Monday, August 24, 2015

Some recent sketches

I haven't posted much recently, partially because I've been trying to get out and sketch more when the weather had been nice, which means less time online. It's funny how the internet exerts such a siren call, enticing me to spend time online, but when I just get outside and start sketching, I feel free of that pull and immerse myself more in the present moment. Here are a few sketches of some such recent "present moments," some alone and some with Stephen.

Looking downriver from Shadows restaurant during Stephen's birthday dinner
Bowdoin Park oak tree

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Outer Banks Meandering July 2015

I folded what is sometimes called a meander or maze book from a single sheet of watercolor paper (22" x 30") and filled it up (32 pages) on our Fischer family vacation to the Outer Banks. I love the word "meander," since that is what I do when I have a sketchbook in hand and nature aplenty to observe, so I am calling it that, as "meander" describes both form and function for me. I followed Cathy Johnson's Youtube tutorial and folded the whole meander book in about ten minutes-- very satisfying for this craft-averse person. I will definitely be making more of these!

We had a wonderful time with Stephen's family, as we always do. We stayed in a house on the Currituck Sound side of the Outer Banks (as opposed to the ocean side) for the first time this year, and I spent hours every day walking and sitting observing the flora and fauna of the Outer Banks. I had planned to do a lot of people sketching, too, but I ended up only sketching people a few times, as I was mostly in conversation when with the family and otherwise was outside observing birds, dragonflies, and plant life. One afternoon a few of us attended a fabulous dragonfly identification workshop, which was very timely, since I had spent the previous afternoon sketching dragonflies.

Below are photos of my meander book-- both sides of the whole book unfolded, then closer scans of some of the pages. You can click the images to see them large enough to read my notes, if you so desire.







Sunset July 22 from Currituck Banks Reserve
Sunset July 23 from Currituck Banks Reserve

Friday, June 19, 2015

Happy 12th Birthday, Rowan!



My Rowan is twelve today. In some ways it is hard to believe he's that old, but then I see him get up slooowly from one of his frequent naps, and I'm reminded that he is no longer a youngster. We spend more time snuggling than playing these days, but every now and then Rowan looks at me with a gleeful glint in his eye and then leaps into the air and darts back and forth in front of me. He did that yesterday when I walked to the car and back; he was overflowing with joy that I hadn't gone away without him. I overflow with joy and gratitude every time he does that.

No matter how deeply Rowan is sleeping, if I say the magic words, "Do you want to go with me?" he leaps to his feet and runs to the front door, where he dances impatiently until we go out together. He flops into his spot in my car (the floor of the passenger side), always facing me, and happily stays in the car until we're back home, sleeping some of the time, but frequently opening his eyes to check on my. If I reach down at a red light, he rests his chin in my palm, and sighs contentedly. So do I; it feels so good to have my boy with me wherever I am. Now that the weather is warming up, he can't go out with me often, since he is retired from formal Service Dog work for the most part, but whenever I can, I schedule errands for cool mornings.
Rowan in his spot in my car
As I type, I hear Rowan snoring behind me. I know no matter how quietly I get up to leave the room, he'll open an eye to see what I'm up to. If I turn off the light as I leave the room, he'll get up and follow me. If I don't turn off a light, he'll wait in his comfortable spot on the floor to see if I'm coming back, but inevitably within just a few minutes he'll come find me, flop down near me, and fall asleep again after watching me closely for a minute or two.

On a recent walk-- my faithful, happy shadow
These days with an older dog are challenging both due to aging health issues and because of the backdrop of uncertainty that hangs heavy at times, but they are also wonderful in a way unique to a connection forged over years of time growing together. Rowan has long since shed the reactivity of his younger years and has become the most connected, intuitive dog I have ever known. I have grown in more ways than I could write, thanks to what he needed from me to help him learn and grow from an impulsive young dog to a steady Service Dog capable of traveling around the country with me and thanks to his faithful, loving presence in my life. I don't know how much longer Rowan will be with me, but I treasure every day we have together, and hope we still have years to enjoy the connection and partnership we have grown.

Happy twelfth Birthday, Rowan! I am so thankful for you.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Quiet Day

Today has been my weekly Quiet Day, a day each week when Stephen goes to the office instead of working from home, so that I can have time home alone. I cherish the silence and solitude to read, pray, putter, sketch, muse, and just be. It's actually not silent today-- the birds are singing their spring songs of love, the stream is gurgling as it courses by the yard, and a light breeze has been whispering through the slightly greening shrubs all day. Those sounds have enriched my day from the very start, when I awoke at 5:30 to the sound of a Phoebe vociferously calling forth the dawn, with the faint burbling of the stream in the background. I listened briefly, then dozed a while, the birdsong a peaceful lullaby until I awoke again, ready to rise and rejoice in the gift of a new day.

I've spent most of today outside walking the dogs, reading,  sketching, and sometimes just enjoying the peace of an unscheduled day. To cap the day off, Stephen and I are going out on a date after he gets home from work. A perfect day that will leave me refreshed for another week of dog training and other work.
Bridge over our stream (Wolff's carbon pencil)
Locust Tree (Pen & Ink)
Robin's nest on a ladder

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Sweet Savor of Home

We got home earlier this week from a wonderful trip visiting Arielle and Stephen's mother. We walked, talked, ate good food, hiked, painted, and generally had a restful, refreshing time. I may post some of those paintings and sketches in another post. I love traveling to visit family or see interesting places but, even so, I'm always happy to come back home.

I especially cherish the simple, peaceful moments at the start of most days when I sit, tea in hand and Acadia warming my lap, reading my Bible and watching birds breakfasting at our feeders. 




















Quiet evenings I stroll in the yard with my dogs romping or exploring as I review the day, while long shadows and rich evening light refresh my soul. 


And then at the close of the day, right before I go to bed, I usually step out one last time to look into the depths of the indigo sky sprinkled with bright stars, and I thank God for the wonder of his creation as I bid the day good-night.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Hudson River Watercolor

The trees may not have leaves yet, but spring really is finally arriving here in New York. Two days ago I went to Bowdoin Park, sat in the warm sun overlooking the Hudson River, and played with my paints. I love the varied colors of the land all year, and I especially like the more subtle melange of colors in an early spring landscape, when grasses are starting to green up and shrubs are just barely gaining a hint of color from buds swelling with the promise of vibrant color to come.

Hudson River
Watercolor 6" x 12"
To see this and other paintings that are available, please visit my Etsy Shop:
Melissa Fischer's Art

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Artist-in-Residence at Acadia National Park!

Last week I was notified that I've been selected to be an artist-in-residence at Acadia National Park in Maine! I am SO EXCITED! I applied in early January and have been eagerly awaiting news, attempting (with limited success) to wait patiently and not check my email obsessively. I got the email last week on the first day of a vacation trip Stephen and I took; that started that vacation off on a wonderful note.

During the time I'll be there (October 14-31), I'll be focused on immersing myself in the world of Acadia and in my art. Observing, exploring, sketching, creating, painting. I can hardly wait! I'll also be working with the public (school children, I think) for an hour or so each week, sharing my love for nature and art, something I always love doing.

I am so very thankful to the Schoodic Institute and Acadia National Park for this incredible opportunity, and a big thank you also goes to my friends and family who encouraged me to apply. I feel so honored to have been selected, and I am eager to serve the park and the public with my art. I've already purchased a book on plein air painting at the park-- Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island Plein Air Artist Guide-- and have been perusing the book and counting the weeks and months until I can start roaming the park, sketchbook in hand.
View from Gorham Mountain, Acadia National Park,
photo courtesy of National Park Service

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