Showing posts from June, 2012

Leaf Practice & Explorations

Just practicing painting leaves, as I have always found them intimidating.  I am hurrying to get my SBA assignment 3 finished which is a page of 8 painted leaves.

Red Paintbrush from todays explorations, Castilleja miniata I hope to paint these and the related species very soon
(PinePass Rocky Mountain Trench Northern BC Canada)
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Dragonfly Emerging

Two weeks ago I was wandering on the edge of a little pond photographing dragonflies when I spotted this nymph just breaking open.  Dragonfly nymphs mature underwater and climb out when ready for the dragonfly to emerge.    I immediately called my husband over so he could photograph while I hurried to get my stool and sketchbook.  I had to work fairly quickly on each sketch, first because things were happening fairly quickly, and then we were starting to loose our light.  Because it was getting dark we didn’t wait for the dragonfly to spread its wings, but I’ve seen it happen on others.  Once the wings are unfurled and full size, they suddenly open.  He’ll never close them again. By the time I got back with my sketchbook, the dragonfly was half out of the nymph casing.Its eyes look mushy and miss-shaped at first, but soon will be awesome Initially its wings are tiny and folded like an accordion ever so tightlyGradually the wings unfurl.  After the wings are starting to look like wings,…

Baby Dove

Baby Dove, a photo by Teri DC on Flickr. Last March or April we witnessed a baby dove fledge and I have wanted to paint it ever since.
I finally did.
Such a cute ball of fluff.

Calamone Lake - maria elena ferrari

Last Sunday at Lake Calamone (glacial lake below Mount Ventasso) with the family, while the children were playing I sketched on notebook part of the path and the mini island at the center of the lake.
The landscape is dominated by beech with secular examples fabulous!
Watercolors and pencil on Fabriano sketchbook

This was a very quick sketch at a picnic lunch at the river last Saturday. I loved the dappled shade under the big shag-bark hickories (there were many more than the two I've drawn). I didn't think too much about composition, just drew what was in front of me. I think if I did a painting from this sketch I'd maybe rearrange things a bit. I was really enamored by the red bistro set. It's lightness and color was such a contrast to the big trees and all the green.

Speaking of green--I did the following pages in my sketchbook after I bought a new travel watercolor set. With all the nature sketching I'm doing, I thought this might be helpful and it really is. Now I can see exactly what each green I need can be made from.
I did this after I did the sketch above and see now that I could really have used it there!


Daylilies, a photo by Teri DC on Flickr. There are so many flowers blooming right now and all are beautiful!
These daylilies grows by our split-rail fence. They are just the wild variety but so pretty.

Lace Cap Hydrangea - Lin Frye

Lace Cap Hydrangea, a photo by linfrye on Flickr. 10" x 14"
Arches 140#CP

I have several different hydrangeas growing in my garden, including this lace-cap. It's not as robust as the others, but this year managed to give me a few blooms to enjoy.

I have these on the east side of my house, and they get most of the moisture and remain in the shade most of the day. They are on one side of the arbor and can be viewed when one walks up my pathway to the house. I LOVE that blue/pink shade ...a nod indeed to the highly acidic soil I have.

Have a great week!


Pied Currawong


Daylily - Lin Frye

Daylily - Done as My Demo for My Watercolor Class, a photo by linfrye on Flickr. 10" x 13"
Arches 140#CP

I am teaching a four-part watercolor class at the Arboretum this month, and I painted this day lily (from the Arboretum gardens) as a demonstration for my students to show the various techniques I am teaching - washes, textures, glazing, splatter, dry brush, blowing paint.

Today we'll begin some of the flowers I've uploaded and see how everyone progresses. With only 2 classes remaining, I am anxious to get the students to begin to apply their newly learned skills.

I'd like to share a link to the interview that was done for the Clayton Arts Reception earlier this month.

I was truly honored and humbled by the incredible reception they held, the professionalism, the care they took to showcase my work, and the marvelous, wonderfully warm and generous folks who came out to share that evening with me.

We've another intense week as retirement 'coun…

At the water's edge

After I put my daughter down for bed yesterday, I sneaked outside and I sketched the grass and rocks at the edge of the water. It was just starting to get chilly and slightly dark when I went back inside.

