I just finished my first official Moleskine sketchbook, and upon flipping through and recalling the memories of the past many months, I came across this toad that I had not shared yet on my blog.  We were in North Carolina for a dear friend’s wedding and stayed in a cabin deep in the woods.  Naturally there was plenty of wildlife, and while most of the critters kept their distance, this large toad sat on the porch for an entire day.  He even let my daughter pick him up and hold him for a bit.



We were a little worried because he was so far away from the stream but later learned that toads spend less time in water than frogs do, so I guess he knew what he was doing.  Nevertheless, Toady was a fun mascot for the cabin and a lot of fun to capture in this painting.  I’m excited to start a new Moleskine as the New Year approaches and can’t wait to start splashing color on those pages!

Nashville, Tennessee

Happy November!

We have been fortunate to do some traveling off and on since September and with each trip, whether short or long, I find myself that much farther behind on many things, including blogging.  However, most nights when I sit down to relax I thankfully have had time to catch up with all the talented, inspiring bloggers I follow (better than a magazine or being subjected to too many political commercials!!).

Luckily, during our travels, I was able to make a lot of paintings in my sketchbook.  One thing about keeping a sketchbook is that although the pictures are not “masterpieces,” they are PRICELESS in making memories and become a fun travel diary which takes me back to the places where I so carefully observed the subjects.


Music Row Mansion, Nashville, TN

Music Row Mansion, Nashville, TN

In September, a total of 20 of us spent a long weekend Nashville, Tennessee, and we stayed in a terrific three-story mansion on Music Row.  We enjoyed visiting the honky-tonks on Broadway, the Grand Ole Opry, Studio B, and the Country Music Hall of Fame.  This painting features some things I saw at the CMHF.  Buck Owen’s all-American guitar takes us way back to the Bakersfield Sound, I simply adore Randy Travis and evidently fringe is currently in style again J, and Brad Paisley’s iconic hat has a presence of its own!  The white hat on white paper was a bit of a challenge but I am improving a bit at negative painting.


Country Music Hall of Fame Items, Nashville, TN

Country Music Hall of Fame Items, Nashville, TN

I have lots to share this month and also look forward to playing along with the #WorldWatercolorGroup prompts for November.  It feels good to be back!

Eggs, #WorldWatercolorGroup

The WWG prompt of the day is eggs, and here are some of my favorites – deviled eggs.  I love eggs in almost any form, but nothing says summer picnic like a good deviled egg.

To me, the most difficult part of making deviled eggs is peeling the shells off, and I seem to have the  best luck if the eggs are not ultra fresh. Do you know of a foolproof method? Also, sorry the lighting is so bad; I painted and photographed these while on a plane ✈️ 

TGIF, and I hope you have a terrific weekend! 

Cake, #WorldWatercolorGroup

We recently attended another wedding, and this is a sketch of the wedding cake.

It was adorned with real sunflowers and sweet baby’s breath with a little bling tucked in here and there. The texture of the tree trunk base really pulled together the rustic, county feeling that the cowboy boot-wearing newlyweds wanted to create. All the best to D&P!

Draw a Bird Day, October 2016

I dislike being tardy and could have sworn I had scheduled a post for yesterday, but alas I am wrong. So here is my late entry for this month’s Draw a Bird Day.


Brown-Headed Cowbird

This is a brown-headed cowbird that visits our bird feeder. Their brown feathers are really shiny in the sun, and that is one of the best ways to distinguish them from crows. These birds are “outlawed” in some areas because they visit nests of other birds in the spring, nudge out the native bird’s eggs, and lay their own in the nests. The unsuspecting native birds hatch the cowbird eggs and raise the baby birds as their own. That is why they are considered nuisances in some areas  of the world. Nature sure is interesting, isn’t it, if not a little rude at times 😉

Sketchbook – Summer Observations

Here are some quick sketches completed in my new sketchbook over the past couple of months.  We have a local, 23-acre, county park very nearby in which we take many walks.  Even though it is on the corner of two very busy streets, once in the park you forget all that hustle and bustle.  The park is also unique in that the majority of the trails are paved and handicap accessible, complete with braille signs and waist-high gardens.  Other features include a pond, wildflower prairie, a small bamboo forest, and a barn for park programs.


This is a sketch of the old homestead at the nature preserve, and the house now serves as a gift shop.  This is a view of it through the trees near the entrance.


Here is the fire pit area where many programs are held and where naturalists cook maple syrup during Maple Sugar Days each year.  When the kids were small we took many family walks at the park, and because not much was happening at the fire pit on weekday evenings, my kids took the opportunity to use the area as a stage and would perform “shows” for us after our walks.   Note part of the bamboo forest in the upper right corner of this sketch.


We saw this cute little guy hopping around, and this is a female cardinal sitting on her speckled eggs.  We also see deer, turtles, snakes, frogs, many varieties birds, and all the other usual critters that live in this area.


One section of the park is home to numerous sassafras trees, which have an odd twisting characteristic to their trunks.  They really are quite fascinating.  I remember learning about sassafras trees when I was in grade school because a teacher said the leaves look like mittens.


I’m looking forward to the fall weather and watching all the changes take place at the nature preserve, and I’m glad we have such an extraordinary place so close to home.

Car, Ford Galaxie 500, #WorldWatercolorGroup

Today’s #WorldWatercolorGroup prompt is car, and painting this really put me outside my comfort zone.  However, I was pleasantly pleased with the outcome although some car aficionados might disagree, but it was really fun to do.  Thanks to my parents, this was my first official car from back in 1979 – A 1970 Ford Galaxie 500 – with a bench seat, black hardtop, and all the bells and whistles including a AM radio.  I was able to afford gas with my babysitting money and summer job, and eventually I saved enough for an FM converter!  Now that was exciting!

Oh my gosh, again the memories held in this car came rushing back as I was drawing and painting.  I drove it back and forth to school each day, to football games on Friday nights, to haunted houses with my sister, Debbie, and Cindy in the fall, to movies with my best friend Cindy, to shop at Gold Circle, and finally to work when I started cooping in my senior year.  Oh, and gas was around 50 cents a gallon!  If my calculations are correct, the length of the Galaxie measured 3-1/2 feet longer than the Focus my daughter is currently driving, but that is what we were used to.


I felt so cool with that big boat of a car and an FM converter, allowing me to tune into the local pop station and sing at the top of my lungs.  I don’t know why this month’s prompts are taking me down memory lane so often, but I am glad they are.  What was your first car?