Summer to Fall Transition

Summer to Fall Transition


I have no problem being present in the fall: Being outside, listening to the wind rustling leaves in the trees; bike rides; apples from the orchard; colorful leaves falling; collecting acorns, nuts and samaras; long walks with my dog; and trying to capture some of this in my art.

This leaf rubbing was created in a Greek restaurant (on the paper placemat) after a hike at Boundary Bridge with my buddy Melanie last fall.  I was so excited by all the trees we saw on the hike, I couldn’t resist rubbing the freshly collected leaves with color sticks.


The summer was great.   My days were filled with drawing and painting in my sketchbooks from the garden and from the car as i traveled south, north and to the midwest.  Taking walks and hikes, kayaking, working in the garden, and visiting with family and friends.

mixed media sketch

mixed media sketch

Now is the time to prepare for the Fall Studio Tour in less than 4 weeks, I can’t believe it is already upon us.  That deadline helps me focus on finishing art that can be put in a frame and setting the studio up for customers.  It is easy to be consumed with  finishing art, photographing art, framing art, social media, cleanup work in the studio and garden tasks, and all the clerical work.

As  I finish these essential tasks, the fall season is rich in color for painting, the mountain is calliing me for a hike, the dog wants a walk, and my new bike is sitting inside waiting to be taken out on the road.  I am lucky to have this life in the country, just hope I can work that studio tour list..

A hummingbird just flew nearby to drink from a late blooming Lobelia cardinalis, life is good when I can be present in these moments outside in nature.

Hiking Sugarloaf Mountain to my Persimmon tree

Hiking Sugarloaf Mountain to my Persimmon tree


I am a midwesterner at heart- loving the seasonal changes in woodland forests.  Last week I led a group of women from Chevy Chase, MD on a hike to the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain.  We were enveloped in the fall colors against Sugarloaf’s quartzite rocks.  Her trees are in the early stages of the fall burst of color.  Tupelo, Black Birch, Tulip Tree, Red Maple and Persimmon were glorious shades gold, crimson, citron and tangerine.

These women get their hands dirty working with soil, they are attuned to plant diversity and microhabitats.  So I shared tree ID clues and various habitat preferences, knowing they would be interested in how these plants adapt to their specific part of the forest.  Every time I lead a hike I learn something new about the mountain.  This time I was struck by the number of persimmons on the summit, we all got a chance to see and taste those amazing berries.  And for many on the hike their previous experiece with persimmon was the cultivated varieties in the grocery store.  I encouraged them to taste the ripe fruit and I think I have a few more converts to my favorite tree.

It was a wonderful day to be on Sugarloaf with kindred spirits.  Maybe if I finish work on a deadline in time today I can get back on the trail to my Persimmon Tree.


Art, life and nature in the online conversation.

In my next life I want to be an Online Maven.  Blogging, posting, linking related sites and drawing visitors to my website and studio will be second nature to me.  IN this life, however I seem to spend a lot of my time Doing Life, creating art, observing nature, keeping up my house, studio, and garden.  Even as I live this full life, I know my art business is suffering from not engaging online.  It is a multi-faceted task, because you first have to believe you have something worth posting, which in and of itself is half the challenge for me.  

So much of my day is spent looking, drawing and trying to understand what is happening in the world outdoors.  Often I am back in the books looking up this caterpillar or that host plant.  Then back to the drawing, with a small window into how this plant and that insect depend on each other.  This is what excites my imagination.  However, I am humbled as I look at the sketch and realize I haven’t begun to capture the subtleties going on in either the plant or the caterpillar.  

So how can I post this journey?  If I am not confident of what is happening on the page of the sketchbook, why would I think anyone would want to look at this or read about it?  

Making that leap, from unfinished art that always seems to be in process, to a public post online, is very difficult for me.  Hence, uneven posting, and no engagement with the world outside my studio.  I think it is about time, I scheduled a post on my calendar every week.  Here I go.

This little sketch is in a 3 x 5 sketchbook, I love the paper and the size.  The little guy below is now in a webbed cocoon on the plant cutting.  I hope I can keep the plant alive long enough for him/her to metamorphose into whatever is next.