. While the changing foliage of trees steals the show, those same colors echoed in roadsides and fields are just as lovely. I’d better get painting– the season’s peak doesn’t last long. Step out and enjoy the colorful show while you can.   Tips and Techniques– Don’t be intimidated by painting tiny flowers. They can be niggly, but keep in mind that you don’t have to draw every tiny shape and detail. Look at the overall structure of… Read More

Not the Last Afterall

Whatever happened to posts about birds or flowers or trees? There will be more of those to come, I promise. But first, just a few more mushrooms which, as you will see, were worthy of paint. First, the pear-shaped puffball, whose smoky spores release when gently squeezed. And then the inconspicuous tannish-brown clitocybe. Who would have thought lavender gills would be hiding underneath that unassuming cap? Tips and Techniques– Use your sketchbook to try a variety of artistic approaches. Part of what’s keeping me going on mushrooms week after week is not… Read More