Monthly Archives: September 2009

See Me at the Little Red Schoolhouse Art Show

Hello Nature Friends!

Next Sunday from 9-5pm, October 4th, I will be at the Little Red Schoolhouse Art Show which is being held at Swallow Cliff Woods North due to ongoing construction at the schoolhouse.

Swallow Cliff Woods North:
about one block west of LaGrange on Cal-Sag Road (Route 83)


I’ll be at the booth with a sign that says, “Let’s Paint Nature – Christine Kane”.
Why don’t you stop by!
Mention this web site ( and receive 10% off any purchase!


Male Chickweed Moth

I found this handsome fellow on the back splash of my stove. He might be snacking on some bacon grease (just kidding, moths do not eat animal fat). Do you see his beautiful plumose antennae? That distinguishes him as a male. The female only has a regular thread like antennae.
With my two cupped hands I safely caught him and released him outside. He is now safe to live a regular moth life.

Very soon we learn how to paint him step by step.

Autumn Tree and Leaves Sketch

It’s here! It’s finally here, my favorite season EVER…Autumn!

Good things happen in autumn. My favorites are; the blazing colors, the way the earth smells sweet from decaying leaves, cooler temperatures, and hearing leaves rustle around. I LOVE IT!

Here is what I am noticing in September…

Autumn Leaves and a Berry Sketch

Autumn Leaves and a Berry Sketch

Do me a favor, when you find an autumn leaf on the ground, pick it up and smell it. It’s OK if you don’t want someone to see you…just hide behind a tree. The expired leaf produces an aroma that cannot be matched. You have to experience it. In your lifetime, you must experience this. God packages blessings in small gifts sometimes. I’m claiming this gift.

Speaking of autumn leaves, do you know why the leaves change colors in autumn? It’s not because of the cooler temperatures, but because the earth is tilting on its axis and getting further from the sun resulting in longer nights and shorter days. Chlorophyll production (the stuff in plants which gives it a green color), breaks down and eventually stops and the leaf’s other pigments (carotenoids) are revealed. Just beautiful.

Autumn Tree Sketch

Autumn Tree Sketch

I did this sketch yesterday. I really prefer a cloudy day in autumn than a sunny one…really. The next time you encounter a cloudy day in autumn, notice how strong the colors in the trees pop out. They are just brilliant and amazing.

Go out and enjoy this time of year, it doesn’t last long.

Let’s Paint Woodland Berries!

Cool Beans here we go, we’re about to paint the woodland berries we found at the McLaughry Spring Woods using watercolor paints!!!

Step 1: In this painting we are going to paint all three berries at once. Make a rough sketch of all 3 berry types: from top left, #1 false solomon seal, #2 doll’s eyes, and bottom #3 jack in the pulpit, on 140lb hotpress watercolor paper. Unless you are painting for a botanical illustration, don’t count every single berry and drive yourself crazy. Who wants added stress? Not me, I have enough…thanks!

Step 2: Let’s start with green. Upper top left: I used green gold to paint the leaf of the false solomon seal. With the doll’s eyes, because the berries are poisonous white, we have to do some negative painting. Negative painting is when you paint the background instead of your subject. With a mixture of sap green and indigo, I painted around the white doll’s eyes berries. To soften the edges, take a clean brush with water and move the edge around. Lastly the bottom, jack in the pulpit has a stem that looks like a green onion stem. Using green gold and green sap, paint the stem under the berries first, then with a clean wet brush push the pigment further down the stem. Nothin’ to it!

Step 3: Just a little detail. In the upper left take some sap green and darken the leaf along the veins. Soften the edges with clean water. With crimson red, paint the poisonous stems of the doll’s eyes…how fun is that! Bring on the nature fun…ho…hey!

Step 4: With crimson, paint some false solomon seal berries. The darker red is more pigment, less water. The lighter red is more water, less pigment. Still keepin’ it simple.

Step 5: Holy Cow is this fun! Now make some speckled marks on the false solomon seal. I’ve never seen speckled berries in the wild before so this is big, significant stuff to me! I used pure crimson and splotched dots with a small rigger brush. These berries in the woodland will eventually turn a deep red. We caught them just in time!
For the jack in the pulpit, the light is coming from the top, so paint make a layer of yellow. Let dry. Using cadmium red (an orange color), paint a few top berries and all of the bottom berries.

Step 6: With cadmium red, paint around the jack in the pulpit berries. To smooth edges use clean water.

Step 7 Final: With a black micron #3 pen, make outline some significant berries and stems. I labeled my berries so everybody can learn them. That’s it…we did it!!!

“Woodland Berries in September”
image: 6.5×4.5
white mat outside dimensions: 10×8
no frame
(includes tax and shipping in US)

Click here to purchase, it will bring you to the available watercolors for sale site.

I hope you enjoyed this step by step process on how to paint woodland berries in watercolor paints.

Woodland Berries in September

Oh BOY! I love finding berries!
I also love eating berries, but only from the grocery store (blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries; in order of preference) , I don’t trust my berry knowledge in the forests to eat without getting sick! Not yet anyhow.

Here is what the McLaughry Spring Woods had for me:

False Solomon Seal Berries - Speckled Red

False Solomon Seal Berries - Speckled Red

False Solomon Seal berries. These berries are on their way to becoming a deep red. Today however, they are speckled with red spots. Maybe I live under a rock, but I have never seen speckled berries before! What a cool find!

Dolls Eyes - White Berries

Doll's Eyes - White Berries

Doll’s Eyes (Actaea Pachypoda).
Do you remember the rhyme to help you never forget: “Berries white, run with fright” and “Berries white, danger in sight.”
These little things will attack your cardiac muscle (heart) and slow it or stop it. Stay away, even though they are beautiful. You can paint them though…ha, ha, ha.

Jack in the Pulpet Seeds - red berries

Jack in the Pulpit Seeds - red berries

Jack in the Pulpit Seeds. These berries are on green stalks laying on the forest floor. They are are different from the others because they are a hot orange/red. How interesting.

I am not as smart as you may think. I did not know the names of these berries, but had to do some research. If I can do it, you can as well. Take a hike in your local woodland and take pictures of everything, even if you have no idea what it is. Go home and do a little searching for your specimen. What I like to do is type in a detailed description in Google images and sort through what looks like what I have. Before coming to a conclusion, check to see if your specimen has the same type of leaf as your searched specimen.

The next time I post, I will show you how to paint these berries step by step!
Don’t eat them, just paint them!