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A hike in a local park, and an art challenge suggested by an art supplies vendor brought together a watercolor series idea. The hike through the woods and fields of Tamanend Park brought the exercise and peace my body and spirit were craving. The art challenge brought the spark to set my imagination to creating.

When I start a hike outdoors, I am often tense, wound up like a spring from the demands of life. I have trouble turning off my thoughts, running them over and over through frustrating loops. Within a half hour, I am far happier, more relaxed. My eyes and ears open to my surroundings, I see the subtle beauty of light play on trees, and I take photos to record inspirations for artwork. This tree on a hillside had such a quality.

A challenge to use the same image, or subject in four different art approaches felt like a fun way to use it. I enjoy a challenge- it frees me to try new things.


I set up the paper for the paintings. Then I began to sketch the landscape. By the second tree sketch, I was rather bored. It was a tedious start. Then I considered the  different approaches I could take.


This approach involves powdered graphite- first wetting the paper with water, wherever you do not want the powder  to stick. Powdered graphite comes in a little bottle, and is used to lubricate hinges and such. I tried it out and found it worked fine for this type of art approach.


The powder is washed off with water- in a bucket or hose. It leaves some unique textures.


My structure was set. All that was needed was drying time, then paint.


The colors came together very naturally for this part. Trying to capture the dynamic lines of the image with colors that I felt were suggested by the light, it all flowed for this painting.


The Hill at Tamanend

Darkening for accent, glazing more layers of color for vibrancy, then painting in many small golden branches, it was done.

On to the next one-


This one stared out with just a wet paper with  colors painted on. Pretty plain.


First I scrubbed off some of the extra colors in the foreground which felt over powering. The I started on the branches of the tree, trying to show the unusual quality of the light on the branches that day. I used an ever smaller brush to paint the finely articulated smallest branches.


Tweaking and adding detail, I ended up putting this aside for several weeks. I simply did not know how to take it further.


When I run into a wall with a painting, I often turn to experimentation. My thinking here is what do I have to lose? The work was not what I wanted. If I wrecked it, oh well! I mixed up some watery white tempera paint, and got out a toothbrush.


I spattered fine drops of white paint onto the painting. I used my other hand to block off other areas where I did not want the paint to go. A bit here and there, a bit more- my whole hand was white and the painting was done!  Now it had the ethereal quality of light I was looking for.

On to the next one-

My hikes in the woods lead me to the peace I need to function well.

What do you need to do to function well in your world?

Peace to all.