Monday, March 28, 2011

Azalea Time

For something different, Rob and I went to Hilton Head National Golf Course so he could hit golf balls on the practice range and I could sketch some different scenery.

We love this course. There are no houses around it and you really feel like you've escaped into the wild.

The driving range has woods on both sides and water near by. At one point I counted four Osprey calling and swooping in the air.

We set up on the right side of the range. The azaleas were a blaze under the canopy of trees. We arrived around 11 and stayed until 1. It always amazes me how 2 hours spent doing something you love can feel like 24! I was ready to take on the world once again :)

I took my time with this little piece. I'd watched Mr. Cardinal and a Mocking Bird flit around in the bushes. They must like sharing the same territory as we have the same combo of birds in our bushes.

I'd paint a bit then get up and watch Rob practice while the paint dried. Patience with watercolors is fruitful. Sitting in nature, ever so wonderful and necessary!

Yea!! I managed to save the lights!! I'm still pinching myself - this has to be one of my best plein air paintings I've done. Happy, happy girl :)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Supermoon and Sweetleaf

Please click to enlarge image
It wasn't until days later that I found out March's full moon was dubbed 'Supermoon' due to it's closeness to Earth.  Well, what to do? There was no room left on the full moon page and I had already sketched and painted the Sweetleaf snipping!

The border around the Sweetleaf page became the extension of the full moon page.  Not exactly what I had in mind for the Sweetleaf, but then just because it's my journal doesn't mean I have total control :) That's part of the fun of journaling!!

I found the Sweetleaf trees/scrubs scattered along the cart path of number 10 at our neighborhood golf course.  I'd been hoping that the coming of Spring would help me ID more trees along this path. If you remember, when I  was working on the Sketchbook Project, I counted 20 varieties. I was thrilled when the flowers of the Sweetleaf caught my eye. I so love adding new-to-me-plants and trees to my list! This particular small tree needed special attention due to its unusually shaped trunk.

I did this quick sketch around 5 pm, Saturday afternoon. I wanted the tuft-like cluster flowers to show off since I really didn't achieve their look on the previous page. I used pastel pencil on toned pastel paper. I stroked the pastel with my waterbrush - my set of Derwent pastel pencils act like watercolor pencils but have the opaque qualities of pastels.

I then sprayed fixative over the page. Some of the white flowers weren't standing out so I then used a white Neocolor II crayon to add the final touches.

The other common name: Horse-sugar comes from the fact that horses and cows love to graze on these sweet leaves. My tree book also says that fruit, described as small dry drupe, will form in the fall. Oh goody, more to look forward to!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

March Moon

Everything has a yellow cast to it here in the lowcountry. The clear glass top tables on our porch now look like they're opaque light yellow.
Some are saying it's the worst they've seen the tree pollen.

I do like to use the Northeast Native American names for the full moons I sketch and have been wondering, of late, what the local Native American's named the full moons.  I've not been able to research that yet but I'm sure they would agree that March's moon should be named after the time when tree pollen covers the land :)
I love full moon eves.  The moon looks big and it rises when there is still plenty of light. I will try again next month to capture the the beauty.  This poor page became very overworked.....

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


This little tree seems to light up for miles. It's perched on the hill beside the driving range in my neighborhood. I planned to include it in my initial Spring page in the previous post, but couldn't contain myself. This beauty needed a page of its own!

Rob was having a golf lesson, I sat in the cart and did my favorite thing :) The entire page was created there.  I checked the weather when we returned home.  I thought it was at least in the mid 60's as I was in the sun  and out of the wind....but not.  Only 59 with a strong ENE wind.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Spring's Color Song ~ I

So many colors popping, so
little time....

Join me as I build this journal page.

This is the start to my salute to Spring.

Saturday, on the early evening dog walk down the cart path on 10, I saw Yellow Jessamine and Sweet Gum trees starting to pop. It was beautiful. The last rays of the sun were hitting the trees.  It was the perfect time to sketch.... Drat. Dogs to walk, dinner to make.... rain in the forecast for Sunday.

