Let’s Paint Maple Lake East!

Let’s talk about the importance of using a sketch book before we paint.

Using a sketch book on a regular basis is good practice. Practice, practice, practice is just what I need. I can tell how rusty I get when I try to paint after not drawing for several weeks. YUCK! When I keep up on my drawing, I’m always amazed how the level of frustration goes down and good pieces of art are produced.

Once upon a time, I made my own nature sketch book…but then a year ago I discovered the wonderful world of blogging! I stopped sketching and started taking pictures so I can post about them on Chicago Nature Lady, just about every few days. While I still love to blog, I realized my sketch book has suffered. Now, I blog a little less and sketch a little more! Balance is the key.

Yesterday I went to Maple Lake East, part of Chicago’s Cook County Forest Preserve System.

This is what I saw. It was a beautiful day with people enjoying some fishing off the pier. At this spot I saw more nut hatches at one time than I have ever seen before! There were several darting from oak tree to oak tree, making sounds and keeping a watchful eye on me! I also saw and heard two blue jays and watched sea gulls skim the water in flight looking for dinner. I was really interested in that pier, so I decided to sketch it…

Here is how it came out. Not 100% exactly like the photo, but that’s OK, It will always remind me of how it looked while practicing my drawing skills! I used watercolor and pen and ink (micron pens). I like to note the date, time, weather conditions and what I see and hear right on the picture.

When keeping a sketch book, don’t be concerned with neatness or accuracy. It is meant to be done quick. Go easy on yourself! Oh how much fun!


  1. I am glad you are sketching again. It helps to draw every day and gives us a resource of images for later on when we are stuck.

    Creative Souls.wordpress.com

  2. That looks like a very pretty spot for sketching and enjoying nature. I like the pier – it’s nice that people can fish off it and not have to own a boat. I’m all for balance, too. Keep up the good work.

  3. Terri: Thank you and welcome! Thanks for visiting, practicing your art is very important to be able to keep up your skills. Your site is very inspiring and gives new meaning to the word “challenging”, you’ve had a hard road to travel but your strength shines though! I’m keeping you in my prayers.

    April: Thanks! It truly is a peaceful spot and a quick get-a-way. 🙂

    Ink Kungfu: Thanks and welcome!

    Lana: That’s a great idea!Whatever medium you chose looks good!

    Joan: It’s just like a souvenir that you can take home from your trip! So much fun…thanks!

    JJ: Thank you nature nut!! 🙂

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