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Nature Art: Islands - Explore

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Nature Art: Islands

Why do we love islands? Do we think of them as sentinels, as guardians, like lighthouses? Or is it the magic, the promise of an island, something cut off from our mainland regular life?

I grew up on an island, Kwajalein, in the South Pacific, but I didn't realize the hold islands had on my imagination until I began to paint. In my first sketch, below, you can see Childrens' Island at the bottom of the image, and you may be able to read my notes about the incoming fog at the top:

Childrens 1
During my time in Marblehead, I ended up sketching Childrens' Island almost every day. I was playing with my new sketchbook, trying to draw one full sheet of images each time I want out for a walk. Marblehead has lots to draw, the old town in particular with its pre-1700s houses, its harbor, its lighthouse...but I always came back to the island. When I draw it now, I know every little shape: the two shelters in the middle, the tiny water tower on a hill, the fan of trees near the end. In the image below, you can see I was drawing in a stiff northeast wind--the water is choppy and the sailboats are turned to catch the wind:

Childrens 2
I'm painting in gouache, the opaque watercolors, these days, so I tried it next in a quick, color sketch of a sunrise:

Childrens 3
Wherever you go in the last days of summer, I hope you bring your sketchbook with you!

-- Sue Fierston paints and teaches just outside of Washington, D.C. in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. As a painter, she works in acrylics and watercolor and is in the middle of a series called "100 Flowers." As a teaching artist, she works with teachers to bring art into their classrooms in grades 4-8. Her posts focus on her nature-themed art collaborations. For a look at her paintings or more about her teaching, check out her website at suzannefierston.com.

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