Friday, July 29, 2011

Low Water Opportunities

Low water in the river apparently means more animals can exploit the environment below the dam. There are rocks to rest upon and pools of water where fish linger. The hot weather has stimulated luxuriant plant growth which provides forage for the mallards. I even spotted a large brown water snake the other evening. It was cruising the rocks at the face of the dam looking, I presume, for small fish. I did see a few darting black fish shapes leaping up at the face of the cascading water. So did an observant Great Blue Heron that perched a few feet from the snake (who seemed unaware of its presence!). The heron seemed equally curious about the snake (who was focused on the fish). That would be quite a meal if he could manage it!

low water flowing over the dam. Three mallards dabble at the top of this sketch.
Here's that incredible water snake. He looked huge but was probably a meter long tip to tail.
I returned this morning (July 29, 2011) and was able to sketch a pair of juvenile Common Mergansers as they rested on a flat rock. Later, they hopped into the water and started foraging. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Fern Hill Farm

A beautiful rooster at Fern Hill Farm, Naples, Maine
July 24 2001
A spread from my sketchbook

We stayed at our favorite bed & breakfast last weekend. In addition to being a temporary home to humans visiting the Sebago Lake area of Maine, Fern Hill Farm is a home for chickens and Nubian goats and cats (I counted three calm and friendly farm cats). The breakfasts are excellent, the beds comfortable, and the innkeepers charming, capable and very professional.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sunday, July 17, 2011


07-16-11 Lake Waban, carbon pencil
This is a view of the Hunnewell Pinetum (in my house, we call it "Swirlyland") from Tupelo Point on the Wellesley College campus. The body of water is named Lake Waban. Tupelo Point doesn't have a lot to recommend it although it is a famous Wellesley landmark of dubious repute. A family of swans has taken to nesting there and they are messy birds. Feathers and less-poetic swan memorabilia are everywhere --so watch your step if you try to join some students for midnight al fresco entertainments.

I balanced precariously on a small boulder perilously close to the lapping waters to draw this. But the weather was gorgeous and the water was warm. I was amused by a group of boisterous young Danes visiting this country who decided to take a swim (not allowed by the college police). The young men added a boisterous Scandinavian charm to the afternoon. If I were Karl Larssen, I would have persuaded them to model for me and it'd be just like the Garden of Eden …again. Heaven on Earth.
Say "Hello!" to Summer… again!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Bastille Day 2011

A small group of Canada Geese were feeding in the calm waters above the dam yesterday. I settled in and tried to draw their portraits. There were seven geese in total but I can't remember offhand how many were adults and how many were  part of this summer's brood. The young have much of their adult plumage but they still look a little soft and almost "unfinished".  They are also smaller. The more mature birds seemed to be on guard a bit more too — but I might be just imagining this.

The geese dabbled and dithered
Bastille Day 2011
Three Geese atop the dam, 14 July 2011
Later, they sailed off to the top of the dam for some grooming and a little drying out. The hot weather had broken during the previous night and it was breezy and bright and delightful. Little clouds of foam boiled and floated at the bottom of the cascade. The geese went back to dabbling and later circled back to the top of the spillway and I went back home to work.

Monday, July 11, 2011


The heron is a regular now late in the afternoon. He hunts at the base of the dam and catches several fish in about 30 minutes of work. He's quite focused so it's easy to get a good look at the whole process.

Don't search for it in this drawing; he came by after I'd drawn the area where he frequents. But here's a view done in crayon of him criss-crossing in front of the bridge the other morning.

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