62°F and very breezy. Somehow you don’t mind the wind when it’s mild, even if strong. I could sit here for hours.
After only a few minutes, to my surprise, a flock of ducks descend on the water. But these are no common mallards. What are they? They communicate with each other by “whisping”….whisp, whisp, whisp. It’s a cross between a whisper and a hiss. One performs some kind of walk-on-water dance. Was he impressing a female? I believe these are blue-winged teals. I watch them with great wonderment. They don’t feel my eyes prying, staring like a rude intruder.
l sit for an hour painting the bridge. I contemplate where it leads and why it was built. A smile comes across my face as I think about Easter and realize that Jesus became the bridge to unite us to God. By dying on the cross (also made of wood), he bridged the gap between sinful humans and God. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace. [Eph 1:7] And after paying for our sins, He rose from the dead because death could not hold him. [Acts 2:24]
This act of death on a cross came at a great, painful price. A great loving price. A free gift from the Father through the obedience of the Son. If we repent and accept Him as our Savior, He promises to forgive….no questions asked…no sin too big, nor too horrible to forgive. You will be made white as snow and He will remember your sins no more. [Is 1:18]
He wants to be in your daily life. He isn’t a God who sits on a fluffy white cloud waiting to strike you down. He is love and wants to communicate with you through prayer. He also promised to never leave you nor forsake you. That’s good news especially in our tumultuous times.
A stranger walks towards the water and the bridge. Not only do frogs on the fringe of the pond shriek and leap for their lives into the water, but my ducks become frightened too and swim out of sight. Chorus frogs steadily call in the background.
The seen and unseen mysteries of life are fascinating. It’s all attainable, doors will open if you knock.
Posted in art, Artwork, Chicago, duck, God, hiking, nature, Paint His Love, sketchbook, watercolor painting, watercolor sketching
Tagged art, Artwork, blue-winged teal, bridge, Easter, God, Jesus, journal, nature, painting, pond, sketchbook, spring, watercolor
Green Valley Forest Preserves
32°F mostly sunny, brisk wind
When my nerves become anxious and I recognize that prickly, edgy feeling in my spirit, I know it’s time to distance myself from society. It’s my adult time-out. One I most willingly take.
I escape to a little corner of nature where I am actually alone. The chill in the air is welcomed, even though I’ve been spoiled with unseasonably warm weather in my area, that has now passed. The brisk wind makes my cheeks red and tells my flesh it’s back to the business of winter.
As I stand under the cold sun, I hear that familiar creaky trill of sandhill cranes. I look up and scan the sky. I know I’m looking for tiny specks, as their call is much louder and larger than their bodies, considering the height at which they fly, but for the life of me I cannot locate them. I’m glad I’m alone, for a stranger would have thought it odd, this human just standing still staring at a blank sky…no matter, I so desperately wanted to see them it would have been worth the embarrassment. My attempts fail. That’s fair. I will permit nature to have this mystery.
Walking on the trail I notice several galls on dried goldenrod. They are numerous. I love these “imperfections” in nature. The goldenrod with galls are actually more attractive to me than without. I inspect the gall and find a pin hole near the bottom. Escape route?
Just then I hear rustlings above me in the tree. I ignore it for a while, supposing it’s just the wind. But no, it is not the wind. It is a red squirrel. On first inspection it is as if he is eating dried leaves still remaining on the tree. He grabs it, places it in his mouth, crunches as he chews, while crumbs fall from his mouth to the ground. Why is he eating leaves, I wonder? However, I squint my eyes and realize, those aren’t leaves, but dried maple seeds…clusters of them. And that was the rustling I presumed was the wind, dried maple leaves scraping together by the vibration of the red squirrel climbing from branch to branch. He continues for quite a while. Eat on my friend. Winter means business.
Posted in art, Artwork, Chicago, hiking, nature, Nature Sketching, sketch book, sketchbook, wildlife
Tagged art, Artwork, dupage county forest preserve, green valley forest preserve, hiking, journal, nature, painting, sketchbook, watercolor
Rain. Beautiful rain.
Straight down it was…no meandering, no skewing, no divergence, no wind. Tapping on leaves in trees creates a sound as if hundreds are clapping. My spirit is clapping.
