Tag Archives: ink and watercolor sketch

A visit to the Catskills

In August, I had an opportunity to visit some friends in the Catskills. Lucky to have planned it in between rain showers!

Our first day together, we stopped at Kaaterskill Falls, which were running higher than normal due to more than average rainfall recently. In the afternoon, we went to the historic site of the Catskill Mountain House, which had lovely views of the Hudson River Valley. I tried my first rubbing (is that the correct term?) and you can see I need some practice with technique!

Catskill Mountain House - rubbing www.thomascole.org/trail

Catskill Mountain House – rubbing www.thomascole.org/trail

We then went to work on a few sketches…

Catskill Mountain House view of the Hudson Valley

Catskill Mountain House view of the Hudson Valley

Catskill Mountain House view

For day two, we did a short hike in the Northern Catskill Park to Artist’s Rock, then Sunset Rock. This area was America’s first great tourist destination and was visited by presidents, artists and the rich.

Sunset Rock - Catskill Park

View of the North and South lakes from Sunset Rock – Catskill Park

Sunset Rock - Catskill Park

View from Sunset Rock – Catskill Park

It was a lovely few days for my first Catskill visit! For my return trip, rain was forecast, even so, I decided to take the scenic route home past the Pepacton Reservoir. I spotted something out in the middle…

On the Pepacton Reservoir

On the Pepacton Reservoir

So I zoomed in with my camera and saw these true fishermen who didn’t let a little rain stop them!

Fishing on the Pepacton Reservoir

Fishing on the Pepacton Reservoir

 

On the road in Maine – Part 4

Following my excursion to Machias Seal Island, (read about it here) I went down the Maine coast to Acadia National Park, staying in a rental in Southwest Harbor. I hiked the Otter Cliff walk, Cadillac Mountain, and Jordan Pond.

On Cadillac Mountain, I decided to try the North Ridge trail, 4.4 miles with an elevation change of 1,130 ft. It would’ve been much easier without all those gigantic boulders! But it was fantastic, and I would gladly go back and do it again.

Cadillac Mountain tree bark - Acadia Park

Unique tree bark – seen on Cadillac Mountain

Cairn - Cadillac Mountain in Acadia Park

Cairn – Cadillac Mountain

 

For this view from Bubble Rock, I took a side trip straight up some large boulders.  It’s not exactly all the way to the top – I got a little tired, and remembered I still had a couple of miles to finish around the pond, so this is the view very close to the top.

Bubble rock view

View from Bubble Rock near Jordan Pond trail

Jordan Pond restaurant is the only restaurant located within Acadia park. They are known for their popovers, which I decided to try while I sketched the view from my seat.

View from Jordan Pond restaurant

View from Jordan Pond restaurant

My final night at the park was quiet, as I enjoyed a glass of wine on the deck of my rental, I noticed these turkeys fly into a nearby tree. Wow! What a great way to end this adventure!

Acadia park turkeys

Look closely, you’ll see one on the roof and one in the tree!

Going on a Safari!

I recently completed a children’s book for my granddaughter,  using my Zambia trip photos and sketches for inspiration.  These are all original ink and watercolor sketches, then I used a finishing spray for protection.  Here’s a link to a short YouTube video.    Link to video

So many have said they’d like one, I decided to recreate it in a format that can be published. I know, I know, it’s a bold step for me!

But sure enough, I have been slowly made progress on the new, improved version.  Here’s a shot of what I have so far…  These images will be scanned and I’ll create a pdf in Indesign to submit for publication.Work in progress

I’m hoping to complete this and will try using Amazon for print on demand publishing, but I’m open to any suggestions for publishing it!

On the road in Maine – Part 3

Machias Seal Island –  as I mentioned, we were lucky just to get on the island, but I felt even luckier that we saw SO many puffins! They are one of the cutest birds. The Atlantic puffins are mainly found on islands along the coast of Maine. They have been described as a clown with wings!  And being so much fun to sketch, they are getting their very own post!

