Opuntia humifusa

Prickly Pear Cactus Drawing

One of the coolest things about Illinois Beach State Park is the incredible array of plant species it boasts.  I am fascinated by the different forms that plants can take, and thought a series of pen and ink drawings would serve to highlight that.  Here is my most recent drawing, of Prickly Pear Cactus.  It likes the dunes.

Every single time I set out to draw a plant, even one I think I know well, I learn something about it. For example, all Prickly Pears are not the same.  There are 2 species growing here, although this is the only one I’ve come across.  A friend of mine, a botanist, told me that in one of her botany courses the students were told to go out and find a plant to draw every week through the season.  “You know”, she said, “I’ll never not recognize that plant, regardless of season, after that.”  Drawing forces us to keep looking until we see.

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Winter’s Hush

Winter Hush

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When I started writing a blog, it was with trepidation.  That is probably true for most of us.  Over time, though, I have met all of you, and you have come to mean so much to me.  I want you to know that when I dance into my studio every day, you come with me.  We are in good company, too.  We have Barbra Streisand, in there, and U2 and Bach. 🙂

Yesterday I scrubbed out a garden painting that was resisting me, and decided to play with snow instead.  So this little painting was born.  I started out with very dark green, and purple, and blue.  Then the fun started, with splatters of white that I let drip down the canvas, right into the wet dark paint.  This morning I returned to paint in some limbs, and finally the wind chime.  This wind chime is one of my very favorite things in the world.  It is a big one, with deep chords.  It is murmuring to me right now, keeping me up to date on how things are going out there.

Thank you for coming to play with me!

My Garden Birdhouse…Or, What Dreams May Come

Birdhouse in My Garden

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Do you remember that movie, “What Dreams May Come”?  It affected me deeply, especially the part where the people fell into the painting.  Today, if I could, I would jump into this one.  I don’t really have pink roses growing there~ too much shade.  But that’s the fun of having a paintbrush! 🙂

What Was Needed

Spring Bluff Marsh

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Ahh, January.  I love the clean crispness of January.  I clean out my studio and begin again, looking through my stash of photos and sketches for my next project.  Fresh new canvases thrill me to my fingertips, but I don’t hesitate to paint out a painting from last year that didn’t ever quite gel.  Sometimes, though, they are sort of in between.  Not bad enough to paint out, yet something is missing… This weekend when I was flipping through old photos an old snag caught my attention.  Ah-HAH!  That’s what was missing in my Spring Bluff Marsh~ a big ole gnarly tree.  So I scooped up some colors and let them mush together in the shape of a snag.  Now I’m happy.

Life is like that, isn’t it?  Sometimes the thing that is missing is really already there, you just aren’t seeing it.  It is so satisfying when the needful thing clicks into place.

Linda’s Heron

Linda's Heron

I’ve spent the past several days helping a dear friend move to Florida.  When she suggested it, I thought, “Heck yeah! I’m always up for a road trip!”….forgetting that the last road trip I undertook was many moons ago. Tired as the trip left me, I’m so glad I did it.  It did my heart good to see her follow her dream. It felt like a proper send off to someone who has meant so much to me here. Thank goodness for the internet~Hugs, Diana!!  I miss you already!

When I returned to my studio, this fierce fellow was waiting for me.  He’s my last commission of 2014.  Yesterday I tinkered a little with him, and then decided I’d better leave him alone.  Gazing at him standing there with rain drops pelting him, I can’t help but wonder what the future holds for this planet of ours.  Last night I watched a movie filmed in 1948.  Back then, people could be certain of their world, I think.  Of course, human impact via chemicals, birth rate, accelerating commercialism and all the rest, were already beginning.  But they could still count on going out and seeing a frog, if they had a mind to.  I can no longer count on that, even with the thousands of acres held in preserve.

Life will survive, and nature can heal herself.  When I ask myself what is to be done, I think the best answer is to keep loving the world and each other.  When love is a verb, magic can happen.