What a gift it is to be at Bloedel Reserve for an artist residency! Since I have arrived I have been enjoying the trails and the creative solitude. The quiet woods, the meandering pathways and the cheerful singing of the birds is such a joy to experience. On my first day, I discovered the Strolls for Well-Being book, which has inspired me to do some focused strolling and journaling.
I have several projects I am working on while at Bloedel. One of the projects I am working on is creating pen and ink illustrations for Seaside Natural History Park, in Seaside, Oregon. It is a new park being developed by the city of Seaside, where I live. Originally a mill pond, an area bordering a North Coast Land Conservancy parcel is being transformed into a small nature reserve. The area is popular with birds, river otters, and other wildlife and is being replanted with native plants.
In May, I was approached by the Park Committee to create coloring book pages of flora and fauna from this area. I already have some illustrations of flora, so I am focusing now on creating illustrations of fauna and some other flora as well. The Park committee will be using my illustrations to create a coloring book that will be both downloadable for free and sold as part of a fundraiser for the park.
I really enjoy being part of this project, and have already used sketches at Bloedel to create several illustrations, as some of the species are similar at Bloedel and the Seaside Natural History Park. Just today, I finished an illustration of a Kingfisher and a Cedar tree. Yesterday, I witnessed Kingfishers diving in the marsh pond with such agility and energy. I also love observing Cedar trees at Bloedel, how the upward movement of the branches create an uplifting feeling. I love seeing woodpeckers and the dragonflies and, most of all, the emerald textures of various plants and trees.Once I finish the illustrations, I hope to spend the rest of my residency painting. I am especially inspired by the meadow full of wildflowers as it reminds me of Polish meadows of my childhood memories. I’m sketching yarrow, foxglove, lupin and red clover from the meadow to create a watercolor painting in a horizontal format. Each walk through the Reserve brings new ideas and inspirations so who knows what other projects may emerge from my stay here.