Monday, October 17, 2016

Owl Watching

Earlier this month I spent three nights in the Klamath Basin. We were fortunate to spend over three hours watching a great horned owl ... or maybe it was different owls in the same area.  All the sketches I did on location had to be in black and white because I forgot my paint!  Fortunately I had my beloved fountain pen and water soluble ink with me.  For more about my owl encounter and art I did at home afterwards, go to:


As part of the #inktober2106 challenge this year I've been drawing some of the nuts and fruit from the hedgerows and in my garden.  I've used a set of Triplus nature coloured pens from Staedtler that are watersoluble so make very nice gentle washes but can also be layered up for depth of colour.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Naked ladies in the garden!

This is the time of year when the gardens in my area are filled with these beautiful lilies, nicknamed 'Femmes nus' or naked ladies because they appear before the leaves in big clumps of bright pink blooms.  My neighbour gave me the bulbs several years ago and I can spot all the other people she gave some to as well!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Painting at Elkmont in the Smokies

Just across the road from the Elkmont campground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park you can explore what is often called the "ghost town" of the Smokies--cabin remnants of a vacation community that was built in the early 1900's.
What drew wealthy Knoxvillians to this area for a summer retreat is the very same thing that motivated me and two friends to gather our paint supplies and head for the mountains for a day of painting.  
In the fresh autumn air surrounded by so much visual stimulation, I felt no tension, no pressure, nothing more than the excitement of being there.  That feeling was refreshing, one I would like to recapture whenever and where ever I paint!
Above you see an image of the scene that captured my interest.  I was especially drawn to the play of light and shadows.  Below, is my unfinished sketch.
To see all of our sketches and a glimpse of the historic and natural scenes around us visit:  Elkmont En Plein Air at Vickie's Sketchbook

Friday, September 23, 2016

Turkey Track

I found this track in soft sand ... and wondered what bird around here makes a track 5 inches wide?  The toes looked too fat to be a great blue heron and my first impression was 5 inches across was too big for a wild turkey.  Then I found the feather.  I was sure it was the breast feather from a tom (male).  Finally, at home, I looked up the size of turkey tracks.  It definitely could be a tom turkey's.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


As always on holiday I collected a few examples of the indigenous plants when we were at the tip of Finisterre in Brittany, camping by the dunes of Sainte Marguerite.  This sea holly is so pretty but very prickly!  Grey pen and coloured pencils on hand made paper.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Beach Rose

From my notes written at Bandon Marsh, about one half mile inland from the Pacific Ocean:
     As I sit here, finishing the inking on my sketch, the late afternoon sun and hot stickiness is being quickly erased by a dense bank of flog blowing in on a stiff breeze.   It feels extra cool to me because I'm still damp from the hot sun.  Was it only minutes ago that Dale and I were annoyed by sweat trickling down our backs!