Monthly Archives: March 2011

Male Eastern Towhee watercolor

Well, this year I have not noticed any migrating birds at my feeder yet. Humf. Looking through my sketchbook, I could tell that the Eastern Towhee usually pays me a visit around the 3rd week in March. Here is 2009’s sketch.

Where are you Mr. Towhee? I’m checking the ground beneath my feeder everyday and you’re not there.


Towhee Call - watercolor

Oh well, I guess I will have to keep my self happy with just painting you!

“Towhee Call”
original watercolor

Click here to purchase, it will take you to the available watercolor page.
Free shipping in US.

Have you seen the towhee in your yard yet? Have you spotted any migrating birds so far this year?


Sketch Class Results March 2011


Oak Tree - Little Red Schoolhouse

25°F  cloudy, cold, windy

We take a short hike on the White Oak Trail before we paint, even though it is terribly cold with a persistent wind, we desperately want to connect with nature. In search for Spring Beauty wildflowers we come up short, instead we find a partially frozen stream with razor-sharp shards of ice and geometric frozen patterns.

It is officially spring, but where is spring?

That’s okay, we are nature diehards.
We cannot grab the sun and pull it closer. We cannot take our fingers and pull up those awaiting spring wildflowers. We cannot invite the dragonflies and call up the frogs and turtles….we can only wait on the One who can…with hope and reverence and no complaints we wait. (well, we try not to complain…he..he..he)

This day we decided to concentrate on a particular oak tree along Long John Slough. Transfixed with the beauty of just the trunk, we celebrated it by making a quick watercolor sketch. Briefly when the sun peaked out, we quickly noted bright green moss color on the trunk and casting shadows as well.


sketch class March 2011

We decided to keep warm and sketch from inside the educational center after our hike.


Class artwork: Michelle, Chris, Alanna

Here is a collection of our beautiful oak tree watercolor sketches. Quick and loose was our goal, I think it only took us about 45 minutes.


Oak tree watercolor by Chris

We will not be detoured by cold temps even though our high is supposed to be 50°F.
But hey, with Chicago weather, we can always expect some snow in April…right?!? Bite my tongue!

Golden Sun Sketch


golden sun at spears woods watercolor and micron

I see flashes of lightning through thick stained glass gothic windows and hear a low rumble of thunder on the other side of the vaulted wooden ceiling. Still wet from the outside, I close my eyes and smile in my pew remembering the golden sun of yesterday at Spears Woods when I first closed my eyes and felt the warmth of the sun penetrate my face.

The sun, which had been hiding for days, was worth gold to me on that day.

I am happy when it rains and I am happy when it shines. I have learned to appreciate every phase and not take for granted one single moment.


Emerging Crocus Sketch


Crocuses watercolor and micron pen

Just as a ballerina twirls, the tender crocus unfurls as it emerges from the ground.

That’s what I thought of as I gazed upon the much awaited, first flower of the year. Its struggle to break through the soil, I guess just makes it stonger…and in such cold weather too!

We all must struggle and grow before we bloom. The hardest part is trying to remember that. Bitter-sweet joy.

Arrowhead Lake Sunset Sketch


Arrowhead Lake Sunset watercolor sketch

A reprieve from winter, a welcomed mild day…how lovely!

Yesterday I made a quick stop at Arrowhead Lake. The sun, enveloped in a slight haze and in the company of dark blue clouds, sets behind the trees, giving me a peek-a-boo yellow surprise in between branches.

What do I hear? Unexpectedly, I hear the first chorus frog of the year! Wow! I just can’t control myself and I break out into a little happy dance right on the trail. It is justified.


Here is the photo, my quick sketch was done at home.


Along the trail, brilliant green moss grows outside of some drainage pipes. I love moss. It is nice to see some bright green color in the middle of drab winter blues and grays.


Here is an interesting composition of moss, grass head, and rocks. When you find something interesting while hiking, take the time to look closely. Inspect each inch, you may just surprise yourself.

I hope you enjoyed this quick stop at Arrowhead Lake. Remember when hiking, to always bring drinking water, even in the winter time. Check out this line of Camelbak Water Bottles, very convenient for staying hydrated.