Madison has a number of natural areas. I have yet to explore many of them. One morning that was sunny in the early fall beckoned me to go check out the Cherokee Marsh, which is part of the Yahara Riverway waterway. The Yahara, tamed by banks and bridges, passes close to my house, but here in Cherokee is closer to its wild state. In the late fall there were a number of flowers, such as goldenrod, thistle, black eyed Susan and Queen Anne’s lace. I took a moment while sitting on a rather artificial aluminum board walk to make a sketch of the marsh. I was trying for a looser style with the watercolor. The nearby blue jay commented on it but I don’t know whether it was complimentary or not,.
I joined Nancy Macgregor for a last fling with outdoor painting before my Fall schedule hits. The class was in Paoli, WI along a river next to the Creamery cafe and several art galleries. I was intrigued by the s-curve of the Sugar River and how it caught the light of the sky. I was working on varying greens as well
First we thought about this:
– …the universe… is before our eyes like a beautiful book in which all creatures, great and small, are as letters to make us ponder the invisible things of God… (Belgic Confession, Article 2)
Think of a time when you were able to hear the message of the universe and its creatures. What allowed you at that time to hear that message?
Then we painted…
Do to threatening eater, we met at the Tenney Park Pavilion and worked with the Iron Bridge there. Next week we will try the Locks. Painting outside is always an adventure.
We took a moment to consider all the life forms around us at that location. If we knew more names of plants and trees we would have a long list indeed, but out included a number of birds, people doing a variety of things, and one muskrat.
Here are some pictures of our work on the bridge. All of our “sketches” are incomplete at this point.
Here are some works from a travelling class with Nancy Macgregor. We were in the garden at the Madison Christian Community on a sunny but cloudy day. Then we were at the Memorial Union on a grey and rainy day. But we found a canopy over the bandstand for outside painting, while some chose to paint inside. So here is life and its imitation. and because it is two weeks away another clip of the Bridges Class poster.
What does the world teach us? Sometimes to be patient. I have tried to catch the corner of California Poppies that bloom at the Willy Street Park for several years. Between my schedule, the unpredictability of the blooms and the weather, it is tricky. Apparently the world was not made for me. At any rate I took a little time early in the morning to photograph and sketch. What I noticed is that the flowers moved from where they were at the start. I think they follow the sun, perhaps that is they they have those long irregular stems.
Speaking of schedules, the Bridges Class is open for registration – click here.
You may have been asking, how is this class different than last years? Nancy Macgregor and I walked the river a couple of weeks ago and we set the locations for this year’s class sessions. We will mostly be at new locations, including the Locks area on the North end and where the Yahara enters Lake Monona on the South end. If you like water you will like these locations.
I have revised the spiritual part of the class. These reflections will show you how to use the skills of artistic observation for spiritual reflection. We will develop our eyes to see what we often only glance at. We will consider the elements of the environment and what they reveal.
- How abundant is life in our world?
- How is each life suited to its place?
- How do elements such as water and light change, and what do they reveal to our eyes?
We will consider the nature of human interaction with nature –
- In what ways is this interaction mutual?
- Which has the greater impact?
Finally we will tie each of these observations to a scriptural link. That is, how do the two books of revelation complement each other?
At the first class you will be provided with single folio book to record your reflections and observations as we travel along the river for the six weeks of the class.
Join us this June and July along the river.
I was able to attend a Sabbath Rest in the Smoky Mountains – far away from work and electronic media. It was just what the doctor ordered, mentally and spiritually. I spent some time trying to capture the misty mountains and hills. I asked a regular visitor if they ever had a clear day, and he said that this was clear. The word “sabbath” comes from a Hebrew word which means to cease. Cease from your usual work and activity and spend some time with the creator. This is one of the goals for Two Book Retreats, to combine art, nature and scriptural reflection.