Wednesday, December 14, 2011

34th International Sketchcrawl

I'm very happy to tell you that the 34th International Sketch Crawl ( will be held January 21, 2012. We have permission to sketch at Gari Melchers' Studio and Home at Belmont in Stafford County. The grounds are beautiful and if the weather is bad, we can sketch in Melchers' studio which is something I've wanted to do for a long time. We'll meet there at 10 a.m. and can stay until 3 or 4 p.m. I'm checking to see if we can bring our lunch and eat in the meeting room. If not, there's a restaurant at the bottom of the hill we can go to. Let me know if you plan to come.  You can contact me on the forum page (look for "Fredericksburg, Virginia USA") or via email at
Paula (Raudy)
P.S. let me know if you need directions or if you have any other questions.

Monday, December 12, 2011

New friend

Hi everybody. I just wanted to introduce you to a new, online friend of mine in South Africa, Maree Clarkson (see link to her website). Be sure to take a look at her wonderful sketches and watercolors. She lives in a magical place.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Silver maple

Sketched this silver maple in Hurkamp park yesterday. It ended up going across the gutter of my sketchbook so I can write notes on both sides (that's why there's a line down the middle). It's a handsome old tree with lots of character in its bark.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Great new book

If you're looking for the perfect gift for the tree hugger in your life, I'd like to make a recommendation. Nancy Ross Hugo and Robert Llewellyn have teamed up again (they also published "Remarkable Trees of VA") to produce an astonishing book called "Seeing Trees." You can order if from Amazon if you can't find it in stores. The photographs are incredible and Nancy's writing is delightful. Be sure to buy one for yourself, too!

Monday, November 21, 2011

My weekend's work

This is a branch of bittersweet that I started at Lara's workshop last weekend. I think I used the wrong side of the paper because it seemed a little softer so the edges of the painting tended to be a bit blurry. I loved the little grapevine tendril that was attached to this specimen.

This is a group of seed pods from the Golden Rain Tree that used to be on the grounds at Kenmore. Unfortunately it had to be taken down so I'm glad I saved these.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Magnolia macrophylla

I took a workshop this weekend with Lara Call Gastinger and painted this Magnolia macrophylla leaf. I've discovered a bit of a passion for botanical art but I did sketch this in my book first. This magnolia is huge. Some of its leaves are about 3 feet long and the blossoms are gigantic. This tree in in the Wilderness Walk at Historic Kenmore Plantation in Fredericksburg, VA (where I work). The tree is surrounded by other huge specimens and has to fight for sunlight. As a result the blossoms are often near the top of the tree and all we can see are the undersides. Last year, one bloomed low enough to see and it knocked me out. The common name for the is the Umbrella Tree and for good reason. It almost seems bizarre. I used watercolor on Fabriano Hot Press paper. The leaf and painting of it are about 16 inches long (tall). I painted it horizontally but when someone turned it during the critique, we all decided it was better this way.

Monday, October 24, 2011

a slender fellow in the grass

This fellow was sleeping under an up-turned flower pot in my yard. He stayed still just long enough for me to sketch him, then slithered off into the leaves. It was almost as if he waited for me to finish his portrait.

A sad day in the neighborhood

This baby squirrel had been hanging around my yard for a few days and Saturday I spent a couple hours phographing and sketching him. He had a crippled right front paw and didn't run or climb very well. I fed him pieces of apple and he stayed close by. I went inside for a few minutes and heard my nextdoor neighbor yelling frantically at his dog. I knew what had happened. The little squirrel's back was broken but he was still alive so I got the shovel and put him out of his misery. With his crippled foot, I know he wouldn't have lasted very long but is was horrible to have to kill him after spending so much time with him. Needless to say, I had a good cry.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Photos from 33rd SketchCrawl

Here are photos of the sketch crawlers from Saturday.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

My sketch from the 33rd International Sketchcrawl

There were 6 of us and we started out in Market Square. I chose to sketch the backs of the row of shops that face William Street. There was a lot to sketch and I plan to go back. Beautiful day and lots of fun. I had pulled a back muscle but I didn't feel it as long as I was sketching. Talk about therapy! If you are interested in seeing more sketches from yesterday's crawl, be sure to check out the forum at
There were people from all over the world and there is some fantastic work. Just be warned--it's addictive!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

33rd Sketch Crawl

Just thought I'd mention the next International Sketch Crawl date is Saturday, October 15. We're crawling in Fredericksburg if you'd like to join us. Meet at Hyperion at 10 a.m. Write me if you've got questions. Check it out at

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Greek Church

These are tracing paper sketches I did for the painting of the Greek Church below. It is a long and tedious exploration (and I haven't even included all the sketches), but in the long run, it made for a better painting.

Here is the final outcome. It was done on hot-press illustration board using watercolors mixed with white gouache to make them opaque. The sky took 6 layers of paint to get the coverage I wanted. I think it was worth the trouble. The painting is 4 1/2 " x 3".

