Monthly Archives: September 2010

Little Red Schoolhouse Art Fair 2010


Little Red Schoolhouse pastel painting

It’s that time of year again! The annual Little Red Schoolhouse Art Fair is almost here. This Sunday, October 3rd from 10am-4pm, I will be at the fair selling original fine art, cards, and bookmarks. So far, the weatherman is predicting a beautiful sunny 60°F autumn day.

This year is going to be hopping! The new building is open and large crowds are going to be expected. There is no parking on location. You will be directed where to park nearby and shuttle busses will be available. This event is free, why not stop by?

Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center
9800 Willow Springs Road
Willow Springs, IL
Sunday, October 3,2010

Here is a link to google maps for location, click here.


September Sketch Class Results


Alanna, Chris, Jackie, Michelle

Our little group grew! Here are the September Sketchers at the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center: Alanna, Chris (Me), Jackie, and Michelle. One love, nature; One mission, sketching! So here we go…Let’s Paint Nature! 


We hiked the Black Oak Trail half-way around Long John Slough, until we all agreed on a location we wanted to sketch. At this spot, two chickadees stopped on the fence post, one lingered a bit and allowed us to watch him as he ate. “Chick-a-dee-dee-dee, Chick-a-dee-dee-dee”, he called. 


Jackie Sketching

We settled in and found comfortable spots to sketch. Meanwhile, three white-breasted nuthatches visited us above our heads, hopping up and down the tree trunk. One stuck his bill in the bark, searching for insects, and knocked down little pieces of bark. One of which landed on my painting! 


Alanna's watercolor sketch

The great thing about going out as a group is that even though we are looking at the same thing, we all have different perspectives and different styles which produce some amazing pieces of art! Here is Alanna’s watercolor sketch, a wonderful representation of the day! 


Michelle's watercolor sketch

Michelle, a budding new artist, painted this precious watercolor…what great work! 


Jackie Sketch 1

Jackie decided to bypass watercolors and make a charcoal sketch. What a great idea, you don’t have to paint watercolors, you can use whatever medium you like! This sketch is of a tree stump behind the fence. 


Jackie Sketch 2

While we were painting, Jackie had enough time to make sketch #2. Sitting along side the trail, under the canopy of changing leaves and busy birds, what a wonderful memory she captured on paper. 


Chris' Watercolor Sketch

Here is my watercolor sketch. Can you find the chickadee which stopped to sing to us? 

We all had a wonderful time sketching in nature and recording our love through art. Maybe if you are in the area, you would like to join the next free sketching class, Saturday, October 30th!

Mini Sunset Watercolor


Mini Art Sunset - watercolor

 This little guy only measures 3.5×2.5 (ATC size). Tiny is fun. Why? Tiny is fun because you’re not obligated for hours trying to create a large piece of art. Tiny is fast. This only took 30 minutes to complete. Tiny is good for practicing. You can make many pieces of art and learn from mistakes quickly. And tiny is just plain cute!
For some reason, my scanner at work is making this watercolor look very contrast-y. It cannot pick up subtle colors, so unfortunately the picture doesn’t look like the original (the original is much better). 😉

This original watercolor will be framed with a tiny mat and available at the LaGrange Art Gallery’s Holiday Show for only $24! Many other mini art creations will also be available for the same price.

The holiday show is on Friday, November 12, 2010. Food, wine, and art, will be offered, can’t get much better than that. Any artwork not sold at the holiday party will still be available and remain on display in the gallery until the end of December.

Free Sketch Class Saturday


Sketch Class at Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center

Just a friendly reminder that this Saturday is another free watercolor sketch class at the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center in Willow Springs, IL. We will meet in front of the schoolhouse at 9AM, rain or shine (if it rains, we will sketch inside).

For an address and art supply list click here, it will bring you to the schedule/class page.

Hope to see you there! Let’s paint nature!

Let’s Paint Storm Over Autumn Tree!

Do you remember my hike at Bullfrog Lake after an intense but brief storm? Well, one tree in particular caught my eye. It is a tree which possesses such character, that it stops you dead in your tracts. It catches you staring at it for several minutes straight, like a bad behavior…but it doesn’t mind, for it knows your reverence is pure. Here is the photo: 


Bullfrog Lake Tree photo


At the edge of water, it stands, just beginning to turn for autumn. Let’s appreciate the creation of this tree by painting it in pastels and keeping a little souvenir forever! Here we go… 


Step 1: I am using an Ampersand Pastelbord, 11×14. I draw a road map with charcoal pencil. Much of this will be covered, but I don’t mind, I just need a simple sketch. 


Step 2: WOW! Storm clouds…how awesome! In this step I used watercolors to make a nice background sky. I mixed ultramarine blue, mauve, and burnt sienna. I sprayed the board with a mist of clean water, then painted sweeping streaks of my purple mixture. More color on top and less on the bottom with right diagonal strokes to represent sheets of rain. In a matter of seconds, we created a mysterious atmosphere, this is so much fun! 


Step 3: I ran to the bathroom to plug in my hairdryer and dried my board…I couldn’t wait patiently for the next step! When everything was dry, using watercolors I painted the background trees in ultramarine blue, the grass in sap green, yellow ocher, and sienna, and the tree in a mixture of indigo blue and sap green. I also added alizarin for the Virginia Creeper crawling up the tree. Don’t forget to leave some sky holes. 


Step 4: We are done with the watercolors, we can put them away. When your board is dry (how can you tell when it is truly dry? The board will not feel cold to the touch.) you can start to apply soft pastels. In this step I used a dark purple for shadow, medium green and a lighter green. I am using Rembrandt landscape pastels. Don’t cover everything, for your tree needs to be able to breathe. 


Step 5: In this step I highlighted the top of the tree with a light ochre green. It gives it nice dimension. I also used a deep dark blue to make some branches. The trunk at the base is a medium gray pastel. 


Step 6: Developing the Virginia Creeper. In this step I took a deep burgundy pastel and painted where the Virginia Creeper grew. Next, I highlighted it with a medium purple to give it some punch. I also highlighted the top with yellow-green and yellow-ochre. 


Step 7: Time to get crazy now! Go wild and let your colors shine through. In this step I used orange pastel to highlight the mid section and a bright yellow to highlight the top. I found the perfect bright red to represent the Virginia Creeper bright spots. WOW! It’s all coming together now! 


Step 8 Final: In this step I covered the grass with green, brick red, and yellow pastel. I used a purple/gray for the shadow under the tree. Yes, even though it is cloudy out, you always need a bit of a shadow under objects. If you exclude shadows, even on a day without sun, your subjects will appear to float. In this step I also created the bush under the tree using the same dark, medium, and light ochre greens as I used in the tree. Don’t forget, your bush needs a shadow too. We’re done! We caught a moment in time, stopping the weather and stopping autumn…just for a second! 

“Changing Weather Changing Tree”

The original will be available at the Little Red Schoolhouse Art Fair on Sunday, October 3rd, where I will be from 9am-4pm. 

If you are interested in an acid-free archival print right now, click on the picture:
Art Prints 

I hope you enjoyed this free step by step painting demonstration on how to paint a storm over autumn tree at Bullfrog Lake.