Delmarva and Points North

This set of sketchbook pages starts the evening of our last day in Ocean City, MD as we continued our northerly path along the seacoast. As you can see, I have a thing for stamps and stickers!

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And a final quote seen in the Assateague National Seashore Headquarters.

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It was great to get away and now it’s great to be home… but….. I’ve got the bug. Where will we go next?

hmmmmmmmm…………

Discovering Delmarva

Delmarva…  Delaware – Maryland – Virginia.

I’ve been back from vacation for nearly a month but I’ve been so busy I just haven’t gotten around to posting my sketchbook adventures. Our holiday was all about walking along the ocean, smelling the salt air and feeling the wind in our hair. I love the wind… good thing too, because I got a lot of it!

Drawing and painting was secondary but I did want to capture our days. I used an A5 Hahnemühle Nostalgie Sketchbook.  It has lovely smooth paper most suited for ink work but the paper is heavy enough that it does an admirable job with watercolor… and, as an added benefit, the woven gray fabric cover is classic and so beautiful! (Ooooh, while looking up the link I see Wet Paint now carries the Hahnemühle Watercolor Book.  It’s going on my wishlist… I love trying out new sketchbooks!)

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I’ll share the second half of our holiday in a few days but right now I’m doing a happy dance! I’ve been having trouble with my scanner for over a year. It’s still not communicating, but I now have a work-around!  Posting photographs is better than nothing but I’ve missed posting nice, clear, clean scanned images.

IFJM and a Little Blog Housekeeping

I started blogging here near the end of 2013 and haven’t changed a thing on this site since then.

Well it’s about time!

If you’re a newish reader then you might not know I actually have a second blog where I keep all the “fake” journals I’ve created the last few years… well, they’re real journals, but each one has been kept by a persona I take on for the month of April.

April is International Fake Journal Month… IFJM for short. Roz Stendahl is the brains behind this activity and I wholeheartedly join in by adopting a character and journaling as this person, all the while posting images of this work daily, or nearly so.

I make references to this blog… Skylark Karma… when I lead up to April but ’till now I’ve never had a sidebar widget of my own.  When you’re on the home page you can see the image of a crow on the right; it’s done in gouache and marked up with my blog address. Just a simple click of the image and you’ll be whisked off to browse my current and former fake journals.

I had a great time creating this image.  First, I drew a rough outline on a prepainted acrylic background in my Pentalic Aqua Journal before going in with gouache.  There are passages where the line drawing shows through and others where the gouache is applied thick enough to hide and correct the misdrawn lines.

I love this full spread but a closeup of one of those faces would make a great image link. But which one? If I used the one on the left, he would be looking away from the body of this text.

… and it’s blurry, especially behind the eye.

But the crow on the right… that’s the one!

I love how the blues, greens and purples all combine to say – black.

I ran it through my photo processing software to add the lettering and… Voilà! … I have a permanent link to my Fake Journal blog.

Please visit and see who “I am” and what “I’ll be creating”.  The magic starts this Saturday, April 1st.  Join the fun!

Water, Water… Not Everywhere

Wednesday was World Water Day.


It’s commemorated each March 22nd to focus interest on the world wide water crisis.  This year’s theme was “wastewater“.

I can’t stop thinking of how fortunate I am in the United States to have such a glut of clean, potable water that I can afford to have it all with just a turn of my hand. I can wash my car with it and even flush my waste with it.

That’s crazy!

There’s not much I can do about that but I can take small steps. One of my favorite water saving tricks is the temporary shutoff valve I’ve installed in my shower.  It’s an inexpensive ($10 or less… here’s just one example) insert which allows me to turn the water off or at least down as I lather and wash.  I then just turn the lever and I have a full stream of water to rinse.

It’s just one little thing I can do to keep clean water flowing. 


I bet you have some tricks too… I’m all ears!

Update to Going Negative

I remembered where I got the idea to do multiple views of a subject using its negative space. Yes, it was Koosje Koene, but it was in the recently updated Free Sample class on the new Sketchbook Skool site.

If you haven’t yet taken a class from Sketchbook Skool, this is a great way to taste what they have to offer… and did I mention it’s FREE?!?  Just sign up and give it a whirl.

And if you took the Free Sample course a few years ago, sign up anyway.  As I said, it’s updated with brand new material.

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Going Negative

Today’s practice was drawing this stool four times with four different media but each time using the negative space as my guide. The negative space is all the gaps created by the intersections of the legs and rungs. 


From left to right… Fountain pen with Platinum Carbon Ink, Koh-I-Nor Magic Pencil, Derwent Medium Wash watersoluble pencil, and Caran d’Ache Museum Aquarelle watercolor pencils.

I was inspired by Koosje Koene’s negative space video… try it yourself!

Ooops! I can’t seem to find a direct link but you can check out her blog for other cool stuff!

In a Slump

When I feel uninspired and have stopped creating for a few days I rely on a few trusted methods for breaking out of my slump. I often try out new tools or pre-paint some journal pages, but the most reliable slump-buster is to draw a prompt from Danny Gregory’s EDM list

Whenever I feel blocked I remember my plan to eventually work through all 328 prompts.

This is No. 121


I’m not out of the clear yet but I’m going to keep at it. As Pablo Picasso said, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”

Greenhouse Caladiums

There’s nothing better on a cold winter morning in the northern hemisphere than a trip to a greenhouse to soak up the warmth and bask in the green.

The Murdough Greenhouse at Dartmouth College hosted our plein air group yesterday morning. Every time I visit I’m struck by how fortunate we are to have this space and the vast selection of blooming specimens. 

I chose to paint this Caladium specifically because of its coloration. As you can see… pink and green… complementary colors. Could I paint it without creating big blotches brown?


My patience was tested as I had to wait for each consecutive layer to dry, but that’s exactly why it’s so great to paint with like-minded friends. We caught up on events and admired each other’s works. 

I love Thursdays!