Sassafras Leaves

Nature Walks

The sassafras tree is very interesting, for it produces multiple types of leaves on the same tree. Each leave can have one, two, or three lobes. They are also slightly fuzzy. The roots were an important item for trade between early America and the old world because they made a tasty drink, and the leaves are used in some styles of cooking, though I have no recipes to offer.

Oak Sapling at the Edge of a Swamp

Nature Walks

On another walk, earlier in fall before all of the leaves had turned and fallen, I spotted this young oak. This is a particular breed of oak tree that grows in swamps. Supposedly, its roots are shallow and so the tree is more likely to fall over in a storm. I think that the leaves on this sapling are most interesting shapes, as they have a slight rippled texture to them that I believe was from the harsh summer we experienced.

Sweet Gum Tree in Early Fall

Nature Walks

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I saw this tree on a nature park in the local area. It has star-shaped leaves. You can see the spiky seed pods ripening. About the size of a ping-pong ball, they are dark brown and very sharp once they fall to the ground. The wood is light colored with dark streaks and very hard. It makes a marvelous fire wood, but is challenging to split. I do not carve wood, but I think it would make a beautiful handle with the coloring and hardness qualities.

Local Stream in Acrylic Ink


Again using my Speedball Acyrlic Ink and Crow Quill set, I made a drawing based off a photograph I took of a local stream. I used to do really intricate pen and ink work all the time several years ago. It was really nice to get back into it.

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I don’t think I’ll be repurchasing that acrylic ink. It has been nothing but trouble with technical issues- first the false waterproofness, and now? It smudges when I erase faint pencil lines from underneath it. I was able to save what had smudged, however, I don’t want to get more of this ink once I’ve used up what I have.

Yellow Ochre Watercolor Landscape 2 of 2


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When I make a painting using only one tube of color, I’ve found that I have about 4 or 5 layers of color. The first is a very faint wash for the whole background, which I may or may not blot off portions of with a rag or paper towel to make a cloud effect. Then is a barely-more-saturated background layer. Next is one or two medium-saturated layers of middle ground. Finally, I have the foreground, which is with undiluted or barely diluted paint right from the tube.