Sunday, January 31, 2021


Oh my! What a bitter north wind for today's pen and ink drawing!  Keeping my back to the wind, I was somewhat protected as I sketched.  Starting with ink, I thought several times of adding watercolor.  Still unsure at the end, I decided to do another with ink and watercolor.  I love the nostalgia of ink alone, especially for such an ancient tree as it lends a timelessness to the scene.  Using my favorite TWSBI Diamond mini fountain pen loaded with Levenger's Raven Black ink, I draw the sketchy lines that fill out the composition. Using a water brush pen, I coax those mid-tones to life, and add a few more touches of ink at the end. My working hand is very cold and my fingertips are stinging by the time I finish - I should have worn my fingerless glove with a hand warmer inside!  Painting number 2945 in 2945 days and day 31 of the #stradaeasel challenge!  Hooray! 

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Northern Creek

Yesterday I was asked about my sketch supplies, so today I am posting my most compact watercolor kit.  This 42 color Superior Water Colour palette folds neatly in a strip when not fanned out. A single water brush pen fits in it's built in holder.  I've chosen a TWSBI Diamond fountain pen loaded with Robert Oster's Thunderstorm ink to compliment the warm winter colors of grass and greening water.  I can't believe this creek is showing so much green in January!  For this very reason, it caught my eye, so I painted it.  I use this palette when I want all my supplies in a pocket.  I can make them work, though the colors can vary. Not the strong pigment I'm used to with my Watercolor Confections, they still serve me well in the field for a quick sketch.  There is a blot pad built in, but I use a paper towel instead. The biggest benefit is the 42 colors in such a compact set. I can paint anywhere with that and a pen in my pocket. Painting number 2944 in 2944 days. 

Friday, January 29, 2021

Rural Creek

Love how the north side of this wooded hill hangs on to that snow!  As a daily painter, I know all the local spots, and just how the snow will melt.  This secluded little spot in the woods will still be lovely when there is hardly snow left in the surrounding areas. So, with ink and watercolor I do a quick sketch on 3x3 handmade paper.  This fountain pen is a TWSBI Eco in rose gold and white, and I've used one of those very compact strip watercolor palettes that fits neatly in my pocket.  So easy to paint anywhere with a pen, strip palette and water brush pen. A few pieces of paper and I'm good to go!  Painting number 2943 in 2943 days and day 29 of the #stradaeasel challenge. 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Winter Curve of Creek

Today finds me playing with composition to up the drama on this lovely winter snow scene.  When returning to favorite painting spots, the challenge is always there to find a new way to capture the scene.  I often look to composition first, changing the orientation, scale, or focus.  Sometimes, the sheer difference in light is all I need.  Each season offers different foliage in height and color, altering the painting drastically from summer to winter. Much of these creek paintings I love to do in winter are hardly visible in summer, as all the brush crowds in.  I love exploring all the possibilities, one painting at a time.  Painting number 2941 in 2941 days. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Fork in the Creek

I had given up on snow arriving when I looked out in the middle of the night.  So, I was so excited to see albeit a light snowfall had arrived!  Determined to make my classes at the gym first, I put blinders on to get there. Once there, my eyes kept drifting towards the windows - AND THAT BEAUTIFUL WHITE STUFF!  With my gear in the car, I went directly to the spot I did my pen and ink with watercolor yesterday, and painted in oils. My right hand did get a bit cold, since I can't wear a glove while painting small - and didn't even think of grabbing a hand warmer from my trunk.  No matter - it was totally worth it to paint in a place like this.  I hope to paint this place large with the next good snow!  Painting number 2940 in 2940 days and day 27 of the #stradaeasel challenge.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Winter Creek

It is so relaxing to paint to the sound of trickling water.  This winding creek is always so inspiring, and I am painting small today. Choosing ink and watercolor, I sketch on 3x3 handmade paper.  Even though it is January, the green is coming up in the water.  I'm ignoring it - since this is the only month where I can paint dark water without the slight algae all year long!  The square composition is fun, too. I like the depth I can achieve with that twist of creek in the background.  This fountain pen is my TWSBI Eco in rose gold and white, and I use a medium nib for the handmade paper.  Love these pens so much!  Painting number 2939 in 2939 days and day 26 of the #stradaeasel challenge. 

