an everyday photo, every day | photography • art • poetry

landscape

Poem for Today: Like a Tree

Cathedral of Trees
Cathedral of Trees

Cathedral of Trees

I think of the trees around me as I think of my friends, those constant presences that are more a part of us than we know. Perhaps they have no chance but to stand where they are, but they learn to bend and stretch and live as full a life as possible intermingled with all that lives around them.

“…stand in peace and harmony with my neighbors,…bring shelter and comfort to others indiscriminately,…” Years ago I was inspired by the simple existence of the trees around me to write a poem in honor of the way they grew and lived intermingled with all that grew around them because they had no choice. Perhaps that thought is what I have to add to today’s discussion about violence and fear and immigrants and learning to live in peace on this planet.

Like a Tree

To live my life like a tree,
to grow steadily from small beginnings,
fervently when possible, and quietly adapt when necessary,
stand in peace and harmony with my neighbors,
bear my fruit appropriately,
bring shelter and comfort to others indiscriminately,
and when my season is over
graciously give my gift to the earth
for the benefit of myself and all around me,
and without fear
patiently wait for my moment to return
in spring.

poem © 2000 Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Here in Western Pennsylvania with our miles and miles of tree-covered hills it’s as if someone is air brushing the landscape, and as the leaves spread and grow the hills, which had before seemed flat now take shape and dimension. Because I am compelled to photograph and paint these colors I run here and there when the morning sun catches the trees, or the purple clouds of an afternoon storm gather behind the brilliant lime of the tree tops, or the evening sun shines, angled, through a grove of trees.

Because I paint Western Pennsylvania, nearly every one of my landscape paintings contains a tree, usually more than one, and often the trees themselves are the subjects. I have gigabytes of photos of trees, just for the trees’ sake, not to mention ones where the trees are the supporting cast. The other day I ran an errand entirely on winding back roads so that I could drive 10 miles per hour and photograph the beauty unfolding at every turn, even if they weren’t particularly good photos; the change had come so quickly that I was completely distracted and it was either that or have someone drive me or I’d wreck my car.

pastel sketch of tree

“From the Ground Up”, pastel on multi-media paper, 6.5″ x 9.5″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

I have looked at this tree every day I’ve lived in this house, but one morning last year I followed my little black cat Mimi into my neighbor’s yard, just across the fence line, no fence, from our yard, and looked up at the tall maple tree from a different angle. What a great view, all those colors and shapes and little bits of sky, I guess I’ll sketch it, I thought.

pastel painting of woods on back road

“A Bend in the Road”, pastel, 14″ x 22″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Back in early June, on a lovely sunny day just about noon, I was leaving a morning event and on errands traveling the back roads just for fun, knowing this narrow back road had some wonderful spots. The trees had finally reached full cover in the woods and all along the trails and I simply could not get enough.

. . . . . . .

You can find the painting above and all my paintings of trees, originals or prints, on my website in Landscapes and My Home Town, and in my Etsy shop.

Read the rest of the poetry from my first ever poetry reading and art show at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, in 2007 entitled Paths I Have Walked.

poetry book

Paths I Have Walked, collected poems.

About Art of the Watershed and the Collected Poems

A series of seasonal images of the Lower Chartiers Watershed

“I have travelled a good deal in Concord,” said Henry David Thoreau in Walden, his paradox of exploring a small town and its surroundings teaching him as much about human life and the interactions of nature as if he had traveled rare and exotic places about the globe.

I’d love to paint faraway exotic places, but in the interests of time I stay close to home for my hiking, bicycling, canoeing, walking and painting excursions, that being the valley where the Lower Chartiers Creek flows.

I’ve seen some exquisite sights on my adventures, and committed them to various media. The most moving are the ones I’ve chosen to paint large and in detail so that I might convey at least a portion of the grandeur that moved me beyond awe to action, sharing the places right around us though most people would never see them. Thus was born the series offering an image indicative of the watershed in each season.

About the books and the poetry readings

My biggest inspiration for poetry, prose and artwork is the world right around me, and I enjoy the opportunity to share it from the perspective of one who walks and hikes and bikes and carries a camera, art materials and journal everywhere—even around the house—so the inspirations are fresh.

In December, 2006, two of my poems were chosen to be published on a section of the Prairie Home Companion website entitled “Stories From Home/First Person” for submissions of writing about the place we feel most familiar. I’m a long-time listener to PHC and reader of Garrison Keillor’s books as well as a daily listener to The Writer’s Almanac featuring news about writers and writing and of interest to writers as well as a poem, all compiled and read by Keillor himself. I was astonished to fi nd my poems were among the first chosen from apparently thousands, and so happy to be able to share them with a potential audience of so many similarly inclined writers and readers.

My poetry readings and art exhibits were the vision of Maggie Forbes, executive director of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, after learning of my publishing of those two poems. I owe her many thanks for encouraging me to present this combination of my visual and literary art, a first for me. Each year I am invited back to read my poetry and exhibit my artwork. I love that building, every inch of it, and the opportunity to bring people in to visit is an honor.

And visit my poetry page to see more about my poetry and other writing, and to purchase Paths I Have Walked.

