Tag Archives: ink and watercolor sketch

Pencil and wash sketches

Catching up!

Hi!  Sorry I’ve been quiet for so long, my favorite pastimes of hiking and sketching somehow went lower on my priority list lately.  It’s a process, making a home fit just “so”.
But I did get out for a couple of easier local hikes, and even got some sketching done!

A month ago, I was SO determined to get a sketch in, that I didn’t let a little (downpour!) rain stop me! Hah! Needless to say, any sketches ended up being indecipherable scribbles. 😂
Sketching in the rain!?!
Recently I was able to return to Dingmans Falls when it wasn’t raining and found this lovely tree next to a stream with velvety moss on its roots. Tree with moss roots
And yesterday, returned to a trail first tried last year.  Named Tumbling Waters, it’s on PEEC property, about 3 to 4 miles long, depending if you take the side trail/ steps to the gorgeous falls. (Which we did, of course!)
Hiking with a friend who happens to be a neighbor, who also likes to stop and sketch really enriches the entire experience.
For these, I used a dark wash Derwent pencil, and a small waterbrush to create shadows. This allowed me to get simple with shapes and values. Pencil and wash sketches
And that’s it for now. I hope you’ve enjoyed your summer, in spite of rain or heat or mosquitoes!  Fall is just around the corner with crisp cool (bug free) days. 🍁 🍂

Blue irises 03

Feeling blue? And maybe a little purple? 😉

If so, you might enjoy these blue irises that recently finished blooming.  Even though it didn’t seem likely, I couldn’t stop trying to capture their unique loveliness with my pen and paint. They’re gone now, but should return again and again, for us to see their rich intense beauty.

Blue irises 01
Blue irises 02

Blue irises 03

This one, the “messiest”, which I drew using the flower’s shadows, just happens to be my favorite.

Do you have a favorite?

Brink Rd Access loop

Celebrate with a hike!

“You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot prevent spring from coming.” – Pablo Neruda

Marking another trip around the sun and celebrating spring, I tried a new hike, Brink Rd Access Loop near Newton, NJ. It was easy to follow, with great views from the ridge portion. I only saw 2 other hikers, and got to see 2 fluffy white tail deer.

There were plenty of vignettes to sketch, so I took lots of photos, and these small images were a result of quick lines and color to reflect what I most enjoyed here. I hope you enjoy them too.
Brink Rd Access loop
Brink Rd Access loop
Brink Rd Access loopAppalachian trail (AT) shelter

Brink Rd Access loop

Organ Mountains La Cueva trail

Organ Mountains, New Mexico

A recent trip to El Paso, Texas, allowed me to temporarily escape the final blasts of our northeast winter. This is where Eric, a dear friend and neighbor, spends his winters.  He grew up there, and was a great tour guide and generous host.  I got to see landmarks and history and there was so much to learn.  The sketches so far are from the places we went hiking.

Coming from NE Pennsylvania (elev= 900’) I was concerned about altitude adjustment.  (El Paso elev = 3,760’) So before leaving, I went on slightly longer hikes and even added a few pounds to my pack.  That seemed to do the trick, and there were no issues with altitude.

Our first hike was in the Organ Mountains near Las Cruces, NM, just over the border.
An online description:  The Organ Mountains are a steep, angular mountain range with rocky spires that jut majestically above the Chihuahuan Desert floor. They range from 4,600 to just over 9,000 feet, and are so named because of the steep, needle-like spires that resemble the pipes of an organ.
Coming from the Poconos, the first views of these were awe inspiring.

We did a 3+ mile hike on the La Cueva trail, a great introduction, with deep blue skies and a cave to explore.  Stopping to sketch made the hike take longer, but I could’ve spent all day here!Organ Mountains La Cueva trail

  Organ Mountains La Cueva trail
Organ Mountains La Cueva trail

Organ Mountains La Cueva trail


La Cueva/ The Cave

La Cueva/ The Cave

La Cueva/ The Cave

High Point State Park hike

Starting off the year in High Point State Park with a new (to me) trail – Monument Trail loop, 4 miles. I did this clockwise, but recommend going counter clockwise. Sunshine and cool temps made for an easy enough trek.  So easy, that it seems it will be busy on weekends, so a return here will be a weekday. I didn’t stop to sketch, but used my photos for these.

High Point State Park

Nice stonework at the entrance

I just adore trees with unique shapes!

Have you lost a glove?

View of leafless tree looking over the lake


Cliff trail sketch

Looking for sketch ideas

Happy 2023! Soon my holiday/ new year cards will go out, much later than usual. (So sorry!)
I have done a few easy hikes lately, and even did one sketch last week, waaay back in 2022!

Cliff trail sketch

Another great tree on the Cliff trail

Meanwhile, with winter weather, I haven’t gotten out to sketch as much, so I looked in a new place for ideas.  I looked online at pixabay, and used a few of their reference photos for these:


Finally, I used my imagination to play with colors and shapes – Tree shapes

It’s a great reminder of how good it feels to put pen and brush to paper!  I hope this trend continues!

Fun with fungi

It’s been a while since my last post, summer got busy and focus on sharing my art was lost.  Now that autumn (and even some snow!) has arrived, I’m working on getting that focus back.  Art Safari is still having their Thursday sessions, this week was fungi.  Mushrooms are delicious and a healthy diet addition. Also, they’re very fun to study and draw!

Here are 2 pages of small sketches in a new Stillman and Birn alpha sketchbook.  I started adding a background to a couple, but stopped, as I’m not sure they look better with or without.  What do you think? With or without backgrounds?

With background

Without background

Art toolkit palette and Stillman and Birn sketchbook


Turkey vultures in cemetery

The bird we love to hate – turkey vultures

On a recent ride in New Jersey, there is often a “committee” of turkey vultures in the same location. As they like to eat carrion (dead animals), it’s appropriate that the location is a cemetery!
I looked around for some interesting information about them and found these facts:
  – A group of Turkey Vultures feeding is called a “Wake”.
  – A group of Turkey Vultures flying is called “Kettles”.
  – A group of Turkeys Vultures resting is called a “Committee.”
  – Turkey Vultures have unusual ways to cool themselves off – they will poop on their feet to cool themselves off. The droppings provide a chemical coating that acts as a cooler. Found this info here:  https://learnbirdwatching.com/facts-about-turkey-vultures/

Of course, I “had” to sketch these flying birds (they’re related to storks, not birds of prey) to share them in this unique location! They were all on the ground until we got closer, then they started getting on top of the tombstones. Thanked them for the great poses! 😉Turkey vultures in cemetery

View along Ridge trail

Still here!

It’s been a bit since I last posted, you may be wondering what has been keeping me so busy.  Well, I’ve been taking advantage of my location and enjoying music, hiking and kayaking.  Milford had a music festival last weekend, and the band called “Merchants of Groove” were a big hit.  The audience had a (sort of) Frank Zappa look-alike, and we all tapped our feet to the great beats. Music fest audience
The trombonist stepped away from the stage to serenade passing motorists and walked through the audience. Trombone player On a recent sunny day, a neighbor joined me for a nearly 7 mile hike that went from Raymondskill Falls to Milford Knob. We sat and sketched the view, but decided next time we’d return with small seats to avoid snakes. While we’re not afraid of them, we did see 2 black rat snakes on the trail, one was 3’ long. It’s possible this one that looked curly was in fact full of eggs! Black rat snake
Here’s my sketch result of the day, made on site, color added later.

View along Ridge trail
Finally, kayaking under a full moon was most enjoyable! At least, until a bat swooped a little too close! 😮 A marvelous night 🎶 (⬅️click link to see a short video) Full moon kayak night