Hike at Palos Woods and Sketch

Today I took a quick hike at Palos Woods. Freezing rain? No problem!

During the first five minutes of my hike I heard something wonderful…the creeking of tree limbs. What a distinct sound, created by wind, that broke the silence on this quiet winter afternoon! What fascinated me was the different tones of creekiness. Some were deep and achy, others were high pitches and whinny. Some were slow and drawn out, others were quick and to the point. Will nature ever cease to amaze me? I doubt it.

Over the creek I smiled at animal tracks on the ice. Coyote and raccoon tracks were the two I recognized right away. Some wondered right up to a break in the ice, probably to drink some water. How I wish I could stay all night to watch them stroll under a moonlit winter sky along the babbling creek. 

This picture was taken in the hole of a dead tree. We are actually looking down. Yes, this tree is completely hollow, you can even see a patch of snow at the bottom. I had to reach up and stick my camera in the hole to get this picture. I like to do this because my flash will light up the vacancy and I will be able to see inside. Cool!

Just a mile away, I stopped at Swallow Cliff North, not to hike but to just sit in the parking lot and make a quick sketch.

Like I said, I didn’t have a lot of time left, but I wanted to show you that you don’t need a lot of time to complete a basic simple sketch. No, it doesn’t look exactly the same as the picture, but that’s okay. When constricted for time, just block in simple shapes and colors. I got the jest of the scene and will remember this day forever in my sketchbook, a day of freezing rain and gray winter colors. I love it.


  1. I too, do lots of 5 minute or less watercolor sketching. I love your writing, photos and sketches.
    All are deliciously good to devour. thanks for sharing. I teach, locally, a 5 minute or less, watercolor class for anyone even those who never painted before. It amazes and hooks them into painting. Aren’t we artists blessed by being able to see and paint and FEEL the beauty around us?
    One last thought, I bet that was my poor old bones you heard creaking. They sound like that when it’s cold here in the Texas panhandle area!

    1. Thank you Mary! Yes I agree, we are so blessed to fully experience nature, not just with our eyes, but by documenting what we learn with pigments. Oh how much fun! LOL on the creaking bones!

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