Tag Archives: ink and watercolor sketch

Turtle and garter snake

Lily Lake loop

Had a lovely walk around Lily Lake in Chenango Valley State Park the other day.  Blue skies with puffy clouds, everything seemed an unreal green. Lily lake at CV St Pk
Lucky to see a turtle sunning on a log, and nearly tripped on this large garter snake, nestled in the leaves. Turtle and garter snake
Last but not least, my favorite bird of prey, bald eagles at their nest on my way home. Bald eagle at nest

Pisgah Natl Forest scene

Backpacking in Pisgah National Forest

Last month was my first backpacking experience.  Not ready to try it solo, I went with a small group from Blue Ridge Hiking Co. and Heidi Nesbitt as our intrepid guide. (Follow Heidi on IG @sketchingsummits)

We met at the Blue Ridge store in Asheville, NC, where we got any equipment we needed. (All equipment is included in trip cost) Heidi had reviewed my pack and supplies before the trip.  I’ve had my large backpack for a couple years, just didn’t have the courage to try it out.  When they weighed my pack at 35 lbs, I thought I might be in trouble!  After eliminating anything possible from my pack, we drove about an hour to meet at the Wildcat Falls trailhead.
We generally followed this trail, over 2 nights and 3 days. Sam’s Knob & Little Sam loop
Day 1: we had just a little rain which cleared up to cool sunny weather.
Shortly after we started, I learned I was the oldest of the group.  This made me not feel as guilty when I needed to stop and catch my breath.
Headed up Flat Laurel Creek trail, and we arrived at our campsite near Wildcat Falls by 3 pm. Rather early, and not a long distance, but a big relief for me! (And probably a few others!) Campsite
Tent set-up was easy (I had practiced at home!), we then took off in various directions to sketch.  After navigating down to the water’s edge, I sat and focused on sketching, lost in my thoughts.
View of Sam’s Knob

View of Sam’s Knob

Pisgah Natl Forest scene

Creek sketch

Pisgah Natl Forest scene

Creek near our campsite

We had dinner and a campfire, and I went to bed way too early, resulting in waking at 3 am. 🤷🏽‍♀️

Day 2:   Overnight, temps went down to 30°, leaving a morning frost on our tents.  Brrr.
After breakfast, we continued on the trail around Little Sam’s Knob, to the base of Sam’s Knob. I stayed back to sketch in a field with a few others while the rest made their way to the top, elev. 6,050 ft. Field near Sam’s Knob
Field near Sam’s Knob
After a filling lunch, we headed to Black Balsam trailhead, where a man was playing lovely recorder tunes, and found (Yay!) open toilets!
There, again, I stayed with a few while the others made their way to Black Balsam Knob.
We then headed down the trail. My first thought was who would break glass here?  Then realized the glittering diamond-like reflections were pieces of mica underfoot.
Our second campsite wasn’t perfect, the only level ground was where we set up our tents, even though they were a little too close, instead of continuing on. Row of tents
Still a bit chilly at night, and who wants to leave their warm sleeping bag to answer nature’s call?

Day 3: our final day, seemed easier.  Whether I got used to the altitude or the weight (or most likely that Heidi took as much extra from my pack as she could! Many many thanks!), by late morning, we all seemed to be sailing along.  I’m so thankful for the great hikers that shared this experience.  Everyone was there to help me get my backpack on each stop, and help stop the bleeding when I (oops) sliced my finger a bit.

Back to our cars by lunch, we all seemed to be in a hurry to get back to civilization.
The stillness and solitude are very much missed, so plans for future hikes in remote areas are always in the works!
Shenandoah Park map

Shenandoah National Park

Very excited to try some new hiking trails in a National Park that has much natural beauty. Here’s a map for you, I didn’t really know much about it until I started researching hike ideas.

I thought it would be simple to choose a couple trails that suit my ability and provide great views or a waterfall, but I’ve only narrowed it down to 28! And I’ll only have a couple days there!
Oh well, I guess a return visit will be needed. 😉Shenandoah Park map

Snow covered tree

O flakes of snow…

There’s something about a deep snowfall that makes me want to look deeper and think deep, poetic thoughts. So, here is a poem for you to enjoy with a sketch of my snow covered tree:

Are ye the ghosts of fallen leaves,
O flakes of snow,
For which, through naked trees, the winds
A-mourning go?
Or are ye angels, bearing home
The host unseen
Of truant spirits, to be clad
Again in green?
~John B. Tabb, “Phantoms” Snow covered tree

And, if you missed this on social media, I did this after watching Mary Shelley.  A lovely scene of her writing in her journal: from Mary Shelley

Galápagos tortoise

A virtual trip to the Galapágos

So lucky to travel again! Even if only virtually. *sigh*

This time to the Galapágos with Art Safari’s Mary-Anne.  We worked from hundreds of photos from their previous trips, of sea lions, iguanas, birds and people. I started off with tonal studies learned from my virtual Japan session. Galápagos tortoise

Then looked for the interesting colors of the land iguanas – Galápagos land iguanas

Next lots of curves made by the sea lions.  These were lots of fun to do, and add color to. Galápagos sea lions   Galápagos sea lions 2  Yes, SO much fun! Galápagos sea lions   Galápagos sea lions   Galápagos sea lions   Looking at the lines of the variety of bird species –

Galápagos pelican and booby

Galápagos pelican and blue footed booby


Finally, I tried a watercolor only tortoise – no pencil lines first. Not my usual style, but that’s the fun of stretching  your abilities! Galápagos tortoise  Ending with something of a combination of ink lines and loose watercolor. Might be my favorite! Galápagos tortoise

I hope we all can travel this year, even if only virtually! 😘


Japan tonal study Cranes

December art – virtual Japan

With more time at home (I know, still!) I’ve managed to keep busy making art.

First was a virtual trip to Japan with Art Safari’s Mary-Anne.  Our small zoom class enjoyed her guidance on Japan culture, people and art.  This inspired me to finally try out a lovely Chinese ink set my cousin gifted to me last year. She has gone to China several years to teach English.  The set includes an ink stick, brushes, and two stone stamps with my name in Chinese.  One stone is made from the Yangtze riverbed. What an amazing gift to treasure, and now has been used for these tonal studies. Japan tonal study  Japan tonal study 2  Japan tonal study 3  Japan tonal study 4

Following up these with a few more tonal studies (I do adore the cranes!) and what I consider a “finished” painting. Although I’m much happier with looser results. Japan tonal study Cranes  Japan crane