River Sketches

“I will come to your river/
Wash my soul again…”

—Ibeyi, “River”

View from Riverside Park , charcoal on paper, 9.5x13.25 inches

View from Riverside Park, charcoal on paper, 9.5x13.25 inches

Last Thursday, the sunshine was so delightful and warm, it was impossible to stay indoors. I took my sketchbook and drawing supplies and walked along the river, finding quiet places to stop and be. I’m lucky to live at the intersection of two rivers, the Delaware and the Lehigh. Whenever I feel anxious, I find it soothing to sit near the river and contemplate its changing, moving waters.

Bridge over the Lehigh (1),  walnut ink on paper, 4x6 inches

Bridge over the Lehigh (1), walnut ink on paper, 4x6 inches

I found a sunny spot in the grass, and I sat there drawing for a long time. I didn’t look at my phone, so I wasn’t even sure how much time had passed, which was a truly liberating experience. It was also refreshing to just play around with my art supplies and be creative without any clear goal.

I really liked this view of the two bridges over the Lehigh River, with hills and church domes in the background. I did two versions of this composition.

Bridge over the Lehigh (2),  marker on paper, 4x6 inches

Bridge over the Lehigh (2), marker on paper, 4x6 inches

Even though I had a hat and sunscreen, I got a little sunburn, which actually felt delightful, surprisingly. I think my body has been missing the sunshine.

Train Bridge over the Merging Rivers , pencil on paper, 6x8 inches

Train Bridge over the Merging Rivers, pencil on paper, 6x8 inches

My son asked me recently which season was my favorite, and I paused for a long time before answering. In fact, I couldn’t really pick one. But I do know that Spring is the season which I always feel is over too soon. I wish it would last a little bit longer: the frothy pale green and lacy blossoms and the fluffy little goslings…

Sketch of a family of geese,  pencil on paper, 4x4 inches

Sketch of a family of geese, pencil on paper, 4x4 inches

As I walked home, I passed a bright stretch of green grass doted with yellow buttercups.. The baby geese, stumbling in their fluffy little bodies, were following their mom happily.

This might be something to paint someday…

“Family of Geese”  monotype, 6x6 inches

“Family of Geese” monotype, 6x6 inches

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of birds, the ebb and flow of the tides, the folded bud ready for the spring. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature—the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring comes and the winter.”

— Rachel Carson, as written out in a recent letter from a friend