In Alaska, this lone cottonwood tree sat in a field behind the Glacier Bay Country Inn where I stayed with my family earlier this month. I painted this on the only day we saw sunshine and one of the few glimpses that we had of those distant mountains of the Fairweather Range. I saw my first moose walk across this field later in the week.
The inn is situated in Gustavus, Alaska: population 428. To get there we needed to travel by plane since, as opposed to Rome, no roads lead to Gustavus.
Located in nearby Horsham, Pa, the Pennypack Farm and Education Center has been a great source of joy for me this summer. Not only am I probably better nourished from all of the yummy vegetable I've been eating from there, but I've also been able to bring my kids there to see where food comes from.
The farm also generously hosted my outdoor painting class from the Abington Art Center one recent morning when I painted this view as a demonstration. As a result, this painting is bit more planned out than how I usually work since I was explaining several techniques while I worked on it. Judging from the impressive work my students did that day, I think I achieved my objective. And there is a bonus...I like the painting.
Not far from my house, there is a river of rocks. I could see two patches of it pretty clearly from this vantage point on Hawk Mountain in Kempton, Pa.
The story of this river goes back to the Pleistocene Epoch, the Ice Age that ended about 11,000 years ago when glaciers left the rocks here. There is a trail along the "river" that I have yet to hike.
As I research Glacier Bay, Alaska and Yosemite Valley in California, I find this local connection to a similar geological process utterly fascinating.
Hummingbirds love this stuff! It's like the blossom of this coral honeysuckle plant was made for them.
I planted this in our yard 3 years ago. It grows more slowly than the aggressively invasive honeysuckle plants I enjoyed while I was growing up, but it's much more beautiful and better suited to our ecosystem.
However, in its first year this plant's greatest threat was a local predator, my son.
Nowadays, the plant is big enough that I no longer have to protect it from his sweet blossom appetite. New growth outpaces his "harvesting." I painted this on a recent rainy summer morning, similar to the daylily I posted a few weeks ago. Doesn't it look delicious?
Today I painted outside with my daughter while my husband and son went for a bike ride at Valley Forge National Historical Park.
Since I was a child, the view from the ridge where Route 23 cuts through the park has always impressed me. From this little area next to the parking lot of the Washington Memorial Chapel, we could see quite far into the layers of foliage that distinguished themselves chromatically from each other in the midday humidity of August.
While the boys rode a loop around the site of the 1777-1778 encampment of Washington's ragtag band of Revolutionary soldiers, my husband stopped and took a picture of our location from the further hill visible behind the third tree from the left. I'm so glad our ancestors decided to preserve this beautiful expanse of land. Our national park system is truly integral to our national identity.