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Thanksgiving Day 2012

Today, before I started cooking our Thanksgiving Day dinner, I popped outside for some air. I’ve been trying to walk laps around my yard for exercise but today I brought my lonely field sketch kit. It’s gotten ‘dusty’ from non use and how great it was to refresh with a sketch. I did this small, quick sketch of a tree covered with Wild Grapevines. (Click pictures to see clearer.)

Quick sketch of wild grapevines all over a tree.

 As I was drawing/painting, I noticed that the vines on the right (in the sun), were best drawn by showing the darks around them. By painting the dark areas the vines showed up. And on the left side they were best shown by making the vines themselves dark and the space around them light.  Opposites on each side of the tree they clung to. Hmm…might be something poetic here but haven’t gone with that inspiration yet.

The tree was absolutely choked with vines!

You can see the tree was choked with vines but they were so graceful looking, swirling around and in and out! What a good hiding place for critters when covered with leaves.

Yes that’s me sketching, wearing my Dad’s old Woolrich hunting coat and my fingerless mittens.

I got a picture of me sketching, wearing my Dad’s old Woolrich hunting coat that I love as it makes me think of him. He loved to be out in the fields in fall hunting birds with our Brittany Spaniel “Red” and in winter he’d don this coat with it’s matching trousers and go deer hunting. I remember going with him to ‘run the dog’ in fall, to get Red in shape and work on training. I loved going with him! I’m also wearing my fingerless mittens which later I took off, along with the coat because it was so nice and warm in the sun! I wear my sketch bag crosswise over one shoulder and my camera strap over the other.

Such blue skies!

I thought it was going to be colder. The sky was clear and blue, I love looking up at the tree tops like this. There were a few Chickadees flitting around keeping me company.

Get Outside and Sketch!

And there’s my final words! “Get Outside and Sketch!”

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and if you don’t celebrate it, I hope you still had a good week and got outside for some fresh air!

Springtime Walk and Lane with Arched Branches

This walk was on April 13, 2012, all around on my land checking on how things were doing now that spring is well underway.  (please click pictures to see larger)

"Lane with Arched Branches" watercolor and ink

I did this watercolor study while standing in the lane, looking ahead through the natural arch formed by this one bush or small tree. Over the years as I would walk under it, I’d trim off branches hanging down right where you walk, so it formed a natural arch. The branches on top reach straight up like suckers do. I actually did most of it on one day then another time I was out I added the ink.

The first snail I met this year!

Now you can meet some of the critters I met on my walk. The first was a snail sliding along on this piece of dead grass floating in the water. I noticed this before on snails like this, his body color is blueish! Cool.

The second snail I met was this flat shaped coiled one.

Here’s a totally different kind, this one’s shell makes a coil but flat. Can you see the paler band of color at about 9 o’clock? Everything from there to the lip is new growth just from this year!

I took him home and he decided to come out to explore

Well, yes, I did tuck him into a little baggie I had with some of the water from where I found him! I stuck him in my pocket and brought him home to look at closer. I thought I’d have time to sketch him but when I realized I wouldn’t I released him right away.

Looking up to the spreading grandeur of this old oak!

Now here we are in “Oak Lane”, so named because of the very old, very huge oak trees growing there. They were probably planted some 200 years ago by the original owners of this farm as a land boundary. I love looking up at them as they tower over me, and marvel at how many years they’ve been looking down at people before me even. There are so many critters living in, on and under them!

Way up high this squirrel's tail was hanging out of it's hole.

When you’re out walking, if you keep your eyes open and maybe more importantly, stop sometimes and just stand still to listen and look, you may be surprised at what you see. As I was admiring my oaks and listening to birds I caught sight of something way, way up high, moving. It was just a stirring but it caught my eye; turns out it was a Grey Squirrels tail left hanging outside his/her hole!  How funny it was, just blowing around in the wind like a flag put out on a porch. I think it was sleeping!

