Fish of the Reef !

Sketching at the National Museum of Natural History-Β Day 20/31 – #WorldWatercolorMonth

A trip to D.C. always entails a quick stop at a museum or two on the way back, and this time I had an hour to spare and decided that a visit to the Reef tank at the National Museum of Natural History was where I’d spend it. I’d forgotten it was summer and that the summer campers would be out there and of course the Natural History museum is top on the list. Not surprisingly getting up close to the aquarium wasn’t possible, for as when one wave of yellow kiddie tee shirts left, along came another group in green and then another in blue and so on…It simply was amusing to watch the kids arrive like a swarm of bees, park themselves in front of the tank, squeal and point and chatter on about Nemo and Dory, and then just as sudden as they arrived, they quickly moved on to the next exhibit.

it was impossible to stand close without blocking the kids, so I found a spot across from the aquarium and tried sketching the exotic salt water fish. They darted about so quickly it was hard to stay focused on any one of them. My only recourse was to skip about the page from fish to fish filling in details as the swam by. Of course this means the paint dried in between strokes! Oh well, I’ll get to do this again soon.

Poppies in the WindΒ 

The last of the few poppies swaying in the wind as I walked by, turned my head, but it was the numerous seed pods that stood sentinel over them that really caught my eye! As the poppies dropped over from their own weight, the seed pods stood upright,  ready for the next generation to take over! 

Wildflowers on the Meadows

Im still awaiting the arrival of the Monarchs, the Swallowtails, the Orange Sulfurs, Cabbage Whites, and the list goes on and on… Each year we see more species of butterflies on the Meadows Gardens at Longwood. As the meadow matures and the wildflowers multiply and spread, the wildlife here has abundantly exploded! And along with the butterflies and bees, so have the birds and other wildlife. You are more likely to spot several species of bird without even looking for them. Or hear the bull frog in the pond below, and occasionally if it’s  real quiet you’ll spot the Great Blue motionless on the Hour Glass lake patiently awaiting his supper to arrive. The songbirds serenade you as you walk along on the winding pathways and quite oblivious to your presence. A walk in the meadows is no longer just a walk, it’s a passage through time. Although it might appear to the novice that these meadows just magically stay alive there’s a silent crew of gardeners and specialists that tend to it to keep it healthy and going strong! A big shout out to these great people hard at work who make our lives just a little bit richer. 

πŸ”™Back from a short break πŸ’€

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better – Albert EinsteinOne of my all time favorite quotes! 

Sometimes I just need to take a break from things to quiet the mind and focus πŸ”¬on other stuff. So every so often I take a short break (at times it extends into longer than expected) – a break from social media πŸ“΅. Turn off all external noise and focus on all things not social media! This frees up quite a bit of time⏱. (Ever wonder how much ⏳ we spend on social media 😜!

During these times I “do more things that make me forget to check my πŸ“žπŸ“²βŒšοΈ”

I take that extra time to read πŸ‘“(read stuff not on social media) πŸ“š, or spend time looking, πŸ‘€really lookingπŸ”Ž, and sketching 🎨in nature πŸŒΏπŸŒ»πŸ€πŸ„πŸžπŸπŸ¦‹πŸ , or take time to converse with family and friendsπŸ—£πŸ‘₯(not just txt) πŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

Over the last four days I did just that. I finished two good books πŸ“š πŸ‘. I did lots of sketches πŸ–πŸ–and studies en plein air πŸ•β›°and quite a bit of gardening πŸƒπŸŽ‹πŸŒΎ- in the coolerπŸ†’ hoursβŒ›οΈ of the day of course ! 

I sketch and paint everyday regardless of whether I post or not. A lot of these sketches never see the light of day πŸŒ• beyond my easel or sketch book. No matter, coz it’s the discipline that counts, right! 

If you haven’t guessed it already today is #WorldEmojiDay. I rarely use emojis! So it’s quite a comeback from a break on social media, wouldn’t you say!

Happy World Emoji Day or πŸ˜ŠπŸŒŽπŸŒπŸŒ•πŸ“† 

Here’s my favorite brushstroke done @hirshhorn of Roy Lichtenstein’s brushstroke!

Tomorrow I’ll post the stuff I’ve been working on over my break! πŸš™ (interesting, that’s the emoji that came up for break- car brake! Hmmm) 

Looking up from down hill

Day 13/31 – #WorldWatercolorMonth

The heat and humid of the past few weeks with intermittent thunderstorms every two to three days surely says it’s summer. That being said, the usual summer blooms on the meadow garden are a bit late and just putting out color. The  rudbeckia, coreopsis and a few culver’s root are out but generally there’s a lot more than yellow and white – there are purples, pinks and mauves, reds and oranges of the allium, Joe Pye Weed, milkweed, aster, sedge, fern, turtlehead, sunflower, goldenrod, verbena, monarda, penstemon, mountain mint, ironweed, and more, dispersed through the hillside on the meadow gardens by now. Still I’ll settle for some color any color on a hot sultry day like this. 

Brandywine Valley in brights!

Day 12 /31 – #WorldWatercolorMonth 

On the way back from the Andrew Wyeth exhibit at the Brandywine River Museum, I stopped for a really quick sketch of the lovely Brandywine Valley as seen on a partly cloudy day! The stunning sketches and paintings of Wyeth were still swirling in my head, and I was in the mood for a landscape. Although Wyeth used a much subdued palette for his landscapes, And subjects, I was in the mood for colors with a punch! What I wanted to capture was really the atmosphere rather than recreate the actual scene. To that effect I condensed the perspective a bit and tried to convey the mood that it represented to me as the sun sulked in and out of the stormy clouds casting a shadow sometimes and then taking it away…