I try to hear splashes in the puddles but cannot. The clapping overtakes the moment and I get lost in the mystery of His design.
And a few more leaves change colors.
Posted in art, Artwork, Chicago, God, nature, Nature Sketching, sketch book, sketchbook, storm, watercolor sketching, weather
Tagged art, Artwork, autumn, journal, nature, painting, rain, sketch, sketchbook, storm, tree, watercolor, weather
I found this beautiful weed climbing on a friend’s fence. Beautiful but rather toxic. While not as poisonous as its cousin, Deadly Nightshade, Bittersweet Nightshade should not be consumed.
On this particular vine, the berries were in every stage of color. The berries start green and are most toxic during this state. Next, the berries ripen into an orange color, until they reach their final deep red color.
But what attracts me the most are those purple and yellow flowers….the pre-berry stage. And so it did as a child, attracted me to them. It’s a fond childhood memory of mine, finding these tiny flowers pop all over chain link fences.
In Thessalonians we are reminded to be thankful in all circumstances.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Being that this is a weed, but so beautiful, I can be thankful for weeds. On that thought, what about the things in life that we can’t see a silver lining for? Can we still be thankful then? For example, when you are without something you need or when someone back stabs you…can you still find a reason to be thankful?
Oh, now that’s difficult! But that’s what we are lovingly instructed to do. Why?
I found myself upset about a personal situation. I thought about it for many hours, how I was unjustly wronged. But in this moment, I had two choices…..
- Dwell on it and be upset, causing me to be in a negative mood and affect other areas in my life.
- Be thankful for something, ANYTHING in that situation and meditate on positive thoughts.
In reading the New Testament, I am reminded of Christ’s example. While hanging on the Cross he said, “Father, please forgive them, they know not what they do.
How’s that for finding the positive?
While I can’t come close to living like Christ, I can try to follow in His direction. And how good it feels to be set free like that! Even if it doesn’t seem like it…these bizarre life hacks (to find the positive in all situations) are for our own wellness. To give us life and hope.
Posted in art, Artwork, nature, Nature Sketching, Paint His Love, sketch book, sketchbook, watercolor sketching
Tagged art, Artwork, bittersweet nightshade, journal, sketch, sketchbook, thankful, watercolor, weed
Vanity – n., 1 anything that is in vain or futile 2 worthlessness or futility 3 being vain, or too proud of oneself (Webster’s New World Dictionary)
It is my love for nature… that is the reason why I decided to start, Let’s Paint Nature. I enjoy being outside and looking at every detail, inspecting things, learning about them, drawing/painting them, and sharing it, in the hopes that it will inspire others to pick up that pencil and discover their own nature and the One who created it for them.
Somewhere along the way however, I was more concerned with uploading pretty pictures (vanity). How ridiculous! In doing so, I lost that first love…..sitting in nature, getting dirty, and scribbling for the love of learning without a care in the world who saw it and who did not. Without concern on how the final product ended up.
I don’t want to only pump out pretty pictures.
I wish to inspire the amateur artist who loves nature. The one who wishes to get back into drawing like they did when they were a child. The one who says, “I would like to start a nature journal but…..”
No more buts. Let’s come out of our shell. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Don’t worry about what it looks like, just put pencil to paper and go. Nobody has to see it. You love nature and you will love to draw too. And I promise not to pump out pretty pictures for the sake of a pretty web site.
Today during lunch I sat on my favorite bench beneath a maple tree near my work. To my surprise when I looked up, I discovered a slew of cicada shells, all clinging to the underside of maple leaves. How happy I was to discover this! Yes they’re kind of creepy looking….but wow!!!
I came home from work extremely excited to start sketching. That excitement stirred up that old feeling of wonder and purpose. Nature is amazing!
Pretty paintings might happen and pretty paintings might not happen and that’s okay. It doesn’t matter. Becoming closer to nature through art is the aim.
Posted in art, Artwork, Chicago, nature, Nature Sketching, sketch book, sketchbook, watercolor sketching
Tagged art, Artwork, cicada, cicada shell, drawing, journal, nature, pen and ink, pencil, sketch, sketchbook, watercolor