Monthly Archives: May 2013

Vermillion River Watercolor Sketch


The air hung heavy with the threat of rain as we (Alanna and I), finally made it to the edge of the river. I had one eye on the sky trying to predict what it was going to do. The trail to the river wasn’t too clear, overgrown with lush foliage and even a healthy giant patch of ferns, but we did manage.

Upon reaching the bank, getting down to the business of sketching has to wait. I have to stand and be still. Quiet. I have to watch and listen. I have to close my eyes and give my other senses a running start to translate this incredible view and inscribe it into memory. I want to live it so I can keep it.

Just before the river bends it passes over many large rocks, which made a very loud rushing sound. Above the turbulent water swallows dart back and forth. Darting for insects? Darting for stray water droplets? I do not know. They don’t consult me and I am glad being just an admirer.


After a few minutes my sponge soaked brain was satisfied and sketching could begin. Finding a comfortable spot on a bolder, I laid out my supplies and began to paint. It could have been the babbling of the river, or the bird serenade, or the  hypnotic aroma of earth, but I lost track of time…while laying down stroke after colored stoke of paint. Ah….lost in flow.


But the sky didn’t hold back and one heavy fat drop of rain turned into 2, then 10, and therefore it was time to close my very water soluble sketch and finish later. No matter, just hiking will do because rain can’t stop a good hike!

So on we went, walking far much further than we remembered to begin with….oh yes, we’re lost! LOL.


A beautiful place to be lost.

I could have stayed here forever. The fast flowing water descending over stepping stones made an echo like sound in between the walls of earth on either side. But time was passing and we were no closer to being found than an hour before, so we scurried along. And after someone (not me), was quick to send a little prayer, a nice couple found us and walked us to the right trail and to our parking area…then disappeared. Hiking angels? They hike??  😉

Rain and being lost just was no match for a determined pair of hiking artists on a mission to enjoy nature!


Sketch Class Results Lyman Woods Downers Grove

This month, at the suggestion of a sketch group member, we decided to meet at Lyman Woods in Downer’s Grove, IL, for our sketchbook MeetUp class.

What a tiny gem! And crawling with springtime woodland wildflowers right now!


Prairie Trillium


Lily of the Valley


And my favorite…Jack in the Pulpit!
Amongst the beautiful, there was decay as well…..such is the nature of nature…


A dead skunk lying right in the middle of the trail. Poor fellow. We did not see any puncture wounds but we dared not touch it as he did have a smell about him!


The group found many photo worthy shots and took advantage. But now it is time to get to work! Chop chop!


Gene and Celeste

Everybody found a spot suitable to their liking. The wetlands of Lyman Woods is impossible to pass up. It was calling to us. Not only was the landscape beyond words, but hundreds of swallows zipped to and fro having lunch in the sky above the marsh.



Some stood, some sat, it didn’t much matter how we accomplished our tast…our task to be students of nature.


Donna and Jan

The bench made a perfect spot to lay out all of the supplies!

We braved the conditions as long as we could. It was cloudy in the morning, with a persistent biting wind. Here is the work in progress….



The groups work in progress.

Sometimes it is just wise to finish at home than to provoke a harsh cold wind.


Here is my final. I wanted to capture at least one tree swallow swooping in the air, flashing his bright white belly at me!

We had a wonderful visit to Lyman Woods. I can’t wait for our next adventure on the road!