Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Student's Island, Maine

Last week, after dropping our daughters off at a summer camp, my wife and I headed west and north to Mooselookmeguntic Lake in Western Maine. We did this last year. It was nice to return to the pristine shores of Student's Island
It is a pleasure staying on a small island with rudimentary camping facilities: a flat spot to pitch a tent and a fire pit. We hear loons and watch the weather, read books, and cook over a campfire. We get about by canoe and our feet. There is a wonderful trail around the island.
I try to sketch as much as possible depending on the weather. The weather is variable; this year: rain, mist, drizzle and blowing rain! Such variety! External events forced us to cut this trip short but hopefully next year we'll get at least three nights in.

a trail entering the thick forest

Trees clinging to the rocky shore

Across the lake is Bald Mountain. This is the view from the tent door.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron at the dam
22 June, 2011 | pencil

I never tire of drawing these stately birds

Monday, June 20, 2011

Great Blue Heron

A truly magnificent Great Blue Heron hunting at the face of the dam
I saw this beautiful bird at the dam yesterday after biking home from Needham. The world was very shiny. The sun was glorious. There were Constable clouds gliding this way and that in the sky. A few families were having picnics in the park. The water was rushing over the dam and creating a wonderful soothing din. And there was this pristine, well-coifed heron standing up to the torrent seeking its lunch.  Just gorgeous like a stately supermodel. The brilliant noonday sun casting his oval shadow on the rushing foam below.

Try to get outside people. It's officially Summer this week!

Friday, June 17, 2011

River Logs

"River Logs" April 2011 graphite
There's a place in Elm Bank where the Charles River has been eroding a part of the river bank that was distinguished by a group of tall trees. Over time, the bank has been undermined and one-by-one, the trees have tumbled into the water. They remind me of the ribs of giant whale.

Maybe in the not so distant future they will find their way to the harbor and the Atlantic Ocean. Where to then? Cape Anne? Cape Cod? The Emerald Isle? Maybe someone or something will hitch a ride or a sail on these once rooted sentinels and find a new fair purpose for their wooden bodies! May we all venture out, Imperialists at heart, and explore and maybe even colonize new shores! Have a good weekend. I hope you get outside and experience Nature firsthand!


Monday, June 13, 2011

Below the Dam

The island below the dam, June 5, 2011
Here's a hurried sketch of the river just below the dam. I had about 40 minutes before I had to get to a family commitment last Sunday morning. Sometimes that pressure is a good thing in order to prioritize what should be included and what gets left out in a drawing. It's no masterpiece but I feel good because I worked on this challenging 180º view of the bridge, island and dam (I ended up distorting the size of the island. Oh well, there's always next time).

Swifts and a heron below the dam, June 12, 2011
A view from about the same spot only looking up toward the face of the dam drawn yesterday afternoon. Several days of intermittent rain had ended long enough for a flock of swifts to feast on the newly emergent mosquitoes and other insects. A Great Blue Heron in his "sniper's nest" just below the dam. In the 45 minutes of drawing, the heron moved out across the face of the dam then flew off downriver. There have been no mallard or goose families here yet. I wonder when they will move back in?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Not Awake Yet

6 June 2011 | Elm Bank | Natick, MA

Monday through Friday, I go for a stroll after walking with my daughter to her school bus stop. It's not necessary, but it's our routine and we get to spend a little extra time together. It's a good thing even though it is only 7:00 a.m.
Today, I walked over to Elm Bank and looked for something to draw. After wandering around a bit, I chose the mansion from the far end of the Italianate Garden. Luckily, I chose a seat away from the lawn sprinklers; that would have woken me up! I was home by 8:00 and ready to start the work day.

How was your day?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Broadmoor: June 3

I drew this witha blue pencil; you just have to imagine that everything is green!
I've been trying to get over to Broadmoor once or twice a week to sketch. This drawing was done yesterday morning. The view is from a boardwalk across the marsh, not far from the nature center. A cold front had come through the day before (bringing tornadoes to western Massachusetts) so the weather was sunny, crystalline and breezy. I felt like I was at a higher latitude.

The pointed leaves of aquatic Broadleaf Arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia) are brilliant green and they cross swords at consistent angles as they set to work harvesting the sun's energy. These angles and the resulting patches of light and shadow are the dominant impression to be seen. Swifts also darted constantly back and forth across the marsh from one end to the other feeding on the sun-dazed mosquitoes. Some geese meandered by and a Great Blue Heron soared overhead, wheeled and landed in the upper reaches of the marsh.  A few photographers, as sun-dazzled as the mosquitoes, traipsed across the boardwalk in search of prey. But it was early and I pretty much had the place to myself.
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