Unfailing Hope Autumnal Watercolor

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The way loss of autumn leaves is not a reason to fret.
The way nakedness of tree is no cause for alarm.
The way color drains from grass is not a concern.
The way summer birds disappear is not anguish.

For hope in things unseen is faith.
And the tiniest of faith shifts barriers.

When I can’t feel You, I know You are there.
When I free fall, I know Your net is near.

For Your promise is a reason for confidence.
Your love is cause for security.
Your guidance is steadfastness.
And Your strength is unfailing hope.

Amen

Angry Cottonwood Watercolor Sketch

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The cottonwood wasn’t angry, I was.
Just the day before I had gotten into an argument with an in-law which was totally taken by surprise. I held a rational conversation as long as I could until I had to remove myself from a room in my own home. It’s best to walk away than regret words you cannot take back.

Like a turtle that retracts into its shell for protection, I run to nature for comfort. My deliverance: the woods, my diversion: painting.

Sitting off trail on the forest floor, licking my wounds, I spot the cottonwood.
The leafstalk is flat on the cottonwood, creating violent individual waves from leaves in the gentlest of breezes while reflecting sparkles of yellow light, like gold glitter. It held me captivated.

Painting the cottonwood, slowly, methodically, watching the colors blend, the water run, healed my frazzled nerves. It kidnapped my mind from troubles and nursed me back to health.

The therapy, was it nature? Was it art? Was it the Great Counselor sitting next to me? Was it all of these working together?

Yes.

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Giant Puffball Mushroom Watercolor Sketch

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On a dark forest floor, this mushroom was found. Almost comical upon first glance, as it is the size of a basketball… hence the name giant. These puffballs can grow full size overnight. And my National Audubon Society Mushroom Field Guide states that an average size giant puffball can contain 7 trillion spores.
7 Trillion!

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It is always exciting to find these treasures in the forest.

Autumn’s Pregame Watercolor

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♪ ♫  ARE YOU READY FOR SOME AUTUMN?!?  ♫ ♪

It’s coming! Autumn is around the corner and right now you can enjoy its pregame show. I decided to tailgate at the forest preserves and here is what I saw…

  • Honey Bees on Goldenrod
  • Bumblebee on Aster
  • Monarch on Aster
  • Boneset
  • Pink Joe-Pye-Weed
  • Goldenrod
  • Hawk Calls
  • A Hidden Pond
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Downy Woodpeckers (several)
  • Blue Jay Screeches
  • False Solomon’s Seal
  • Solomon’s Seal
  • Red Virginia Creeper
  • Red Sumac
  • Acorns on the ground

These warm days and cool nights are preparing the trees for a dazzling finally. But there’s so much to enjoy right now! I can taste autumn in the air. It seems like every year, autumn escapes me because the season is so short. Do you feel this as well? This time I’m soaking in nature, savoring every last drop.

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As I walked up to this hidden algae covered pond,  I scared a great blue heron who in turn scared me as he slowly flew away.

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I hope you have a chance to get out and experience this season’s morph as the living plants give their last hurrah!

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Want to Get Started Painting Watercolors Outside?

Do you want to paint outside? Maybe you’re thinking of visiting a park, forest preserve, or your own backyard, and do not know where to start?

Here are some basic inexpensive supplies to get you on your way…
(click on picture for link)

You will need:

1. Travel watercolor pan set.
Pan Sets”/>

2. Watercolor Sketchbook
Canson Artist Series Watercolor Books

3. Watercolor Brushes
Royal Langnickel Soft Grip Golden Taklon Brush Sets, Round Set of 5, Short Handle, Set of 5

3b. OR Waterbrush
Niji Waterbrush, Mini (12 mm Tip)

4. Water Bottle

5. Cup

6. Paper towel or cloth

7. Pencil

8. (Optional) Micron Pens
Sakura Pigma Micron Pen

9. Camping Chair if no place to sit.

These are the supplies I use myself when I’m out in the woods. I place them all in a backpack with necessary snacks!
Remember to also consider the weather. The better prepared you are for the elements, not only with your painting experience be pleasant, but you will last longer outside. Here are some seasonal items to think about.

For Winter:
Waterproof boots
Waterproof winter coat
Hats, Gloves, Scarf
Long underwear
Hand and Feet warmers
A hot drink in a thermos
Camera

For Spring/Rainy Days:
Waterproof (not water resistant) Raincoat with hood
Rain boots
Water
Camera

For Summer/Autumn:
Sun hat
Suntan lotion
Bug spray
Water
Camera

Another important note: When going out alone ALWAYS text or tell someone where you are planning on going and when you plan on returning. I make it a point to always text my husband before going out. It’s better to be safe.

art supplies

Get outside and have some fun!!!

Waterfall Glen in Watercolor Pencils

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The air is heavy with humidity, the sun hot on your skin, but the rushing sound of water provides a cool comfort as if there’s relief within touch. And there is.
The heat did not seem to bother the monarchs flitting in between the leaves of the tree next to the falls. Their wings so thin, light illuminates through orange patches, just like stained glass. They glide, swirl, and swivel among green, dancing high on tree tops.
The heat didn’t bother blue damsel flies either. They dash quickly on the ground in and out of sun and shadow creating sapphire flashes of light. Gems on wings.

Those are the beauties that make heat bearable and me come back for more.

On this day I had a picnic with a friend at Waterfall Glen, part of the DuPage County Forest Preserves in Darien, IL. I forgot my watercolor travel bag and only had access to watercolor pencils…something I rarely use. But change is good. It’s healthy to step out of your comfort zone and practice with different medias.

Try changing your style up a bit and see what happens. Playing is fun.

Let’s Paint a Field of Queens VIDEO

(Quick 6 minute speed demo)

Queen Anne’s Lace is my favorite weed. When I was a child, I grew up next to an empty lot in the city and in the summer time the field was dressed in lace. Tall laced flowers dancing in the breeze, some as tall as I was… they became my friends.

So when I came upon a field of Queens in the forest preserve, it instantly took me back. I knew I had to paint that field.

I hope you enjoyed the free step by step demo on how to paint a field of Queen Anne’s Lace with watercolors and I hope you enjoyed the little bit of nature tucked into the video.