Monday, January 25, 2021

Two Chickadees

Watching the little chickadees at play is so fun!  So many birds are constantly flying to the feeders.  When I am very still, they do not even notice me!  I've started playing a few bird calls on my phone as I work, and the birds come very close indeed!  I've lately been wanting to sketch these beauties in pen and ink, really studying their forms.  The pen I chose today - a TWSBI Eco - mostly has Levenger's Raven Black in it, but there was a mix in it before with their Cocoa Brown, too.  So, it has the tiniest bend in tone.  I have floated a really juicy water brush pen into the lines, giving me wetter areas on the cotton paper for that ink to spread. I like it!  This allows me to get very dark, and I'm leaving plenty of white in the negative space.  I love the whole pen and ink process, and hope to sketch many of my feathered friends!  Painting number 2938 in 2938 days, and day 25 of the #stradaeasel challenge.  Now we're off to dinner at my Mom's - her first time to host us for dinner in her new house!  

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Missouri Creek

Even a gray day can be beautiful!  The grasses have been taking on a wonderful golden color over the last few days, and the reds seem more vibrant.  The overnight rains have saturated all the colors in the landscape, and I'm finding new pleasure in exploring them.  As I come to the easel every day outdoors, I notice the slightest changes in light, shadow and season.  Those subtle shifts inspire me to paint.  Ink and watercolor are calling to me today, so of course I choose them.  I try to always listen to that inner voice.  This handmade cotton paper is another tiny one - only 3 inches square.  It's the perfect size today because I must get back to make lasagna before the Chiefs game begins!  Painting number 2937 in 2937 days, day 24 of the #stradaeasel challenge. 

Saturday, January 23, 2021


I love painting these old lanterns from my Mom!  As she thins down the collections of a lifetime, these little treasures have found a new home as table decor on my front porch!  After we helped Michaela and Cooper with moving today, I am getting to my painting late - after dark!  These antique beauties called out to me - so I have painted them in miniature. My favorite TWSBI Diamond mini fountain pen is pictured and used for some of the line work, another fine nib also used, and watercolor added to the cotton paper sized only 3 inches square.  It feels like painting old friends when I can sketch family antiques.  Love those memories that cling to such things from the past.  Painting number 2936 in 2936 days, and day 23 of the #stradaeasel challenge. 

Friday, January 22, 2021

Old Pin Oak

Oh the light at this golden hour is amazing!  This stately old pin oak is giant, pruned up high with a large canopy which shaded most of Michaela and Cooper's wedding ceremony a year and a half ago. This is the same tree I sketched yesterday from below, looking up.  Spending time out here on a sunny day is January is like a mini vacation.  I can forget my cares for a little bit and remember simpler days.  Painting number 2935 in 2935 days. 

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Pin Oak

Nearly 60 degrees today and I just couldn't stay inside!  I worked out there until the sun was dropping, finally grabbing my sketch kit to draw one of our pin oaks. This is one of two my grandma planted when Uncle Brian returned from Vietnam, a Marine. It is huge and glorious, and feeling very small, I chose to stare up at it to sketch, just like I was a kid.  I love the feel of the sun and wind on my face, and the flurry of birds on the branches. One of them knocked an acorn close to me!  Sometimes it is the simple things that shine in life.  Painting number 2934 in 2934 days, and day 21 of the #stradaeasel challenge. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Curve of Creek

Today I am sketching in the tall grass, standing on a deer path along this creek.  This is a perspective I can't get during the growing season, as the brush is far too thick.  So, I'm taking advantage of this opportunity, and plan to paint all along here this winter.  The twists and turns in the creek offer countless painting compositions, and of I can just get a little snow, those paintings will be magical!  Painting number 2933 in 2933 days and day 20 in the #stradaeasel challenge. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Creek Off Trail

This creek calls to me from afar.  The rough and natural grasses hold so much interest in the landscape against the smooth and icy creek.  It's a sunny day in the 40s, and I expected this creek to be melted, showing that dark water of winter.  It's peaceful here this afternoon, just what I needed to unwind from a very busy day.  Now, I can return to the world refreshed.  Painting number 2932 in 2932 days, and day 19 of the most recent #stradaeasel challenge, which I keep forgetting to mention in this blog. 

Monday, January 18, 2021

Milk Barn Magic Inked

Pen and ink are the perfect choice for a quick sketch of the milk barn.  I use a favorite TWSBI Diamond mini fountain pen with my favorite Levenger's Raven Black ink to draw the scene out with expressive line work.  As soon as I complete these marks, I go in with a water brush pen to wash in those mid tones, getting the range of values I want. I really love this handmade cotton paper, I miss it when I paint on watercolor paper postcard stock!  Painting number 2931 in 2931 days. 

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Yellow Barn Path

Oh that sun is melting the snow faster than I can paint it!  The roof snow was already dripping away when I started painting, and the foliage slid off it's garmets of white.  Our winter wonderlands here in Missouri never last long. When I stayed the winter months in Northern Ohio, the snow and ice jams lasted for weeks.  I even remember still painting ice on the bottom land at the end of March!  I'm painting snow while I can and will soon be painting in 50 degree weather again!  My Richeson palette is well suited for cold days.  They don't tack up or thicken at all in these temps. Painting number 2930 in 2930 days. 

