Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Zen and Tangle of a Bracken Fern

click to enlarge
I love ferns, especially in large groupings.  Their green coloring is so happy against dark and shaded tree trunks.

To my eye, the Bracken Fern has a complex structure.  Three triangular leaves branch from a stem, creating an overlap of the divided leaf structures.  Speaking as one who is dyslexic... viewing them up close can make me dizzy.

On Sunday, I came upon a fallen branch with a couple of Bracken Ferns growing near it. I was called to sketch it.
I hadn't planned on giving the fern so much detail, but once I started, I couldn't stop! Oh yes, much Zen was involved in sketching this fern.  I became the structure of the fern, the lobes, the smooth lines.... All the while my little voice was chipping at me, "What are you thinking by tackling this? What about the branch?"

This is one of the many reasons I love keeping an illustrated journal.  The pages can take on a ife of their own.  Once begun, I knew I had to get past my fear of the complex and just celebrate what was before me.  It took 30 minutes to sketch the fern structure.  It was then that I named the page.  I felt like I had created my first Zen Tangle.  Except my 'tangle' wasn't on the paper... it was in my head.

I love having the ability to look up information on the internet when in the field. This day, it enabled me to research the fern and and add interesting information to my page on the spot. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Fast Sketching at a Rookery

The rookery on Spring Island is humming, or should I say, clacking right along.  When I arrived all I could hear was the clacking of the Wood Storks bills. They decorated the tops of the trees while nesting egrets were sprinkled in the lower vegetation.

Please forgive the poor quality of my sketch images.  I don't have a scanner at work and my lunch break was nearing an end. The desk light and iPhone had to do :)

The first page took 5 minutes, lettering included. My second page about 10 minutes.  I discovered my waterbrush had no water in it, so had to wait until I got back to the office to complete the watercolor portion.
I'm using an Epsilon Series sketchbook by Stillman and Birn.  The same book had I intended to use for pen illustrations only..... It stayed dormant for many a month.  Gotta have color :)

Very simple sketches.... but I will always remember the clacking bills every time I see these pages.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

2013 RBC Heritage Watercolor Sketching

Yes, it's that time of year! I so look forward to roaming the Harbour Town Golf Links and sketching scenes around this beautiful place.

The Pro Am on Wednesday is a favorite. I like to create a journal page background for the players to autograph.  Luke Donald was the first on my list and I barely had any pigment on the page!
This year I decided to recreate the RBC logo as the center piece for my page.  Then, plaid must be somewhere on the page as the tag line for the tournament is 'Get Your Plaid On'.  The Heritage's logo - a golfer in white knickers, red coat and black hat is also mandatory.  Each element of the page slowly took shape as golfer's autographed my page.
Here I am, very busy sketching and then jumping up to get the player's autographs :)

Just a kid at heart!

Here's the page at the end of the day.....
Stayed tuned.... Thursday, Friday & Saturday sketches to follow :)

Monday, April 22, 2013

And the Winner Is.....

Claire M!  How happy I am for you!

Sorry, Cinda, Rhonda, Mrs. A and Merrelyn.  Thank you all for being sweet spots in my day.  I hope my art can bring you joy!

Claire, please email me... just hit the link on the 3rd block down on the right side of my blog.

Happy Earth Day!

I live in the part of the country that has lush vegetation. Green abounds.

However, in the winter, the marsh grass turns a dull gray and our lawns turn a blah tan. The deep woods are more accessible thanks to the deciduous flora that goes dormant.  Chiggers take a vacation and sometimes even the mosquitoes will quit for a few weeks.

Oh, but the Spring...... such sweet colors appear everywhere in the trees. Pale yellows, pinks and yellow greens. Even the evergreen Live Oaks sport a wonderful quinacridone gold coloration with their new crop of leaves and catkins. 

I love that the powers to be chose Spring to celebrate Earth Day.  It's the perfect time to celebrate with the northern hemisphere all shinny and new.  Imagine if we humans, on the whole, ignored  our environment... our Earth.  Can you imagine no spring? No newness of life?

I thank all of those, and you know who you are, who are diligent in their stewardship of the environment where they live and perhaps beyond.  Each one of us can make such a difference.  I salute you!!

Today is the 5th anniversary of this blog. Don't miss my blog anniversary give-away.  To register, view the last blog post here and leave a comment. The drawing closes at noon today.  
The winner will be announced this evening!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Earth Day, and My Blog Anniversary Give Away

This Monday, Earth Day, is the fifth anniversary of my blog!  Where did the time go?  I want to thank you all for following my adventures in the lowcountry. To celebrate this milestone, I'm giving away a treasure you are sure to enjoy.

Two years ago, I was contacted by Mary O'Connor.  She told me about a book she was working on entitled Life is Full of Sweet Spots.  The premise was delightful, and I was honored that she wanted to include my thoughts on keeping a nature journal as well as one of my journal images. Mary describes her book as a surprising travel guide that explores the niches and nuances of the earth, the sea and the sky, and our bodies, our minds and our souls. 

I know you'll find this book a keeper.  Click here to read more about Life is Full of Sweet Spots.  To learn more about Mary, click here.

Please leave a comment to register for the drawing.  The drawing closes at noon on Monday and the lucky winner will be announced Monday evening.

The book is autographed by both Mary and me.  Good luck and thank you for your continued support!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Still Fireside... iPad and Paper 53

Thanks to David Rankin, I've learned a few more techniques for working with the Paper 53 app.

You can change the color of the background!

Have a peak around David's site, and check out his daily iPad bird sketches on FB here. Just thrilling!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Easter Sunday found us outside doing the things we enjoy most.

Yes, golf was involved... but not for me :)  A Sweetgum tree that was close to the putting green offered a branch at eye level.  I've been wanting to capture their spring flowers for many years.  It was great to see a seed pod still attached.

This is my first entry in a Stillman & Birn Zeta Series journal.  The paper is a dream.  The Micron pen glided over it's smooth surface and the watercolors behaved much like they do on hot press paper.  The sheets are 180#! Altogether yummy in my opinion. 

Friday, April 5, 2013


Not too long ago I took a workshop with Janet Rogers. She has a wonderfully light touch and paints by intuition.  I was soooo pulled into her demonstrations.  Yes, I can do this.... Hmm... once I shed my heavy handedness!

I was thrilled with the flowers, but knew they needed a background.  I waited until the next day to do this. The error I made was not incorporating a background into the flowers when painting them.  Janet's flowers flowed in and out of her background so beautifully.  Mine are.... Well, that's what workshops are for.  Now to practice :)

If you ever have a chance to study with Janet, leap at the chance!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Catalina View

Recently, my sister had a milestone birthday.  I decided to surprise her with a postcard size watercolor sketch of an image she recently posted on FB.

Another case of loving that I'm not a camera.... I left out the rooftops!

I'm happy to say she was thrilled :)