Visit my website to see the full set of paintings included in the “Art of the Watershed” series.

~~~~~

Shared on Inspire Me Monday

Inspire-Me-Monday-Button-1502


Exhibit: My Home Town

Pear Trees on Main Street, pastel, 10 x 12, 2003 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski
"Pear Trees on Main Street", pastel, 12" x 10", 2003 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

“Pear Trees on Main Street”, pastel, 12″ x 10″, 2003 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

My Home Town

AN EXHIBIT OF PAINTINGS & SKETCHES

Thursday July 30, 2009, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Babyface’s Carnegie Grill, 36 East Main Street, Carnegie

I love the look of a street lined with houses and trees, a variety of storefronts or someone’s laundry hanging in the back yard; people making their little bit or space unique. I’ve been entering these works in our annual art show, ”Carnegie Painted”, since the year 2000. I’ll have 24 pieces on the wall plus prints and notecards of those and more. Peruse the walls and see if you can identify the views of these familiar streets and places.

Well, those were the days. This was my 2009 annual exhibit, another event in July. Carnegie Painted was an annual exhibit hosted for ten years featuring paintings and sketches of Carnegie, encouraging artists to come and sketch en plein air. I entered at least two if not four images in the show each year for ten years, and in 2009 I selected the originals that hadn’t sold and some of my favorites as prints and put together this exhibit, and also chose 12 images to print as note cards.

Because I’ve sketched so much around Carnegie, these are some of my favorites because I remember not only the scene but the moment, stopping for 15 or 20 minutes on a walk down to the bank to do a sketch, in all seasons. Some were done from photos, but that’s because you can’t always stand and sketch in a snow squall, or standing in the middle of the street.

I still have just a few originals but all are available as prints. The most popular are available in my Etsy shop, so click click this link to find all that’s available on Etsy. Below is a gallery of all the images in the exhibit.

. . . . . . .

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

 


Rise Now and Sing

Rise Now and Sing
Rise Now and Sing

Rise Now and Sing

The dewy phlox flowers greet the morning.

. . . . . . .

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


“Morning on the Creek”

"Morning on the Creek", pastel, 22" x 29", 2008 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski
    "Morning on the Creek", pastel, 22" x 29", 2008 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

“Morning on the Creek”, pastel, 22″ x 29″, 2008 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

A placid morning canoe trip on Chartiers Creek as the sun spills over the top of the hill, and a goose and goslings head upstream. Of course, I couldn’t paint this while paddling, but I kept it in mind for later. I wear a small digital camera around my neck while canoeing and probably spend more time taking photos than paddling, and I’ve tipped the canoe more than once while swinging around trying to focus on a heron flying overhead. It’ s a good thing Chartiers Creek averages about 1o inches deep most of the year.

detail of landscape painting

Morning on the Creek, detail top left.

This scene is in June somewhere near Peters Township and Upper St. Clair where the creek’s channel is still winding in its traditional channel of oxbows and hairpin turns with high banks and deeper pools and rocky ledges in many places, alive with the calls and flight of herons, wood thrushes and kingfishers as well as the more common cardinals, jays and sparrows, and the occasional fish jumping out of the water. It’s difficult to believe you are paddling past back yards and the parking lots of industry, under the interstate and through a golf course.

detail of landscape painting

Morning on the Creek, detail top right

I did a small study of the top section of this image several years ago in preparation for this painting, which is sold but I have prints of this one as well. I have a series of photos from this canoe trip and many others, which are all worthy of artwork, but this spill of sunbeams broken by the tree trunks, touching the leaves with bright gold and shining a spotlight on the surface of the water is simply so descriptive of the summer creek, the one that I remember from my childhood when it was still fairly wild and overgrown all up and down its corridor, that I kept returning to it.

pastel painting of sunbeams through trees

“Sunbeams”, pastel, 6″ x 8″, 2002 © B.E. Kazmarski

I had originally intended to paint just the creek and its banks, but when I looked closer at my photos I found the little family of Canada geese floating along in the shadows. Even though Canada Geese are not native to the watershed, and are, in fact, invasive in some areas, they are such a common sight that I still welcome their entry on the scene.

goose and goslings

A goose and goslings.

This piece was the signature painting at my second annual poetry reading and fine art show at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, “Winter Twilight”; those long nights of midwinter can inspire some very deep thoughts. Even though this piece depicts summer, I painted it during a series of those longs nights, remembering the sweet and mild June morning, full of life and sound. Visit my website to see more artwork and read the poetry from that reading.

This painting is an original pastel on acid-free two-ply natural white drawing board to which I applied Art Spectrum Colourfix fine pastel ground tinted light green.

The image size 22″ x 29″, painted in 2008. I framed it in a custom plain matte black moulding with a 4″ acid-free white mat. Framed size is 30″ x 37″, and you can find it in my Etsy shop along with a variety of digital prints, giclee prints and canvas prints:

  • Original, framed or
  • Painting only
  • 11″ x 14″ Digital
  • 22″ x 29″ Giclee
  • 11″ x 14″ Giclee
  • 24 x 18 Canvas
  • 20 x 16 Canvas
  • 14 x 11 Canvas

For local friends, this painting is on display at Wesbanco in Carnegie, 100 Broadway Avenue, Carnegie 15106.

pastel painting of sunbeams through trees

“Sunbeams”, pastel, 6″ x 8″, 2002 © B.E. Kazmarski

“Sunbeams”

Incidentally, the preliminary sketch for this painting, “Sunbeams”, included above, is also available as prints. While I love the detailed finish of the original in that top area I love the loose quality and contrasts in the sketch. Find it in my Etsy shop.

. . . . . . .

If you’d like to be informed about new artwork plus sales and specials before everyone else, please sign up for my Art & Merchandise e-newsletter. In September I’m planning an autumn-themed artwork sale as well as a review of an exhibit from 2008 entitled “My Home Town”, with a few originals as well as many prints still available, and a special set of notecards. “Art & Merchandise” is a separate list from my Creative Cat e-newsletter if you’re already signed up for that one.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.

. . . . . . .

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

 


Poem for Arbor Day: Like a Tree

pastel sketch of tree
pastel sketch of tree

“From the Ground Up”, pastel on multi-media paper, 6.5″ x 9.5″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

I have looked at this tree every day I’ve lived in this house, bu tone morning last year I followed my little black cat Mimi into my neighbor’s yard, just across the fence line, no fence, from our yard, and looked up at the tall maple tree from a different angle. What a great view, all those colors and shapes and little bits of sky, I guess I’ll sketch it, I thought.

Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday of April in the United States, as trees have been celebrated all over the world in other festivals throughout human history, and we plant trees, care for trees and observe and honor the trees we live with. You can learn more about Arbor Day here.

The coming of green to the bare trees in spring is as exciting to me as the coming of wild reds and yellows in autumn. Tiny tentative sprays of green spread from one tree to the next, each day brings more green, more shades of green to all the trees around me. Even more than bird returning or daffodils and crocuses and forsythia blooming, the return of the leaves is a confirmation of the return of life to me.

Here in Western Pennsylvania with our miles and miles of tree-covered hills it’s as if someone is air brushing the landscape, and as the leaves spread and grow the hills, which had before seemed flat now take shape and dimension. Because I am compelled to photograph and paint these colors I run here and there when the morning sun catches the trees, or the purple clouds of an afternoon storm gather behind the brilliant lime of the tree tops, or the evening sun shines, angled, through a grove of trees.

Because I paint Western Pennsylvania, nearly every one of my landscape paintings contains a tree, usually more than one, and often the trees themselves are the subjects. I have gigabytes of photos of trees, just for the trees’ sake, not to mention ones where the trees are the supporting cast. The other day I ran an errand entirely on winding back roads so that I could drive 10 miles per hour and photograph the beauty unfolding at every turn, even if they weren’t particularly good photos; the change had come so quickly that I was completely distracted and it was either that or have someone drive me or I’d wreck my car.

I think of the trees around me as I think of my friends, those constant presences that are more a part of us than we know. They inspired this poem.

Like a Tree

To live my life like a tree,
to grow steadily from small beginnings,
fervently when possible, and quietly adapt when necessary,
stand in peace and harmony with my neighbors,
bear my fruit appropriately,
bring shelter and comfort to others indiscriminately,
and when my season is over
graciously give my gift to the earth
for the benefit of myself and all around me,
and without fear
patiently wait for my moment to return
in spring.

poem © 2000 Bernadette E. Kazmarski

You can find the painting above and all my paintings of trees, originals or prints, on my website in Landscapes and My Home Town, and in my Etsy shop.

Read the rest of the poetry from my first ever poetry reading and art show at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, in 2007 entitled Paths I Have Walked.

poetry book

Paths I Have Walked, collected poems.

About Art of the Watershed and the Collected Poems

A series of seasonal images of the Lower Chartiers Watershed

“I have travelled a good deal in Concord,” said Henry David Thoreau in Walden, his paradox of exploring a small town and its surroundings teaching him as much about human life and the interactions of nature as if he had traveled rare and exotic places about the globe.

I’d love to paint faraway exotic places, but in the interests of time I stay close to home for my hiking, bicycling, canoeing, walking and painting excursions, that being the valley where the Lower Chartiers Creek flows.

I’ve seen some exquisite sights on my adventures, and committed them to various media. The most moving are the ones I’ve chosen to paint large and in detail so that I might convey at least a portion of the grandeur that moved me beyond awe to action, sharing the places right around us though most people would never see them. Thus was born the series offering an image indicative of the watershed in each season.

About the books and the poetry readings

My biggest inspiration for poetry, prose and artwork is the world right around me, and I enjoy the opportunity to share it from the perspective of one who walks and hikes and bikes and carries a camera, art materials and journal everywhere—even around the house—so the inspirations are fresh.

In December, 2006, two of my poems were chosen to be published on a section of the Prairie Home Companion website entitled “Stories From Home/First Person” for submissions of writing about the place we feel most familiar. I’m a long-time listener to PHC and reader of Garrison Keillor’s books as well as a daily listener to The Writer’s Almanac featuring news about writers and writing and of interest to writers as well as a poem, all compiled and read by Keillor himself. I was astonished to fi nd my poems were among the first chosen from apparently thousands, and so happy to be able to share them with a potential audience of so many similarly inclined writers and readers.

My poetry readings and art exhibits were the vision of Maggie Forbes, executive director of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, after learning of my publishing of those two poems. I owe her many thanks for encouraging me to present this combination of my visual and literary art, a first for me. Each year I am invited back to read my poetry and exhibit my artwork. I love that building, every inch of it, and the opportunity to bring people in to visit is an honor.

And visit my poetry page to see more about my poetry and other writing, and to purchase Paths I Have Walked.

Visit my website to see the full set of paintings included in the “Art of the Watershed” series.

