Friday, April 29, 2016


April is a lovely month to be in England, the countryside is filled with wild flowers, bluebells fill the woods and primroses, violets, wood anenomes and cowslips are everywhere, especially on our campsite only a short distance from the junction of two major motorways!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Sketch Your Park - Come raccontare il bosco con disegni e illustrazioni

this video is made by me and my friends for an educational programme in Italy that promote exploring and re-descovering  wild life of our parks through nature journaling !

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Mt. Hood

This isn't quite a 'field sketch' since it was painted in the car while my husband was driving.  Oregon's spring was just bursting with every shade of green and off in the distance loomed the pristine snow on Mt. Hood.  The interstate was reasonable smooth so I could paint on my lap.

Ma, a Japanese aesthetic principle, in my bird of prey drawings

 I’d like to show three paintings in which I have incorporated Ma, a Japanese aesthetic principle. Ma is described as 'an interval in time and/or space', thus referring to empty spaces, vagueness or abstraction. Empty spaces, in which nothing seems to happen, are full of possibilities. How do my three birds deal with Ma in their portraits?

For my portrait of Magpie, Korea's national bird, I added orange colour to compensate for a magpie’s black and white plumage. To stay close to her Korean habitat, I decided to position Magpie on a colourful and fruit-bearing persimmon branch, heavily laden with pumpkin-shaped kaki. Magpie is content with her portrait, and so am I. 
Setting up a composition for a portrait of Carrion Crow was a little harder. Negotiations with this proud and cheeky bird were tough. I talked him into sitting on a mountain ash branch, but initially he didn't agree with my decision of pushing him a little to the rear.
'You are an indigo blue-ivory black bird', I explained by pointing out that humans don't like black things. I explained that I could trick humans in loving his plumage by adding the rich palette of colours of an autumn Mountain Ash.
'This branch has fresh green, bright orange and deep red, and will charm viewers in loving your monotonous black feathers. And if I use a diagonal composition, I can guide the viewer along the branch, climbing up from deep red, through the bright orange to sap green. After such a colourful journey, people don't mind a bit of solid black. But to do that, I told Carrion Crow, I have to push you a little to one side, but that is okay. Reluctantly, Carrion Crow agreed. 
My Sparrowhawk demanded to sit high and mighty on the top branch of a proud pine tree. The world of humans doesn't interest him. He soars above it, looking down on our wars over oil, mass migration and our overheated, overpopulated world.
Sparrowhawk knows he has this intricately textured and awesome coat of feathers, which makes fashion designers drool. Not much is needed next to such an eye-catching bird; two almost evenly-coloured pine cones complete the portrait. Sparrowhawk sat down just long enough for me to make a portrait, and, without so much as a 'thank-you', flew off to his own world, soaring high above ours.
Back to Ma.. In all three bird portraits you’ll notice considerable emptiness. My birds seem to look into this emptiness. What do they see? A suitable partner? Prey? Are they guarding their hidden nests? Are they exploring new horizons? Maybe they are thinking of migrating to south Wales, where there are towns called Llwynypia (the magpie’s grove), Cwmbrân (crow valley) and Mountain Ash.
Ma is for you to fill in with your imagination, with your story-telling, your ornithological knowledge or poetry. But Ma can also be left open. We don't need to fill in empty spaces with projections, trauma, words or sounds. Ma offers a thinking pause or escape from our train of thoughts.
Magpie, Carrion Crow and Sparrowhawk understand Ma naturally. We are enchanted when we see a bird resting on a tree branch and we long to be like them: resting in Ma, accepting the here and now. 

Paula Kuitenbrouwer at

Text edited and enriched by Gerwyn Moseley.

Prints at Amazon Handmade and Etsy.  

Monday, April 11, 2016

A Day in the Wichita Mountains - Laura Gillis

Last Friday was a beautiful day, so we took the day off and went for a hike and a little sketching in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma.

The weather was perfect for humans and sunbathing lizards!

Boulder Canyon View
The little bird in the lower right corner was a tiny Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher.
There were several fluttering around at this stop.
(Ink and watercolor in Iona Journal on handmade watercolor paper)
 A Collared Lizard (male) sat with me a while as I sketched.
(Ink and watercolor in Iona Journal on handmade watercolor paper)
The Collared Lizards (or Mountain Boomers) were enjoying the warm sun.
Female (left) and Male (right)
Baby Bison with their mammas.
The entrance to Post Oak Falls. 
Post Oak Falls didn't have much water on Friday.
After the storms we had last night I'm sure it looks a whole lot different today!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

In Celebration of Dandelions - Lin Frye

In Celebration of Dandelions -- especially those that have taken over my yard!

Lin Frye, North Carolina

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

My Country Pond

Old Man Winter is not yet done with us up here in the northeast corner. A bitter cold roared through this fist weekend of April covering up the poor little daffodil buds and crocus ending my excitement for a bit more time. I happened to look down at our country crossroad pond and the lime in the freezing cold water made the most lovely aqua blue tones against a cloudless sky. The sun was brilliant but not felt at all. I simply had to snap a picture and return to the warm confines of my studio to paint this beloved spot. Each season passes with new colors surrounding it, air and land creatures making nests in and around it, swimming across or drinking from it ~ a center of nature indeed.