Monthly Archives: July 2008

Goose Lake Prairie

I’m sorry I haven’t been very bloggie lately, but I ‘m having some transportation issues that are weighing me down. Nevertheless, I was able to take a wonderful trip with my mom to Goose Lake Prairie, which is about 1 hour southwest of Chicago.

I love prairies. You may have noticed that I like to paint prairies. You can see a few on the landscape page and one that I recently won a ribbon for on the schedule page titled, Indian Summer. What’s so great about a vast plot of not a whole lot? HA, HA, HA that rhymes! Well, I always fall in love with the different colors throughout a prairie that are not green. For example, on the day I walked through Goose Lake Prairie, there were yellow black eyed susans, yellow sunflowers, purple wild bergamot, and purple prairie blazing star. A prairie may look boring and green but if you look very carefully, you’ll be pleasently surprised with hidden color.

Here we found a marsh along the trail. Do you see those white specs in the background? Those are 4 white herons! What you can’t see are the killdeer that walked along the shore and the swallows that skimmed the surface of the water at very high speeds to take a drink. How much fun!

Here this barn swallow kindly posed for a picture. He was very close, but didn’t move…very brave. They’re so quick, I was surprised this one stayed put.

More pictures to come of Goose Lake Prairie.


Summer Harvest

This picture is from my garden right at the height of summer flower harvest. The purple flower is salvia and the yellow is carpet flower. Two contrasting colors sitting right next to each other! It seems that after this point, the flowers in my garden start to dry out and loose intensity under the scorching sun.

I think in the next few days I will attempt to paint this picture. A lot of things are going on in this picture, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be that way in a painting. Remember to always whip out that artistic license and add or subtract anything you wish! My focus will be on just a few flowers and not the whole group. Hopefully by the weekend it will be finished. It is very important, especially if you work full time, to set aside time for your art. If you don’t, there will always be a reason why you shouldn’t start…got to go to the store, got to do laundry, got to, got to. Setting aside time will insure that your art will grow and develop!

Suburban Visitor

Check out this photo that my daughter…who hates nature because I like it…took the other day! This is one gigantic hawk that landed on my neighbor’s roof. It’s HUGE! I’m guessing it’s a red-tail but not positive.

That’s my girl, I know the love for nature is in there somewhere!

Lovely Fritillary

With his caramel and chocolate markings, this male Great Spangled Fritillary unknowingly blessed my hiking adventure by posing for me as he sampled a bit of sweet pollen. My Butterflies of North America book, refers to his under marking as “silver spots”, but I like to refer to them as white chocolate droplets, in keeping with my sweet theme.

I tried to catch him spreading his wings, but met with great difficulty. The fritillary seems to like resting in a closed position and this human does not compare to his speed.

and those eyes….almost hypnotizing, put me right in my place!

The book also mentions that the males come out before the females do. They love to visit meadows, where you can find bunches of them foraging. That was sure the case, when I spotted several skipping from flower to flower, all males.

I am never settled but always amazed, when I consider how in one breath God can create such powerful winds of a hurricane and in the next breath, create such a delicate creature as a feather with wings.

Let’s Paint the Waterlily!

After visiting Mr. Green Frog at the swamp, I was in a good summery mood, wanting to take some of that swamp home with me. What a better way to have a souvenir than to paint one! I decided not to paint Mr. Green Frog, but to paint the beautiful place he rests on, the waterlily.

The first picture shows my set up. On this particular day the weather was perfect and I couldn’t resist painting outside on my patio table. One note when you paint outside with watercolors….everything dries super fast! Make sure when you start to paint you have all of your supplies readily available. There’s nothing more frustrating than to be in the “flow” of a painting and realize you’re missing a thing or two and have to stop at a critical moment!

The first step is to draw your waterlilies with a 2B pencil and mask out the lilies with masking fluid.

This is my most favorite part! Make a runny background with much water and 3 colors: mostly sap green, then ultramarine blue, and finally spots of lovely alizarin crimson. Be free. Let the watercolors do what watercolor do, drip, merge, float,  and puddle. Who cares if the paint runs off and drips on the floor! Let it do what it wants to do, that’s the mystery of watercolors.

Next, take some dark color and flick some droplets onto the background with a saturated brush and the tip of your finger. It will cause your finger to get messy, don’t worry it won’t fall off. It’s rather fun actually. After the background COMPLETELY dries, take the masking fluid off.

Next, with yellow and a little green gold, fill in the waterlily pads….remember to leave some white space for breathing room! Add a few blobs of rose for the flower. Just a blob, don’t cover the whole flower. With a clean brush and just water, move the rose color around to form petals.

OK, it still looks like a third grader painted this, but don’t fret! Watch what happens next!

With a little fine tuning a completed painting comes to life. In this picture I made some thick ripples with some more blue watercolor paint and detailed everything else with Staedtler’s Triplus Fineliner markers.

Hot Dog! Look at it now! Floating waterlilies with an intriguing background.
This little painting is only 3.5×5 and will be made into a postcard so I can send it to a family member.

What’s that? I think I hear a green frog!