Monthly Archives: July 2009

High Noon Summer Sketch

high noon summer watercolor sketch

high noon summer watercolor sketch

Determined to complete another lunch-time sketch, I headed out the door at exactly noon and went to work! Today was a beautiful warm day. Noon can be a challenge to paint, why? Think about it, where is the sun coming from? Directly overhead it radiates, so shadows are minimal and colors are bright, almost washed out.

No matter! Let’s record these happenings in our sketchbooks. It tells the story of summer.

As true to the scene, my highlights are at the top of the tree branches. The trees did not cast a long shadow, but rather a small pool directly beneath. Today, the sky wasn’t a deep blue, but more like a washed out blue and almost white in the horizon (it rained several hours later, maybe a thin cloud haze was a warning?).
Speaking of rain, thank goodness we got some! The grass is beginning to turn brown.

Last but not least, a very happy accident. What is a happy accident? It is when something unintentional happens to your benefit and not to your dismay.
Do you see that leaf in between the trees, falling in the air? My hand smudged that on the paper! I guess while working I got paint on my hand. The next thing I know, there’s a blob on my paper. AND I LOVE IT!
Now the story deepens…it gives the painting more interest. Did the leaf come from the left tree or the right tree? Why is a healthy leaf falling in the middle of summer, beetle perhaps? Which direction is the leaf falling?
Only the viewer can answer those questions. There are no wrong answers.

And that is why I love happy accidents!


Scaredy Cat Sketch

scaredy cat sketch - watercolor

scaredy cat sketch - watercolor

My kitty(normally a house cat), likes to come with me in the backyard on the mornings I don’t have to work. We sit together enjoying a hot cup of coffee and nature.
On this particular day, a tiny house wren saw my kitty and let out the most annoying alarm call which would not shut off for anything! My poor, pathetic, 10lb. kitty looked at me as if to say, “What…What did I do?”

Tiny wren wins. Kitty is scared and wants to run inside.
Silly kitty.

Papoose Fisherman Sketch

I love watching people fish. Especially the type of fishing person that reminds me of my Grandpa; elderly, gentle, and having a grand ole time for hours in solitude with nature.

At Papoose Lake, I came upon such a fishing person…

What a terrific sketching scene. All this gentleman needs is a pole, some bate, a nice day, and quality time. All I need is watercolor paper, watercolors, a brush, and quality time…

Fisherman at Papoose Lake - Palos Park, IL

Fisherman at Papoose Lake - Palos Park, IL

Well, my hat is a little bigger than in reality, but I think we were both successful at Papoose Lake on this fine day!

Papoose Lake Fun

Recently I stopped at Papoose Lake to have some fun. Oh what fun I did have for sure!
Papoose Lake is part of Chicago’s Cook County Forest Preserves, the Sag Valley area. It’s a quiet little place were few visitors stopped by to fish on the day I visited. Here are some highlights…

Black Eye Susans are popping up all around the lake closest to the parking lot. Not only are there black eye susans, but Blue Vervain…

Looks like this blue vervain just started to bloom. These tiny 5 petal flower clusters will continue to bloom straight up the spike. I think I would have named it purple vervain, to tell you the truth. I think this will be a painting one day!

Holy cow! Look at that! Is it a monster?
No, just the cutest little muskrat I ever did see! He was minding his business, collecting sticks underwater until he saw me, a big monster in his eyes, and took off down the lake, paddling his little rat tail as fast as possible.

Dragonflies were abundant. Two particular types stopped long enough for a picture. This is a Widow Skimmer dragonfly. It is named “widow” because as soon as she lays her eggs, the male takes off. What the heck?!? Anyway, I love that gold stripe down it’s back. Black and gold, handsome colors.

Next, we have a Blue Dasher Dragonfly. He had the a most incredible turquoise head to go with his striking blue body. We must sketch him later!

Not only did a muskrat, blue dasher, and widow skimmer visit me, but the frogs did as well!

Here we have a bullfrog head keep watch from the lake. He thinks he’s sneaky, but his cover is totally blown! I see you Mr. Bullfrog.

This guy was a little more obvious but tiny! He might be a whole 2 inches! I’m guessing this is the Green Frog. Tiny but cute!

I was pleasantly surprised over the surplus of wildlife I encountered at Papoose Lake. Summer at the lake is bursting with interesting creatures. I must sketch them all.

Hidden Pond Tree Sketch

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been super, super busy lately! Isn’t summer the time to take it easy and slow down…what the heck?

Anyway, I haven’t painted or sketched in a long time (5 days!). I think I feel shaky? Oh, and there are sooo many things I should be doing right now; a newsletter (past-due), my bedroom looks like a tornado hit, I have no more clean clothes…yes, I should be doing “responsible” things…but what does my heart say…just paint! So I sit here with a glass of wine (red), listening to my all time favorite band, The Cure, finishing my sketch…

I can’t help it. I don’t want to help it. I must paint.

Tree at Hidden Pond - Hickory Hills, IL

Tree at Hidden Pond - Hickory Hills, IL

As many of you know, I have a full time job that sucks the life right out of me sometimes! So finding time to paint is critical. I had just 30 minutes to spare today and I used it wisely! I did a rough sketch with a base painting and finished the rest at home. Oh how I love nature!

This sketch is from Hidden Pond Woods in Hickory Hills, IL. I’m not absolutely sure what type of tree this is but I’m guessing a type of Ash.

Moral of the short story: Please find time to do what you love. It is who you are and nobody, not corporate America, nor “the man”, nor your bills can define you…only you can define you!

Keep sketching friends!