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 :)

Friday, March 29, 2013

My iPad FurKids Journal

 Here are the latest selections from my FurKids Journal using the Paper 53 app.

These are all sketched after dinner, television on and dogs either on the sofa or in front of the fireplace.

I enjoy using this app as in a short time you can get quite a bit done.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Beidler Forest ~ Cypress and Tupelo

The Audubon Sanctuary of Beidler Forest is located in the town of Harleyville, SC, and sits in the middle of the very large Four Holes Swamp. I was first introduced to this amazing place during a 2008 field trip of the Master Naturalist Program I was enrolled in.  I've always wanted to return and take my time to sketch the beauty of this natural treasure.

We barely made it a quarter of a mile down the 1.75 mile boardwalk when the buttresses of two young tupelo trees caught my eye. We strolled a bit farther and I had to stop again to capture the middle cypress knee and the background knees and cypress trunk.  Then we happened upon a glorious cypress knee that was shaped like a cloaked, bent over woman...... 

I began to wonder if I brought enough paper with me :)  Rob was beginning to wonder if we'd ever make it out of the swamp!

There were a few other folks enjoying the boardwalk.  Everyone was very giving with information about a special sight...  which included two sunning Rat Snakes, a flock of White Ibis and best of all, one of the swamp's Barred Owls that was perched in a tree very close to the boardwalk! That was the last thing I sketched on the page during our walk.  I added the lettering while we sat on a bench outside of the gift shop, and returned home with the journal page mostly completed.  What could I put in the upper right corner that would highlight the owl but not take away from the rest of the page?  The next day, while perusing Beidler Forest's website, I came upon the perfect thing.  A map of the boardwalk from their Trail Guide.  I was thrilled to find it, as I had to return the copy we used on our walk.  Do check out their site.  For even more fun.... visit their blog.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sketch Outing with journal and iPad

I joined Rob for a golf outing.  We started on the practice range. I used my iPad and the Paper 53 app to create some plein air sketches.

I looked up at the tree tops.  Buds were popping everywhere. Unfortunately, so was the pollen.

 As I worked I could see the pollen building up on my iPad screen... this couldn't be good for the particular stylus I use.... I finished this with my finger.

Once Rob started playing I switched to my normal journal.  In the end, not my best page, not Rob's best score, but what a beauty of a day!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Walk in the Woods

With muck boots on, off I went into the woods that flank the east side of our home.  We always have deer in our front and back yard.  I wanted to see where they live.  This is a good time of year to traverse the woods.... no bugs to speak of and that particular morning was cool enough that I didn't think any snakes would be out.

I photographed the page-in-process as I sat beside the marsh watching a few Little Blue Herons and Snowy Egrets feeding.

All in all, a delightful Sunday morning walk!

Happy Spring!

Monday, March 18, 2013

"How-To" For 16 Page Journal

Please click to enlarge images.  This book has 16 paintable surfaces.

You'll want to use Fabriano watercolor paper as it doesn't crack when folded. I tore my sheets so I could get an uneven edge. I use their hot press surface as I like writing on the smooth surface.

Your book will be as precise as your folds.  Take your time and you'll be happy.  I practiced on  a 15" x 22" sheet of drawing paper.  I'm glad I did!

Happy journal making!

No charge for type-os :) If anything doesn't make sense to you, leave a comment and I will try to answer your question(s).

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A New Handbuilt Book

This journal was created from a half sheet of Fabriano hot press watercolor paper.  It's 7.5" high and 5.5" wide when closed.  If you count the cover... there are 16 surfaces to paint on! Amazing considering it came from a 15" x 22" piece of paper :)

Stay tuned for the "How To".......

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Correcting Lettering Mistakes

A lot of times I'll wait until I get home before adding lettering to a journal page. Mainly because of time and comfort. But on this particular day, I felt quite comfy perched on my camp stool and the 8.5 x 11 journal page in my Stillman and Birn Alpha hardbound journal was such a dream to work on.

However, on the way home, I began to wonder if this really was Harbour Town's Liberty Oak. There were two very large oaks in the heart of Harbour Town.  The magnificence of this tree, with it's sprawling low lying branches surely struck me as the one to bear this name...... Not!