(Note to Phil: hope this helps explain my email ;-)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

End of Summer

As summer begins to fade here in Virginia, I often cut flowers and leaves to bring inside to extend the season. I'm taking an online course in water-color pencils with Cathy Johnson and had great fun layering the colors in this sketch trying to match the coleus.

Monday, August 29, 2011

August 28th--the day after Irene

This poor dragonfly got wrecked in the hurricane. I found him clinging to a branch unable to fly.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sacred Datura

This is a sketch I did yesterday of the Datura plant in my front yard. I counted 40 buds on it! It blooms at night and smells like vanilla. The seed pods it's named for have not developed yet but I will add them to this sketch when they do. The Latin name is Datura inoxia and is sometimes called downy thorn apply (from the Hindi dhatura), Indian apple, and sacred Datura.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

32nd International Sketch Crawl

Yesterday was the 32nd sketch crawl and 2 of us ventured out into the heat. We lasted a few hours and here are my pages.

sketch crawl pg. 1

sketch crawl pg. 2

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


This is a little painting of Alice I did at camp this summer. That's her signature look.

Red-spotted Purple Butterfly

This fellow was in the parking lot at work the other day. The top of his wing was iridescent purple/blue and the under side was dark with orange-red spots. So different and so beautiful.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A leaf for Elizabeth

My friend Elizabeth commissioned me to paint this Japanese Maple leaf for her grand-daughter. I have about 12 glazes on this little painting.

WV weekend

Here are some sketches I made this past weekend in Wild and Wonderful West Virginia.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Another Botanical Workshop

I took another botanical illustration class with Lara Gastinger at the wonderful William Cox Inn. This time we worked on spring flowers and I attempted a native columbine. I didn't have as much luck with it as I did with the seed pods in the Fall but it was still lots of fun. Unlike the dried seed pods, the flower kept changing so that by the end of the workshop, it was rather sad looking. I guess the trick is to paint on site and don't pick the flower. And work fast. I will not be posting an image of this painting. You'll just have to wait until I do a better one.

Abstract, abstractus, abstracti

I finally got an image of the abstract I did in Steve Griffin's workshop. It was accepted (along with another one) in the Abstract Show for May at the FCCA. Thank you Steve!!! I titled it Ode to the Gryphon. Hopefully someone will "get it."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Beware the Ides of March

That is today, isn't it? I'm just so excited that it's almost spring, I'm already way beyond March.
Have done some fun things since my last post. I took an abstract painting workshop with Steve Griffin a few weeks ago. It was a real stretch for me--abstracts, acrylic paint, large format...
I really kind of enjoyed it. Acrylic still is not my favorite medium but it worked for this application. I even did one that I might enter in an upcoming show but best of all, I'm now thinking about doing another one. I've been planning it in my head but it probably won't end up looking anything like I expect. That's kind of what I like about abstracts--there's always a surprise. Maybe that's just because I don't really know what I'm doing yet, but I like being a beginner.
I'm also going to teach an Illustrated Journaling class in June. Just a quick, one-day workshop but I'm hoping it will get more people interested in sketching. We had a good time at the last Sketch Crawl but it would be more fun with more people.
I'll post my abstracts for your to see soon. I'd just like to do one or two more, so stay tuned.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

30th International Sketch Crawl

Hi everyone! I just uploaded the four pages from my sketch book from yesterday's 30th International Sketch Crawl (Fredericksburg's 3rd). There were four of us on the crawl and we had a good time. It was far too cold to work outside (I don't think the temps got above freezing all day) but we found warm, welcoming places inside.

After meeting at the coffee shop, we walked a block to St. George's church and spent some time there. It was a busy Saturday with the altar guild arranging flowers and the cleaning lady sweeping and dusting and the jazz (really!) band rehearsing. Those Tiffany windows are always amazing but with the new organ and new decor, there was lots to see and draw.

From there we went to LibertyTown Arts Workshop where crawler Ruth Ann had a still life set up for us to work on. Risa and I did that for a while then joined Bob in Betsy's studio where I sketched Betsy's work table.

We were going to make our last stop the library but we ran out of time so we all met up at Eileen's and had a lovely lunch. After lunch, Risa and I went to see the realism show at Belmont which was fantastic. It was the 2nd time I had been there for this show and I was even more impressed. Be sure to see it if you get the chance.

I uploaded them a little out of order but couldn't figure out how to rearrange them without re-uploading all of them. If any of you have a clever way to do that, please let me know. Thanks.

Meanwhile, hope you enjoy my sketches below.

30th International Sketch Crawl

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Someone just pointed out that I was really planning ahead in the previous post where I announced that the Sketch Crawl is Jan 22, 2211. I've corrected it, thank you. It should, of course, be 2011. I wonder if they will still have crawls in 2211...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sketch Crawl

Mark your calendars! If you live in the Fredericksburg, VA area, or are visiting, the 3rd Fredericksburg Sketch Crawl will take place on Saturday, January 22, 2011. This is part of the International Sketch Crawl movement (
Join us at Hyperion Espresso Bar at 9 a.m. and we'll plan our day.