This is the first butterfly of the year for me, the Mourning Cloak

Then all of a sudden in a flutter, a Mourning Cloak butterfly appeared and landed not far from me. It was sticking to the open lane where the sun was. Everytime I got too close it flew off but I was patient and followed it along, and the last shots I got were the best because I think, it was tired and didn’t want to fly as much. After that I left it alone, thank goodness for digital zoom!

I hope you enjoyed this little walk and my watercolor study. Stay tuned because I have some more posts in the works! And as always please share my blog with friends and visit my Shop at Zazzle where you’ll find TONS of my nature photos and artwork on all kinds of products.

“Pasture Lane in Early March” watercolor

 (please click to see enlarged and clearer)

"Pasture Lane in March" watercolor and ink

The land is starting to thaw at Long Lane Farm. The Robins have returned along with many other birds so I went out to look for signs of spring. It was very quiet except for occasional Chickadee’s following me or a Blue Jay calling, some Canadian Geese flying over. I made it just up the lane a little and decided to sit and do this sketch.

I carried a small camp stool over my shoulder so I sat on that and put my sketchbook on my lap along with my watercolor pan.  I used two waterbrushes and a permanent ink pen to draw it first. I found it a bit difficult to paint the grasses right in front of me, that were all matted and crisscrossed on the ground, sooo much detail! You can see I didn’t get crazy into detail, mostly just looking for the darks and lights of the scene, showing the water around the rushes and the dry color of grasses in the lane.  I didn’t fuss over it too long because my back hurt like a ‘son of a gun’! Darn back of mine, I think I may have been better to just stand like I usually do.

PS. A note to those who follow my blog, I’m so glad you keep coming back to read and see what I’m up to. I’ve not posted as much lately only because I am finally concentrating seriously on illustrating all the poems and stories I’ve written over the past years. I’ll try to share a bit as I can, but don’t want to let the cat out of the bag too soon! We’ll see what I end up with and I’ll keep you posted!

I made some cards with my sketch, check them out by clicking pics below:

Glossy Note Cards

Glossy Post Cards
Poster/Prints in many sizes and papers
(you can change the size smaller and the price will go down accordingly)

October Cows in Northumberland

 I know it’s already November and I’m way behind! I have more trouble getting online and having time to edit photos since I’ve been here in England. But I’m trying to go with the flow and keep up with posting my sketches and photos. I’m also using a tiny new laptop and my usual photo program isn’t on here, so I’m getting used to editing pictures with something new (sorry if they look small etc). I’ve also felt really down since my dad passed away and it’s hard to feel creative, as many of you probably know how that is.

 But here’s a few cows to start off with! It’s what I see most of around where I’m staying so they’ve gotten my attention. I just love the velvety look of their fur in fall. The days have been very cold, damp and windy but I did these sketches standing along the field in the wind! Brrrr.

Red Cattle in the Field, Oct 1

I wrote a poem as I watched them, just put a few words down then later I changed two words to make it better. I’ll retype it here:

“September ends…October is here,
The little Robin sings, Winter is near!

The red cattle in the field look so nice,
Fur like rust velvet, ready for Winter’s chill and ice.”

(c)Mary McAndrew 10-1-11

Overthwarts on the Hill, watercolor

The page above I did on October 2nd, it was windier, colder and wetter still than the day before! I wrote a note on the page about how hard it was to draw, of course I was wearing my fingerless mittens too and they are hard to paint in! There’s a farm called Overthwarts up on that hill as I looked from where I stood near Edlingham castle.

Cows at rest and an Angle Shade moth, ink.

The same day I walked a ways up the lane where it got even windier, I found some cows to sketch and sat down along the lane where I could see them through a break in the hedge. Getting down low really got me out of the worst of the wind.

