Lilacs

Isn’t it nice to think that Don Wentworth’s poem may be true? Today, just letting it be the wildflower picks you Have a great weekend.

At Last

Each year we wait. We count the days, watch the weather, complain, wait longer. Our patience stretched thin by the cold and by gray skies that are slow to yield to clear blue. Then suddenly, at last, we are surrounded by green. I can never keep up; never find time enough sketch or paint it all. Still, this year as in the past, it is a pleasure to try. Tips & Techniques– The window for capturing spring ephemeral wildflowers is very short– miss it and you have to wait a year. This page… Read More

Paint Box Colors

Ranunculus blooms in a riot of paint box reds and pinks. Brightening the countertop, they are perfect for April, when the Northeast is slowly greening, but I am impatient for more. Tips and Techniques: Here’s a look at my basic kit: 2 Micron archival pens, black, 02 and 005 3 Escota Versatil travel watercolor brushes, sizes 2, 6, 12 2 Staedtler Mars Lumograph pencils, F and 2B pencil sharpener Watercolors (Winsor Newton and Daniel Smith) in an altered Schmincke tin: cobalt blue, phthalo blue, ultramarine blue, indanthrone blue, phthalo green*, sap green,… Read More

Seeking Spring

Is April the new March? Or am I too impatiently, too desperately, seeking spring? I go in search of greenery each week—into woods and wetlands, along meadow paths—and I can say with confidence, and disappointment, that my palette remains largely ochre and brown and overcast blue. Still, there are a few buds, and the Eastern phoebe wagging its tail in the still-bare maple, a hint of green under last year’s grass, and daylight past seven. Hold on and wait, they remind me, just around the corner is renewal. (click the image to… Read More

The Intersection of Art and Nature

I love finding myself at the intersection of art and nature. My passion for those two roads has led me to great places, wonderful people, and to beauty, insight, and mystery. Here, a simple fern in the Lyman Conservatory at Smith College has transported me half a world away to the rain forests of Malaysia. It has made me think about symbiotic relationships and to wish I had taken Latin. It has given me hours of artistic challenge and pleasure. And it has left me both grateful and eager for more. (click… Read More

Astonished

It was like a crime scene: the beauty lay on the floor, mangled and broken; a mess of soil and tangle of roots lay about her. Alas, it was the amaryllis’s own radiance that did her in. Her blossoms grown so heavy atop the three-foot stalk that she tumbled off the table to the floor just two days after opening. Stricken in her prime— and while having her portrait painted!— I salvaged what I could, dissected one flower for study, and finished these pages. I have spent the last month astonished by… Read More

Color Play

What better time than the dead of winter to play with color? I recently bought a new paint tin from Schmincke (I really just wanted the tin, but decided to get it full instead of empty) and I also received six tubes of QoR watercolors from Golden to try. But before adding any new colors to my palette, I took time this week to test them. What follows is not a brand review, as much as a glimpse into the practice of being a painter. I set about playing with various triads… Read More

The Beauty of Bulbs

What amazes me about amaryllis is the fact that a homely brown sphere the size of a softball can contain within it the potential for bold red blossoms to burst forth from its interior with a minimum of effort on my part. How incredible! I realize that onions and garlic are capable of similar feats, but it’s hard for them to compete. This is the last day that this particular bulb will fit on an 8-inch page at full size— it’s growing at about a half-inch a day— but you can be… Read More

Braving 18°F

After days of single digit temperatures, 18°F felt like it might be sort of manageable for sketching outside. And it was…more or less, given the challenge of sketching with gloves on and needing to work quickly to avoid frozen fingers and feet. Still, there is something fresh about working outside and I suspect this page will always bring to mind the chill of the setting sun and the unexpected sound of hundreds of geese overhead. Today it is minus-4°F and I am not so brave. Happy New Year! Tips & Techniques- Why… Read More

The Ripening Season

Seasons unfold, pages evolve. That’s what happened here as I sketched a variety of fall fruits and seeds from the trees in our yard over the last few weeks. It’s all part of learning what’s here on the rural property we moved to in July. There are nice old sugar maples, red and white oaks, black walnuts, cottonwoods, birches, and white pines, with well-placed dogwood, pin cherry, and apple trees. There are many year’s worth of sketches in the trees alone…and you’ll see more in the future, I’m sure. Tips & Techniques–… Read More