Category Archives: butterfly

Autumn Begins Watercolor


And so it begins…

Time cannot be undone.
And the leaves cannot go back on the trees.
But we can still move forward hand in hand with our Everlasting Father as He carries our hurts.


My Strategic Withdrawal, CITW Part 1


Sometimes in life you need to retreat. You need to reach over and hit the pause button so that you can regroup. Current events becoming too overwhelming? ….pause button.  Work driving you mad? ….pause button.  Feeling like you’re spinning your wheels not getting anywhere? …pause button. Family/Friends/Children acting irrational? ….pause button. Feel like you’re losing yourself? ….pause button.

When you find yourself wanting to hit pause more than play, it’s time to go on a retreat; A voluntary withdrawal.

I found such a place. A magical gem, so hidden, so secluded, Christ in the Wilderness is a place for spirit repair. God is the doctor and solitude the necessary ingredient for rehabilitation.  You do not have to be of a particular faith. There is no program. Just three tiny hermitages and open trails enticing you to take the first step towards restoration.


This time allows for a brain adjustment. Something I desperately needed. For the next few days I am going to describe my time at Christ in the Wilderness and how it has helped me.


I have lovingly called this place, an Introvert’s Paradise. No TVs, no internet, no cell service, no socializing. For me, it is exactly what I needed to be able to hear myself think. Living in a loud world, I tend to get lost. Or more descriptively, I tend to get lost in its current.


So I hope you will take this journey with me….an exciting pilgrimage to clarity.

Nature at Lake Katherine Sketch

flora and fauna lake katherine sketch

Do you want to go on a virtual field trip with me to Lake Katherine?!? Fascinating nature is ooozing from every corner this time of year and we’re loving every inch of it!


First, we’ll start in the garden. Black-eyed Susans, Purple cone flower, and ornamental grasses surround the butterfly sculpture.


And who enjoys the garden besides us? This tiger swallow butterfly enjoys the garden by drinking sweet nectar. I think this plant is Salvia, however I could be wrong.


The clearwing humming bird moth also loves this plant too.


Walking on the trail, I encountered this HUGE mushroom. The top was about 6″ wide and the entire mushroom had to be 6″ tall. I do not know what type of mushroom this is with scalloped edges. Or maybe perhaps it is so large that the top split on the edges when opening?


Continuing on our trail…..look who’s crossing! A milkweed tussock moth caterpillar…..WHOA! He looks like a tiny (1″ long) yellow pipe cleaner with white and black hair tufts. NEAT!


Finally we reach the lake and see our swan family. Dad, mom, and 6 juveniles swim together. The young fish for something good to eat and I love to watch them.

I hope you enjoyed this quick get-a-way to Lake Katherine in Palos Heights, IL.

Sketchcrawl at Little Red Schoolhouse

Today was the sketchcrawl at the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center. We had a very small group (2 people), but small is good when learning how to sketch and that’s exactly what we did, went out, picked a spot and did a sketch step-by-step. Here was our view:


This is Long John Slough. We liked the shape of the trees and the color of the sky and clouds.


Here is Alanna, my first non-internet student! We had a very enjoyable morning, as crickets, birds, and cicadas sang to us while we painted.


Slough Artwork by Alanna

Here is a beautiful sketch by Alanna. I think she did a very nice job, well done.


Slough Artwork by Chris

Here is my sketch. You may think that we just painted birds in the sky to include some wildlife and give our scene more excitement, but no, those geese flew at that very spot while we painted. How cool is that?


How can you beat such a beautiful inspiring view? Painting in nature is truly good therapy.

After we were done, we decided to walk the trail. We encountered lots of wildlife, including a monster…


This crawdad was HUGE (6 or 7 inches) and was standing in the middle of the trail ready to attack! He wanted to eat me, I can tell…


I saw it in his eyes! We barely escaped with our lives. (LOL)


On a happier note, this swallowtail butterfly landed on a tree, right by us and allowed us to take some pictures. How blessed we are.

My friend Sharon was going to be at this sketchcrawl and was looking forward to this day. I am not sad, nor will I be depressed, and let it discourage me from painting for I know that she was with us and that all things work for the good of those who love God…

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Rom 8:28

I wish to thank everyone for your kind comments about the passing of my friend. They really comforted me during a trying time.

Let’s Paint a Butterfly

This post and painting is dedicated to my beloved friend and artist companion, Sharon, who was taken away too early in life today, 07-26-2010. She always encouraged me in my art adventures and was one of my best cheerleaders.

Sharon also had incredible talent in art but had trouble finding time to settle down and paint. You may remember last December when I issued a ticket to a friend who was not practicing. That was Sharon and we had a good laugh. She did serve her ticket by the way, she came over and we painted and had lunch together. I will cherish those memories forever.

Sharon was the friend from work who brough me autumn leaves from her neighbor’s tree because she knew that I am insane for autumn and love colored leaves. She always put others before herself and constantly thought of ways to make their life better. I will miss her unending optimistic character and bubbly personality. Working 9 hours a day together, we became family, seeing each other more that we saw our own families at home. We had no idea she was sick until it was too late.

I take comfort in knowing she is in heaven and is seeing colors that we have never seen and cannot even describe. I hope she is using them in her paintings…I can’t wait to see them. [tears]

So, let’s never slow down with our talents and keep on painting and learn how to paint the question mark butterfly…


Here is our reference photo, a question mark butterfly at Papoose Lake in May 2010. How can you tell a question mark butterfly from a comma butterfly? Look at the right wing near the top, there is a marking that looks like a little dash – that’s a question mark marking. The comma does not have this mark.


Step 1: Make a sketch. I am using pencil on cold press watercolor paper.


Step 2: Mask out a thin outline at the tip of the wings using masking fluid, let dry. Paint the top half of the butterfly cad. yellow, the middle light red, and the bottom sepia. I let the colors touch and blend together, that’s OK. Let dry.


Step 3: Paint the body using sap green and a tiny bit of the light red mixture so that the green is not too saturated.


Step 4: When every thing is dry paint spots using sepia and maybe a touch of red. Don’t worry about being perfect with your spots.


Step 5: Continue to make more spots and cover thicker portions of the lower wings with sepia.


Step 6: Wet the background and paint a free splotchy background. I chose different shades of purple by mixing alizarin and cobalt. Purple represents passion and I thought it was fitting for the theme.


Step 7 Final: When everything is dry, remove the masking fluid from around the wings and clean the edges by using a clean wet brush. Outline with micron pen if you choose.

“Sharon, Be Free”

The original painting is a gift to Sharon’s sister. Her sister who has incredible sorrow also has incredible medical dept as Sharon did not have health insurance.
High quality, acid free prints of this painting is available on Fine Art America. 100% of the proceeds made from this print will forever go to Sharon’s sister to help pay for medical expenses.

Art Prints

Thank you.