Still Learning to be Astonished..


Let me keep my mind

on what matters

which is mostly standing still

and learning to be


Mary Oliver

This is a great time of year to be spending some time indoors and although many of the native bird species have migrated to their winter habitats, it’s actually given me a  chance to study them and learn more. I’ve been inspired by John Muir Laws (and his guide to drawing birds), who is a wonderful naturalist, teacher, and artist. The pictures included in this post are taken from my sketchbook and contain those studies.  Already I know that I’ll be in better shape to observe and capture the real thing, ideally on the Bruce Peninsula (in warmer weather)…and be astonished.

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100 Days Still Life

Pomegranate and Tea Towel

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It’s still wet but it think it’s finished. The tea towel was just ‘hangin’ around so I grabbed it and added it to my little cardboard still life box. I really like the lines and how they move the eye through the painting. The pomegranate would be a bit of a red bulls eye otherwise! The nice thing about alla prima is that you can have a time limit on the work. Otherwise, I have been known to spend months on a piece. Think I’ll do a few more pomegranate paintings before Christmas–not for gifts–no… ‘just because’.

100 Days Still Life

Pomegranate sketch


Pomegranates are in the stores and so before I eat this delicious Christmas treat, I have to draw it. The red colour of the pomegranate is so beautiful and shape feels so good in my hand. It’s begging to be painted.   (charcoal on cartridge paper)

100 Days Nature

Osprey At Home

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Third painting in this little series. I may come back to the osprey theme in the New Year. For now I’ll leave this lovely bird nesting at home. In reality, the osprey nest at the end of our road, like my nest, is empty and the kids have left. Unlike us, the osprey parents have left home until next spring and will even exit the nest in advance of the occasional reluctant juvenile. I have seen one in the past, staring at horizon, waiting for mom or dad to bring supper. Eventually, it left. Now that’s tough love!