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Overwintering (Newsletter March 2018)

by Niki Hilsabeck in Recent Posts

Do you go dormant in the winter?

“Bit of Moonlight” 3 x 5 inch pastel on paper


I’ve written before about having developed a gardening habit– and that it’s something I struggle to do successfully.  Having had so much rain last year, I was looking forward to a “normal” winter this year, with slightly less rainfall.  We ended up having repeated bouts of heat and Santa Ana winds, and have just now had episodes of rainfall in the last few weeks.  I finally decided to just let everything rest, and keep the plants watered and trimmed as needed until the weather became a little more consistent.  This probably sounds funny if you live in a climate with real seasons, but in Southern California it’s tempting to just keep planting new things all year round!


This year, I experienced something similar with painting– January and February were busy teaching months, so I decided to focus on preparing for classes rather than painting new things.  I enjoy teaching art as much as I enjoy making it on my own (sometimes more!)  I have a friend who has been regularly giving me nice new sketchbooks.  To stay connected to drawing and painting, I decided to turn one into a “family album.” Using watercolor pencils, I’ve enjoyed making small portraits from old family photos.  This is a great activity to practice capturing likenesses– for me, it’s also a chance to really focus on some faces from my childhood– faces of people I don’t get to see anymore in person.  If you’ve been missing people from your past, this is a great activity to feel closer to them again (and as a bonus, you’ll have a unique piece of your history to add to your photo albums!)


I did catch a pretty sunrise with the moon glowing above the trees one morning this winter, which meant I had to paint it: 

“Morning Moonset” 9 x 12 on Etsy 


Now that it’s spring, it’ll be time for the warmer weather, art shows, and of course watching out for snakes  (they show up every year with all the weeds!)  If you’ve got some time on spring break and would like to take a free online pastels class, I’m including a link to my first class on Skillshare: Easy Ocean Pastel with Soft Pastels.  The link is good for the first 25 people who use it before April 8th!  This is a step-by-step class with demonstrations for each stage.  If you enjoy pastels (or want to try them out), this is a great way to do an easy project in the comfort of your own home!  


If you do try the class, please let me know how it works for you in the reviews and feel free to share a project.  I’ll be adding more classes, so if there’s something you’d like to see me teach in the near future, send me your suggestions! 


Here’s the link:

Easy Ocean Pastel Free Access 


Happy Creating!   


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