~~~~~

Shared on Inspire Me Monday

Inspire-Me-Monday-Button-1502


Frosty Morning, Just Before Sunrise

pastel painting of cold snowy sunrise
pastel painting of cold snowy sunrise

“Frosty Morning, Just Before Sunrise”, 2012, 17.25″ x 9″, pastel © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

It looks like this out there this morning.

The coldest, frostiest mornings always seem to come in January, right after all the warmth and color of the holiday season. I painted this just one week shy of two years ago in January 2012, standing at my window to sketch the basics but finishing from a photo, the light so fleeting, but I look at this view each day and know the details in all seasons. This morning’s hazy frosty look with the valley in shadow but the bright sky was very inspiring. I decided to finally do this sketch that I’ve been visualizing for years.

Not just the colors of a snowy, frigid morning, but the steam rising from all the chimneys were part of the inspiration. I’m not sure why, but seeing the steam rise over the neighborhoods and town on a frosty morning has always had a sense of both melancholy and security for me. As I watched the sun rise and the day grow light, photographing as it went, it seemed everyone’s furnace turned on at the same time and I knew I had to paint this scene.

The four houses across from me I’ve sketched a number of times before, but in this case I’ve also included what is Main Street in Carnegie off to the left, the little collection of square-cornered things are the buildings there with steam rising just as well.

The one element I did leave out was the row of trees in my back yard which were just featured in a dawn photo the other day. They were just too chaotic and detailed, but really when I visualized the scene I realized my visualization had left them out. There is plenty of interest here without them. You can also see a portion of this scene in a frosty photo from last year before the heavy snowfall and ice knocked down a number of trees on the left, and in another snowy scene from this same vantage point. “Snow at Night”.

This painting is done in hues of only four colors, a Prussian blue which is a cool blue tending toward slate blue, haze blue that is a warmer color with a red tint and has elements of violet, and one shade each of yellow and pink.

This was one of those times when the photograph just wasn’t going to work.

Prints of this painting

“Frosty Morning” traveled to its final home over the holidays this year, to a friend “just north of us” in Canada. I offer a variety of prints of this painting, as digital, giclee or on canvas. Visit my Etsy shop to see the options and purchasing information.

. . . . . .

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


A Shared Past

two bare trees in field by road
two bare trees in field by road

A Shared Past

Two ancient apple trees guard the entrance to a farm that no longer exists. What memories do those trees hold in all the years they’ve been welcoming visitors? And the land itself?

Another shot found in the moody light of a dark winter day after snowfall. Still glad I got lost chasing a tree on a hill.

. . . . . .

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

 


What is the Goal?

photo of tree in winter field
photo of tree in winter field

What is the Goal?

