Tag: gardens

tulip sketch

I’m getting back into the swing of art after taking a much needed break.

I’ve recently started reviving from a serious artistic funk in which I haven’t had the inclination or desire to engage in any sort of art at all. I didn’t even want to look at other people’s art, check Instagram, look for “inspiration” online, or anything similar.

I’ve never really experienced anything like this in the past. I wasn’t feeling depressed or anything of the sort, but I do think that I shifted focus to other areas of my life that were more immediately pressing (finances, etc.). I considered pushing on and continuing to work despite feeling very averse to the idea. The advice of many established artists is to “show up and do the work” and so forth. Instead, I truly felt like I just needed to rest my brain and to do nothing.

Now that things have quieted down a bit, I am focusing more on my art again. This time though, I am interested in expanding beyond floral art (not eliminating it entirely, of course). Throughout school and in the months following, I was drawn to florals because they made me happy and it was a subject matter that felt comfortable and easy to me. Now, I’m wanting to branch out and tackle some other subjects (other aspects of botany, rocks, and landscapes). I’m also working on some sewing projects and I’m imagining how I can incorporate sewing and embroidery into my art.

Cathy Johnson recently discussed her recent “dry spell.” I always like to read about how other artists deal with their creative ebbs and flows and it also makes me feel a little less uncomfortable with the whole process.

The following images are some of the pieces I painted in the last several months. Stay tuned for some new work in my next update.

tulip sketch
©2018 Carolyn A Pappas, Discarded Tulips Sketch (5/13/2018). Pen and ink and watercolor in large moleskine.

pansy watercolor
©2018 Carolyn A Pappas, Pansy. Watercolor and rubberstamping, 5 x 5 inches.

pen and ink watercolor flower sketch
©2018 Carolyn A Pappas, Greenery (5/21/2018). Ink and watercolor in large moleskine.

pen and ink succulents
©2018 Carolyn A Pappas, US Botanic Garden (Feb 2018). Ink and watercolor in large moleskine.

leaves marker sketch

Free Fun Friday at Tower Hill Botanic Garden

green leaves sketch
©2017 Carolyn A Pappas, Green Leaves (7/28/2017). Waterproof ink and Inktense colored pencils in large moleskine.
leaves marker sketch
©2017 Carolyn A Pappas, Under the Meyer Lemon Tree (7/28/2017). Stabilo Point 88 pens in large moleskine.

At the end of July, I took a day off from my studies to go out sketching at Tower Hill’s Free Fun Friday event (free admission for the public). As a member, I had never attended this event in the past before because I can attend anytime, but this time I was supposed to meet someone from the CPSA for a day of sketching. Unfortunately, I did not realize that there would be so many people that that facility would have to close the gates because there was no more parking.

In the end, the meeting never took place, but I did get to do some sketching on my own. Many people (at least 50) can up to me and either watched over my shoulder or struck up a conversation about my art. Many people would find this kind of attention anxiety provoking, but I didn’t mind it. I actually found it rewarding to talk to the kids about keeping a sketchbook and I think many of them were really inspired. I did find that I didn’t get as much sketching done as I would like because of the interruptions. I also made some pretty mundane sketches. I tried out my new Derwent Inktense colored pencils and did some experimenting with Stabilo Point 88 markers, which are both fairly new to me.

While this was not the ideal situation for nature sketching, I think showing up at an event like this to sketch and hand out business cards would be a great marketing opportunity to try in the future.

solstice sketch

Sketchy Sketches

solstice sketch
©2017 Carolyn A Pappas, Solstice Garden Medley (6/21/2017). Ink and watercolor in large moleskine.
fountain sketch
©2017 Carolyn A Pappas, Pliny’s Fountain (7/1/2017). Ink and watercolor in large moleskine.

