Intermission: Winter Wind Rattlers

2023 journal page with a few of the actual seed pods scattered about

January 18, 2023

Not wild, but wildly rattling in the wind? Not snakes, but the showy seed pods from a row of Chinese Lantern trees, hanging on for dear life throughout our numerous winter wind events.

We frequently park near 8 of these non-native trees used as sidewalk landscaping, just before the Copper trailhead. After wondering for several years what these medium sized trees are, in September 2020, discovering the answer, I drew them out …… seed pods, leaves and all.

Searching for something wintery to add to my journal this year, these hardy seed pods called loudly. It was hard to resist!

Browsing my 2020 journals, I came across my first drawing. Always fun to see if and how my technique has changed. Can you detect the differences?

2020 journal page

What’s nature displaying in your world right now?


  1. elainebhills says:

    Your drawings have changed to the extent that the first appear as drawings, currently they have the clarity of a photograph!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a wonderful comment, Elaine! It’s fun to compare. I think some of the change is owed to my change in watercolor pencils. The pigment is more ink like. Thanks for reading my post!


  2. How interesting! A chinese lantern tree — how tall would they be? I had no idea there was a tree. There is a neighbor that has the plants in their front garden that I always admire, and right now since they are decaying, they have a completely lace-like structure that is see-through with a red berry in the center! I can see that your journal pages are more vivid with color now, with the use of dramatic shadows and your very effective side boxes and circles to highlight elements, but your 2020 pages are really wonderful, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks for the comments, Karen! I wonder what your neighbor’s tree is. The lacy “seed covering” and red berry sound like interesting sketching subjects. Especially the “lace.” Shadows still elude me, but I owe my vivid colors to my Derwent Inktense watercolor pencils. I really appreciate the feedback!


  3. sgoodman56 says:

    Barb, what a striking difference between then and now. I thought the earlier drawing was incredible at the time, but now they are more precise and realistic. I love everything you do, doesn’t matter the year.
    We have daffodils coming up, have been for a couple weeks. One has a flower ready to open. I think I wonder every year why spring flowers are blooming so early, but January???


    1. Such nice comments, Susan! I can see differences, and may be taking more time with my drawings and paintings now. Of course the Inktense watercolor pencils make it easier to achieve more intense color with fewer layers. Maybe my art is same but different? Is that a thing? Enjoy your early blooming daffodils. Send a photo!


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