Words from the Woods – A Golden Morning...

Sep 21, 2015 by

Saturday, September 19, 2015 I hear so many different birds this morning – Maybe they flew in for the weekend. This is my favorite time to sit outside at the picnic table.  The light is soft and the Catoctin Mountains slowly awaken. Sunlight glints off finely woven webs Strung between branches, they glow like tiny laser beams. Acorns hit the ground as squirrels start to work Woodpeckers knock about looking for breakfast. This morning a breeze brushes across this mountain.  It sounds like the very beginning of a gentle rain, but this rain brings a quiet shower of gold as the tulip tree leaves fall. Today is my last full day here and  I want to appreciate each moment.  It has been a luxury to be surrounded by my art supplies AND the beauty...

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Words from the Woods – “I’ll Tell You How the Sun Rose a Ribbon at a Time” Emily Dickinson...

Sep 21, 2015 by

Friday, September 18, 2015 Good morning Catoctin! Joining me at sunrise today are the usual suspects – bluejays, cardinals, woodpeckers and a few songbirds I have not heard here before.  I love waking up with these wonderful creatures in this lovely neighborhood. Today I am excited about trying another new printing technique, monoprinting with gelatin. I mixed up unflavored gelatin, poured it in a 9″ x 13″ x 1″ deep tray.  Gary, one of the rangers let me put this into the walk-in cooler  to firm up in the nearby dining hall since no one is using it this week.  I took a short hike, did some work in my journal. Later- About 1:30pm I retrieved my gelatin from the cooler and spread out the supplies for printing: Lots of paper (I used handmade...

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Words from the Woods – Beauty All Around...

Sep 20, 2015 by

Thursday, September 17, 2015 Good Morning, Catoctin! Being an artist and writer, I love noticing details.  Even after sitting at my picnic table studio each day for almost two weeks, I continue to see new things.  This is an important lesson – give everyday life and its contents a second or third look – and see the beauty therein. Looking up from my work, I see the trees that keep me shaded.  Near the table I see what looks like a little terrarium garden. Cabin 16 awaits another visitor today.  My dear friend Diane is driving up and bringing lunch.  We have been friends since our children met at the bus stop on the first day of kindergarten – 26 years ago.  I am looking forward to her visit and anxious to show her...

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Words from the Woods – Trying Something New...

Sep 20, 2015 by

Wednesday, September 16, 2015 This morning drove down to the library to finish and post blogs. I am trying hard to update the blog every few days, though sometimes I don’t want to leave camp. I do enjoy writing about this wonderful experience and want to make sure I capture it with words and pictures. I identified a few more tree species today and then gathered supplies for this afternoon’s project. When I put together the plan for my stay at Catoctin, it included goals, three of which involved trying new art processes. I set aside time this afternoon for the first. Working in my outdoor studio (picnic table): In this project I used bleach solution and dark brown paper. The book I saw this method in called for black paper, but I wanted...

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Words from the Woods – Journaling with the Scouts...

Sep 19, 2015 by

Tuesday, September 15, 2015 – Part Two I had a wonderful time visiting the Junior Scouts in Williamsport, Maryland last night.  We talked about nature and recording our thoughts in words and pictures.  Seventeen girls took a closer look at nature just outside their church meeting place.  Their work is lovely. Here are some photos.  My thanks to Peggie Gaul, Park Ranger from Catoctin Mountain Park, who graciously invited me to her troop and also to her...

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Words from the Woods – On Visiting, Hiking, and Messing with the Food Web...

Sep 19, 2015 by

Tuesday, September 15, 2015 My husband Clay visited today. We hiked to Chimney Rock, a steady uphill and very rocky trail. I added a couple of trees to my tree ID list – Sweet Birch and Loblolly Pine. More outdoor artwork late afternoon. Now, because I feel this Artist-in-Residence experience in the mountains has been a very enlightening one, I will now come clean about something, a confession of sorts. As an environment educator, I have explained the intricacies and importance of food chains and food webs to hundreds of students. I always stress the significance of each species and that when one is taken out the entire system suffers. This often takes the form of yarn strung between students, the collapsing species dropping his yarn and sitting down. After writing earlier about identifying...

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Words from the Woods – Meet My Neighbors...

Sep 19, 2015 by

Monday, September 14, 2015 Absolutely glorious morning as the woods come to life. I have much I want to accomplish today. Worked at the picnic table – relaxing and wonderful, inspiring. Did a leaf painting for the Catoctin Forest Alliance journal (See photo of Alliance/Catoctin Mountain Park Journal), using one of my favorite mediums – Derwent watercolor pencils. I use these in every journaling program that I do. These provide an easy way to learn about laying down and blending color. (I will have an upcoming blog on these) ***I am a person easily distracted, but here in the woods the distractions become part of my art – sounds, movements in the grass, and my reactions to them land on my journal pages with a mention, a sketch, or identification. So far I have...

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Words from the Woods – Weather or Not...

Sep 16, 2015 by

Saturday, September 12, 2015 The woodpeckers have been joined by a few other species for the morning wake up call.  The forest appears even greener under the overcast skies. I dress for a hike, but as I finish breakfast, the rain begins.  Extraordinary – I could hear the drops hitting the tree canopy high above but it took awhile for it to reach below here in the understory.  This, I tell myself, is the real “trickle down” effect. So far no leaks in the cabin.  With the cabin windows open, I have wonderful background music to work by. Slow steady rhythm Mother Earth sighs audibly, Rain caresses land. Later the rain comes down harder and my campground nature journaling program may be rained out.  As I work, I hear the sound of gravel crunching...

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