©2012 Carolyn A Pappas, At the water's edge (6-17-2012). Graphite in sketchbook.
I went to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. last weekend and remembered why I don't like zoos. The animals looked so bored and sad. These lions were on man-made stone, not ice--I just didn't draw it very well. I had hoped to see the new baby cheetas but they weren't on display yet. The line for the pandas was about half a mile long and I decided it was just too hot to wait. So the whole experience was rather disappointing. At least I probably won't have the desire to go to the zoo again for a long time. I'll just have to be content watching the National Geographic channel on TV...and, of course, Maree's great drawings!

Espirito Santo

Espirito Santo
Upload feito originalmente por Renê Tomczak


Upload feito originalmente por Renê Tomczak


Upload feito originalmente por Renê Tomczak

The way of the Crow - Maree

"If men had wings and bore black feathers, few of them would be clever enough to be crows." -Rev. Henry Ward Beecher mid 1800's

There is little wonder that crows are very often the subjects of legends, folktales, and storytelling traditions around the world, all of which is very deep-seated and arising from myth and folklore thousands of years old. Anyone that has ever spent time with a crow will know how absurd these myths are and that Crows are no more 'evil' or 'dark' as depicted in these legends than a canary in a cage.
I make those remarks in light of the life I shared with Coco, a Black Crow (Corvus capensis), over the span of twenty years. She was keen of sight and hearing, and her other senses were no less acute. As was her sense of humour! She loved to mimic men laughing, producing the exact deep resonance of the male voice. She would also have a conversation with herself, changing voices as she went along, which she reproduced from t…

Find Lin - Lin Frye

Find Lin, a photo by linfrye on Flickr. Remember the game "Where's Waldo?" Well this is similar:

"Where's Lin?"

Taken today in my "wild" flower garden.

Answer: Behind the 5 foot depth of the 'wild' garden.

By wild I mean that there is merely a handful of planted shrubs and flowers. 90% of this garden is merely 'strewn' flowers of all kinds: cone flowers, rudbeckias, blanket flowers, Queen Anne's lace, petunias, nigella, coreopsis and who knows what else!!

Hollyhocks are blooming by Desiree

With the garden tour finished and finally home from vacation we are able to just enjoy the garden. Everything is in bloom and I am overwhelmed with painting and sketching inspiration. I belong to an international postcard exchange group and we send each other a monthly sketch of something we have sketched while exercising or walking. Gardening definitely qualifies as exercise so I thought I would send a sketch of my hollyhocks to Liz in Australia. I planted them last year and they are finally blooming. They must be 7' tall and bloom all the way up their stocks with these huge double blooms, resembling peonies. The flowers start at the bottom of the stock and then move up, blooming as they go, the stocks continue to get taller as the flowers advance. This is causing the stocks to now lean from the weight of the flowers now approaching the top third of the stock.  Hollyhocks are definitely an old fashion cottage/english garden flower yet I still love them. As do the snails. The bott…

I am going to "Plant Camp"!

 "Cyrtopodium flavum"  Watercolor 14 x 18 ©2012 Mindy Lighthipe
I just wanted to share with you that I have been accepted into  "Plant Camp" this week. The 5 day workshop is an annual event of the Florida Invasive Plant Education Initiative– an outreach program designed for Florida educators. Both are made possible by the Invasive Plant Management Section of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, in partnership with UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants. I am super psyched about participating.  They were thrilled when they found out I was a botanical artist. They asked me if I would be interested in helping train the teachers to bring field sketching and drawing into the classroom. I immediately said "YES!!!!" I will also be doing a demonstration for the other participants on drawing leaves. Here is a painting that I just finished of a Brazilian orchid that has made its way into the USA and is considered to be invasive. If you wan…

A royal surprise

It's been hot and dry here so mushrooms were the last thing I expected to find in the woods at Howarth Park! Agaricus augustus is also known as The Prince. They are considered to be quite tasty but a seething mass of larvae got there first.