Possibly just as much a question of my activities as my aesthetic intentions with my photographs of this one lone tree, at the top of a path at the top of a hill, clouds scudding across the sky on a dark winter afternoon, dark enough to dim the colors in the winter field. Something we should ask ourselves on a regular basis.

One conclusion was that I should get lost on country roads more often. I saw this from a distance, a ribbon of winding road before me and many hills and curves between me and the tree, and drove until I found it.

. . . . . .

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

 


Poem for Saturday: Clouds

pastel painting of autumn scene
pastel painting of autumn scene

“Autumn”, pastel, 12″ x 24″, 1998 © B.E. Kazmarski

Enjoying the outdoors just for the sake of it, or gardening, or creating, I find myself watching the clouds. Yesterday, a storm rolled in at sunset, the temperature has dropped from a balmy Indian Summer with sun to chilled and wet, and I watched heavy gray clouds march across the blue skies.

Clouds

Roiling clouds blown by winds
Before a summer thunderstorm,
Huge constructions in purple and blue
And lurid green tinged with coral.

The delicate lace of a fair summer day,
Puffs and wisps in white and cream
Shaded with lilac and blue
And edged in yellow.

Hazy wisps in autumn
Moving slowly from one horizon to the next,
Never amounting to much.

The heavy purple rainclouds of a late spring afternoon
Looming on the horizon
Shadowing the early wan sun
And promising a rainy night.

The approach of the first storm of winter
As flat gray clouds form in the west,
In their shadow bringing the first reminder
Of the eternal cold of year’s end.

“Autumn”, above, is one of a commissioned series of four paintings created to fit a frame a customer’s father had made by hand. Each window was 12″ x 24″ with no room for a mat, so my pastels would fit exactly into each space. Seeing where she lived and other art she had inspired the “Four Seasons” with images, not from the view from her windows but familiar from the region. This is a small creek running through the middle of an abandoned hay field, the mix of deciduous trees each in its own shade and reflected in the still water. The water reflects the sky directly above, still blue, while storm clouds rise from the horizon.

Read the rest of the poetry from my annual poetry reading and art show at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, in 2009 entitled Change of Season

and see other autumn art in my Etsy shop.

poetry book

Paths I Have Walked, collected poems.

About Art of the Watershed and the Collected Poems

A series of seasonal images of the Lower Chartiers Watershed

“I have travelled a good deal in Concord,” said Henry David Thoreau in Walden, his paradox of exploring a small town and its surroundings teaching him as much about human life and the interactions of nature as if he had traveled rare and exotic places about the globe.

I’d love to paint faraway exotic places, but in the interests of time I stay close to home for my hiking, bicycling, canoeing, walking and painting excursions, that being the valley where the Lower Chartiers Creek flows.

I’ve seen some exquisite sights on my adventures, and committed them to various media. The most moving are the ones I’ve chosen to paint large and in detail so that I might convey at least a portion of the grandeur that moved me beyond awe to action, sharing the places right around us though most people would never see them. Thus was born the series offering an image indicative of the watershed in each season.

Visit my website to see the full set of paintings included in the “Art of the Watershed” series.

And visit my poetry page to see more about my poetry and other writing.

Autumn in the Valley availability

You can find a full-size giclee plus various sizes of digital prints, framed and unframed in my Etsy shop.


Poem for Saturday: Like a Tree

painting of birch trees

Birches 1: Autumn Showers, oil pastel, 22″ x 16″ © B.E. Kazmarski

Autumn has arrived as usual, and each day the colors of the season appear in new places. Here in Western Pennsylvania with our miles and miles of tree-covered hills, more brilliant reds and yellows stand among the deep olive green as if someone had stippled a single wide brush stroke here and there on the hillside, just for effect. Because I am compelled to photograph and paint these colors I know that while we see some colors even in September, the leaves don’t begin to turn in earnest, in that big wave of change, until mid-October, yet many hillsides are already halfway there. This year our warm and wet summer is said to produce a spectacular autumn leaf show.

Because I paint Western Pennsylvania, nearly every one of my landscape paintings contains a tree, usually more than one, and often the trees themselves are the subjects; I have included a slideshow of a number of paintings, below. I have gigabytes of photos of trees, just for the trees’ sake, not to mention ones where the trees are the supporting cast. The other day I ran an errand entirely on winding back roads so that I could drive 10 miles per hour and photograph the beauty unfolding at every turn, even if they weren’t particularly good photos; the change had come so quickly that I was completely distracted and it was either that or have someone drive me or I’d wreck my car.

pencil sketch of doves in bare branches

Biding Time, pencil and watercolor, 14.5″ x 20.5″ © B.E. Kazmarski

Above, “Biding Time”, a pencil drawing of the old maple tree that guards my house, with resident mourning doves. This maple has guarded this house for over 60 years, and me for the past 23. It bears the scars of storms and age, hollow to the ground, fragile now, yet it is a part of my life each moment I am here, from my bedroom first thing in the morning to the course of the day outside my office window. Drawing this, in detail, in pencil, took several weeks, working a square inch or two in an hour or so and I got to know the tree so well; the leaves are lovely, but the trunk and branches tell the true story. I added very slight watercolor washes to show the bird’s breast tarnish and the contrast of blue on the upper feathers, and the slight gather of moss on the tree branch, all to give it a bit of dimension.

I think of the trees around me as I think of my friends, those constant presences that are more a part of us than we know. They inspired this poem.

Like a Tree

To live my life like a tree,
to grow steadily from small beginnings,
fervently when possible, and quietly adapt when necessary,
stand in peace and harmony with my neighbors,
bear my fruit appropriately,
bring shelter and comfort to others indiscriminately,
and when my season is over
graciously give my gift to the earth
for the benefit of myself and all around me,
and without fear
patiently wait for my moment to return
in spring.

poem © 2000 Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Enjoy a slideshow of a number of my paintings including trees in all seasons and states of being, and media from pencil to acrylic paint. You can find all of these paintings, originals or prints, on my website in Landscapes and My Home Town, and in my Etsy shop. Also visit my Autumn Gallery where all my landscape originals and prints are on sale until December 21, the winter solstice.

Read the rest of the poetry from my first ever poetry reading and art show at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, in 2007 entitled Paths I Have Walked.

poetry book

Paths I Have Walked, collected poems.

