Wild Goose Island

Wild Goose Island is situated in St. Mary’s Lake of Glacier National Park, Montana. Folklore tells a romantic story of how this island came to be – the story is below if you care to read it.

I was awestruck by the colors of the glacially fed lake and the majestic mountains in the background, making Wild Goose Island the perfect subject for a painting.

A Montana Legend

retold by S.E. Schlosser

In the middle of St. Mary Lake in Glacier National Park is a small island halfway between two shores.  Many moons ago now, there were two tribes living on either side of the lake.  While there was no direct warfare between them, the two tribes avoided one another and had no dealings one with the other.

All this changed one day when a handsome warrior on the near shore saw a lovely maiden from the other tribe swimming toward the small island in the middle of the lake.  He was instantly smitten by her beauty and leapt into the lake to swim to the island himself.  They met on the shore of the little islet, and the maiden was as taken with the warrior as he was with her.  They talked for hours, and by the end of their conversation, they were betrothed.  After extracting a promise from his beloved that she would faithfully meet him at the island on the morrow, the warrior swam home to his tribe, and she returned to hers.

Oh, what an uproar they met upon their return.  Neither tribe was happy at their meeting, and all were determined to break the betrothal instantly.  What to do?  The man and the maiden had no doubts at all.  In the wee hours of the morning, each swam out to the little island to meet one another — from their to flee to a new land where they might marry.  As soon as they were discovered missing, warriors from both tribes set out in pursuit, to bring the renegades back by whatever means available.

But the Great Spirit was watching, and took pity on the young lovers.  He transformed them into geese, which mate for life, so they could fly away from their pursuers and so that they would always be together.  When the warriors arrived on the island, the found not a man and a woman, but two lovely geese walking among the small trees and bracken.  At the sight of the warriors, the two geese stroked their necks together lovingly and then flew away, never to return.

From that day to this, the little island at the center of St. Mary Lake has been known as Wild Goose Island.



It is rather chilly weather here, but painting these lemons made me think of warm, bright sunshiny weather.

Lemons 1

Lemons 1

As a matter of fact, I painted two versions – one in my natural controlled style and the other in a splashy loose style.

Lemons 2

Lemons 2

Which one do you like best?


Hello to my dear readers out there.  I hope you’ve all be doing well!  I’ve been in a bit of a creative funk lately, mostly due to lack of time but sometimes a lack of motivation.

I decided the easiest way to get back in the saddle again was to go back to the beginning and paint some Doodlewash prompts.  It was satisfying to splash the paints again so hopefully I can get back on track.   Sending good wishes and hugs to you all!


Draw-A-Bird-Day, October 2017

Black-billed Magpies were abundant in the areas we visited in Montana and Wyoming last month.  Never having seen one before, I was struck with their extremely long tails, the beautiful flashes of white shown in their wings when they fly, and the blue and green iridescence of their feathers.

Black-billed Magpie

Black-billed Magpie

If you are familiar with their relatives – crows and blue jays – you can imagine the raucous, sometimes piercing chatter of these curious birds.

Art Classes – St. Maarten Painting

A few months ago I was in a rut with my art, partly because of not finding enough quality time to create and partly because of feeling stuck with my progress. Around that time my friend Judy saw a story in the local paper about a weekly art group forming in our area – all skill levels welcome!  Having no real formal art instruction other than a 6-week beginning watercolor course for me and lots of YouTube and other tutorials, we thought it would be fun to join. After learning the basics of line drawings, negative and positive spaces, composition, gridding, etc., we finally started on our first paintings.

St. Maarten

St. Maarten

This 12 x 15 painting is inspired from a photo I took in St. Maarten last year, and yes the sky was that dramatic and the water was really ribboned with those gorgeous colors.  I am thankful that I was required to work in a size larger than I am used to, and I relished having a professional artist to suggest, critique, and guide me along the way.  She is respectful of my style and listens to my thought processes, offering a variety of options and encouragement, as do the fellow students.   I am hopeful to complete a new “big” painting every four weeks or so in class while continuing my usual practice at home as posted here and on Instagram. Now to select a subject for my next painting …

Bull Elk

Visiting Yellowstone a few weeks ago was perfect timing for mating season (rut) for many of the animals, including the elk.  Groups of females (cows) and their youngsters lounged throughout the visitor areas and were used to humans being close by, so it was exciting when we saw a bull guarding his harem of cows in the meadow one morning.


Bull Elk

Males claim their territory and challenge each other by making a horrible screeching noise called bugling.  The unforgettably creepy bugling is quite haunting and is a sound I will never forget.  If bugling doesn’t scare away the competitors, elk will sometimes show their dominance by fighting with their antlers.  Fun fact:  Bull elk shed their antlers each spring and grow new ones by the time the fall rut begins.