Monthly Archives: May 2011

Sketch Class Results May 2011


Saturday we woke up to a very threatening sky. Dark and ominous. Ready to unleash buckets of rain? We didn’t know…but we took our chances anyway. And OH BOY I’m glad we did, because the rain held off right up until the end! Whooo Hoooo! Sketch class, here we go!

This is the scene we decided to sketch. This is Long John Slough facing east. On the left hand side of this photo, you might be able to see the bird house which caught our attention. A few birds landed on top of this bird house as we were sketching, however it was too far away to determine which kind of bird. We did recognize a single chorus frog which sang to us for a long, long time and one yelp from a bull frog. I think they enjoyed watching us sketch!


The weather didn’t stop these nature artists from doing what they love, sketching nature.
Several times we spotted a great blue heron fly back and forth over the slough. It was at this spot also, Michelle pointed out an indigo bunting male chase a female. Wow! What a beautiful blue bird!

It never fails, I am always more excited about whats going on around me than my own painting. Here is how our watercolor sketches turned out:


Michelle's Artwork


Rob's Artwork


My Artwork

It was very humid and very grey. Our paper took forever to dry, but we worked with it and our sketches turned out beautiful!!!


Behind us in the field, we found shooting stars. Aren’t they amazing!


We also spotted columbine growing along the fence. What a brilliant color. Other than that the spring wildflowers have all expired.

After our sketch we took a hike on Black Oak Trail and when we finished, it began to rain. We made it.

I hope you enjoyed our adventures at the Little Red Schoolhouse and maybe next time you would like to join us? There will be no class in June, but we will resume July 30, 2011.


Lake Kathrine Spring Sketch

Lake Kathrine Spring watercolor sketch


Tender is the color of spring. Tender is the touch of the gentle breeze on my cheek. Tender are the babies which are born. Tender are the blossoms: pink, white, and blue.
Do you know what’s not tender in spring? Males protecting their territories! No tender, gentleness there. Yesterday I had the chance to enjoy nature at Lake Katherine. I observed a male swan threaten several geese by chasing them with his thunderous outstretched beating wings. Holy cow, what a loud sound! What an impressive site.
Stay back geese…stay back. Big white daddy coming after you!

Sketchbook Hiking: McClaughrey VIDEO

Do you want to go on a hike with me at McClaughrey Springs Woods? We’ll find some woodland wildflowers and after that, I’ll show you a real easy step-by-step watercolor sketch. I know you can do this one! I’ll give you techniques to take a complicated landscape and create a simple watercolor for your journal.

*To avoid interruption while viewing the video, pause the video and allow it to buffer (you can see a red bar under the screen), when done buffering, play the video.

1 of 3 (10 min)

2 of 3 (9 min)

3 of 3 (9 min)

I love doing this!!!! I hope you enjoyed the videos and it helped you.

Spring Gazebo Watercolor Sketch

Spring at Centennial Park

Spring…new beginnings…tender…fresh…new life.

Those are just a few words that come to mind when I think of spring. A few days ago I had the chance to experience those feelings at Centennial Park in Orland Park, IL.
A cute little gazebo adorns a lake which is teaming with wildlife! On this day I spot a palm warbler (a life list first!!!) plus several American coots, barn swallows, tree swallows, red-wing blackbirds, a male cardinal, and one killdeer.
Yesssss spring, a hot bed of activity.
Hopefully you can get out there and enjoy some tender green color and vibrant pinks!

Sketch Class Results April 2011

Little Red Schoolhouse Sketch Class April 2011

Amanda, Scott, Michelle, Amy, Lori, Alanna (kneeling), myself, and Sue

Wow! What a class!!!
Finally blessed with a perfect warm day to do some watercolor sketching, the group headed out on the White Oak Trail in search for woodland wildflowers…and oh boy, did we find a treasure of them!


Mesmerized by the blue-violet glow of the bluebells, the group decided to study these wildflowers.


As we sat on the forest floor painting, the birds above sang, providing music for our enjoyment. Meanwhile, the wind roars through the trees giving a mighty sound and the trees respond with a sway.


This huge white trillium was found off trail next to the stream. We also found bloodroot, spring beauty (white and pink), toothwort, may-apple, squill, yellow-violet, and some immature jack-in-the-pulpits.

my bluebell and may-apple watercolor sketch

Here is my watercolor and micron sketch. It was amazing to see all of the beautiful artwork from the group. I’m sorry I didn’t take a photo of more art. Each person had a unique interpretation of what they saw and it was just outstanding!

I thank all of the students for showing up and making class a very memorable event.