Lover of nature, color, art, life, adventure. Choosing to find beauty. I hope you can find inspiration and joy while you're here.


Autumn Leaf Watercolor Series Part I

You've probably noticed my latest nature art series if you follow my daily posts on Instagram: autumn leaves. If so, I hope you enjoyed it! Tomorrow the last leaf falls so to speak. (At least I'll be posting the last painting in this year's series. The real leaves may continue to fall.) What is your favorite thing about nature this time of year? For me, it's the unapologetic display of colors! Here are the first nine in the month-long series:

This series consists of paintings of leaves I've personally collected this autumn then painted. Is gathering fall colors a favorite pastime for you too, I hope?

Instead of drawing these geometric-style like I was planning on, I realized that what I needed to focus on the most was allowing the colors to shine through. So, I switched things up for the month of November by showing a watercolor series.

I'm amazed at the way each tree adjusts to seasonal change on its own and on a smaller scale how each leaf on the same tree does the same: changing in its own time and shining in its own way. Gosh, I'm so lucky to live in a place that gets to enjoy the best season ever invented!


Young Naturalist

I ran into this set of gems while digging through a random box:

I can't even believe I kept these for so long! I'll have you know that this little flora collection earned me a 2nd place ribbon at my elementary school nature camp. How neat is that? And there is my first caddisfly case! (I found another one earlier this year.)

Decades later, nature still amazes me every single day! Thank you, camp counselors, for instilling an appreciation of nature in my tiny little heart.


Desert Ponderings

Through a series of unfortunate events, I got the chance recently to spend the night camping in the desert (which in and of itself was not unfortunate at all). My soul is two parts mountains and one part desert, and it turns out that it's impossible for me to spend time in either place without waxing ponderous. The stars are one of the best parts about the desert. I remember seeing the Milky Way from my house, but now I'm lucky to see anything more than a few major constellations. Spending time in the desert makes me feel so small and so big, and helps me readjust to my place in this crazy big world. It feels familiar and like home to me and certainly alters my perspective for the better.

Then, there is just something about the desert that shouts life. While I took my sunrise hike alone I stumbled across a raven nest, a stinkbug digging a hole in the sand, and a cottontail rabbit that I nearly stepped on (sorry for the heart attack, little guy!), all in just a few short minutes. My grandparents were desert downwinders who picnicked with their neighbors while watching the atomic bombs exploding in the distance. It's always amazed me that nuclear testing happened in the deserts where people thought there weren't any living things. There is so much life in the deserts, and some of the best, hardiest kind at that.

I love the deserts and the lessons they teach of resilience, patience, and the ability to thrive. Deserts hold a wonder all their own.


Alphabet Birds Part VI

These are the last 6 illustrations of the alphabet bird series I showcased on Instagram last month:

Upland Sandpiper, Vulture, Woodpecker, Xantus's Hummingbird, Yellow-headed Blackbird, and Zone-tailed Hawk

I loved sharing a little fact along with each illustration because I think when we know more about something, we understand it better and care more. The same goes with people, too. The more we know and understand someone, the more we can care for and love that person. Let's all try to be a little better at understanding the living people and animals around us, shall we?


Alphabet Birds Part V

As tribute to the fantastic fowls of North America, I worked on an alphabet series of bird illustrations last month. I drew one bird for every letter of the alphabet. Here are illustrations Q-T:

Quail, Red-tailed Hawk, Scrub Jay, Thrush

I loved the variety of birds in this alphabet series, but I think it's totally possible to do a similar set of shore birds, birds of prey, mountain birds, or even prairie birds. Loved it!