About Art of the Watershed and the Collected Poems

A series of seasonal images of the Lower Chartiers Watershed

“I have travelled a good deal in Concord,” said Henry David Thoreau in Walden, his paradox of exploring a small town and its surroundings teaching him as much about human life and the interactions of nature as if he had traveled rare and exotic places about the globe.

I’d love to paint faraway exotic places, but in the interests of time I stay close to home for my hiking, bicycling, canoeing, walking and painting excursions, that being the valley where the Lower Chartiers Creek flows.

I’ve seen some exquisite sights on my adventures, and committed them to various media. The most moving are the ones I’ve chosen to paint large and in detail so that I might convey at least a portion of the grandeur that moved me beyond awe to action, sharing the places right around us though most people would never see them. Thus was born the series offering an image indicative of the watershed in each season.

About the books and the poetry readings

My biggest inspiration for poetry, prose and artwork is the world right around me, and I enjoy the opportunity to share it from the perspective of one who walks and hikes and bikes and carries a camera, art materials and journal everywhere—even around the house—so the inspirations are fresh.

In December, 2006, two of my poems were chosen to be published on a section of the Prairie Home Companion website entitled “Stories From Home/First Person” for submissions of writing about the place we feel most familiar. I’m a long-time listener to PHC and reader of Garrison Keillor’s books as well as a daily listener to The Writer’s Almanac featuring news about writers and writing and of interest to writers as well as a poem, all compiled and read by Keillor himself. I was astonished to fi nd my poems were among the first chosen from apparently thousands, and so happy to be able to share them with a potential audience of so many similarly inclined writers and readers.

My poetry readings and art exhibits were the vision of Maggie Forbes, executive director of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, after learning of my publishing of those two poems. I owe her many thanks for encouraging me to present this combination of my visual and literary art, a first for me. Each year I am invited back to read my poetry and exhibit my artwork. I love that building, every inch of it, and the opportunity to bring people in to visit is an honor.

And visit my poetry page to see more about my poetry and other writing, and to purchase Paths I Have Walked.

Visit my website to see the full set of paintings included in the “Art of the Watershed” series.


“A Bend in the Road” original pastel, sold, and prints

pastel painting of woods on back road
pastel painting of woods on back road

“A Bend in the Road”, pastel, 14″ x 22″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

I’m so pleased I’ve sold this painting, actually before it was even finished to a visitor to my home. I will be making prints of it  to include in my Garden Party Summer Art Exhibit. Thanks so much, my friend! I love it when my paintings go to loving homes.

. . . . . . .

Back in early June, on a lovely sunny day just about noon, I was leaving a morning event and on errands traveling the back roads just for fun, knowing this narrow back road had some wonderful spots. The trees had finally reached full cover in the woods and all along the trails and I simply could not get enough.

Then I saw this spot and hit the brakes, gasping with awe at the complicated beauty of nature, the shapes and colors, the sun and shadow, the straight-up height of the trees along the road, arching far overhead, the road bending ahead as if you were to enter a magical place. I knew I should have carried my art materials! There was no one but me on this road so I took a few photos through my windshield, then put the car in park, shut off the engine with flashers flashing and stood in the middle of the road to take photos, barefoot and listening, smelling, feeling, taking in as much of the spot as I could to remember. The light would change significantly if I were to run home and come back, the moment gone. I also knew I’d see a few other special places today, and vowed if the time came I would return and paint en plein air, but if I could not I would remember it all when I used the photos for a painting.

Often I wait years to do a painting, but in front of everything I’ve worked on for the past month has been this spot and the painting I had visualized, and something a little larger than what I’d been doing lately. Weekends were rainy, so I decided to start from a photo, then finish from memory and referencing the trees outside my windows for the closer details.

This painting is 14″ x 22″ and painted in pastel, mostly Sennelier but also a few Rembrandts and a few others I have on hand for special greens, on 2-ply acid-free natural illustration board. The illustration board with no added finish was an experiment—I am accustomed to working on Wallis sanded pastel, but that’s been difficult to find, and I want to be able to do sketches and paintings on other surfaces. I’m a little disappointed as I couldn’t layer and blend as usual, but really, no one knows that but me to look at it.

Click any image to find out more about it or visit my Landscapes and Still Lifes Gallery. If you’d like to sign up to receive this e-newsletter, which I usually deliver seasonally, click here to add your e-mail address.

See other original art and landscapes on “Today”

Click here to see an archive of original art.

Inspire-Me-Monday-Button-1502 This art is also featured for Inspire Me Monday.

. . . . . . .

For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

All images in this post are copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski and may not be used without prior written permission.


A Bend in the Road

pastel painting of woods on back road
pastel painting of woods on back road

“A Bend in the Road”, pastel, 14″ x 22″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Back in early June, on a lovely sunny day just about noon, I was leaving a morning event and on errands traveling the back roads just for fun, knowing this narrow back road had some wonderful spots. The trees had finally reached full cover in the woods and all along the trails and I simply could not get enough.

Then I saw this spot and hit the brakes, gasping with awe at the complicated beauty of nature, the shapes and colors, the sun and shadow, the straight-up height of the trees along the road, arching far overhead, the road bending ahead as if you were to enter a magical place. I knew I should have carried my art materials! There was no one but me on this road so I took a few photos through my windshield, then put the car in park, shut off the engine with flashers flashing and stood in the middle of the road to take photos, barefoot and listening, smelling, feeling, taking in as much of the spot as I could to remember. The light would change significantly if I were to run home and come back, the moment gone. I also knew I’d see a few other special places today, and vowed if the time came I would return and paint en plein air, but if I could not I would remember it all when I used the photos for a painting.

Often I wait years to do a painting, but in front of everything I’ve worked on for the past month has been this spot and the painting I had visualized, and something a little larger than what I’d been doing lately. Weekends were rainy, so I decided to start from a photo, then finish from memory and referencing the trees outside my windows for the closer details.

This painting is 14″ x 22″ and painted in pastel, mostly Sennelier but also a few Rembrandts and a few others I have on hand for special greens, on 2-ply acid-free natural illustration board. The illustration board with no added finish was an experiment—I am accustomed to working on Wallis sanded pastel, but that’s been difficult to find, and I want to be able to do sketches and paintings on other surfaces. I’m a little disappointed as I couldn’t layer and blend as usual, but really, no one knows that but me to look at it.