I was up and out at 7 a.m. on Sunday. The ground was wet but I caught a break between showers. I wanted to have plenty of time before the golfers made the swing to 10. It was so windy that I had to put the chin strap down on my Tilly so it wouldn't fly off my head! I made a bee-line to the Jessamine then on the way back to sketch the Sweet Gum buds, my eye caught a Sparkleberry bush with new leaves just beginning to pop. This tardily deciduous shrub like tree still had old leaves and a few berries hanging on.

The wind really started to whoop it up - usually a sign that the rain is about to come - so I snipped a Sweet Gum bud and headed for home.  Once in the door, I quickly deposited my sketch bag, harnessed the dogs and out we went for their morning constitution. We maybe made it 10 yards from the house and the rain hit. Basenji's hate the rain. It was a real quick walk :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

It's Been A Good Year For Press

I am honored and blushing... Hilton Head Monthly has this article in their March 'green' issue.  Thank you HHM!!

 Capturing nature: A Bluffton woman teaches the art of nature journaling

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Artist Pam Johnson Brickell teaches workshops in nature journaling as a means of remembering ‘time spent in places you love, soaking up the slower side of life.Artist Pam Johnson Brickell teaches workshops in nature journaling as a means of remembering ‘time spent in places you love, soaking up the slower side of life.
A group of budding artists sets up its chairs in the Sea Pines Forest Preserve, paper and watercolor pencils in hand. But though the work they produce will be works of art, these aren’t experienced artists — just people drawing and creating nature journals for themselves, and the joy of it.

Artist Pam Johnson Brickell, a Clemson University-certified master naturalist, teaches a series of nature journal workshops at the Society of Bluffton Artists Gallery and at Coastal Art Supply in Beaufort. Creating a nature journal is a way to capture the bounty of the world, she says, a way to relax and take in the essence of the environment, a means by which you can record and hold onto images that inspire.

“Imagine, years from now, pulling a sketchbook from the shelf and knowing that it will reveal your intimate experiences with nature, time spent in places you love, soaking up the slower side of life,” Brickell says. “Any given page will transport you back in time, enabling you to feel the breeze on your skin, smell the aromas of the salt marsh or recapture the awe you felt when an egret blessed you with a close encounter.”

Brickell stresses that students who take her workshops aren’t professionals — just regular folks drawing for themselves. They begin by taking watercolor pencil techniques or sketching techniques workshops and move on to field trips in places such as Sea Pines Forest Preserve, the Church of the Cross, Fish Haul Creek Park or Jarvis Creek Park.

Student Harriett Selva lives in Lexington, Ky., but spends several weeks a year on Hilton Head. A veteran of several workshops, she says Brickell “makes us believe that we all have some worthy ability to create. Through Pam’s instruction I’ve learned to see colors, shapes, and shadows that I never noticed before.”
Artist Pam Johnson Brickell teaches workshops in nature journaling as a means of remembering ‘time spent in places you love, soaking up the slower side of life.’Selva says one of her favorite field trips was to Fish Haul Creek on a foggy morning. “We sat on the beach and painted a scene looking out on Port Royal Sound with large rocks in the foreground. Pam helped us to see colors and shapes in all of that gray,” she says.

On field trips “the only things you need are a chair, watercolor pencils and paper,” says Brickell. Students can choose what they wish to sketch or paint, which can be anything from a broad landscape to a single plant. Throughout the field trip, Brickell will offer advice and tips on technique, but more important, she says, is that her students learn to see and appreciate the natural world.

“You find that you totally lose yourself in the environment. Everything around you disappears and you forget the stresses of the day,” said Brickell. “The world opens up its bounty when you learn to see. A tree, plant or animal that’s long been named and cataloged can still be discovered for the first time.”

Thank you, Sally!!  This is beautifully written :)
Harriett.... you are terrific! Keep journaling!
Allison, great photography!!