Then another day an Angle Shade moth paid us a visit by coming inside, I guess it’s hibernation time! He didn’t want to leave. I put some sugar water in a little jar lid and he sucked it all up and grew very fat! Anything to help a little hungry wanderer. It hung around a few days just sitting there then disappeared, so I don’t know if he’s hiding out in the house or went back outside.

The furry red cow eyed me warily

Here’s one of the bovine beauties watching me, I tried to walk slowly and talk quietly to her but they are so skiddish, she turned away and made a retreat as I approached.

Well I hope you enjoyed my outdoor sketches, more to come, slowly but surely!

I had some fun creating note cards with cow (and sheep) photos I took in England, have a look in my shop!

A Walk in the Field, Late August (8-30-11)

I headed out to the back fields today, before the day got too hot. As I picked up my straw hat and plopped it on my head Ginger got all excited, her eyes riveted to my every move. Her whole body tensed and ready to run out the door, as she knows this means we’re going out. Now…when I have my sketch bag in hand and pick up my camera and sling it over my shoulder she knows we’re in for it! The ‘Big Walk’ hahaha…well it means we’re leaving the yard and going out to the ‘wilds’ of the fields and lanes. Yes, if I was a dog I’d be acting just like her!

Ginger waits expectantly!

As I walked I was VERY mindful of watching out for the huge yellow garden spiders that I discovered in my overgrown field, I didn’t want to walk through one of their webs! I’ll show you pictures in another post! Every step I took about three grasshoppers or more would fly up and over the grass for a short bit then land again. As I studied them I laughed to see when they landed, many times they did a sort of “moonwalk” backwards down the stalk they were clinging to.

Red Legged Grasshopper I think

If you stop to study them close, using the zoom lens on a camera is a great way, you’ll notice how many different varieties there are. I am guessing some of the many types may just be different ages of the same grasshopper, or males and females, all were really interesting.

Fat Yellow Grasshopper

Most had some kind of interesting pattern and colors that I’d like to do some studies of someday. First I need to start identifying them better, my field guide to insects is woefully lacking in species of many insects, grasshoppers included.

Nat. Wildlife Fed. Field Guide to Insects and Spiders of North America

Nat. Wildlife Fed. Field Guide to Insects and Spiders of North America

Though it’s not a bad all round guide to start with, I find now I need much more species to choose from.

Long Lane Farm in August - watercolor

Well as I got out into the field a ways, I paused and looked back and this is what I saw. The Purple Loosestrife was blooming, clouds billowing, wildflowers dotting the field. I did this small watercolor using one waterbrush and my pan of colors, while standing in some very hot sun. It was really hard to find any shade and it made me a little ‘snow blind’ looking at my page.

A tiny Eastern Tailed-Blue butterfly

After that Ginger and I made for the lane for a bit more shade. I’ve been noticing this tiny butterfly now sometimes when I walk on the lane. It first caught my attention flitting around the grasses and I thought it was one of those tiny white moths I always see. (It’s only as big as the end of my thumb!) There was something about it though, it seemed to have a bluish look too. So I followed it with my eyes to see where it landed then zoomed in with my camera and there you go! Ahha! A butterfly. Just one of my little discoveries this summer.

He shows a peek of blue wing

They don’t give up much, this tiny, tiny butterfly hardly ever opens it’s wings to show off it’s gorgeous blue!

Hummingbird Moth feeding on Teasel

 I couldn’t resist slipping this picture in to share. I have a great big area behind my barn that’s overgrown now with Teasel. I found the Monarch and Viceroy butterflies, and to my delight Hummingbird moths, loved feeding on them. I would encourage everyone to grow some for them to feed on and for their beauty of form.

Teasel drawn with permanent pen

I love drawing Teasel and long into winter you can enjoy their elegant forms. This is a drawing I did years ago in the fall, (sorry I don’t have it scanned large enough to enlarge much) can you see how much fun you could have looking at it’s bristly but graceful form?