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Home in the Snow

I love these beautiful, snowy days in the country.  Everything is so clean and crisp with a fresh blanket of snow on.  Yesterday's lovely snow was already starting to melt early this morning, as is often the case here in Missouri.  I feel an urgency to get out there fast when I see the drops falling from the eves!  As I start painting with oils over an old canvas painting, I remember the days of building snow forts and snowmen.  My happy, laughing children covered with snow, making snow angels and throwing snowballs.  I would line up beach towels for all their wet clothing and boots, and start hot chocolate for us all.  Hot chocolate is always best after playing in the snow!  I love painting our 176 year old farmhouse, and I love being the third generation to live here.  My children and their children are now making memories here, too, making 6 generations who have done so in this place.  There is something very special about that.  Painting number 2929 in 2929 days. 

Friday, January 15, 2021

Pole Barn in the Snow

Many years ago, when this pole barn was shiny and new, I did not like it's modern footprint on this old historic farm. Now that it has begun to weather and the landscape is weaving itself around it - it is a worthy subject for painting!  The almost blizzard like winds have subsided briefly, allowing me to get out there and get this painted.  Once used to shelter our Foxtrotter, Windsong, the cedar marks a water hole on top of this hill.  She was such a wonderful horse, we all enjoyed riding her when the kids were young.  Memories are everywhere as I paint, and the snow is beginning again.  So thankful for my time in this landscape, it truly is renewing.  I can't wait to see the winter wonderland the morning light reveals! Painting number 2928 in 2928 days. 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Pond at Loose Park

I have not been in a city park for quite a while - and the hum of city life was disconcerting!  I've spent so much time in the peaceful rural wilderness, that the noise here seems almost deafening.  I did not even take videos here because there was so much background noise - lol.  Just another side effect of life during a pandemic.  It was fun visiting with people as they walked by, I even ran out of business cards.  I really am rusty in public settings when I don't have my easel stocked!  The mocking sounds of the ducks were so much company as they quacked at dogs and fought over bread.  Tomorrow, I am hoping to have snow to paint, back in my own little corner of the world!  Painting number 2927 in 2927 days. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Old Trees at Loose Park

It is a little strange painting in a Kansas City Park during the time of covid.  I have been painting so many rural locations, many in my own property, that the hum of city life seems very loud.  As I settle in, I realize I have never been to Loose Park during the winter.  I try to paint here in the Rose Garden during the first blush of roses, and even throughout the season, as the formal garden is spectacular.  Today, the walkway to the pond drew me in, and these gorgeous trees called out to me.  This 30 minute tree study was fun and loose, just getting down my impressions with my limited Altoid tin palette.  I could see quite a bit of green in the landscape, but the camera didn't catch it, nor the pinks in those trunks.  It really is true about seeing so much more with my own eyes vs a photo.  Real life painting wins every time.  Painting number 2926 in 2926 days and day 13 of the #stradaeasel challenge. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Missouri Creek

I love my time spent by the creek with pen and ink.  Only a few birds scatter as I approach, and there is no babbling of water in this bend.  It's really very quiet and peaceful, the light breeze rustling oak leaves overhead.  The snow and ice are gone, but even these colors are lovely, convincing me to return with my oils to see what I can create.  My baby has gone back to college, and I already miss him.  Had it not been for covid, we would have just returned home from Arizona.  I'll have to wait until next year to paint the beautiful hues of that place.  Painting number 2925 in 2925 days and Day 12 of the #stradaeasel challenge. 

Monday, January 11, 2021

Blue Jay!

Sometimes, all I have time for is a quick ink and watercolor painting before meeting my obligations.  So, I sketched one of the many beautiful birds in my yard before presenting to a Virtual Summit Art meeting about mask making.  These birds are so striking in the landscape - and that gorgeous color unfolded just in time for me to drop it in!  I really want to spend more time sketching these birds this winter, and give them some deep study.  The way they swarm my feeders, I'll always have plenty of subjects to choose from!  Painting number 2924 in 2924 days. 

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Rural Creek

I love sketching along this creek in winter, the dark water calling to me as I run the trail.  Already there is a tint of green emerging, life is stirring beneath the surface on these short January days.  Just to the left of these grasses is the lake, where a mallard pair are fishing.  Perhaps later this week I'll get a chance to paint them, too.  Warm days are coming and the grass is greening up like spring is around the corner.  Painting number 2923 in 2923 days and Day 10 of the #stradaeasel challenge.  I've been posting that on Facebook, but have forgotten to do so here.  I love connecting with challenges that offer brand new easels for a few at the end.  Just the possibility is inspiring! 