Read more about The Prince:
Tom Volk's Fungus of the Month, August 2002
California Fungi
Morel mushroom hunting

Great Horned Owl

For the past several weeks my husband and I have been traveling, mostly in Yellowstone National Park.  I had lots of opportunity to watch nature, photograph and sketch; but no time to fuss with posting.   This great horned owl on her nest was drawn with the help of my spotting scope.  For the past several years we check out this nest site as soon as we arrive in Yellowstone in mid April.  The nest was probably built by a red-tailed hawk and some years is occupied by a red-tailed hawk.  Great horned owls don’t build their own nests.  They are early nesters and often take over a nest built by another bird in an earlier year.  Sometimes they nest on rock ledges; sometimes in open cavities.  I’ve even seen one squeezed into a woodduck box that had lost its roof. For more of my Yellowstone experiences be sure to visit my blog:

view blocked

Sometimes is very difficult to get a good view... +info and drawings here

Mystery Fungus?? Gall?? What...?

We had a delightful picnic the other day at Watkins Mill State Park, in the deep, cool woods.  This has been an amazing spring...if it were like this every year we would be crowded with people wanting to move here!

After we ate, Joseph read and I sketched...I'd put brown ink in the cartridge of my little Carbon pen, and loved it for its ultra fine nib.  It let me really zero in on the leaf and the strange, colorful bits with their star-like opening--fungus, gall, insect nest?  You tell me!

They reminded me of miniature Earth Star mushrooms...

African Bushveld sunset - Maree

Today I will face life  with the conviction that this day  will not ever return. 
Have a good day and a better one tomorrow! ~AUTHOR UNKNOWN~
Aloe Marlothii - Watercolour sketch in small hand-made sketch-book with hand-made satin-finish Linen paper 
The fiery aloe in full bloom, the smell of the fragrant wild sage on a dewy morning and one of Africa's tallest animals in the back-ground - a typical African Bushveld scene that makes one's spirits soar! 

Tawny Owls

Tawny Owls, copyright Paula Kuitenbrouwer I’ve positioned my Tawny owls on branches. Owls sit often in oak trees preferably a bit hidden from view, close to the trunk of a tree. They snooze and keep their cool while other birds try to chase them away. I’ve drawn oak and ivy leaves around them and a pine tree in the background. This scene shows our backyard with the owls that keep us awake at night. Do they look cute? Wait till they wake you up at night. Their screeching doesn’t sound cute at all. I wouldn’t like to be a mouse in our garden scavenging for food in the dark of the night.
Paula Kuitenbrouwer, Belgium. 

Sketching In The Yard

Sketching In The Yard, a photo by Teri DC on Flickr. I decided my yard has lots to offer in wildlife so I took my paints and found this plant. I looked through my wild flower book and cannot find the name of this plant but it was sure fun to paint and then the bee came along to join the fun.

A Gathering in the cold - Maree

Ink sketch and watercolour in DalerRowney 220gsm Nature Journal 
Freezing cold weather here in South Africa and on the way to Magaliesburg to buy some new art materials I was wondering why all these crows were gathering on the telephone lines. Maybe some carrion just out of sight behind the shrubs...? Or were they just basking in the sun for warmth? 

Bird sketches

A few sketches done in a WWF natural reserve near Rome, in May, through my telescope, and coloured at home. Curlew sandpipers, wood sadpipers,  and black-winged stilts. Ah- and a (female) marsh harrier.

When I originally sketched these, I only used graphite pencils. It's hard enough to squint through a telescope and hold a sketchbook, maybe trying to identify a bird on the book, while splashes of rain make you run for shelter from time to time!
So the colours remained in my backpack and the sketches stayed colourless in my book for a while. But I itched to give them some body and setting. So I found time and will after a couple of weeks from the actual observation. If you wish to compare, I've posted both versions ( and latin names of birds) to my blog Conci's colours.
For me it's like a little miracle every time I can bring back to life something that I've observed, and colour helps so much, though you can do excellent work without.
Pencil scans very poorly- at least…


My butterflies continue to fly . No sketch but observation, color and dream : Exhibition in Grazzano Visconti (PC) Italy 17 june 2012

Morpho - colored pencils on paper

Nature's lotion - Maree

Prickly greenery,  Nature's lotion is inside,  skin soothed on contact - Unknown

An aloe – spiky, soothing, fragrant, bitter – just love this time of the year when they all start flowering... 

Lavender - Lin Frye

Lavender, a photo by linfrye on Flickr. 11" x 15"
Arches 140#CP

My gracious, getting ready to retire is a mighty busy, intense time, especially when you live out of town and have been working in one place for 11 years, it's the end of the fiscal year, high gardening time, and a busy 3-days a week teaching schedule. WHEW!

