My Nature Columns for this Week

For those that don’t have regular access to my columns, here are the links to this week’s offerings. You might have to sign in but they won’t harass you.

Here’s my Weekly Nature Watch column from the Falmouth Enterprise. It’s also in the Bourne, Mashpee and Sandwich Enterprise.

http://www.capenews.net/columns/weekly-nature-watch-breakfast-on-the-beach/article_b885633c-2610-5480-99fa-7a1d5ad61c1b.html

From the Cape Codder and The Register here is my Nature’s Ways column

http://brewster.wickedlocal.com/entertainmentlife/20170303/natures-ways-spring-in-my-step

Enjoy!

A Talk and a Walk

Hi all! And Happy Spring! I know the forecast is calling for some, well, you know….un-springlike stuff, but I’m just going to float right over that for now and enjoy this sunny day.

I’ve been busy teaching a drawing and painting class at Green Briar Nature Center this March and I’ve also been busy creating my new Beach Bunnies on Vacation coloring book. I’m also revising a middle grade novel that I’ll be sending out to agents and publishers soon. It was a productive winter around here.

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This Wednesday I’ll be giving a talk about Creating a Nature Journal at the Dennis Public Library at 4 p.m. It’s free but you have to let them know you’re coming!

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On April 16 I will be leading a walk at the Hathaway’s Pond Conservation Area on the Hyannis/Barnstable Village line at 8 a.m. That is also free.

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For those who would like to do some outdoor drawing and painting I’ll be leading a class once a week that will meet in different locations all over the Cape. I’m working on the schedule now but it will be under the Classes button on the navigation bar very soon.

Come see me and celebrate spring!

Weekly Nature Watch is now online!

Weekly Nature Watch, the column I write for the Enterprise Newspapers on the upper Cape, began back in January 2012. I write two other columns now but this one will always have a soft spot in my heart.

Just this past week my column was added to the online version of the Enterprise at CapeNews.net which is very exciting and fun!

Last week I wrote about moving on in the fall and here is the link to the Weekly Nature Watch column.

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Early spring beach walks and whale watching

There’s possibly a big snowstorm heading our way this week but for now I’m sticking with thoughts of spring. There have been some really wonderful days for beach walking and I’ve been taking advantage of them. Hearing that right whales were being seen from the beach at Herring Cove gave me a good excuse to play hooky for a day last week to go see what I could see.

I called a friend and off we drove, stopping at Fort Hill, of course.

002and then at Marconi Beach in Wellfleet

015and finally we made it to Herring Cove where there were lots of people with binoculars and spotting scopes hoping to catch a glimpse of these marine mammal rock stars.

We were not disappointed! We watched a few small groups of right whales surface feeding, spouting and diving, showing us some good fluke views before they headed back down under the waves. My camera can show you the people but not the whales. You need a bigger lens than what I have to do that!

004 For fun I’ve begun a daily series of quick watercolors with little beach inspired sayings on them. I sell these in my online shop and will be offering prints here later in the season but in the meantime I’ll be posting them daily or close to daily on the blog. I hope you enjoy them.build your castles in the sand by mary richmond

 

 

Sketching birds

This has been a tough winter here on Cape Cod for getting outside and doing much sketching so most of my bird sketching has been done from inside. During one of the first big snow storms I sketched some of these little guys that were visiting my feeders.

012Birds move quickly so I have to sketch really quickly to keep up with them. Mostly I go for a quick gesture or detail. I can take photos, and I do, but the sketches are just more lively.

I work at a small table by a window overlooking the feeders in my tiny back yard in Hyannis. I get a surprising number of birds.

011One day I may concentrate on flickers and another on nuthatches or Carolina wrens.

034I like to add little notes, making it a bit of a bird journal as well as sketchbook.

008And some days I just draw and sketch cardinals. They tend to hang around the longest…

Cardinal sketches by Mary Richmond Cape Cod Art and Nature

035People ask me often what the secret is to drawing birds. It isn’t hard. You just have to be patient and willing to make some silly looking drawings. Be observant before you make the first line. Birds repeat motions. Which poses are most indicative of the species? Start slowly and practice. Have fun!

 

 

 

 

 

Happy First Day of August!

These last few days here have been so perfect that they almost make up for all that horrid heat and humidity that preceded them!

I haven’t been posting much because I’ve been busy. I’ve been making shell necklaces with kids down at the Hyannis Harbor on Thursday afternoons…

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Hanging out with the greenheads….

Greenheads at the barMaking fun shark necklaces to sell in local shops….

020Sketching outside…

002and just enjoying some of the most beautiful places on earth…

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How about you?

 

 

Painting Botanicals in Wellfleet

What a great weekend we just had! The weather was picture perfect, all sorts of flowers and trees were in bloom and the stage was set for a great weekend long Mass Audubon Field School. I was teaching “A Brush with Botanicals” and was joined by 6 students who turned out to be willing, brave and ¬†quick learners, too!

We started off with a bit of a chat about the history of botanical painting in watercolor and then went to work on some color mixing and various brushstrokes that would come in handy for this kind of painting. Many of the students were beginners but it was a different kind of painting even for those with more experience with watercolors.

After a morning of painting exercises everyone was ready to paint a flower. We set up in the shade outdoors. It may have been May but it was pretty hot in the sun already!

016Everyone was very quiet as they worked. They were concentrating hard!

018Plants wilt quickly out of water but the students were quick to use cracks in the table, their painting water and sheets of white paper as backgrounds.

014On Sunday the weather was still fine and we headed out to paint irises we had spied out in a field the day before…

001The irises proved to be more of a challenge than some originally thought they would be but they worked hard on getting the petals right. Irises are poetic and fun to look at but tough to paint.

002We ended up bringing some irises indoors to paint and then spent the afternoon going out onto the sanctuary to find branches, flowers and plants to draw and paint. I think even the students were pleased and surprised at how well their attempts worked out.

019I am always humbled by my beginning drawing and painting students because those first attempts are often awkward and far from what they hope for or imagine. And yet, they persevere. They are eager and willing to learn. They listen, they watch, they absorb as much as they can. And frankly, it seems to me it is very brave to draw or paint in public in a class and share work that shows signs of struggle but for all these students their work also showed signs of triumph. I was honored to be in their presence. It was a great weekend.

I will be doing another Field School “Sketching in Nature for Scaredy Cats” in Wellfleet in August.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The light after the storm….

Over the last few days the light has been amazing so I thought I’d share some of my favorite photos…

Here is Kalmus Beach in Hyannis…

There was a lot of erosion of the dunes…

Rain and sun mixed in the clouds together…

Morning light under a dark front…

light and dark mix at sunrise to make amazing effects on the waves…

even the light in the dunes reflected the light in the clouds

afternoon skies began to clear…

and finally the light began to fade into the colors of dusk, muted and quiet…

so many beautiful scenes….I hope you got out to enjoy some of them….