Bend in the Stream

Gentle fall colors create serenity in this painting of a stream meandering through a midwestern savanna.

I’ve always liked it when trees arch themselves over a street. I love the grand yet protected feel that gives. So when I came across this spot, I was delighted. Trees arching over a stream? Even better!


Arrow-head in Bloom

Sagittaria latifolia

Here is a recent painting to come off my easel. It feels particularly poignant to me this morning, having arisen to minus 20 degrees! Yikes. I’ll sure be glad to see warm temperatures again.

When I started this painting I wanted deep, rich blues for a background. I wasn’t even sure yet which plant I would pair with it but arrowhead seemed like the right choice. Laying in the first leaf I just let the green suggest the shape, and I’m really happy how some of the edges are lost. That makes the closer leaf pop and gives the flower stalk a wonderful stage.

Snow Falling on Bur Oaks

Joyce's snowAbout a year ago a friend of mine asked me to paint this for her. She wanted to catch that moment when you’re out in the field and suddenly the air changes and big fat snowflakes begin to fall, casting their enchantment over the scene. This year she’s asked me to paint two smaller paintings to flank this one, creating a triptych. Here is the first of these:


Joyce's snow 2

Effervescent Stream

thumbnail-1 (1)Great Blue Heron Lifting Off

This is how I prefer my sparkling water 🙂 My family spent many happy hours by rivers and streams that looked just like this out in California. This scene is from a stretch along the Des Plaines River Trail. Not part of the main river, I believe. Sort of a river spur.  I think what we’re seeing is a bit of engineering to recreate a meander, with some nice rocks added. I won’t venture into the debate over whether it’s “natural”~ I’ll just enjoy it for the momentary transport it offers me to wilder rivers I have known.

Noble Power

Noble Power

I’m often asked how long it takes to create a painting. This is usually a very difficult question to answer. First, there are the months or years I’ve spent studying the habitat or plant that I am depicting, thinking about how I might paint it. Then, there is the time the canvas is on the easel.I don’t usually make studies for my paintings~I just plunge in. (I also never read instructions…) This often means I’m feeling my way along and sometimes a year later I’ll realize what needs to be altered for the painting to work. This handsome fellow was different. What you see here is the first laying-in of an image. I’m just quickly putting down shapes and color, striking a balance between light and shadow. The final painting often looks quite different as I adjust proportions or make sweeping changes to the composition. However with this canvas life got really busy and I never got back to him. He just stood patiently against a wall while I dealt with a swirl of distractions that stretched into months. Visitors would tell me how much they liked him just the way he was and, over time, I began to feel that way too. I still really like the composition I originally had in mind but that may be for another canvas, another day. This one just feels complete the way it is. Time? About 4 hours. Very unusual for me 🙂