Click any image to find out more about it or visit my Landscapes and Still Lifes Gallery. If you’d like to sign up to receive this e-newsletter, which I usually deliver seasonally, click here to add your e-mail address.

See other original art and landscapes on “Today”

Click here to see an archive of original art.

Inspire-Me-Monday-Button-1502 This art is also featured for Inspire Me Monday.

. . . . . . .

For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

All images in this post are copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski and may not be used without prior written permission.


From the Ground Up

pastel sketch of tree
pastel sketch of tree

“From the Ground Up”, pastel on multi-media paper, 6.5″ x 9.5″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

I followed my little black cat Mimi into my neighbor’s yard, just across the fence line, no fence, from our yard, and looked up at the tall maple tree that I see out my back windows all the time. What a great view, all those colors and shapes and little bits of sky, I guess I’ll sketch it. So here it is.

This is sketched in mixed soft pastels on multi-media paper, just enough tooth to hold pastel but no real finish.

Click any image to find out more about it or visit my Landscapes and Still Lifes Gallery. If you’d like to sign up to receive this e-newsletter, which I usually deliver seasonally, click here to add your e-mail address.

See other original art and landscapes on “Today”

Click here to see an archive of original art.

. . . . . . .

For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

All images in this post are copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski and may not be used without prior written permission.


Sketch: The Bench in Spring

pastel painting of bench in spring trees
pastel painting of bench in spring trees

“The Bench in Spring”, pastel, 6.5″ x 9.5″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

I’ve been trying to scan this painting for two days and I still didn’t capture the range of greens very well and the sky is a little odd, but overall it is what it is. It’s another street sketch that I began outdoors and finished at home from a photo. This is one of the benches leading up the hill to Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, a view I see frequently in all seasons. The trees were just perfect this day, all just leafing out and so full of so many different shades of green. Already today they are darker green and denser.

In the meantime the row of trees to my right cast a deep shadow on the street which contrasted nicely with the lacy nature of the trees above.

I’ve been scurrying around trying to get a few spring sketches in while the leaves are still so colorful—it really only lasts a week, at most.

This is sketched in mixed soft pastels on multi-media paper, just enough tooth to hold pastel but no real finish.

Click any image to find out more about it or visit my Landscapes and Still Lifes Gallery. If you’d like to sign up to receive this e-newsletter, which I usually deliver seasonally, click here to add your e-mail address.

See other original art and landscapes on “Today”

Click here to see an archive of original art.

. . . . . . .

For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

All images in this post are copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski and may not be used without prior written permission.

 

 


Sketch: Spring Sidewalk

pastel sketch of trees and shadows on sidewalks
pastel sketch of trees and shadows on sidewalks

“Spring Sidewalk”, pastel, 6.5″ x 9.5″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Suddenly, it’s spring, and most days are really sunny! After this winter it’s totally captivating, and distracting. I can’t go anywhere without seeing possible paintings. Like this one, which I photographed as I didn’t have my sketching materials with me because, for the past couple of months, there hasn’t been anything I wanted to sketch, really. I’ll have to pick up the bag when I leave the house, along with my camera…so much to carry.

In part it was the loveliness of the row of trees, but it was also the deep shadows contrasted with the brilliant sunlight, the vivid green grass and young green leaves. It’s just a simple walk down a sidewalk, changing each minute of the day, and each day of spring, but still so special.

This is sketched in mixed soft pastels on multi-media paper, just enough tooth to hold pastel but no real finish.

Click any image to find out more about it or visit my Landscapes and Still Lifes Gallery. If you’d like to sign up to receive this e-newsletter, which I usually deliver seasonally, click here to add your e-mail address.

See other original art and landscapes on “Today”

Click here to see an archive of original art.

. . . . . . .

For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

All images in this post are copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski and may not be used without prior written permission.

. . . . . . .

This sketch is part of:

 


April Cloud Study

original pastel painting of clouds
pastel painting of clouds

“April Cloud Study”, pastel, 9.5″ x 10″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

A very overcast morning cleared up and turned into a lovely spring afternoon—and it looks like this!

Once the weather turns warm and sunny the world begins coloring up nicely, and so it did one April afternoon. I decided to take some time to paint the clouds, literally and figuratively, standing out in my back yard with my pastel for about ten minutes—and by that time the skies were completely different.

Below is the framed version. I used a scrap of sanded pastel paper and it was cut unevenly, so there is a little bit along the left trimmed off that I liked. Well, that’s the way it goes.
The mats are 1.5″, white on white, with a little bit of a channel behind them so the pastel will fall behind the mat instead of on the mat. The frame is 12″ x 12″ and I was so inspired by the colors that I refinished it to coordinate with the painting in shades of blue green and lilac from the painting and a white crackle finish overall. You can find this painting in my Etsy shop.

original pastel painting of clouds

“April Cloud Study”, original pastel, 9″ x 9″, 2013

And there are many more! Click any image to find out more about it or visit my Landscapes and Still Lifes Gallery. If you’d like to sign up to receive this e-newsletter, which I usually deliver seasonally, click here to add your e-mail address.

See other original art and landscapes on “Today”

Click here to see an archive of original art.

. . . . . . .

For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

All images in this post are copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski and may not be used without prior written permission.


Spring Grass, original sketch

original art original pastel "Spring Grass", pastel on multi-media paper, 7" x 10" © Bernadette E. Kazmarski
original art original pastel "Spring Grass", pastel on multi-media paper, 7" x 10" © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

“Spring Grass”, pastel on multi-media paper, 7″ x 10″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

All the sun on all this green stuff is just too much! But it was the lush grass that became one of this spring’s first outdoor sketches. I actually painted this from a photo, taken the same day as I photographed the dandelions with the honey bee. This photo stayed in my mind for its simplicity but bold patterns and color, but I was feeling my pastels instead of a photo post. After a few days working out in my garden and filling my eyes with green I thought I’d paint this one after all, and sooner rather than later.

It’s painted in mixed brand pastels on white multimedia paper. Below is the uncropped version of the painting; sometimes I like the rough edges.

original art original pastel "Spring Grass", pastel on multi-media paper, 7" x 10" © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

The uncropped version of “Spring Grass”

. . . . . . .

