Pioneer Woods Sketch

I was lucky enough to duck out of work a little earlier than normal. Yesssss! I love when that happens. The fist thing I did was to find a cozy spot to paint. I decided to visit Pioneer Woods , part of Chicago’s Cook County Forest Preserve System, Palos Division.

Today was quiet because it is not the weekend and it is not around rush hour. I had the preserve all to myself! It was a beautiful cool 61°F, overcast day.

In my painting, I decided to simplify and eliminate some objects from my original view. I think it helped the overall feel of the sketch.
Beyond that picnic house is a large hill on the other side. I just had to get out of the car and look. When I returned, I took a few moments to listen to nature. Ahhhhh. A northern flicker landed on a branch right in front of me and gave his loud call twice! I then looked up and saw 4 swallows skimming the sky above the oak trees searching for insects. How fast they are. Suddenly, just when I thought I had the preserve to myself, I guess I was wrong…. 

This little rascal made his way to the trash can, climbed up, paused to look around, and climbed right in. He stayed in there a good long time only peaking his head up once. After about five minutes, he popped out and walked 100 feet to the next can and once again looked around before entering. Trash can #2 was not up to his standards because he was out in 30 seconds. After his afternoon snack, he crawled under a large shrub out of my sight. He’s no fool. He picked a great home next to the food.

Each and every forest preserve has a special story to tell. What is so wonderful is that the story changes every month. What you experience in June, you will not be able to experience in September. I hope I can keep up and document its beauty with simple watercolor sketches.


  1. This is such a pathetic and corny observation that I am almost ashamed to post it but…..we must do what we must do!

    My first thought when seeing the raccoon on the trash can was, “Look, a “coon-can” as opposed, of course, to “Cancun”!

    Please don’t bar me from your blog because of this. It’s early and I haven’t taken my medication yet! 😀

  2. Dawn: Thanks! I like the cute critter too 🙂

    Alan: HAAAaaaAaaaaa! I love the coon-can!!! I love it perfectly. lol Thanks for the belly laugh!

    Joan: They’re super smart…those furry critters. They know where dinner is! Thank you!

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