Monthly Archives: November 2010

Arrowhead Lake Sketch


Arrowhead Lake Freezing Rain watercolor sketch

Last Wednesday I stopped by Arrowhead Lake for just a few moments of nature tranquillity. This sketch may not look tranquil (the sky unleashed freezing rain, ice, and snow) but I was the only one in the parking lot. Yessssss.

The mallard ducks didn’t mind the weather either; the female followed the male all the way to the other end of the lake in a slow fashion. I was like a duck in my car, all nice and weatherproof, not minding what comes down from the clouds. The fast tapping of the rain on the roof was soothing too. I’ll have to record that sound one day. In just 45 short minutes I had my daily dose of vitamin nature. Have you had your vitamin today?


Sketch Class Results November 2010


The free November sketch class at the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center was a hit! As we took a short hike around the slough, we noticed something not seen last month. Can you find it in this picture?


HOT DOG…it’s a beaver lodge!!! Wow! Look at that structure. Beaver lodges can be made up of sticks, mud, grasses, and rocks. Sometimes you may find many lodges in a row, that’s called a beaver colony. Could this be one? Do you see that patch to the left of our beaver lodge? Is that the beginnings of another lodge in the form a colony? I don’t know. I will keep watching. Did you know that an entire beaver family can live in one lodge? That explains the enormous size. What terrific structural engineers, to design such a space which will keep them warm in the winter and protect them from natural enemies! Welcome beaver family to Long John Slough.


Alanna's artwork

Alanna’s exceptional sketch of November on the Slough. Great job!


Michelle's artwork

Michelle’s whitty watercolor of the November slough with beaver lodge. Awesome.


Chris' artwork

My interpretation of the slough in November with beaver lodge. Watercolor and micron pen.


To tell you the truth, we weren’t as brave as it may seem…look…we painted from inside. Can you blame us? At 9am, our Chicago weather left us with only 23°F!?! We’re crazy for nature, but not insane! 

We had a wonder time enjoying nature and making a little souvenir sketch for us to take home. Maybe you can join us next time on January 29th?

Spears Woods Watercolor


Banded Together in Defence of Natural Places - watercolor

11-21-10 (Sunday)
55°F   low clouds, rain
Spears Woods

Heavy clouds are so low, I can’t tell where the distant tree tops end and where the sky begins. It is mild and raining. The rain makes a wonderful tap, tap, tap, sound on my rain coat which is amplified under my hood.

The wet earth creates an aroma pleasant to my nose. I find myself taking many deep breaths trying to capture that scent. I wouldn’t trade this day for any sunny day in all the world, as I would miss out on the blessings of precipitation.

Several blue jays shout back and forth and reminds me of the crow’s, “CAW!” They only stop when I try to record them. Figures.

I see four trees standing alone, side by side at the beginning of a field. They remind me of soldiers banded together, protecting the land. These trees have nothing to fear in the midst of a forest preserve, however others are not so lucky, they might need our help to protect them.


Spears Woods photo

The original watercolor is available for purchase:

“Banded Together in Defence of Natural Places”
free shipping and tax (US)
no frame
no mat

click here to for purchase, it will bring you to the watercolors available for sale page.

Free Sketch Class Saturday


Michelle, Chris, Alanna

Just a friendly reminder that this Saturday (November 27, 2010) is another free watercolor sketch class at the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center in Willow Springs, IL. Class will start at 9am and end at 12 noon. Dress for the weather!!! We will try to paint outside however, if the weather is too unbearable we will be sketching from inside the nature center.

Click here for supply list and address.

Misty Sketch at Swallow Cliff


To play in the midst of mystery, when fog descends and things are not what they appear to be….oh how much fun there is to be had in nature!

In the Chicago area during the early evening hours, we were greeted with a dark gray, misty atmosphere. Leaving work early, instead of feeling the dread of gloom, I ran to the woods for inspiration. I was not disappointed.

I actually did this sketch from my car. I sat there staring at the naked trees. Sometimes it is so healthy to be in silence, even if for just a few moments. During this time, I noticed the branches fading in and out of focus…movement. The fog was playing in between the branches and I was so entertained.


Here is the actual photo. Yes, it is barren, but just look at those colors! Green grass still green in November, and the reds in the tall grasses, how beautiful! May I never complain on a gray day….just look at what I would miss out on!

Let us love nature no matter what type of weather!