Long ago, a skilled calligrapher taught me how to correct mistakes... Tip: correct your mistake before you lift any unwanted lettering.  Huh? Yes, write over the lettering on the page, then white out or lift off what you don't want.
That way the stroke of the corrected lettering will be smooth and you won't have to contend with the often bumpy texture left by white out or white ink.  I used a Signo Uniball broad tip white pen, available from

I decided to turn Liberty Oak into Live Oak.  The RTY of Liberty would be taken out.  A good size space would be left between the two words.  I decided to put the tree's Latin name between Live and Oak.... a quirky fix, but it worked for me :)

Since this is a journal page and not a piece of calligraphic art, I was willing to live with a bumpy surface to write the smaller replacement text on.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bald Cypress

In the middle of the town of Port Royal, SC, there is a treasure... The Cypress Wetland Park.  Over the years, the town recognized the value of this wetland and have worked hard to preserve it.  Last year they completed a boardwalk that skirts the edge of the wetland.  In the middle is an island rookery. Along the east and south sides are stands of Bald Cypress, dancing ladies that grace the wetland with their hoop skirts.... at least that's what they remind me of, especially when the trunks have water around them :)

Here is a short video that the town made during the final building stages...
In a month or so, the rookery will be a hopping place.  I hope to find myself back here, capturing all facets of breeding season.

The above journal pages are in a Stillman and Birn 8.5 x 5.5 Alpha Series hardbound journal. The tree on the right and the Spanish Moss were painted with a large round Pentel waterbrush.  I find that if I load the brush with pigment, then touch the brush to a Bounty paper towel to get excess moisture off, I can achieve a dry brush effect.  The pen sketching was done with a sepia colored 005 Micron pen.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Workshop Demo Pages

Here are two journal pages I created during a couple of workshops, as demonstrations for students.  The left was sketched with a black 02 Micron pen. The right was sketched en plein air using an 005 Sepia Micron pen, then painted with watercolors using a waterbrush.  The assignment here was for students to sketch what they saw at ground level, eye level and then up to the sky.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Biking and Sketching in Sea Pines

It was a beauty of a day in the low country.  Rob and I took our bikes into Sea Pines Plantation on Hilton Head Island.

Sea Pines is a large resort and residential plantation at the south end of the island.  Charles Fraser, a real estate developer, transformed HHI with the creation of Sea Pines, turning the sparsely populated barrier island into a world class destination resort.

There are bike trails galore to explore.  We parked at the Sea Pines Club and then cycled a trail that winds through Heron Point Golf Course and made our way to the Forest Preserve.

One of our favorite places in the preserve is Lake Mary.  An Anhinga was perched on a dead limb very near the shore where we stopped.  It was busy preening and made a perfect model for quick sketching.  I started with a Pentel Brush Pen and finished up with a Micron.

We headed for Harbour Town, the home of the PGA's Heritage Golf Tournament that's held in April.  This area of Sea Pines is always full of life.  Luckily, this time of year, it wasn't at all congested.  We were able to ride our bikes right up under the huge oaks near the harbor. 

One tree's limb was almost touching the ground and it really caught my eye.  I thought it was part of the Liberty Oak but not.... I will have to amend this page somehow....

Rob's surprise: a photograph of me in the midst of painting this page :)
I've new equipment for my PaintCycle... Two saddle bags to carry art supplies and camp stools. I  truly have a portable studio working :)  One happy camper here!!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Sketching and Biking at Palmetto Bluff

Oooo, the BeeCycle has been getting a workout.  We went over to Palmetto Bluff to bike the trails.  This is one of the scenes along the five mile drive into the village.

On this trip I carried my 8.5x11 Stillman and Birn Alpha journal in my basket.  I love sketching with a Micron pen on this paper. I took a reference photo so I could add color at a later time. 

The day finally arrived :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sketching Practice with iPad

 I'm so enjoying honing my sketching skills on the iPad using Paper by 53 app.

I'm just scratching the surface with what this app can do.  Check out artist David Rankin's work here .

Next stop.... in the field!