After today’s fairly long hike (6+ miles) I was really hungry, so we detoured through Rhinebeck on the way home to stop at the Matchbox Cafe, my favorite place to get a burger and fries. It was a great finale to a great day of hiking and spending time with Stephen!
Today is Stephen’s birthday, and he wanted to go to Bear Mountain State Park. We’ve never been there, other than to drive through once, so we wanted to see what it’s like. It is beautiful, with the kind of rock outcroppings and exposed granite slopes that I love, along with fabulous views of the Hudson River. We climbed up in the Perkins Memorial Tower at the summit of Bear Mountain, where there are 360 degree views. In the very distance we could see the New York City skyline, rising above mist like a fantasy city.
We found a few quiet, shady places to sit and paint (me) and muse (Stephen), where we wouldn’t bake in the sun. Orange granite sloping below us, fragrance of pines rising around us, vultures soaring through the view… It could have been a perfect place to spend the day, BUT we realized that if we want a peaceful, pristine experience of nature, we need to go north toward the Catskills, rather than south toward the city, at least on a beautiful Saturday. It seemed as though the city had emptied itself into the park, and with the mass of people came the blaring of car horns, radios, and motorcycles; along with people everywhere and scattered trash. Oh well… we made the best of it, seeking out some less populated spots, then headed north to Cold Spring to have lunch.
Despite the crowds, we had a great time together, just hanging out, enjoying each other’s company. I am so thankful for my wonderful husband!
Happy Birthday, Stephen!
I’m just home from a fabulous week of sketching and painting at Acadia National Park, mostly on the Schoodic Peninsula. Schoodic is beautiful no matter what the weather is doing, which is good, since the weather changes quickly and rarely seems to do as predicted. I love the softened atmosphere of foggy and rainy days just as much, as the brilliant colors and contrasts of sunny days.
There were three wonderful instructors who each gave us an hour and a half of instruction and tips the first three days, and the rest of the time was unscheduled time for painting– a wonderful way to structure the week. Meal times were great for sharing adventures and thoughts about art and nature, and a couple of times we had sessions where we shared and discussed the art we had been doing there. I loved seeing what everyone was doing, all very diverse styles and mediums, and I learned a lot from observing and from hearing how the other artists thought about their work.
During the week I got the wonderful news that our new granddaughter, Elizabeth, had just been born, which made me walk around the rest of the week with a smile on my face and joy in my heart. I’ll be heading to San Francisco to meet Elizabeth in two days, and have much to do in the meantime, so this post will mostly be photos of my work. I did very few actual paintings, focusing instead on filling two sketchbooks with landscapes and with field sketches of wildlife.
Click on images to see them larger
|Great Black-backed Gull field sketch (he posed for a long time)
|Herring Gull field sketch (also posed patiently)
|Raven’s Nest- beautiful but scary place to paint
|Rocks and Surf (artistic license with colors)
|Rocks on Little Moose Island
|Sunset from Cadillac Mountain
|Rock and autumn blueberry bushes
A chunky, yellow-tinged bird flies in and lands on top of one of the deck posts (we made the deck with eight foot tall posts to hold bird feeders), calling with a loud wik-wik-wik rattle-like sound. He then flies to the suet and stays there, feeding enthusiastically, for a long time, unlike the other large woodpeckers, who feed briefly then fly off to a nearby tree.
This time of year we see Northern Flickers at our feeders pretty much every day. Usually just a male or two show up, but occasionally we see a female. I nearly always stop what I’m doing to watch them– I love these large woodpeckers who have such a commanding presence.
|Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)
|Male Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)
(I just realized I’d never published this post, so here it is, out of order and much later than the actual event, but the sketches were done while watching the eclipse that day.)
Yesterday morning I woke up earlier than I had intended, at 3:15, and was so excited about the eclipse I couldn’t go back to sleep, even though the eclipse wasn’t starting until 5:15. It had been pouring earlier in the night (we got an inch of rain in the earlier part of the night), but the clouds were starting to clear away by the time I padded onto the deck in my bare feet.
I watched from my deck until the moon was too low behind the trees, then I drove to a nearby hill and watched until just before sunrise, when I could no longer see the moon (which was about to set by then). I ran out of space on my page toward the end, so just took notes then. It was an awesome sight!
Charlotte’s Web has always been one of my favorite childhood books, and I’ve been wanting to play with soft color to build expression on a pig. We also have a family member who loves pigs, so I painted a small pig for her for Christmas and then painted this slightly larger version.
I started this painting in Stephie Butler‘s watercolour portraits workshop here last August, but then got busy with life (a new grandchild) and didn’t have a chance to finish it until yesterday. I also often take a while after a workshop to let the ideas and instruction settle in my mind as I practice the techniques on other subjects, before I go back to have another go at the initial subjects. This woman’s smile and obvious joy captured my attention as soon as I saw her photo (by Steve Evans), so I was eager to paint her and attempt to share some of that joy in watercolor.
We visited Arches National Park a few years ago and hiked out to Delicate Arch in the late afternoon. Once there we sat quietly for a while, just absorbing the immensity of the place. I just painted this from a photo we took when there, all the while remembering the wonder of what that world is like.
|Delicate Arch Watercolor Painting