I hope you enjoyed our little walk on Long Lane Farm. I always see or find something new when I stop and look for awhile. I want to point out that I have been adding great links for identifying things on my “Nature Links” page, please have a look. I use these links often when I need to identify bugs or blooms. I’m adding links all the time so everyone can use it, please let me know if you have a favorite you want to share!

Below are a few note cards I created in my shop from my sketches or photos, I hope you enjoy them!

My watercolor sketch
Hummingbird Moth card
Hummingbird Moth
I miss you! sad dog photo card
Awww, who could resist that face?!

Lady Bug, Lady Bug, fly away home!

I’m showing you the page from my journal first, then I’ll tell you a little story about a ‘bug discovery’ I had.  You’ll see on the right my studies from the lady beetle I found, bottom left is studies of lady bug ‘faces’ so you can see at a glance how this is a handy way to identify them. It’s not really their face but the pronotum which is the part just behind the head on beetles. Then I have a quote by Paul Cezanne and had some fun adding a old style border.  (Please click on pictures for a BIG clear image!)

Multi-Colored Asian Lady Beetle studies

You can read my note that the one leaf I actually traced to get the exact size on my paper. That’s  a great thing to do when you’re making ‘scientific’ type notes and it saves time for studying other things about your subject.

Ok…now to get on with my bug story. Now this is really exciting, well for someone who’s interest in bugs has really peeked this summer it is!

Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle pupa

When I went out to get the mail I find myself looking down at the weeds in my front ditch near the driveway. I’m getting more used to spotting insects and today was no different.

Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle pupa 2

 I thought it was some kind of small bug but I didn’t have my (reading) glasses on so I didn’t really see what I was looking at as clearly. 😉

Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle pupa 3

Well after taking pictures of it I gently set it down by some weeds in my yard, but when I looked at the enlarged pictures on my computer I realized what it was! I double checked in my Field Guide and yup, it’s a Lady Bug pupa. It’s a pupa just like butterflies come out of!

Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle pupa 4

It was when I saw this picture that I realized it was hatching right now! Yikes!

Newly hatched Lady bug

So I ran back out into the yard and found where I had put it, brought it inside and put it in my plastic “Crisco” container you’ve seen me use before.  He/she slept in this overnight (yes in my living room!) and the next morning there it was, all fresh and yellow, a brand new Lady Beetle! How cool is that?

Newly hatched with wings still very tender

Can you see the clear ‘spots’ on it’s yellow wing covers? I had a suspicion that these spots would turn into black spots we all are familiar with. And I think just like butterflies do when first emerged, I think it was letting it’s wings ‘develop’ and firm up…they looked quite tender at this point.

Newly hatched lady beetle

It looks like a little lemon seed, I love it!

Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle with it's spots developed

Well what did I tell you? The very same Lady Bug now with it’s spots all developed. I released it as soon as possible onto the same weeds I found the pupa on. What a wonderful experience it was to see this Lady bug go through these changes!

My eyes are getting better at noticing little things on the weeds and plants around my yard and land. I find that I’m seeing many more bugs,  interesting eggs and pupas. If you take your kids out on a bug hunt, tell them to pretend that they have “Eagle Eyes” or “Superman Vision” and they need to stand still,  zoom in on leaves and watch for little things. It’s a wonderful hobby to get kids interested in, especially if you loan them a small camera like I use, and get them photographing them.

This little beetle is definitely waiting patiently on my list of things to be painted! Below are some note cards I created using the  “Multi Colored Asian Lady Beetle” pictures.

Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle card
Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle by MaryMcandrew
Shop for a different greeting card template online at zazzle
Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle card
Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle by MaryMcandrew
Shop for a card with

Day Lily Days

Day Lily in watercolor and metallic watercolor

Day Lily in watercolor and metallic watercolor

This will be one of the shortest blog posts I’ve done in ages! I just did this little sketch the other day to test out some paper and new kit supplies. I stood to paint in front of the row of Day Lilies and it wasn’t easy. The ‘no see’ums and the ‘see um’s’ were all biting me and started to make me miserable! Oh the joys of painting outdoors! Anyhow, the paper proved to be too thin and cheap so that won’t be going into my sketch journal.

