I am not really into collecting things. I used to have a brass collection, but gave it away after it spent several years in a box collecting dust, which is the only collection I have around the house these days. (I just came across a couple cans of brass cleaner, so if anyone has a brass collection in need of polishing, I am happy to give you some cleaner.) But I do collect waterfalls. Not in their wet form, of course, but in my memory and in my sketchbook, which helps my memory of them.

I find waterfalls challenging to paint or sketch, but it’s a challenge I enjoy, and, whether or not I am sketching, I am always entranced by waterfalls. I remember standing above Niagara Falls many years ago, transfixed by the water pouring by below me as it rushed toward the falls. I could have stood for hours, awed by the immensity of the power. And then two years ago a lifelong dream came true, as Stephen and I stood across from Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. I had read about Victoria Falls and often said I wanted to see it someday, but I knew that would never happen. And then it did! I will never forget the wonder of seeing that incredible wall of rock and water with a rainbow glowing in the mist rising from the rocky gorge.

As exciting as those immense waterfalls are, I still find even tiny waterfalls that I can easily hop over eye-catching and worth watching, as I am filled with wonder at the ever-changing flow of the water.

My brother Alexis is a photographer who loves to search out and photograph waterfalls, some in exciting places far from home, but many in hidden spots right near where he lives not far from Washington, D.C. You can see and read about some of the beautiful waterfalls he has visited on his website: Alexis Thompson

Here is a sampling of my collection of waterfalls, some very simple, some more detailed, all holding memories of rocks, tumbling water, and wonder.

Niagara Falls-Sept. 2000
Fishkill Ridge Trail along Dry Brook (which isn’t dry)- 2015
Fishkill Ridge Trail along Dry Brook– 2015
Fishkill Overlook Falls- 2018
Grotto Falls, Great Smoky Mountains National Park- 2011
Rainbow Falls, Great Smoky Mountains National Park– 2011
Looking Glass Falls in Pisgah National Forest, NC- 2019
Indian Brook Falls- 2018
Riga Falls– 2012
Kaaterskill Falls– 2015
Bash Bish Falls in watercolor — 2013
Bash Bish Falls gouache- 2020
Victoria Falls–2019– a place of wonder!

A to Z April Blogging W

Africa 2019 Sketches

Here is a sampling of my sketches from both of our safaris in South Africa and from Zimbabwe and Botswana. Most of these sketches were done in less than a minute, as very few of the animals would stand still for long, if at all. Some are composite sketches of various animals seen in one location at one time, and some are stop and start sketches done of a given animal as it would move and then return briefly to a previous posture, so I could add a bit more to a sketch I had started. I LOVED all the time sketching and am missing the opportunity to view and sketch so much amazing and intriguing wildlife. The sketches with watercolor were started in pencil or pen while on the game drive, with watercolor added later.

Stanley, our tracker, sitting in his seat on the front of the Safari vehicle
Vic Falls
Victoria Falls watercolor sketch
Rhino field sketch, watercolor added
Elephant field sketches -Kambaku Safari Lodge
Buffalo field sketches
Lioness eating warthog head field sketch
Lioness carrying warthog head field sketch
I sketched this Burchell’s Starling as it hopped around near me in camp
Elephant field sketch in water-soluble ink
Lounging lion pride field sketch
Impala field sketch
Young male lion sketch, watercolor & ink
Mopane tree field sketch
Cheetah, Waterbuck, & Saddle-billed Stork field sketch
Sleepy lion cubs field sketch
Timbavati Nature Reserve field sketches
Chobe National Park field sketches
Chobe National Park field sketches
Warthog field sketches
Bird ID field sketches- Magpie Shrike & Southern Black Flycatcher