Puffins

Sketched in my new larger (8×10) Stillman & Bern alpha series sketchbook

Puffin flying

Their wings beat up to 400 times a minute, making them look like clumsy fliers!

Puffin closeup

Close up

Two puffins

Two together on a neighboring blind

Puffin feet detail

They were simply adorable!

On the road in Maine – Part 2

Machias Seal Island is a one hour boat ride from Cutler, Maine.  About 20 of us took the Barbara Frost with Captain Andrew Patterson, most with cameras with huge lens in anticipation of close-up shots of puffins and other birds.  It was not a sure thing that we would be able to land on the island – the rain and sea for the past three days did not allow it.

When we arrived, the sea was still too rough to chance it. Captain Andy was very clear that our safety came first. So, he took us around for another hour, near another island where we spotted seals and several different bird types. And at that point, he decided we would be able to land. Yay!

The Barbara Frost & eider ducks

The Barbara Frost and a pair of eider ducks

It took several trips back and forth to get all of us transferred, but there we were, at last, on the island! First, though, we were given firm instructions on how to walk up to the center.  The terns lay their eggs on the grass.  The terns are protecting their eggs. We need to walk on the grass.  (Do you see where this is going?)  We were given short sticks to hold above our heads and told “Do not stop. Do not swat at the birds. Do not go off the path. Just keep walking.” If you’ve seen Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, you’ll have an idea of what we went through!  We all looked the same going to use the outhouse:  Tern terror!

After all that, we took turns using the blinds and were able to get lots of photos, mainly puffins, but also so many others. It was great!  Here are some of my sketches from my photos.  Stay tuned for the puffin ones!

Common murres

Common murres  

Razorbills

Razorbills

Tern & Northern Gannet

Tern (top) & Northern Gannet

 

On the road in Maine – Part 1

My trip to Maine did not disappoint!

The first stopover was in Wiscasset, a lovely airbnb rental named The Sea Salt, song of the sea. It was so perfect, I wish I had more than one night there! Not only did they supply fresh flowers, pristine bedding, organic coffee, they also had wine for sale (only $10!) and it was one of my favorite cabernets! Oh, and to top it off, a freshly made blueberry muffin in the morning!  Blueberry muffin

The next day I went to a B&B, Riverside Inn. There was an error with my booking, so I was upgraded to an efficiency with a deck overlooking the East Machias River, where I spotted ospreys, a kingfisher and had an eagle pose upriver for me!

East Machias River

Looking up East Machias River

Day 3 allowed me extra time in the morning to visit Lubec, the easternmost town in the U.S.  There’s a small park, and a nice lighthouse.  Lubec lighthouse

But the main attraction was a cruise to Machias Seal Island to be able to see puffins up close!  My first experience in a blind, and they were right there, posing for us!  Puffin

Stay tuned for more trip results!

Great horned owlet

I follow our local Chenango Valley State Park on FB, and they recently posted a photo of a great horned owl and baby owlet. I’ve already gone there several times to check out the eagles, which are supposed to have an egg hatched recently.  So it wasn’t a matter of ‘if’ I was going to see the owls, but when!

Last Saturday, I got ther early, by 10am.  I went first to see the eagles nest, and met a runner who also stopped to look at the nest. I asked her if she knew where the owls were, and she did not.

So I took a walk, and on my return, I ran into a birder.  How could I tell? It would be the big binoculars and the cap that had a black bird and the words “RAVEN LUNATIC”. Easy to spot!  She gave me a detailed description of how to find the owls, and off I went.  Funny thing, on my way, the runner came back to find me, because she had also found the owls!  Raven lunatic cap

They were just sitting on a branch, the owlet covered in down, almost leaning on the mom. I got several photos and returned later with Jamey, who got me started on the whole eagle spotting.  It was only fair to share the owls with him!

Great horned owl and owlet

Great horned owl and owlet