Unsettled Weather

This is from a series of posts by MABA resident artist Barry Van Dusen

Conway Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, Conway on July 19, 2015
I experience some difficulty finding the trailhead at Conway Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, and drive back and forth several times along Rte. 116. It’s a busy road on this Sunday afternoon, with lots of motorcycles and day-trippers. Finally, with the help of a local woman that I meet at a convenience store, I find the Mass Audubon sign and the trailhead (which is nearly hidden from the road by the thick summer foliage). The day is hot and VERY humid, now, and I’m listening to storm warnings on the car radio.
There’s a beaver swamp just west of the trailhead, and I walk back along the edge of Rte. 116 to get a better look.

Young Herons, Conway Hills - at 72 dpi

Young Herons, Conway Hills, watercolor on Arches cold-press, 10.25″ x 14.25″

There are two great blue heron nests visible from the road and one of them holds two young birds, panting in the heat and waiting for mom or dad to return. I retrieve my scope to do some sketching. They’re at an awkward age – all weird angles and odd proportions. From the look of them, it won’t be long before they’re off on their own!

Wolf Tree at Conway Hills (small)
I walk the Wolf Tree Trail, stopping to admire the big sugar maple for which the trail is named. That’s my one-foot-tall sketchbook leaning against the base of the tree for scale!

There’s also many interesting mushrooms and fungi along the trail, today – all shapes, sizes and colors.  Here’s a sampling:

Mushroom at Conway Hills 1 (small)

Indian Pipes at Conway Hills (small)

Mushroom at Conway Hills 2 (small)
Late in the afternoon, I start a landscape of the rolling hills south of 116. But gathering storm clouds and thunder cut my painting short.  I’m forced to abandon the effort and hurry back to the car, but later, in the studio, I repaint the scene, adding those dark storm clouds from memory.

 72 dpi

Storm Clouds over Conway Hills, watercolor on Arches rough, 7″ x 10″


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