Thursday, January 27, 2011

Be Gentle

"Come forth into the light of things. Let nature be your teacher." William Wordsworth

This year I am working to have a gentle state of mind. Not to rush into things but to open my eyes and look a little closer. I like to know the names of the things I see and draw. I do not always know the latin names but I am trying to do more research in that area too. On my walks through the local park I watch the trees as they change. Since the weather is milder in AZ the changes happen very quickly. I have noticed that flower buds are appearing on what looks like Creosote Bushes - (Larrea tridentata) Caltroop Family
On my next walk I will take pictures and pick up some pods along the way. Trying to take a sketch book with me so I can take a few notes and do a few drawings. Till next time, take a walk if you can, or if you are snowed in back east, stay warm and curl up with a favorite book.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


"Every morning I awake torn between a desire to save the world and an inclination to savor it. This makes it hard to plan the day. But, if we forget to savor the world, what possible reason do we have for saving it? In a way the savoring must come first." - E.White ( via friend Phil Grout)

As we are getting the word out to friends, family & fans they are also bringing thoughts to inspire us. I had just read part of this quote a few days ago, then Phil posted it on FB...I knew I had to put this on the blog. It is a catch-22 we want to do good things for the earth and at the same time enjoy the bounty it gives us. As an artist I have always felt that I document places in order to preserve them. A tree drawing comes to mind, two sycamores that were in Montgomery Village (Gaithersburg, MD) many years ago. They were growing so tall and strong that one over took the other and both were lost. I drew these trees several times over the years, the first was plein air in graphite, later as a tone-paper pastel. I still remember the Sunday mornings, setting up my big drawing board with no one else around. Enjoying the peace, quite and beauty of the space. I could not save the trees but I did savor the moment. Thank you Phil for helping me remember that day.
Phil shared a memory of his own, to view a preview of his book "The First Wood Thrush" go to;  then enter his name in the search it will bring up all the books he has created. If you can not access it through FB try
Time to go outside, apparently the Santa Anna winds are blowing through AZ.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Mystery Solved

"There are two ways to live your life. One was though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." - Albert Einstein

The mystery of the pod has been answered. Friend & plant specialist, Carole Bergmann came to the rescue. She sent a link with photos of the tree, the blossom and the pod. There is no doubt it is the same pod, it come from the Bottle Tree found in Australia. In trying to find information on this pod I research North American and Southwest books on trees. I have discovered that many years ago AZ used some trees from Australia in their landscaping. But, as happens so many times we find they are not the best options, always better to go with the local plants and trees.
Thanks Carole

Thursday, January 20, 2011


"Have patience. Everything is difficult before it is easy." - Saadi

Creating wildlife art work has it's own challenges. I took photographs for several years before I got one that I liked to create a pastel of a Gambel's Quail. The same was true of learning how to create a slide show to include with our new blog. Both are done, the pastel of the quail is include in works on our slide show.

The Gambel's Quail is seen running along the ground, under brush. They have a black top-knot that falls forward. The males have black face and throat. I have not seen a nest with eggs but have read they usually have 10 - 12. Which are light buff colored.

As the season gets warmer, it is easier to spot the birds running around. Once you have discovered an area they live in, sit, wait with camera or sketch book at ready and sooner or later they will come running. But, not for long.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

News from the Mid-Atlantic

January...that just about says it.  Snow and sleet fell overnight.  Much as I like to walk in the woods - to see what might be scampering around, it didn't happen today.  From my window I watched a doe make her way up the hill.  It was a staggered gait as she pushed her hooves through the ice with each step.  The majority of my nature watching today was to see the birds at the feeders.  I filled them all yesterday in anticipation of the storm, and, so the Wren wouldn't sit on the fence post and yell at me as it does when they are empty. 

My art work these days consists of sketches of ideas for future works.  I have a huge library of reference photos taken on various trips just for these winter days when it's hard to get out and draw or paint 'plein aire'.  I'll keep working on them and let you know how it goes.               Marilu

A Walk in the Park

Each year it is always good to find new things to push yourself. This year we are adding a blog about nature and art. Marilu & I are not only friends but we share a passion for art. Our art is that which is influenced by what we see in nature.

I will be posting what I see and what I create from AZ and Marilu will keep up the east coast. We want to record what is going on in nature, trying to be correct with names of animals, plants, and trees as best we know. There will be many times we can not find reference information on something. If anyone knows what we have seen or found and can guide us to that information it will always be welcome.

This leads me to my walk in the park. There is a community park with many different trees, some I have been able to identify, the most common Palo verde, Palo brea, Mesquite, Ironwood, Pines, Acacia, but I can not find the name to this one tree with very large seed pods. I do not think it is native to the area. As it is not listed in any of the books I have gone through. I will start a side post with books that might be of interest and will document where some of the information comes from for these postings current and future.
Here is a picture of the pods:
This was just one of the things I found on the ground during my walks. My reward for getting out and walking the last week was interesting pods, a birds nest and a black and white feather. The nest was on the ground and looked as through it had not been used in some time. It is fairly large, 6 - 7 inches across, very loose construction. I do not think the feather came from the bird that occupied the nest, just a bonus.  The warmer weather brings lots of birds to the S/W. Hummingbirds are many, cardinals, grosbeaks, warblers and more. I saw a Yellow-rumped Warbler a few weeks ago, got some nice detailed pictures of him. Not sure when he will work his way into a drawing. Birds have been a strong theme for both Marilu & I this past year. And it looks as though this might continue. Just finished a pastel of a road runner. I think it is time to go take another walk in the park. The weather here has been a bit warmer then the average in the low to mid 70's for the past week.

As we move forward with this new adventure. There will be different photos, posts from both Marilu & I updating you on what is outside our windows. What we see on our hikes in nature. What we find when we travel near or far. Enjoy, go take a walk.

What's That Sound???

You know you are in Wyoming when you wake to the sound of horses. With limited wi-fi service it has been a lot harder to get blogs written a...