Monday, March 31, 2014


Sunday, I found a Dogwood to sketch.  What caught my eye as I stood beneath the tree was how the sunlit blossoms looked against the Carolina blue sky.  I love how delicate and wispy the branches are that reach up for the sky.  The white flowers are not really flowers, but are called 'bracts' that come out of the tiny cluster of yellow flowers. The bracts are four large petals-like objects.  Today they were dancing around in the 20-30 mph wind gusts.  Luckily, I was in a somewhat sheltered spot. 

I stood while sketching the branch with a Pentel Brush Pen, then sat below the tree to add color to the sky and leaves.  I stood once again to see the subtle shading on the flowers.  This page is part of my Journal of Trees - a Zeta Series Stillman and Birn journal.  Love this paper!

Did you know:
• The Flowering Dogwood is an understory tree which means it grows beneath taller trees.
• The fruit of the dogwood is called a 'drupe' - a fleshy fruit with a single seed.  They are shiny red and can grow up to a half inch long.
• Many birds and animals eat the fruit.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Memory Sketching - Canada Geese

Saturday, Rob and I had the special treat of visiting a local private plantation.

The owners are great stewards of the land and take special pride in and care of the wild animals and birds that reside there.

We were treated to a tour of the plantation via a gas powered four-seat cart.  Owner Kathleen is in her golden years and a spitfire.  She hopped right in behind the wheel and off we went.  It was a gray afternoon, the temperature finally in the high 60's, but with a threat of showers.  It started to sprinkle shortly after we started, but the good Lord knew I needed to see the land and views I hope to paint in the future.  We pressed on and the rain drops subsided :)

Oh my, I am smitten with the land, marsh and wildlife we saw. The above sketch was burned into my memory and I sketched it the following day.  They have a flock of Canada Geese that return each spring (the geese must winter in Florida!), breed and raise their young.  We saw one gosling and two other nests being incubated.  When we came upon the nest above we had a good chuckle. The goose was trying it's hardest to be invisible.

I am truly blessed to have a standing invitation to return and plein air sketch and paint on this plantation.  Stay tuned for more lowcountry sights!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Field Sketching Friday

Friday, my co-worker/naturalist, Kristen Marshall Mattson and I led a nature journaling workshop for members of Spring Island.  What a great way to start the day!   Walking through the woods, examining plants, sketching our finds, adding details, learning new things both art and nature related.  YUM! None of us wanted it to end :)

Did you know.....
White flowers are pollinated by moths? (the flowers show up better at night)
The purple flowers of wild ginger is pollinated by beetles?
That a hollow tree can still live and thrive as long as the outer 'living shell' is not compromised?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Couldn't Resist

It was a lovely day in the neighborhood.  Spring bursting everywhere. Our golf course was filled with players.

I took a bike ride, it's basket filled with journaling supplies.  What would I come upon that I would just have to paint?

Along the way I found a house under construction.  I love walking through new construction.  This one drew me in as the view from the back looks over the 17th tee box and the marsh beyond. 

I toured the house. The view from what seems to be the sun room...... well, let's just say it was speaking way to loudly for me to ignore :)
It was hard to choose between this view and the one from the second floor that looks out over the same scene.  Hmmmm.  Will I trespass again?   Perhaps the owner will be more understanding if I gift them a sketch :)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Magnolia and Pines

A week ago we treated ourselves to a visit to Sea Pines Plantation on Hilton Head Island, SC.  Sea Pines is the oldest plantation on the island and the dream child of Charles Fraser.  There are three public golf courses and two private.  Of the three public courses, the most famed is Harbour Town Golf Links where the PGA's RBC Heritage Golf Tournament is played in April. 

The club house for the two adjoining public courses; The Marsh Course at Sea Pines and Heron Point, is in the process of rebuilding. They recently reopened the practice facility so we thought it would be a great Sunday excursion to check it out.  Rob brought his clubs - I, my trusty rolling art studio.... my bike; "Blue". The bike trails in Sea Pines are wonderful, and this at this time of year, uncrowded.

I had no painting destination in mind.  I just headed off on the trail that runs between the courses to gather my inspiration. That's when I came upon this lovely, eye-level magnolia branch right beside the bike path.  I viewed the possibilities, then rode on.  It called me back.

My Stillman and Birn Alpha Journal propped nicely on the bike's basket.  I clipped my Expeditionary Art Pocket Palette  to the journal and started painting - no sketching with pencil first, I just wanted to feel and capture the end of the limb with paint. I laid in shapes lightly with paint.
And, this is where Mother Nature decided to rain on our parade.  It started to sprinkle, I checked the radar on my phone and decided I'd better pack it in and took a reference photo.

Back to the practice range I went.  Of course the sprinkles let up.... so I laid in more color while Rob finished hitting golf balls on the range.  I also practiced fast sketching, trying to capture Rob's different positions.

Once home, I finished the third set of leaves.  Today, Saturday, I was able to add the formal title.

The colors in my palette are M.Graham waterolors that include warm and cool primaries plus sap green, nickel azo yellow and quin. rust.

Warm:  naphthol red, ultramarine blue and azo yellow.  Cool: quin. rose,  anthra. blue and hansa yellow