My diaries are among my most-treasured possessions. Over the years I have filled many of them, and all of them contain a multitude of memories of beautiful moments in nature. As soon as I open an older diary these memories come back to life; as if I’m transported back to that exact moment. The emotion, the excitement I feel when I witness something in nature is what I want to hold on to, and the diary is the perfect medium to do that. Just a quick sketch, a petal, or a feather, anything I can draw or tape into my diary to preserve that feeling. When I decide to make a painting based on one of those memories, all I have to do is open my diary and let the inspiration flow from its pages.

One such memory resulted in my painting, “Green Heron”. We were spending some time in Missouri and even though it was a hot day I took a walk to the pond. It was so beautiful that time of year. The water lilies were blooming and everything was so green after the spring rains. I noticed a green heron, staring intently at the pond. From a distance I quietly observed him, making sure I didn’t startle him. Some brave frogs were sunbathing along the edge of the pond – a few small ones but also some large bullfrogs. Then the heron quickly jabbed his head forward and the next thing I saw were frog legs protruding from his beak.

As soon as I was back inside the house I reached for my diary to make a few quick sketches of the pond, the heron and the blooming hibiscus. I collected a few petals to tape into my diary, they were unbelievably big! I always thought the hibiscus was exclusively a warm climate plant, but this Swamp rose mallow survives very cold winters here with ease. The flowers were huge, the size of plates! I brought one in for my desk, it measured seven inches across! Sometime later, I was able to use my diary to recreate this moment in my painting, “Green Heron”.

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