After I got as much done as I could, I retreated to the shade and just outlined with a permanent ink pen to tidy it up. It looked a LOT better after doing this! Then later that night I saw my little kit of metallic watercolor paints and thought, ‘what the heck?’ so I brushed some on and it looked nice. The border is just the permanent ink pen then I loosely brushed on some metallic paint.

Well folks that’s it! Told you it was a short post, haha. More bug sketches and paintings coming real soon! Enjoy the links below to my shop!

Beautiful Wood-nymph Moth

(Click on any picture to see larger, picture links at the end of the post go to my shop, enjoy!)

The "Beautiful Wood-nymph" newest discovery!

As your family and friends get to know how much you love to study new bugs and things, they will start to point things out to you that they find. This is great because it’s more ‘eyes’ watching for things than just your two. Well my son Paul, home from college, said there was an interesting moth on the back screen. I didn’t pay much attention until he again said, “Mom, you really should look, it’s really different looking!”

My two page spread of studies from life of the moth.

Glad I listened and glad I looked! It was a small moth who must have made it’s way onto my porch looking for the lights. Above you can see how I used two pages of my sketch book journal to do studies. I’ll share with you the steps I usually take when I find a new bug to study.

View from above taken with my tiny Olympus camera.

Before anyone gets their portrait painted, I get as many photos as I can to file for references, maybe for a future painting or at least to properly identify it.  I usually have some plastic containers around that I use, this one was perfect, it’s from a “Crisco Sticks” shortening package; the kind you buy with three sticks in a pack and they’re easy for measuring. One of the plastic containers has a lid and the whole thing is nice clear plastic!

View underneath the moth, many times reveals a surprise color!

I also have some fine mesh that I can put over the top with a rubber band, I never want to kill the creature (unless it’s a house pest, I may not be so nice then!) I love using my tiny Olympus camera to take the close up photos, it works great on the macro setting. This shot is through the bottom of the container. Another tip, I go outside into the natural light if I can to take pictures, the color is always so much better; this was taken in bright sunlight.

This is my set up showing how I positioned the moth under a magnifying glass.

This photo shows you my set up  for drawing. Now that I have lots of pictures to save, I put him under an old magnifying glass that stands up and start sketching. Do you see there is no lid? The moth was staying put, maybe because of the light, so I kept the lid off to work. I start with a light pencil sketch and then use permanent ink (you can see my pen in the background, this was an Itoya Finepoint System .2)

I did a 3/4 view to show another angle.

This is a close up of one of the sketches, I try to do different angles to show various aspects of the bug. I thought the furry legs were fascinating! (and made it look ‘cute’ actually!) I colored him in after drawing with the ink, but sometimes I do it in the opposite order. I laid the washy blue background in after I colored all the moths, I wanted it to be lose and just ‘pretty’.

View from above of the Beautiful Wood-nymph.

What an appropriately named moth…”Beautiful” really is in it’s name!

Beautiful Wood-nymph in the 'wild' on a leaf.

Now here’s the cool part of my story! I went for a ramble the very next day, hoping to find some interesting butterflies to photograph. I was into the first pasture and saw a tiny fluttering in a low plant, I watched for where it seemed to end up then just studied the leaves and grasses, looking for a butterfly. See below:

Hiding down low in the grasses, can you believe I found him?!

Ok, I’ll brag a little here, I think I have good eyes for spotting things, because I found him! Hiding amongst all those grasses and leaves. Can you see how well he can blend in, but then, not totally.

Another shot showing how well they hide on the leaves!

Then he flew around again and re-landed; this shot shows him pointed downward, always keeping his legs stretched out in front.

The Beautiful Wood-nymph imitating bird dropping, that's his job!

