snow in april, sketching and paint (plus inspiration)

Yes, we have snow. Sleety, rainy snow. It came down most of yesterday and has been on and off today. It's not warm enough to stick, but still. Snow. From my perspective inside it looks as if the plants are ok (I was especially worried about all the pale purple, almost open buds on my lilac tree). In the last couple weeks I've already had frost damage to the new growth on some of my roses and my hydrangeas. Not much I can do about the weather except wait for it to change. And for now, hunker down inside, perhaps by the fire and definitely with a cup of tea.

I have plenty to do inside. My ideas keep multiplying and I am really enjoying playing with my sketchbook.

Scented geraniums and butterflies.

It takes me a long time to work on sketches like that. But I'm enjoying it. I think my work with my watercolors and doing the sketches for those paintings has improved my drawing ability. I can only imagine what daily sketching will do for it! Maybe it's silly to be as excited as I am, but I've always wanted to be able to draw and have always felt intimidated by drawing. Now that I'm enjoying it (and feeling happy with my results), it feels like a whole world of possibilities has opened up for me.

I'm also feeling happy about getting my acrylics out again. I've been so focused on watercolor that I haven't touched acrylics for a long time. Yesterday I painted a couple backgrounds and worked on the circle painting (the one in the center top of my header. It's also here). I never felt that it was finished. Waiting four months to start painting it again seems a bit excessive, but again with the ebb and flow. It's how I work.

The palette I use for my acrylics is supposed to be cleaned by peeling off the paint after its dried. Usually the peeling doesn't work very well when I have just a little bit of paint on the palette so I've been layering and layering and layering. The colors don't mix once they're dry so it's fine even if it looks a bit messy. Today I peeled off the many layers of paint. It was very satisfying to have it come off in one go. And I like the way the paint looks.

Mixed and swirled. Bumpy on one side and smooth on the other.  Little things like that bring me Joy. COLOR brings me Joy.

It's interesting that when I'm feeling inspired I find inspiration everywhere. Does that happen to you, too? The other day when I was sitting on the floor with the dogs, I noticed a book on my bookshelf and took it down to read it.

It's a children's picture book about Matisse that I got from a library booksale.  And it was the perfect thing for me to read right now. The story is about the friendship between Matisse and a girl who comes to nurse him. Monique eventually becomes a nun and it is for her that he builds his beautiful chapel. The part that I most liked was when Monique first comes to his home.

Entering Matisse's house "was like stepping into a multicolored jungle! Birds flew from room to room and plants grew as tall as trees." Sounds perfect to me! Also inspiring was this passage: "Matisse loved music. Matisse loved flowers. Matisse loved children, too... But the thing Matisse loved most of all was... COLOR!" And this: "all of his work was full of joy. 'There's enough sadness in the world,' he would say." Yes. Sums up everything that inspires me. Beauty and joy. Color. Nature. Birds. Fish. Flowers and plants.

Wishing you beauty and Joy and inspiration on this cold, dreary day!


  1. Anne! So lovely to discover your blog through Dana's class. Your butterflies are amazing, and you know you've got talent when even the peeled paint from your palette looks fabulous! :-) I have a couple of those children's books about various artists (specifically Monet and Degas), and they are such a delight!

  2. Your butterflies are really, really beautiful!! I love that line, "There's enough sadness in the world." So very true.

  3. Lovely work inside your sketchbook Anne! I do like the paint peelings too! I agree that when you feel inspired you find lots of inspiration. Lovely book. I need to seek out some artists to be inspired by now!

  4. Hi Anne!! I really like your sketches!!
    After seeing yours, I really want to do some sketches now! :)

  5. I do think that practicing sketching does improve drawing, but then I've always thought you were a wonderful artist! Your paint "peels" would be great as part of a collage, and that Matisse book - love it! I actually looked it up on Amazon and it is part of a series of stories for children about artists. I may order a couple for myself! And I agree - your butterflies are beautiful!

  6. Dearest sweet anna, such an inspiring post and i just love yoru work! Your sketching is so beautiful and those peel paints you made could make such a wonderful background for a collage! Love love love! Have a lovely merry happy sunday and i hope it's warmer today! Love to you!

  7. Hi Anne. I love this post. Your work is gorgeous and those palettes... ah, I want one!! That kids book sounds so fantastic. I will have to look into getting that. Would love to read it to my kids. I love Matisse. And I so wholeheartedly agree, the world NEEDS color.
    P.S. Did a joy list today!! It was fun!! xo

  8. Thanks, so much, everyone! Interesting that so many of you suggested using the paint peels for collage (Matthias did, too). I was scratching my head trying to think of what to do with them. Collage would be perfect.

  9. Love your butterflies -i did the same thing last week - we must be psycic!

  10. Have you tried a layer of self - leveling fluid on the palette? it works great :)


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