Archive for July, 2009

June 27, Glenwood Gardens

July 31, 2009

I headed to Glenwood again to see if I could capture more of the spectacular wildflower meadow displays.  Hiking out the Wetlands Trail, I was amazed to find that much of it had been mowed!  I’ll assume that this was part of a management plan, and not just “maintenance,” as it definitely uglified the area. They spared the most spectacular displays, fortunately.

I ended up passing by the most colorful fields, mostly because it was hot and I needed to paint in the shade. I suppose I could haul an umbrella and stand with me, but when you’re walking miles to your painting site, it just isn’t practical. I picked a spot looking down into a field surrounded by forest, with a thick growth of Queen Ann’s lace in the foreground. It was very nice when the sun was out, so-so when cloud shadows passed by. I worked on blocking in the  tree masses and detail when it was cloudy, and worked on the color when the sun came out again. I played tag with the sun all afternoon.  Occasionally, I thought the thickening cumulus would turn into a thunderstorm, but that never happened.  There were only a few hikers on this Monday afternoon. I saw more rabbits than people. It should be a good year for Red Tailed Hawks!

My easel set up on the Wetlands Trail

My easel set up on the Wetlands Trail

"Glenwood Queen Ann's Lace" 12 x 9 acrylic on panel

"Glenwood Queen Ann's Lace" 12 x 9 acrylic on panel

July 21, Glenwood Gardens

July 22, 2009
"Wetlands Trail Meadow"  14 x 11, acrylic on panel

"Wetlands Trail Meadow" 14 x 11, acrylic on panel

I headed back to Glenwood Gardens to paint the meadows again. The wildflower display is spectacular now, so I might be doing this a couple more times. today I stopped along the Wetlands Trail, taking a service road a few dozen meters off the main trail. A hillside with some interesting trees loomed, glowing with Black-Eyed Susans, Purple Coneflower, Bergamot, Queen Ann’s Lace, and etc.   The most challenging part of the painting was not doing the multitudes of blooms, but recreating the complicated mass of greenery beneath them.  I think I managed it fairly well, using a fan brush and a sponge over a base color.  I painted in individual leaves in the foreground, leaving the more distant parts somewhat impressionistic.

Indigo Buntings, Towhees and cardinals serenaded me as I worked. Insects sounds are starting to increase, headed to their peak in the last of the warm August weather.

Painting a meadow on the Wetlands Trail

Painting a meadow on the Wetlands Trail

July 12, Glenwood Gardens

July 13, 2009

I heard that the flowers on the Wetlands trail were getting good, so I headed out with my easel and pack. I walked along the trail, eyes peeled for a prospective composition.  I came across some nice displays, fields of cone flowers, black-eyed susan and bergamot which were quite colorful, but there was no shade, no place to work comfortably other than setting up in the middle of the trail.  I rounded the 1.3 mile mark, growing pessimistic that I would find a suitable place to paint. I did the spur trail off the Wetlands loop, finally coming to a nice view looking down on a pond, with fields full of Queen Ann’s Lace, yellow daisies, Bergamot, and cone flower. There was even a bench! It was in the full sun, but you can’t have everything. It was a beautiful day, and a dozen or so people walked by as I worked.

I also watched a pair of Red-Tailed hawks soar together, and listened to Towhees, Cardinals, Indigo Buntings, and Song Sparrows as I worked. On the walk back I saw a large Eastern Spiny soft-shelled turtle.

My easel overlooking a pond on the Wetlands Trail

My easel overlooking a pond on the Wetlands Trail

Just getting started

Just getting started...

...finishing up

...finishing up

Wetlands Trail #2, 11 x 14 acrylic on panel

Wetlands Trail #2, 11 x 14 acrylic on panel

July 6th, Sharon Woods

July 8, 2009

Another reprise scene today, Buckeye Falls in Sharon Woods Gorge.  The last time I painted this waterfall, there was some residual ice. Today I worked up a good sweat just sitting, and a nice little watersnake greeted me at the rock where I set up the easel.  The water still had some sediment in it from the July 4th rains, but it was starting to clear. The color of the water was quite different from it’s blue-green winter hue.

The easel set up below the falls in Sharon Woods Gorge.

The easel set up below the falls in Sharon Woods Gorge.

This time I rotated the “canvas” (I work on Masonite panels) 90°, making a vertical composition.  The shadows from trees extended a little way across the falls and the creek, adding some interest to the brown water.  In the winter, the shadows were linear shapes from bare branches and tree trunks, but this time they were blotchy leaf shadows.  The sun was much higher in the sky as well, putting more sunlight directly on the falls.

As I worked, I was visited by Indigo Buntings, Cardinals, a Red-Shouldered Hawk, and a nice little Northern Water Snake.  Minnows hunted the pools in the creek.  Humans made visits as well!

"Buckeye Falls, July 6"  14 x 11, Acrylic on panel

"Buckeye Falls, July 6" 14 x 11, Acrylic on panel