Dismiss thoughts of ‘good, bad, right, wrong, success, failure’ – be spontaneous. -Josh Goldberg

Even in my sketchbook, I tend to be very precise and make slow-going, detailed drawings. These two pages were exactly the opposite for a change. I drew the flowers while sitting on my front stoop and the fountain while sitting on a bench in the woods (getting bitten by mosquitoes).

orange butterfly drawing


Over Spring Break I delved into my reference photo archive and sketched some butterflies. I have a nice collection of photos, some from the butterfly conservatory and some from outside. I tried to identify the butterflies in the last two sketches but had no luck. I did waste a few hours looking at photos of many beautiful varieties though.

swallowtail butterfly sketch
©2017 Carolyn A Pappas, Swallowtail with Ragged Wings (3/4/2017). Ink and watercolor in large moleskine.

orange butterfly drawing
©2017 Carolyn A Pappas, Orange, black, and white butterfly (3/6/2017). Ink and watercolor in large moleskine.
©2017 Carolyn A Pappas, Watercolor butterfly on leaf (3/8/2017). Watercolor and ink in large moleskine.
garden doodle

Decorated Endpapers

garden doodle
©2016 Carolyn A Pappas, Garden Medley (June 2016). Faber Castell PITT Pens and gouache in large moleskine.

I’ve never decorated the front endpapers in any of my previous sketchbooks, although some people make a tradition of it. I decided to give it a try in my new moleskine, by making a series of mini sketches out in the garden over the month of June. I went outside in the evenings before it got too buggy and made a quick sketch or two using my colored PITT artist pens. I managed to capture a lot of the wild and cultivated things out there.

chenille plant drawing

Sketching at Magic Wings

Last weekend I visited Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory. I had last been there two years ago, so I was due for another visit. This time though, the timing was not ideal. It was a rainy Saturday and the place was crowded with lots of other people who had the same idea. That, combined with all of the substandard photos that I took and a shortage of blue morpho butterflies, led to a rather disappointing visit. I did get to make a sketch though, which was the highlight of the trip.

chenille plant drawing
©2016 Carolyn A Pappas, Chenille Plant at Magic Wings (6/11/2016). Ink and watercolor in large moleskine.

tropical photos
Selected photos from my trip to Magic Wings. ©2016 Carolyn A Pappas.
sedum garden sketch

Getting Outside

sedum garden sketch
©2016 Carolyn A Pappas, Sedum (3-5-16). Ink in large moleskine.
driftwood sketch
©2016 Carolyn A Pappas, Driftwood (3-9-16). Ink in large moleskine.

Even though it was a mild winter, I really feel like spring has arrived because I have been getting outside to sketch in the garden and down by the lake. Last spring and summer I stayed inside most of the time to study, but I want to try to get outside much more this year.

Imaginative garden drawing by Carolyn A Pappas

A much needed rest

Imaginative garden drawing by Carolyn A Pappas
©2015 Carolyn A Pappas, Imaginative garden (8-13-2015). Ink and watercolor in large moleskine sketchbook.

I took my last final exam yesterday and then breathed a sigh of relief. It is so good to have a small rest. I spent the day today working in my sketchbook. The artwork I have made over the past summer has been slim to none and I have been craving some time to sit around and draw. I have had a desire to make very imaginative drawings in my sketchbook and I am so excited to get into a more regular creative routine again.

Here are some things I have come across online recently that I found inspiring:

  • Nick Neddo forages in the woods of Vermont to find raw ingredients to make handmade art supplies. I would really like to learn to make my own ink and charcoal.
  • This article describes the philosophy of UltraRomance, a man who has designed his lifestyle to involve the least amount of work as possible so he can have more free time to ride his bike.
  • I really enjoyed this short film about Jake Weiddman, “master penman.” I have never heard of that title before, but this man truly takes pen and ink to a new level.
  • The Ten Things is an animated short (an excerpt from a longer film) that outlines some really inspiring philosophies about life.
Northampton Garden by Carolyn A Pappas

Northampton Garden

Northampton Garden by Carolyn A Pappas
©2015 Carolyn A Pappas, Northampton Garden (5-5-2015). Ink and watercolor in large moleskine sketchbook.

I’ve been delving into my reference files and made the above drawing from the same scene that I drew in this drawing from 2009. I made the earlier drawing from life and added the watercolor at home. I find it very interesting how I approached my current drawing differently (more loose and imaginative).