The Past Eighteen Hours
Does Daily Exercise Make A Difference?

Ask Yourself How Do You Feel?

One of my favorite stories from childhood was Hansel & Gretel. Perhaps that is where my addiction to sugar began. I also learned, in that book, that the woods are a scary place - a place to stay away from, a place to fear. I must say, the woods out my door has more than it's fair share of critters; slithering ones, middle-of-the-night-birdseed-stealing ones, turn-my-plants-upsidedown-looking-for-grubs ones ... and you can not imagine the cacophony that goes on as soon as the sun goes down. Despite all of that, the woods are magical. Lately I have been spending a lot of time in the woods.

A few mornings ago, I woke up and went out for a hike out my door. I wasn't but a few minutes into it when this appeared -

Frosting in the woods

It looked like the handy work of a pastry chef gone wild. It was every where. It looked like someone had put the star tip on the pastry bag, filled it with pink frosting and went on a major squirting spree. A squirt here, a squirt there.

M.laurel 1

I thought it was mind blowing to see it up close.

M.laurel 2

And then ... while the racoons were hanging naughtily from my bird feeders and I was sleeping ... 

M.laurel 3

BOOM - all the Mountain Laurel on the mountain exploded open at once.

M.laurel 4

Proof positive that magic exists.

Now that I am an adult, the woods hold a magic spell over me despite there being no sugar to be had. This is the view from my studio. I have lived in this house for almost 4 years now and I am constantly thinking that I want to paint the woods, but every day comes and goes and the sheer grandeur of the woods in it's crazy, haphazard perfection scares me off.

Woods from the studio

Not today. Today I stood up to the woods. I was determined to face my fears and paint ... the only difference between today and all those other days I was scared off running with my tail between my legs, is that I made up my mind that I would not paint one stroke of what I SAW, but rather my painting would be the result of me continously asking myself HOW DO I FEEL?

I set up my easel & another easel as a makeshift work station (I am too lazy to bend down to get my paints.)

Easel before the woods

Now that I have taken Flora Bowley's class, it is fairly impossible to fathom painting without my fluid acrylics.


I did try to keep my paint choices limited - it can all get overwhelming ... actually, it can become a downright cluster in a matter of seconds when one is away from one's regular painting space - even if said painting space is no more than ten feet away.

5:28:2013 #2

I took a HUGE deep breath, looked at the woods before me, and asked myself "HOW DO I FEEL"? Now, I did have to ask myself this over and over again for the entire four hour painting session. Most of me wanted to default to my standard of painting what I see when I attempt to paint nature outdoors. But I kept at it, only painting how the woods made me feel.

Easel before the woods #2

When I look at the woods, this is how I FEEL.

How do I Feel When I look At The Woods 5:28:2013


The woods aren't so scary any more.




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The woods make me feel utterly peaceful and at home :) I was born in the mountains, so perhaps that is my bond with it. I remember when I went into labor with Caitlin, I had brought music from the Nature Company (remember that store) of babbling brooks and birds chirping in the meadows. A peaceful calm comes over me when I hear those sounds. The other is the wind blowing tall pine trees. I truly wish I could be in your woods right now.
Good for you to go out there and just start!
Those flowers are so beautiful, and I love those pink squirt things :)

Melissa P

Oh Carolina! I love that you let go of the literal expectations of "forest" and painted the abstraction. So much of what we fear is tied up in our literal expectations of life. Letting go of them and venturing into the world with feeling and emotion is the beginning of great things.


Love it! The woods are my home, I grewp up playing in the woods. So glad you witnessed the miracle of the flowers and shared with us. Nature is a such a magical thing. It has been very cold and rainy here and although everything is a bit late this year, the spring is still happening which I find amazing. How do the little yellow poppy flowers in our front yard know it is time to come out when it is 50 °F?


I am so happy you are finding magic!! Your painting is lovely, the little daubs of leaves or blossoms are so luminous. I was able to take a quick neighborhood walk this morning and was inspired by all the beautiful blooms. Now I have the magic of your painting to inspire me as well.

I have been combatting my overscheduledness (how is that for a word?)by committing to one half hour a day to art (at least). Even if I don't feel like it. It's not much but I know it will take me somewhere!


Lovely, lovely,lovely xxx

suzi polanf

Love this, I can see you in the woods painting, Would love to join you. Here by the sea we are miles from the woods, but nature is clearly as important to you as to me and I love the painting you did.

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