Friday, February 21, 2014

later on the same day

Later, on that same very bright day, as the sun moved lower in the sky, an egret settled right in front of me. I had to start packing up my painting supplies but took the time to photograph and hastily sketch the magic. I loved how all the colors deepened, the long shadows describe, and the sun lights up the egret just so. I have been working on this back in my cold wintery studio recently from the photos I took. Here is my beginning sketch on 11x14 gessoboard.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

bright day

9x12 Oil on gesso board  Painted en plein air at Lemon Bay Golf Club, Florida January 29,2014
As I write this post the day that I am looking at through my studio window is anything but bright. Although it is mid-day, the sky is deep grey, snow is dulled, the trees stand out in dark detail. We are about to get yet another snowstorm.
Ah, I comfort myself with this painting that I finished on the golf course in Florida. It was meant to be just a sketch. A one day effort but I ended up finishing it to a greater degree. This was my first day spent outdoors with my painting kit in Florida. The colors looked garish to me, the sun was so bright, the sky so deep blue, the grass so gaudy yellow-green. I put these down as I saw them, adding the deeper blueish shadows as the afternoon went on. When I brought this home, I was tempted to wash over the painting, neutralize it, get rid of the gaudy glaring brightness. Too much green and yellow!
My Florida friend protested that I should not alter it, the landscape is really that brilliant. That is what people love about winter in Florida. I am sending this painting to her.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

and the rest of the tale/tail

Oh I am being so cute. My drawing took up 3 pages of the sketchbook.

Monday, February 17, 2014

and this guy I met

Of course, it is Florida and I should expect to meet alligators on the golf course. However in the midst of my concentration on my painting I kind of...forgot about them. I decided to leave my easel and set-up for a few minutes and walk to the other side of the property to find a bathroom. A caddy had told me I could find a facility a ways beyond a large clump of trees. He also told me to drive the golf cart and not to try to walk it. I thought to myself why not walk and stretch my legs?
 As I rounded the last corner of a large group of trees,  my eyes searching ahead for a bathroom type building, I nearly stepped on this big guy. I back pedaled like a cartoon character, heart pounding. These big old 'gators are so accustomed to people that this one did not seem to notice me. He never twitched or blinked. (I don't think he did). I took a few photos and then got a sketch going of his marvelous ancient hulk.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

bird refuge

I was privileged to paint for about 5 days at the Lemon Bay golf course.
Lemon Bay is a Fully Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary "Graced by nature with mature native pines, small lakes and ponds, they serve as home to their original ancient Florida Residences — flocks of exotic tropical birds and the nesting aristocrats of Lemon Bay, the white capped American eagle. They're all here protected by this Audubon sanctioned golf club."
Quoted from the Lemon Bay Golf Course website.

I saw the Bald Eagles protecting their nest and I saw two little fuzzy heads bobbing up and down within that nest. It was way up there in a huge tropical pine, but the eagles are plenty big for viewing from the ground below.

I also saw these large black and white birds called anhinga, and blue herons, snowy egrets, storks, and many others. This place is a bird lovers' dream.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine Moon

A full moon on Valentine's Evening? What could be more lovely and romantic?
(In my opinion, the same moon seen on a tropical beach would win me over in a heartbeat.)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

planning stage

I painted a large-ish (18x24) landscape "en plein air" for the golf course cancer charity raffle. I used oils which is still a steep learning curve for me. Here is one of my planning sketches from my watercolor sketchbook of which I did several.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


The purpose of the trip to Florida other than the obvious relief from bitter cold winter was to paint a landscape for a charity function. The charity event is held at the golf course, the funds go to a group of oncologists who distribute help to needy cancer patients.
 My friend was the organizer of the event and her idea was to have me paint outdoors in the beauty of this particular place and get attention for the charity.
 I painted for four days in one spot, made a few small paintings and one large canvas.
I left the big painting there to be displayed and later auctioned or raffled. It was painted in oils and still quite wet, and I forgot to take any pictures of the finished art.

I have just this detail of the heron that I added as a focal point.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Painting all day

I was in Florida/Paradise. I had 5 days to paint outside in the fresh air and sunshine.
Here's my set-up, portable folding easel and stool, oil paints and canvas. Paradise.

Monday, February 10, 2014

back to reality

My reality at home is bitter, cold, and frozen fingers. It is hard to draw while wearing mittens and layers of protection. I've been posting a lot about how I am suffering in the winter here in Chicagoland.
The truth is that I haven't suffered every minute, I spent 5 days in Florida in the last week of January.
I was invited by dear friends to do some landscape painting on their golf course in Lemon Bay. This course is a National Audubon bird refuge, known for it's natural beauty. The first thing to do besides breathing very deeply of warm humid air is to get out the sketchbook and start planning the landscape composition. I was overwhelmed by the brilliant foliage greens and blue skies. All the colors looked garish to me after the winter white and grey that my eyes were accustomed to.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

winter haiku

frozen black fingers
scrape a silvery full moon
winter nights beauty

by Janice Skivington 1/16/2014
I did it, I wrote a haiku in the traditional manner while enjoying this moment from nature.

A traditional Japanese haiku is a three-line poem with seventeen syllables, written in a 5/7/5 syllable count. Often focusing on images from nature, haiku emphasizes simplicity, intensity, and directness of expression. - See more at:

Friday, February 7, 2014

kitchen moon

I don't love to cook but I love my cosy bright kitchen. One of my favorite morning spots to draw is sitting at the kitchen table where I can look up and glance out the window at the ever-changing fluttering activity around our many bird feeders and the heated bird bath on our deck.
I sat with my cup of tea on this winter night looking out the window over the kitchen sink at dark tree branches silhouetted by the rising full moon in bitter cold.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


Some of my readers who have followed through the years know that I complain a lot every winter. I suffer from SADS (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
Or, as I define it; Severe Aversion to Digging Snow!

I drew this in my little sketchbook sitting at my kitchen table looking out on the deck. It is about 4 degrees Fahrenheit and the sun is shining making long purple blue shadows. We have a heated bird bath and 5 feeders!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

d.a.d. has d.i.e.d.

Drawing A Day has turned into Drawing Interrupted Every Day.
My New Year's Resolution has gone the way of most of all past Resolutions, (lose weight, exercise, pray more, etc.). I had been experiencing some little pleasures of daily sketching and posting and anticipated that I could continue it all year. Thus, I came up with Drawing.A.Day. (d.a.d.). I made it for 19 days in January and then the inevitable distractions came along and the very idea of drawing and posting daily became a burden to add to a growing must-do list.
So, I am taking it easier and posting when it feels like fun. I find myself drawing a lot these days, and I like to share on this blog. Another of my super bowl super fast sketches here.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Usual practice for all Americans is to observe the annual football holiday known as the super bowl with family and friends with food and frivolity. We were all rooting for the Colorado team at my friend's house and we were all defeated. Well, I did a lot of eating and some drawing too. So it is not a total loss.

Monday, February 3, 2014


I went on a silent prayer retreat this past weekend. Prayer and solitude being appropriate during this long cold winter. The retreat center was remote, surrounded by huge oak trees clothed in winter white, ornamented by ice. Inside was cozy if not overheated,
 I sat by a window and found myself surprised by the time I was able to pray in a place with no distractions.
Later, I drew in my sketchbook this face of Christ  from a small bronze crucifix that was hanging on the wall of my monastery room.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

first Sunday in February is cold and snowy. Nothing new to view out my window today, but this naked oak branch wearing a scarf of snowy lace.