Black Locust Tree and Bash Bish Falls in Gouache

I finally feel like my inspiration and motivation are reviving after being mostly absent for much of 2020. While I have sketched a great deal, especially from our front porch in Maine (Front Porch Sketches and More Front Porch Sketches), I haven’t often had the mental energy to do more than very quick sketches. I am realizing more and more how much stress and grief and illness can drain one’s creative energy. But now that my creative spark is returning, I am finding it is both energizing and calming at the same time to immerse myself in meditative sketching or painting. I am very thankful to be getting my brushes wet again and to be playing with paint and ink.

A couple weeks ago a friend who does amazing renditions of Van Gogh’s and some other artists’ paintings suggested I paint the same black locust tree I had done in ink (images in my last post) with vivid colors. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but I decided to pull out my gouache and go a bit wild with color. I sat in my yard (under a cedar tree that showered me with prickly needles) and painted, trying to capture the light on the trunk of the tree. And that got me revved up to paint with gouache, so next I pulled out a sketch I’d done on location and a photo of Bash Bish Falls in Massachusetts (can’t go there now because of Covid, so a sketch and photo had to do) and imagined being there as I painted.

Recent Musings and Sketches

My focus the past few weeks has been to rest, refocus, and continue to develop a workable, helpful rhythm of life, as I mentioned in my post of August 14th. Grief seems to drain me of creative energy, even when I’m not specifically thinking of recent losses, so I’ve been doing a lot of reading the past few weeks since we lost our sweet Petra. Reading often calms my mind so that I can think constructively and, more importantly, seems to renew my energy and motivation for doing things that need to be done (laundry, cooking, etc.) and for creative expression, whether sketching, painting, or writing. I will often think I’m just being lazy or that I have lost all creative ability, but if I then spend a few hours reading, interspersed with a couple walks with Ramble, all of a sudden I find that I’m eager to start sketching or even planning a painting.

I’ve mostly been sketching trees, either with ink, which I love because of its simplicity and the way it lends itself to both bold expression and subtle nuance, or with watercolor and gouache as I attempt to capture fall colors. I’ve also continued to sketch Stephen as he reads in the evenings, and sometimes myself from my reflection in a window as Stephen reads aloud to me.

Watercolor sketch of Stephen reading
Graphite pencil self portrait from window reflection in a dim room
Graphite pencil sketch of Stephen reading
Water-soluble ink sketch of Stephen reading
View from Fishkill Ridge- watercolor and gouache
Trees in our yard
Schoodic Peninsula rock and fall color from photo) in gouache
In honor of three Ash trees that succumbed to the Emerald Ash Beetle
The Bedford Oak
Dead Pine tree in our yard in water-soluble ink
Black Locust in Ink