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

Magnificent Trees

At this time of year, with no cloak of greenery, I’m drawn to old trees, grown in the open with limbs spreading out fully in the sun; magnificent giants that stand out from the crowd. I bet you know a few. I love seeing the bare bone structure of massive limbs and trunks, of cavities and broken branches. This sycamore is among my favorites. It grows in a park near the confluence of the Mohawk and Hudson rivers in New York and has witnessed the growth and passing of woods and farms… Read More

Small Miracles

This painting is a gift: a symbol of new life and the cradle that embraces its fragile loveliness. I painted it for my cousin to give to her daughter, who has two daughters of her own. One was born this summer, nearly four months early. Yet by the grace of many small miracles and the amazing skill of neonatal care, she recently went home, beautiful and healthy. Two blue eggs, so much to be grateful for. Tips and Techniques– I loved doing the shadows in this piece and, in fact, they are… 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

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

Until Next Year (maybe)

Okay. This is it! The last of the mushrooms for 2022. I don’t think I can paint any more, try to identify any more, read any more. I must clean my desk and turn a new page! But then, who knows, I haven’t gone outside yet today to see if anything new has come up. Tips and Techniques– For this page, I thought it might be fun to try something different and just take a top down view of mushroom caps. This gave me a chance to look at patterns, texture, and… Read More

Vegetable Explosion

It’s the season of abundance! Farm stands, farmers markets, and gardens are at their peak– full of rich color, variety, and freshness the likes of which no supermarket can match. It’s time to celebrate! Pick your favorite vegetable and you are likely to find it feted somewhere: there are OkraFests, GarlicFests, Potato Festivals, even a Butterbean Festival in Alabama, a Great Northern Squashfest in Wisconsin, and an Eggplant Festival in California—every veggie, it seems, gets its due. My personal favorite was a family celebration held each August called Corn Sunday, a gathering… Read More

If you build it…

Since we moved to our house five years ago, we’ve been converting several areas that were formerly maintained as mown lawn to meadow. This is the first year that wildflowers and milkweed from seeds sown and scattered are blooming and it’s a delight to see butterflies, bees, and dragonflies take notice. A monarch caterpillar was our best resident to date, and I’m glad I sketched it before it either became a juicy meal for a lucky bird or crawled off and hid itself to begin its transformation. Alas, it has been a… Read More