Saturday, April 7, 2018

Nature Journal: Spring Wildflowers Week One

Despite spring being several weeks late, our woods is beginning to come alive with beauty and life! I went out last week to collect photos and samples for this week's first spring nature journaling class and was delighted to find six different varieties of flowers in bloom.

Here is the Bloodroot:


And the Cutleaf Toothwort:


And the Spring Beauty with its delicate pink petals and stamens:


After a two week break it was great to get back into classes with the children who attend. I had many first-timers this class and its fun to break out the supplies and the brand new paint kits!


Our first exercise was creating a personal "spring palette" of colors we thought we would use for painting spring. Our paint boxes have only six colors, but the options for mixing and creating are endless. Here was my palette:

Sample journal page:


 We talked about positive and negative painting this week -- negative painting is one way to deal with white or pale flowers. The kids really caught onto this idea.


I challenged the older kids and adults to come up with at least five different greens, preferably more. This student was brilliant!


The Bloodroot was by far the most popular flower on the table for painting! It really is a striking specimen with a single, large leaf and a beautiful, symmetrical bloom. The best part is the blood red root which is large and "bleeds" rust-colored juice. The Native Americans used the juice as a dye or paint.


The root definitely intrigued the boys!


It always makes me extra happy to see any work students have done throughout the week!!! One of the adults had this gorgeous page in their book!


Look at the colors here! Red roots, green leaf, and that wonderful negative painting which makes the white bloom just pop right off of the page!


Another version of the Bloodroot.


I walked over to see this student (our youngest) having drawn such a good interpretation of the Harbinger of Spring complete with negative painting! This was her first day in this type of class and I was so impressed!


It was too cold for us to attempt a nature hike this past week -- hoping the weather predictions hold out and we can try again this week!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Nature Journal: Spring Bulbs


We ended our last session of the Winter Nature Journaling class with a focus on spring bulbs. It was certainly one way to brighten up these cold, winter-like March days.

Everyone painted their own nature pages but I also made a Spring Flowering Bulbs coloring poster for each child so they could paint it and take it home to watch and see when each flower first blooms. In case you want to print and color your own, you can download this Spring Flowering Bulbs PDF.

Each week I am fascinated anew with nature! I always think surely this must be the most exciting week. 

 In the adult class we experimented with masking fluid and everyone painted a little snowdrop picture.


We talked about "negative painting"  -- making something light in color "pop" by painting the background a darker color. This worked well for the snowdrops.

A lot of children enjoyed painting the primroses (not bulbs, but definitely spring flowers).


 This student painted a beautiful bulb -- hard to tell from the original!


Such cheery spring pages!


I've got to get some grape hyacinth's planted for next year! Drawing them made me realize I need to have them!


Everyone's style is different and I love to see the variations.


Now we will have a few weeks break before the spring nature hike and drawing classes begin!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Nature Journal: Birds, Nests, and Eggs

Last week we studied birds, nests, and eggs in my nature journaling classes. We focused on three of our most common birds here in central Indiana: the cardinal, redwing blackbird, and robin. 

The redwing blackbird appeared in our area about 3 weeks ago. We all just love his colorful wings. His female counterpart is a speckled brown and I wouldn't really recognize her!


The younger children in the class can often complete up to four drawings in the hour we have! Here is Laura's invention after she had painted the regular birds:


Since birds rarely re-use their nests it was safe for me to take a few nests from our woods for the kids to see in person. It turns out we found two cardinal nests in the woods. Cardinal nests have four specific layers: rough twigs, a leaf mat, grapevine bark, grasses. The nests we had showed these four layers very distinctly and I couldn't believe all the grapevine bark in use!


I always love seeing everyone's different drawings each week. I usually want to frame about 5 of them. By now my walls would be entirely covered.


In the older class we talked specifically about how to paint nests and eggs. It is always wonderful to see people putting things into practice.


I love how 3-D this nest became!


Everyone had fun with the speckled eggs.


A sort of collage page combining a number of elements:



An Egg Is Quiet by Dianna Aston is the book we read aloud in class and then practiced painting eggs from. It is beautifully illustrated in watercolors and was the best guide to bird eggs I could find! I was quite disappointed that bird eggs don't appear in most bird guides. All the books in this series are well worth owning!

And that's it for this week's nature lesson. I can't wait to show you are spring bulb study!

Please note this post contains affiliate links.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Spring Nature Journaling Classes



I am currently signing up students for the Spring Nature Journaling class! We'll be headed outside each week to find out which wildflowers have made their appearance as spring advances through the forest and meadows. After our walk we'll be recording our findings in our nature journals with watercolors, pen, and pencils.

Contact me if you are local and are interested! I have openings for children and adults!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Watercolor Cards for Sale


I started selling my own handmade cards when I was about six years old. I wanted to raise money for a certain worthy cause and decided I would make cards out of construction paper and sell them from our little child-sized table in the front yard. Fortunately I had kind neighbors and I managed to sell a few and collect maybe $1.50 or so!

Now, so many years later, I'm selling cards again! This time they are properly printed cards of my very own watercolors! I created some paintings of cakes -- mostly cakes I've made for birthdays or special occasions. The next best thing to eating cake is painting it or sending it in the mail!

My cards are now available on Etsy, and you can also purchase them at my sister's floral shop Blooms by Wildwood.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Tea Trolley: February

The shortest month is over. Despite its brevity, we packed a lot of tea into the month!

Here's Laura at one of our Sunday afternoon teas.


Valentine's Day was an excuse to decorate and have fun -- we did a Sunday lunch this year.

Candy makes such pretty decorations -- but the kids have no restraint. I'm going to have to give up on candy for a few years I think. 


Each place had a pile of valentines and notes.


For dessert we decided on a waffle bar -- everyone loved it! We had gluten free (and dairy free) waffles with toppings like strawberries, whipped cream, sprinkles, ice-cream, chocolate sauce, and of course real maple syrup.


This is on my agenda to do again soon!


Last weekend was our annual church women's retreat. We started at one house for breakfast and vision board making.


Then we came over to our house for afternoon tea and a sharing time.


There were regular scones and cheddar/bacon scones, veggies with hummus and dip, butternut squash soup, and little sweet treats.


Here's the soup:

I liked the look of the tea tier set against the books. :) 


Best of all is the look of having friends around the table!

And the next day there were leftovers for a little tea treat.



And another Sunday tea with Laura.


 And now we are in to March -- with the first day of spring only 19 days away (as Laura informed me several times today). We always have tea on the first day of spring...I'll have to remember it this year. When I started that tradition we had plenty of time, too much time, for things like tea. Now it is hard to find time.

A happy weekend to you all! May it include a few cups of tea!