Mystery Flowers no more

I’ve not posted for quite a while. I’ve been very sad — my lovely chicken Ruby disappeared several weeks ago at dusk. Most likely a hawk or an owl, but I will never know. She was a wonderful creature, and a sweet companion.

I’ve been trying to focus on painting again, to capture the beauty (rather than the horrors) of nature. I’ve gone painting plein air twice recently, with my friend Martha, who I met at Hameau last year. It’s nice to have a friend to paint with.

We went to the Penn State Arboretum yesterday, and came across these incredible, delicate flowers. There was no tag, and we could not ID them. When I got home, I spent the evening trying to find these, and finally gave up. Luckily, Martha’s sister knew what they were! They are Dodecatheon meadia, commonly called ‘Shooting Stars.’

We were both taken with their inverted form, and the delicate ‘wings’ above.

I hope to paint them again under more controlled studio conditions.

The View out My Window

I spoke on ‘Keeping a Nature Sketchbook’ at the Pennsylvania Private Forest Landowners’ Conference last weekend. One of the themes I mentioned, and one of the easiest ones to pursue, is simply recording the view out of a window. I often sketch the trees or pasture I can see from my studio space; this particular scene focuses on the tree closest to the window, which sports some subtle mossy bits at key spots. I kept to my winter palette, which will soon be supplanted as spring arrives in full and the sepias and browns give way to prominent shads of green.

Winter Woods’ Edge

A modified view out my studio window towards the pasture and woods, using the limited palette of winter, which I always find pleasing to play with.

(I tried to play with some masking fluid to get some scattered snow, but –once again — got inelegant ‘blobs’ instead..)