Thursday, March 27, 2014

Looking for Spring

This is the winter with no end. But there are tantalizing glimpses here and there of warmer weather. I've seen flocks of robins for weeks. Last week I saw my first red-wing blackbirds and grackles. Great Blue Herons are fishing wherever they can find open water. Crocuses, tulips and day lilies are elbowing their way up into the sunshine. The sap is flowing!

It was sunny and Spring-like last Sunday so I gathered my sketchbook, put some pencils in my pocket and biked a few miles to Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary. I had "spring fever." It looked like Spring but it felt like Winter: I wish I'd brought gloves! By the end of the excursion my fingers were stiff and had to be pried off the bike's handlebars. I made two drawings (how to choose from a the myriad of motifs??). The first one (below) is of an old beech tree grove. I added a bit of color to it the following morning. 

Beech Grove, Broadmoor March 23, 2014
crayon, watercolor

The added watercolor on the right helps the forms emerge from the confusion of the drawing

Stream with beaver dam, Broadmoor 3/23/2014
charcoal, watercolor
original drawing on left. I added some watercolor washes the following day (on right) 
This drawing (above) was done where a stream flows out of a pond that a beaver dam have created. I love moving water! It's hard to draw however. I need a system I suppose. Paradoxically, my ineptness pleases me and forces me to observe and take note of what's in front of me and also what inside of me is resisting the active process of really Seeing. It's a problem I live with. Fortunately, a little touch of watercolor can help clarify the tangle of lines and smudges.


  1. Dear Rob, I am sending you a bit of spring from North Rhine Westphalia. Since a few days it is more than 20 degrees Celsius, the sun is shining, many flowers are blooming already, the trees are getting green, and I take long walks with my bicycle. These days i am working on a great artist book and a mail art project, the sketchbook is a bit off in the background. I am looking forward to your spring drawings, the winter can not last for ever .Yesterday a heron flew over our house, which is very rare with us, and I had to think of you.
    very best greetings

  2. Danke schön dear Klaus. Spring is skipping about and the river is in flood. But I can't help but leave my jacket at home and draw with frozen fingers some days. The gloves are put away! I'm very intrigued by your artist book. You've posted a few photos already…


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