Fall was in the air when last I went sketchwalking on Campus Way. There were quite a few runners, some skateboarders and some dog walkers. The air was crisp, the grass was still green but the trees on the distant hillside were turning and the colors of fall were peeking through. I managed to capture a few quick sketches on a somewhat sunny day, but got drizzled out by the end.
The first two sketches are of an extended clump or should I say stand of some really tall trees. I’ve yet to determine what species they are, but their presence is unmistakeable as most of the area around them is open grassy farmland, and they stand sentinel at the end of the stretch. I was fascinated by their intertwined branches outstretched high above and over the pathway,
I tried to convey a sense of their height and the atmospheric mood – the first sketch was the reflection of the bright sunshine atop their crown done on my way out, whereas the second one done on my way back was when the rain clouds had set in and turned everything to an almost grey scale. How quickly the weather does change around here!
From here you get a clear view of Mary’s Peak, granted there aren’t any clouds of Course! Once again the sketches were intended to capture a specific mood and not a photographic representation. It was a clear day but had turned cold and windy by the time I caught the sunset over Marys Peak, and of course the rained out sketch with the rain’s contribution is obvious!
This last sketch here is the distant hillside, and yes the light drizzle by then had turned to rain!
With the Santa Ynez Mountains as a dramatic backdrop on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other Santa Barbara is a sketchers paradise. Everywhere you look there’s a sketching opportunity.
Even on a short short trip I got a lot of sketch time in. As always I’ll start with the views from my window. A few cloudscapes to start with.
And I simply love the perspective of mountainscapes from 35,000ft. It’s totally mesmerizing. I see fractals everywhere!
I’ll follow up with more sketches of the Santa Ynez Mountains, sunset on the beach and downtown Santa Barbara in a later post.
Continuing with sketches from a few weeks ago, the Blue Mountains of Pennsylvania. It’s a befitting name for these mountain ranges in western Pennsylvania, for as far as the eye can see is all shades of blue and the distant haze, and just a pop of bright green where the sun hits the Valley! Of course I had to stop to sketch.
Then on through into the Allegheny Mountains and the colors change to softer shades of greens.
A trip to remember- It’s been a busy two weeks – weeks of celebrations and trips and sundry! The important one was our daughter’s birthday celebration. She had wanted to make a family trip to Fallingwater for some time now, so we decided to surprise her . Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic masterpiece in western Pennsylvania is one of Smithonian’s Life List of 28 places…., and is also a designated National Historic Landmark. Set atop a cascading waterfall the cantilevered architecture of the building is reminiscent of Japanese style homage to nature and space. The building has strong intersecting vertical and horizontal lines in colors of light ochre and Cherokee red, and the cantilevered balconies peek in and out of the lush green foliage almost intertwining and interpenetrating the interior space with the exterior. My favorite bit of the building is the cantilevered stairway that leads from the main level balcony down to the stream below, with an ideal spot to sit and dangle your feet in the gushing water, once again connecting man-made structure with nature. The dappled sunlight filtering through the canopy above bounces off the sparkling water below. The sound of the rushing and gurgling water is inescapable no matter where you go. When you arrive it leads you to the house, and then follows you everywhere as you hike the trails.
I couldn’t resist a few sketches but all we really wanted was to simply enjoy the beauty of this wonder that is.
Our next visit we’ve planned to be here when the rhododendrons are in bloom, as the grounds were covered in them everywhere you looked, along with ferns and other native plants of Pennsylvania.
This is the last posting for #WorldWatercolorMonth -Day 30 &31/31
The meadows have come to life now that we’re into mid summer and with the mega downpours we’ve had, it’s as though each day brings about a drastic change. The brush seems to grow in leaps and bounds and there’s a burst of wildflowers everyday, ever changing the colors and hues of the landscape. The vibrancy on the Meadows is an artist delight. Nature paints a splendid palette be it in the early morning light, mid afternoon glare or at sunset. I love sketching the meadows at all times of day and at all seasons, but the bright hues of summer are especially my favorite. But even summer brings such rapid change, if you blink you miss the nuances. Two days ago the colors were mostly greens with dabs of white. Now as you look across over the undulating landscape you see brush strokes of yellow from the goldenrod and rudbeckia with pops of powderpuff whites of QueenAnne’s lace swaying in the wind.
Often I take paper in different sizes with me to sketch in the field. This forces me to sketch a subject matter within it’s constraints, makes me look at it from a different perspective. Painting landscapes typically is done in landscape form to capture the vastness across a broad sheet of paper, but what if we took a vertical perspective of the same landscape and potrayed the vastness in another way. It’s quite refreshing to paint this way.
Here I’ve done the same scene both in landscape and vertical perspective. What are your thoughts, Id love to know.
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.
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.
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…
I love to go for long walks whenever I can and I always bring my sketchbook along for that quick capture of a scene or a mood that strikes without warning. Walking in the meadows at Longwood Gardens after a snowfall takes on a whole new meaning. The blue and purple hues of the distant wintry horizon, the soft fluffs of snow clinging to the seed heads, the dry grass that once stood upright now bent over weighed down by the icy snow clumps, the melting snow frozen in dripping icicles on the twigs and shrubs that catch the sunlight and scatter it into flashes of rainbow colors, the crunch of the frozen snow beneath you feet, and that smell of the frigid air that surrounds you, all make for an atmospheric experience that words fail to describe in full. Here’s my pictorial description in purples…
and here’s another one in moody blues…