Tag Archives: trees


I am sure not everyone spends near as much time on the road as we do, but I learned as a young child that road trips rock! You can leave when you want, stop when you want, play the music as loud as you want, play silo and the license plate ABC’s. You learn what towns and cities are in each state, and a bit of their history, thanks to the brown history signs. You learn what IHOP to eat at and gain an understanding for distance and how big this great country and world really is. Only after you have spent 16 hours in a car with your family can you really understand how far from home you have gone – and you’ve only passed through 2 states!

I have always loved just sitting and looking out the window, examining the different types of clouds and watching the landscape slowly change as you drive from one area to another. While stationed in Kansas we would drive east to visit grandparents, about 22 hours drive any way we went with three young children. As we would enter West Virginia and the Appalachian Mountains or exit 271N onto 90W in western PA, my husband I would get giddy like little kids, it looked like home; the trees, the hills, the sky. A very different view from the midwest and all of it so beautiful to see.

Add the spectacular views with the ability to start and stop as desired and some serious quality family time and you have my definition of Freedom. In control of our destiny, our timeline and our relationships.

Kids are all grown and doing wonderful things in the world so our road trips are quieter and less crumby, but the scenery is just as gorgeous and the conversation as enlightening, the games are just as much fun and the music is still good and loud. Most of all, we still feel like the road is a great way to experience this country and enjoy our freedom.

Freedom, 9 x 12, pastel painting, July 2017


Third Times A Charm


I have been having a loud painful argument with this painting for the last three days. It started out so promising, but all those damn leaves – it’s very frustrating to not be able to paint leaves when you live surrounded by trees.

I learned that brushing off pastel is a messy business but you do get the paper tooth back and are able to start over.

The first painting was pretty good. The leaves on the branches high in the sky were not my favorite, but it was the warm deep blue sky color that caused me to brush it off and try it again, it was too warm against the green and yellow.

1st attempt, sky blue too warm

After brushing off the top of the painting I set in to cool the sky blue. I was successful in that, but lost the rest of the painting and the tree branches and leaves high in the sky were horrible wimpy marks. I couldn’t brush it off fast enough this morning!

2nd attempt, sky blue is cool, the leaves and branches are not.

I think I may have finally captured the feeling of the Allegheny Trail I was trying to convey. The sky is dramatic, it looks like a bright spring day and the feeling that the trail needs to be walked even though it heads into dark unknown is there. I would love to hear feedback on this one. I don’t think I can paint it again for a minute, but I will definitely be back to this scene to give it another go.

Allegheny Trail, 16 x 20, pastel painting, June 2017

Fall sunset

I think I’m in love with this painting of the sunset over the river and through the trees. It is as abstract as I have done in years. 

The surface is ready for another layer, as I had planned to add more dark like the source image below. I’m stuck, however, and would love some feedback please. Add more dark or leave it bright, busy and slightly abstract? 

Keeping it Simple

Saw a ‘how to’ draw trees pin on pintrest and had to take a look. The idea of the pin was to draw the simple shapes and refine them; decided that I should give it a try. Most of the time simple is best. It’s that way with closets, cooking, and now I know trees.

I started with the shapes of two trees and then I couldn’t stop. I was not standing outside looking at any trees or the lighting, but when I finished I realized it looks a bit like the edge of our meadow where the path enters the woods.

Exercise in tree drawing

Exercise in tree drawing


The Edge #1 9 x 12 pastel on Strathmore watercolor paper

The Edge #1
9 x 12 pastel on Strathmore watercolor paper

Sitting outside this evening, looking at all the trees in front of me, I tried to look at them as if I was going to draw the basic shapes. It still won’t be easy, but keeping it simple just might work.