For the original or a print of this sketch, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

This was first posted on The Creative Cat where I post original daily sketches of my cats each day.


May There Be Pots of Gold at the Ends of Both of Your Rainbows

double rainbow
double rainbow

Double Rainbow

And at…both ends of both of your rainbows! I had to piece together the one below.

double rainbow

Double Rainbow

. . . . . . .

For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.


Sketch: Frosty Morning, Just Before Sunrise

pastel painting Frosty Morning, Just Before Dawn, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski
pastel painting     Frosty Morning, Just Before Dawn, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

“Frosty Morning, Just Before Sunrise”, 17.25″ x 9″, pastel © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

It looks like this out there this morning.

I’ve always liked this view out my back window, and this morning’s hazy frosty look with the valley in shadow but the bright sky was very inspiring. I decided to finally do this sketch that I’ve been visualizing for years.

The colors in this aren’t entirely accurate plus certain parts of it smeared when I put in into my scanner, so I may try photographing it tomorrow and replacing this image if the colors are more accurate. I began it first thing then put it aside as the light changed, later working from the photo I’d taken and just from my visualization. It’s 10″ tall x 18″ wide.

Not just the colors of a snowy, frigid morning, but the steam rising from all the chimneys were part of the inspiration as well, I’m not sure why, but when everyone’s furnace turned on at the same time is when I knew I had to paint this.

The four houses across from me I’ve sketched a number of times before, but in this case I’ve also included what is Main Street in Carnegie off to the left, the little collection of square-cornered things are the buildings there with steam rising just as well.

The one element I did leave out was the trees in my back yard which were just featured in a dawn photo the other day. They were just too chaotic and detailed, and when I visualized the scene I realized my visualization had left them out. There is plenty of interest here without them. You can also see a portion of this scene in a frosty photo from last year before the heavy snowfall and ice knocked down a number of trees on the left.

This painting is done in hues of only four colors, a Prussian blue which is a cool blue tending toward slate blue, haze blue that is a warmer color with a red tint and has elements of violet, and one shade each of yellow and pink.

This was one of those times when the photograph just wasn’t going to work.


Sketch: Snow at Night

pastel painting of snow out the windows at night
pastel painting of snow out the windows at night

“Snow at Night” pastel, 11.75″ x 8.25″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

From the window at the back of my house I can see out over the valley and the hill beyond. When it snows at night the scene is transformed from black velvet punctuated by rooftops and streetlights and lit windows to a hazy wonderland of blue and creamy white, the familiar rooftops and trees given depth and dimension by the falling snow. Just like “Frosty Morning, Just Before Sunrise”, I’d been visualizing this little painting of the snow falling at night, the house with lit windows nestled into the snow-dusted branches and bramble and trees, silhouettes of rooftops beyond, the lights of Carnegie’s Main Street brightening the view behind them, then the haze of snowfall where normally I’d see only darkness. It looks quaint and kind of cliché, but it looks like home to me.

This painting is done in Sennelier pastels on Fabriano Pastello Tiziano paper, in the dark green hue. I knew that I could get the softness I wanted from the Sennelier pastels on this paper which has a nice soft surface to capture pastel, and though I wasn’t sure I wanted the texture of the laid finish it worked well to break up and soften the edges. I used three tones of Prussian blue which is a cool blue tending toward slate blue and tempered it with violet and gray in the shadows, then added pinks and yellows to the lighter areas. The windows, of course, are several shades of yellow.

If snow is what you’ve got, then snow is what you paint—I’m going to take advantage of it while it’s here. I’ve started another sketch from this morning when there was still snow in the air but the sun was shining.

See “Frosty Morning, Just Before Sunrise”, and also see other pastel paintings and original art.

This painting and others are for sale, please ask if you are interested.


A Shared Past

two bare trees in field by road
two bare trees in field by road

A Shared Past

Two ancient apple trees guard the entrance to a farm that no longer exists. What memories do those trees hold in all the years they’ve been welcoming visitors? And the land itself?

Another shot found in the moody light of a dark winter day after snowfall. Still glad I got lost chasing a tree on a hill.

. . . . . . .

For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.


What is the Goal?

photo of tree at top of hill
photo of tree in winter field

What is the Goal?

Possibly just as much a question of my activities as my aesthetic intentions with my photographs of this one lone tree, at the top of a path at the top of a hill, clouds scudding across the sky on a dark winter afternoon, dark enough to dim the colors in the winter field. Something we should ask ourselves on a regular basis.

One conclusion was that I should get lost on country roads more often. I saw this from a distance, a ribbon of winding road before me and many hills and curves between me and the tree, and drove until I found it.

. . . . . . .

For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.


Poem for Saturday: Clouds

pastel painting of autumn scene
pastel painting of autumn scene

“Autumn”, pastel, 12″ x 24″, 1998 © B.E. Kazmarski

Enjoying the outdoors just for the sake of it, or gardening, or creating, I find myself watching the clouds. Yesterday, a storm rolled in at sunset, the temperature has dropped from a balmy Indian Summer with sun to chilled and wet, and I watched heavy gray clouds march across the blue skies.

Clouds

Roiling clouds blown by winds
Before a summer thunderstorm,
Huge constructions in purple and blue
And lurid green tinged with coral.

The delicate lace of a fair summer day,
Puffs and wisps in white and cream
Shaded with lilac and blue
And edged in yellow.

Hazy wisps in autumn
Moving slowly from one horizon to the next,
Never amounting to much.

The heavy purple rainclouds of a late spring afternoon
Looming on the horizon
Shadowing the early wan sun
And promising a rainy night.

The approach of the first storm of winter
As flat gray clouds form in the west,
In their shadow bringing the first reminder
Of the eternal cold of year’s end.

“Autumn”, above, is one of a commissioned series of four paintings created to fit a frame a customer’s father had made by hand. Each window was 12″ x 24″ with no room for a mat, so my pastels would fit exactly into each space. Seeing where she lived and other art she had inspired the “Four Seasons” with images, not from the view from her windows but familiar from the region. This is a small creek running through the middle of an abandoned hay field, the mix of deciduous trees each in its own shade and reflected in the still water. The water reflects the sky directly above, still blue, while storm clouds rise from the horizon.