When they do that, it makes them look like bird droppings and that’s their defense!! I’ve seen pics in books about such things, but never saw one myself.  Though he imitates such a yuchy thing, the moth itself is really pretty! I enjoyed studying how the wing pokes up through with a curling flourish and the fuzzy legs that remind me of a Poodle dog. The wings had a sheen in the sunlight that looked like white satin.

The big thing all of this made me realize, was that I’ve been living here for about 17 years and I never noticed one of these before! Well, much of that time I was busy raising my boys, taking care of animals and whatever else. I didn’t go out walking in my fields all the time as I do now. What I’m trying to say is there is SO MUCH around us that isn’t seen, unless we start looking closer to see it. And then, like this moth, once you see it and study it, it’s more likely you’ll see it again. Try not to miss anything, try to capture it all and the best way is in a sketch journal!

(No moth was harmed in the making of this blog entry, the names were not changed because he’s not innocent, he’s guilty of being “Beautiful” heehee)

The following pictures go to glossy Note Cards I created using my painting and photographs of the moth. Please have a look and share the links with nature loving friends you think may enjoy them!


This one has customizable text!
And here’s the last one!
Let me know if there’s anything you want created or customized in my shop, I’m glad to do it for you!

Carpenter Bees!

Studies of Carpenter Bees, watercolor and ink.

You know there are interesting things all around us to discover, some are right under our noses…or under our eaves! I have known about Carpenter Bees but never paid them much attention, until this year. I caught one and started to draw it from life, safely keeping it in a plastic container under a screen. I did the studies above from life, then just for fun added the little quick sketch bees as a border around it. I put the green after to add color and liven it up, and the red and blue ribbon with an arrow was just me messing around!

Female Carpenter Bee I captured for study.

It seems the bees LOVE the eaves under my back porch, and are making their home there.It may not have bothered me much before, then I watched a video about the damage they can do to your timber. Uh oh. This is a photo of the female bee, you can clearly see the abdomen (end part) is shiny black, unlike the bumble bee which is nice and fuzzy black. It also has a spot on it’s back where there are no bristles, like a bald patch.

Front view shows no light patch that the males have.

Oh my, look at those choppers! The female will chew and cut wood with her mouth parts, so I wouldn’t want her landing on my arm! Yikes! Actually, the female can sting and the male cannot. I liked this view though, with her wings sort of up, head down.

Male Carpenter Bee in flight, showing the light patch.

After I drew the bees and photographed the female, I got curious about the bees and that’s when I looked them up online and did a little research. From my upstairs bathroom window you can see the males around the porch eaves below, like they are guarding territory. The male is easy to tell by the light patch on it’s face, it will look whitish to you, but a book said it was yellow. Isn’t this a cool picture? It took me many, many tries just to get the few blurry pictures I have here! I like how he has his antennae up while flying, his little legs tucked under.

Side view of male bee in flight.

Look at this shot!, he’s so stout looking.

Rear view of Carpenter Bee in flight.

This is one from behind, now that definitely looks stout!  How does he hold himself up with those little wings?

Here's a close up of my sketch so you can see it better.

This close up shows how the wings are folded over the back.

Here’s a close up that shows the wings folded over the back, you’d never know there were actually 4 wing parts when you look at it. There is two on each side, just like butterflies; each has a forewing and hindwing.

Check out this article about Carpenter Bee Control, complete with videos! Then you’ll see why I need to get rid of the bees.

“Mother’s Day Field Sketching” 2011

What did you think I’d be doing on Mother’s Day? It was gorgeous outside and I had the day to myself until later when my son comes over, so off I went for a walk with my sketch journal!

female bluebird I met along the way

Along the way I captured this shot of a female Bluebird, I’m so happy it came out. I didn’t use my long lens today, so the camera was actually easier to hand hold. (click to see as Note Card where you can see up close)

My watercolor crayons in a vinyl case so I can scatter them as I worked.

