Of Treespeak

I love trees, always have, I can’t walk by one without looking up its spine, and as a kid couldn’t walk by without climbing up one either, and have the scrapes and scars to how for it.

Biologists, ecologists, foresters, and naturalists increasingly argue that trees speak, and that humans can learn to hear this language. (If only we would listen…) They speak constantly, even if quietly, communicating above and underground using sound, scents, signals, and vibes. They’re naturally networking, connected with everything that exists, including you. There’s a fascinating article on how “Plants use acoustic vibes to find a drink”

Literary and musical history is speckled with references to the songs of trees, and the way they speak: whispering pines, falling branches, crackling leaves, the steady hum buzzing through the forest. Human artists have always known on a fundamental level that trees talk, even if they don’t quite say they have a “language.”

Have you not walked in the woods and head the murmur in the canopy, stood under a tree in early spring and heard the soft crackle of a new leaf bud bursting out, or the whistling and rustling of leaves in the wind, and wondered!

Read more on this in Euphrates Livni’s article here.


Baldies with Big Mouths…

Early last spring, I saw a little wren at my bird feeder pecking away with all his might. About an hour later I noticed squirrels having a feast on the ground and the bird feeder was empty. I proceeded to take it down to fill it up again when I noticed a bunch of twigs inside, which I promptly cleared out and refilled with sunflower seeds. Later that afternoon, the same spectacle, there he was again pecking and spilling out the seeds. It then hit me, this little wren had just found himself some prime real estate and was not about to give it up. So, I gave in!

A few weeks later I was rewarded to the sound of five hungry chicks screeching inside the bird feeder. The wren had succeed in building his nest, finding a mate and successfully raising a brood! I never got to see the fledglings leave the nest though, as I was traveling most of the summer.

This year spring’s arrival brought back the wren, and his sweet song filled the air. And then it went silent. Sure enough there were six eggs in the nest and a few weeks later six little chicks. I was away a few days and I missed the fledglings again! Not to disappoint, the wrens have had a second brood of five eggs this year and with a camera setup I did get to take a few pictures without disturbing them. This past Sunday I got to steal a few minutes in between their feeding times to sketch them. And boy are these fellows hungry all the time!
They are quite a sight with their big bald heads and wide open mouths! Here’s my rendition of Baldies with Big Mouths!JPEG image-C43030992490-1

Longwood Fountainscape

Day1/31 #WorldWatercolorMonth – yes it’s #WorldWatercolorMonth 2017! It kind of snuck up on me though  Charlie O’Shields over at Doodlewash has been reminding us for almost a month now! 

The gorgeous flowerpots at the base of Longwood fountain terrace were just begging to be sketched. These exotic blooms had such a tropical air to them, I just wanted to capture the essence, but I’ll have to do the flowers over again.


I love to combine activities, so when I go for walks I carry my sketchbook with me to capture some of the beauty around me.  For some time now I’ve been wanting to sketch the chaos beneath these trees along the hedgerow I pass every day. It’s a riot of color what with the bramble which still has its leaves now turning purple, the thousands of rose hips in reds and oranges, the fallen leaves  tangled in between and not to mention the seed heads of the Queen Ann’s lace and the teasels lining the edge. I tried several attempts but wasn’t quite satisfied with the sketches- they needed more texture to convey the chaotic sense. So I’ve been experimenting with texture. Here are some preliminary ones:

This left one is of the tree that is my one mile marker. In summer it has wild roses in full bloom all around its base and their heady perfume wafts up as I pass by.  The one on the right is a mass of three trees – I only had room for two on my page, on a slope on the ravine. The strong roots are much more visible now beneath the bramble

This little stump has a lot more bramble has the most rose hips trailing over it. But I didn’t quite get to the rose hips. I liked the way it looked st this stage and decided to stop here.


I did a few more focused just on the bramble, rose hips and the teasels. I’m having so much fun with this, I’ll be doing a lot more and trying out new ways to convey texture.

Stormy Skies

The past few days have been a rollercoaster of foggy, misty, rainy thunderstorms. Although this makes for dull gray days, it does however  result in some great cloud formations and misty effect over the mountains. I’ve had a ball trying to capture these misty mountains. Here is a first attempt at capturing the rainy mist over Mary’s Peak

Here’s a second try. I never like to use the same colors twice when redoing a painting.

I also tried the same effects on the mountains that run along the side of Mary’s Peak. Again of course on yet another color combination.

I like the way they turned out. This gives me ideas for a larger painting across the mountain range.

Colors of Longwood

Fall has been lingering a bit this year, and all the better, as I’ve been behind in capturing the colors this year. So last week with sketchbook in hand I went for a stroll at Longwood. My sketchbook wasn’t long enough so I had to double back to fetch some longer sheets of watercolor paper. Here’s the result. I still wish the paper could have been even longer…

Even as I was sketching the clouds came by quite suddenly and I had to get another view with the clouds in this time. The sketch turned out a bit busy but worth the effort as now I have another sketch to add to my cloudscape studies…

Fall is in the air…

It’s now October and Fall is in the air, you can feel it in the mild chill of the early morning sun, the slight turning in the foliage from the bright greens to the muted tones and even some yellowing leaves on a few shrubs and vines, although the bright orange, reds and purple hues are yet to come…anticipation!

Pumpkins seem to prop up everywhere – in garden patches, on lawns and doorsteps, in grocery carts and even on my kitchen table. So I’ll start this post with a quick sketch of these fabulous gourds.


Study in Pink

A quick sketch to loosen up this morning…the echinacea are abundantly blooming in my garden this year and so are the bees and butterflies. It’s a flutter of activity. I’m just gonna have to paint a few butterflies next!