Read the rest of the poetry from my annual poetry reading and art show at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, in 2009 entitled Change of Season

and see other autumn art in my Etsy shop.

poetry book

Paths I Have Walked, collected poems.

About Art of the Watershed and the Collected Poems

A series of seasonal images of the Lower Chartiers Watershed

“I have travelled a good deal in Concord,” said Henry David Thoreau in Walden, his paradox of exploring a small town and its surroundings teaching him as much about human life and the interactions of nature as if he had traveled rare and exotic places about the globe.

I’d love to paint faraway exotic places, but in the interests of time I stay close to home for my hiking, bicycling, canoeing, walking and painting excursions, that being the valley where the Lower Chartiers Creek flows.

I’ve seen some exquisite sights on my adventures, and committed them to various media. The most moving are the ones I’ve chosen to paint large and in detail so that I might convey at least a portion of the grandeur that moved me beyond awe to action, sharing the places right around us though most people would never see them. Thus was born the series offering an image indicative of the watershed in each season.

Visit my website to see the full set of paintings included in the “Art of the Watershed” series.

And visit my poetry page to see more about my poetry and other writing.

Autumn in the Valley availability

You can find a full-size giclee plus various sizes of digital prints, framed and unframed in my Etsy shop.


Poem for Saturday: Effortless, and Autumn in the Valley

pastel painting of autumn landscape

Autumn in the Valley, pastel painting, 31″ x 27″, 2009

Autumn in the Watershed

Sloping hills blaze with autumn color at a rocky, rippled bend in Chartiers Creek, yet on the horizon deep gray-purple clouds hover; although the day was sunny I remember it being distinctly chilly with a sharpness to the breeze, especially on the water in a canoe, and winter is literally on the horizon.

For two reasons the scene was reminiscent and inspiring: first, that I rounded the bend to see this natural splendor in all its detail, brilliant color, fluttering leaves, rippling water, changing clouds, happening all on its own with no help from me or any other human (read the poem, below) ; and, second, it was an example of that “change of season” with the gray-purple clouds of winter arriving on the horizon, two seasons blending into one another. I needed to share this image, and it was so moving that the inspiration also became a poem, and the title for my third annual poetry reading and art show at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, Change of Season.

details of paitning

Detail of upper clouds.

And again, no, I couldn’t paint while paddling, and my little digital photos didn’t do the scene justice, yet other than wading down the creek and setting up an easel in the middle of the water, there was no other way of painting this. To take the scene from the tiny digital image to the full-size painting took a good bit of memory and visualization; it’s a good thing I’m very familiar with scenes like this. I don’t often work at this level of detail, especially at this size, but in order to share what I took from this moment, I found myself worker ever deeper into the minutiae of the scene so that others, viewing it, could hear the light lapping of the water, watch the clouds move, feel the warm sun on your back but the chill wind on your face, and the glory of those tree-covered hills.

detail of painting

Detail of that moment of change.

You really have to get into “the zone”, though, while working at that level on the painting, letting go of your space, yourself, to get back to that moment and all your perceptions from that time. I still go there when I look at the original, which was purchased and made a gift to Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall and hangs in the Reception Hall.

In the mini-ecosystem in the valley along Chartiers Creek, the color show begins a little later and the trees keep their leaves a little longer, perhaps because of the extra humidity along the water through the dry heat of late summer. The diversity of species is generally much greater in both the trees and the understory brush and grasses, which encourages a greater diversity of foliage color and shape. When the show begins, it’s absolutely breathtaking and it gets more stunning every day until a November storm rips the last of the leaves away.

detail of painting

Detail of reflections on the water.

This area of the creek is approximately below Rosslyn Farms, between Carnegie and Crafton. In this area, the creek’s channel was widened and dredged deeper and the banks made more sloping through the Fulton Flood Control Project, allowing all the runoff from upstream communities to flow ever faster down the valley to the Ohio River without overflowing the banks or backing up into Carnegie, as had happened prior to the Project. Also, many of the trees were removed from the banks up to a certain level. Still, even with that modification, the channel remains beautiful and inviting in this lovely and unseen area of Chartiers Creek.

You can find a full-size giclee plus various sizes of digital prints, framed and unframed in my Etsy shop.

A Poem Inspired by the Scene

I actually wrote a poem about the scene before I did the painting, so inspiring was that particular moment.

Effortless

I paddled the canoe around the bend,
And was faced with the effortless beauty of the panorama,
The trees in all their colors, the sky with changing clouds,
The water moving and reflecting simultaneously,
All perfectly arranged,
I realized that my creations are but raindrops in a puddle,
Wisps of cloud that change and dissipate
My solitary accomplishments borne of great effort
Would never equal this one solitary scene
Or the one I would have seen the day before or the day after
Evolved on its own, no one to frame it and display it and promote it
As it quietly exists through the day.
We humans sometimes get to think everything happens because of us
But these trees and grasses and hills arrange themselves
And create great beauty effortlessly
Simply in the process of their everyday existence.
So I did a painting that can never match the original
So that I may remember my place.

poem © 2010 Bernadette E. Kazmraski

Read the rest of the poetry from my annual poetry reading and art show at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, in 2009 entitled Change of Season.

poetry book

Paths I Have Walked, collected poems.

About Art of the Watershed and the Collected Poems

A series of seasonal images of the Lower Chartiers Watershed

“I have travelled a good deal in Concord,” said Henry David Thoreau in Walden, his paradox of exploring a small town and its surroundings teaching him as much about human life and the interactions of nature as if he had traveled rare and exotic places about the globe.

I’d love to paint faraway exotic places, but in the interests of time I stay close to home for my hiking, bicycling, canoeing, walking and painting excursions, that being the valley where the Lower Chartiers Creek flows.

I’ve seen some exquisite sights on my adventures, and committed them to various media. The most moving are the ones I’ve chosen to paint large and in detail so that I might convey at least a portion of the grandeur that moved me beyond awe to action, sharing the places right around us though most people would never see them. Thus was born the series offering an image indicative of the watershed in each season.

Visit my website to see the full set of paintings included in the “Art of the Watershed” series.

And visit my poetry page to see more about my poetry and other writing.

Autumn in the Valley availability

You can find a full-size giclee plus various sizes of digital prints, framed and unframed in my Etsy shop.