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Along Cleveland Trail

A sunset spent outdoors with pen and ink?  Priceless.  If I've learned anything from the last 10 months of covid, it is to enjoy the little things.  Bask in the beauty of the sunset.  Soak up the sunrise on the front porch with a hot cup of tea.  Tend the gardens with loving care - and enjoy the simple acts of doing so.  I am truly mindful in a way I wasn't before.  As I walk out into the landscape, I really look before choosing a medium. What do I want to express about this moment?  I work more intuitively now, and tackle the more complicated, loving the process all the more.  I hope I am becoming more sensitive with my work, putting more of myself in every mark.  Maybe I'll choose oil the next time I'm here, basking in the beauty of the sunset.  Painting number 2921 in 2921 days. 

Friday, January 8, 2021

Frozen Creek

Today I'm painting as the snow melts before my eyes!  Come back snow!  The frozen surface of the water thinned as they sun spread across it, but oh that brief color was priceless!  Warm highlights lit up the scene - and I had to paint them fast.  The woods hold on to this snow longer than many locations, so I head here to paint as it melts elsewhere.  I think this may be the last snowy painting day until the next snow.... whenever that is!  Painting number 2920 in 2920 days. 

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Quiet Winter Pond

From the north bank of the pond, I find a spot out of the wind.  These old limbs stretching out over the water are a favorite perch for our resident Blue Heron.  He was fishing here today as I approached, and probably would have stayed had Beau not scared him off.  I love the dark water which I only find this time of year, and I feel an urgency to paint it while I can.  Again I have my thumb box pochade and my Altoid tin is my oil palette for this box.  I slip it under that sliding shelf to hike back to the house, and this one has only Richeson oils on it.  I really like the way they behave in the cold, important since I don't use solvents or turps, just the paint.  The snow is melting way too soon, without another in sight.  Painting number 2919 in 2919 days. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Snow Banked Creek

I was led to this creek by my inner voice today.  The temperature was rising and I changed my schedule to get here sooner rather than later.  Having painted outdoors so often, I can sense what is happening to a landscape, and when it might be peak for painting.  I was happy to see the ice melting from the creek's surface, revealing that dark water of winter, one of my very favorite winter subjects.  The edges were doing the same on my pond, so I thought this could be happening is sunlit patches.  I know most of this creek is on the north side of a hill, so snow remains here longer than other places.  This fact gives me extra time to paint a snowy landscape, greatly needed here in Missouri where the snow is short lived.  I love the peace and serenity in this very natural place.  Painting number 2918 in 2918 days. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

South Side of Milk Barn

Today finds me painting the south side of the old milk barn, and loving every minute of it.  This place is full of family memories, and just standing in this spot ties me to those who have gone before me.  There is something so comforting in that, even as the memories cloud my vision.  It is my honor and privilege to bring life to this winter landscape with my paints.  I love this place.  Painting number 2918 in 2918 days. 

Monday, January 4, 2021

Snow Covered Bend in Trail

It is magical and wonderful what a blanket of snow does to this winding trail.  A daily source of inspiration, I often walk this with my trusty companion, stopping to paint when something new strikes me.  Each shift of light or foliage creates new compositions - and reversing my route always brings new paintings to mind.  The peaceful quiet of the snow covered landscape is a gift, and painting in such surroundings is renewing.  I'm so fortunate to be able to do this every day.  Painting number 2917 in 2917 days. 

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Snow at Milk Barn


Oh my!  Another gorgeous day of painting in the snow!  Grabbing another old painting to "recycle", this winter scene WAS a sunset vineyard!  Lol!  This milk barn is a favorite subject of mine in all seasons, but especially in the snow.  I'm so lucky this snow remains pristine, so often it warms too quickly, melting the beauty away.  I love the rustic lines, though I think I'll do a little repair on that corral fence in the spring.  I just realized that I did not post this yesterday, interrupted by a phone call. It doesn't take much to get me off track!  Painting number 2916 in 2916 days. 

Friday, January 1, 2021

Cedar Path

I could hardly wait for the snow to arrive - and what a treat awaited me in the morning!  A winter wonderland at my door and the snow was calling.  My heat holder socks, a single layer of clothing and my down coat warm to -7 degrees was all I needed to stay warm.  With ice under snow, I normally would have stood on a yoga mat, but I left it in my trunk so did without.  Had I started to feel the cold, I would have gone back for it.  I'm painting with my 5x7 thumb box pochade - which is perfect for the weather.  I can finish one before I really feel the cold.  It looks like cold temps are expected all week - I sure hope this gorgeous snow remains!  Painting number 2915 in 2915 days, and this makes 8 years of daily painting!  ❤🎨