I must say that at times like these I crave time to paint even more. There's a wonderful restiveness to the process that I need to relax and rest for the next day of demands.

I painted this lavender shrub this week in between commitments. In the painting (not sure on each computer screen), the painting is soft, with a pink hue - much like I saw at the lavender festival. I truly love lavender - its scent, the way the flower stems bob in the breeze, the calming effect it has on me, and the delicious flavor it adds to foods - especially chocolate chip, lavender ice cream! My son thinks it tastes like chocolate soap - but I find it HEAVENLY!


A Day Out Sketching

A Day Out Sketching, a photo by Teri DC on Flickr. DH was at an all-day golf outing so I decided to go out sketching. I went to the 'Necedah Wildlife Refuge' to see what nature had to offer. I haven't been there in a long time and what a lot of changes have been made; new visitor center with great displays of nature. The volunteers are very helpful to send you to the right places depending on what you want to see. There are wetlands, oak savannahs, small lakes and dry land. Wild animals, including wolves, many bird species, and wild flowers.
Necedah Wildlife Refuge is the same place that raises Whooping Cranes and then relocates them in the fall.
It is also one of the few places in Wisconsin that is host to the endangered Karner Blue Butterflies.

I went out in my car to find the 'perfect' sketching spot which turned out to be a small lake with wetlands.......I forgot about the vicious I did a few quick sketches along with a lot of swatting and sc…

June's Full Moon

As the Full Strawberry Moon rose over the trees, it looked like the Great Pumpkin!

It's been a while since I've been able to paint a full moon.  'Twas a lovely evening.  No humidity and the only bugs were those attracted to my light.  Several drowned in the water on the paper.  Then there was a rather large moth that paid a visit :)  I had to shut my light off as it was making it impossible to see my page!  Luckily the moth took the hint :)

Watch what you believe - Maree

This was Coco's (my Crow and companion for 20 years) typical stance when she was relaxing, and to me seemed wistful, pensive and deep in thought. I'm sure crows can be deep in thought - she certainly had enough to ponder - whether she should go into the kitchen and beg a tit-bit, where next to dig up my seedlings in the garden, which of the dogs to harass by pulling their tails or stealing their food or even wandering into the bedroom or bathroom to collect some items to stash up her tree.

Crows often appear in groups and I've often wondered if she missed the company of other crows. Though there seems to be no variation in their caw-ing to each other, each caw actually has a different meaning. I would immediately know when she's hungry by the caw she uttered and their complex vocabulary is one sign of their intelligence, and is also a sign of their significance as power animals. When a crow explores something new, others watch closely to see what happens and then learn …

Why do Western skinks have bright blue tails?

In my last post I mentioned seeing Western skinks (Plestiodon sketonianus) hanging out with Western fence lizards. I always thought skinks were shiny because they're moist, like salamanders, but, really, it's that their scales are so smooth and rounded that they reflect light like a piece of glass. When they're young their tails are a bright, screaming blue. As they age the blue fades and eventually their tails are a dull orange brown. When I first began to watch them I thought that blue tail, though really pretty, seemed like a terrible idea. It's awfully easy to find the youngsters as they hunt just by watching for that flash of blue. It's like a bright neon sign pointing the way to an otherwise secretive creature.

When I asked Google why skinks have blue tails I found many websites promoting slightly different versions of the same story, which is that Western skinks have blue tails so that predators are attracted to the tail rather than the skink's body. Then…



A Winter walk in the Park - Maree

“In the summer I have this friend who I am closest to, and sometimes, in the winter, I long to call her up and say, come here and live with me, in this cold place. But we are summer friends. There is a rule it seems, that summer friends don't get together in the wintertime. Now, sitting here, waiting for her, I realize that I have never seen her in a winter coat, and for some reason that makes me sadder than anything else in the world.”  - Jacqueline Woodson

Just because the trees are bare and there’s a chill in the air doesn’t mean you have to forgo your daily walks. In winter, sunlight and just being outdoors can do wonders for lifting your mood and self-esteem and leave you with an improved sense of well-being. 
Researchers say that winter walking could provide an effective, easy-to-stick-with therapy for mild-to-moderate depression. They also say that not getting outside during winter months slows down production and decreases the body’s store of vitamin D, which is important for…