I was thrilled to find that the land on one side of the field was actually sort of dry. I mean I’ve been wading through water for weeks now, so any dry grass was pretty great. Before walking at all I decided to sit right down and have a go with my kit. I knew something would strike me. Above you can see something new I tried that worked great; I brought this empty vinyl case along and when I was ready just opened it and put it on the ground. I took my watercolor crayons and set the box right inside it, as I used colors I could just plop them in front and find them easier as I worked.  This would be good to use for the watercolor pencils too, as they get lost easily in the grass.

Putting color down around a round plastic shape.

I wrote some notes at the top of my paper as I sat, not even caring about painting, just enjoying the great weather. Then I decided I’d try to put a landscape but leave a circle in the foreground to fill with something. I have a piece of plastic I cut from a plastic milk carton and just filled in green watercolor crayon around it.

Blocking on more green for grass, sky has been painted a bit.

Blocking on more green for grass, sky has been painted a bit.

As I decided where my horizon line would be I colored blue in the sky, leaving the clouds just blank paper. (lately I’ve been doing them with white wax to ‘block’ them out using a resist method, this time it’s just bare paper)  I then brought the green up as far as I thought it should go, then wet my paper with the big brush to blend all and used a brown crayon to put trees in on the wet paper. I like how sharp the trees can look if you put them on wet paper; if you draw them dry first and then wet them, they can get fuzzy looking.

My set up on the grass, balancing my sketch journal on my knee.

Here’s my set up, as I sat on my piece of vinyl and kept everything in easy reach. I actually leaned on one elbow to do most of this sketch, and quite smartly tucked an empty sandwich bag under my elbow. By the time I was done, my elbow would have been soaked!

The real scene behind my sketchbook, the clouds have already floated by.

So here’s the sketch with the ‘real’ scene behind it, I don’t really like the greens of the watercolor crayons, but more practice will help. Sometimes I admit I could do a better job but when working in the field either the weather is too cold or my back hurts then I just want to hurry up. So I try to work fast, I can always touch up later if I want, or leave it as a study.

This is the page as I finished it in the field, dandelions and all.

This is the page as I finished it in the field, dandelions and all.

This is my study finished in the field, I decided to put dandelions in the small circle as they were everywhere. First I lightly sketched in pencil then went over it with a brown Windsor Newton Permanent ink with a dip nib pen. Then I colored them in by touching the brush tip (a finer one) to the crayons then painting. I colored the letters the same way using a blue crayon. I really want to go back and tone down that green on that grass! Yikes!

Field sketch after touching it up back at home.

Well here’s the sketch after I got home and touched up the greens and added the yellow dandelions.

Leopard Frog

On our way after that sketch, I kept seeing Leopard Frogs. If I stood still I would start to pick them out of their hiding places.

Leopard Frog

I was really getting good at it! As you walk by they get scared into the water…then if you stop a few steps away, they would seem to appear everywhere. I imagined a funny cartoon of a photographer stopping to look for frogs, the way in front of her clear, but behind her all these little heads popped up in the water! haha, well it’s me of course!

mystery water bug

This was really cool, I noticed as I stood watching for frogs without moving, a little something moving in the water below me. I swore they were just catkins from the tree floating along the bottom, but it’s a standing pool of water and instinct told me otherwise. I bent over and kept watching them and remembered reading about larvae that formed cases by ‘gluing’ stuff around them. I got this great shot of it actually poking out of the case a bit! I am not sure yet what it is, have to look it up.

Long Lane green and lush.

Here’s Long Lane on the way back home. It’s green and lush in this very wet spring we’re having. It’s a bounty for the frogs but that means soon will come the mosquitoes too!

I hope you enjoyed this springtime walk with me and my sketching. I hope you go out and capture some nature the way I did, just stop and stand or sit still and you’ll be amazed at what you notice.