Monthly Archives: March 2013


sketch of daffodil

Daffodil, mixed media copyright Kerry McFall

Time flies… I would have said I made this sketch a few days ago.  Nope, more than two weeks ago – a quick colored pencil sketch, a touch of watercolor, a photoshopped border.  And now the daffodils are nearly finished blooming.  Every year when their bright faces appear – and how can you not think of them as faces? – I remember bits of a nursery rhyme about daffy down dilly.  No clue what it meant, but it’s fun to say!


Salmonberries, not to be confused with Salmon Eggs

sketch of leaves and blossoms

“Salmonberry” mixed media copyright Kerry McFall

I have a young salmonberry bush against my back fence, and it is in full bloom, a harbinger of spring much in the way that daffodils are.  They bloom before they leaf out, which provides birds with soft orange berries right when they need it most, when they have babies in the nest in early summer.  The web page I read, courtesy of the Oregonian newspaper site, said that the leaves make a delicious tea combined with fresh strawberry leaves… I guess you have to pick off the slugs before you brew the tea!

And speaking of daffodils — I sketched a trumpeted flower a couple of weeks ago, I’ll find it and post it maybe tomorrow.  But for now, time to roll up the pencil case, pour a glass of Chardonnay, lure a cat onto my lap, and turn on Netflix.


Odell Denizens

Odell Mackinaw Trout, mixed media by Kerry McFall

Odell Mackinaw Trout, mixed media by Kerry McFall

A couple more sketches from last weekend’s trip to Odell Lake Lodge.  In the fireplace lobby, there is a life-size sculpture of three Mackinaw Trout title “Mack Attack”.  Each fish is about 40″ long (just guessing, didn’t measure, daughter of a fisherman so prone to enlargement…) and each one has a unique expression.  It must be made of some kind of resin, perhaps actual casts of individual fish, because you can see/feel the individual scales .  It’s quite impressive!  If I had done this on watercolor paper instead of lighter weight sketch paper, I would have added several more layers of watercolor riffles and currents, but the paper began to curl so I left it at this.  Done with brown ink, china marker and white colored pencil for the spots, colored pencil, and watercolor wash.

sketch of mounted elk

Odell Elk, colored pencil and ink by Kerry McFall

Above the fireplace, mounted on the knotty pine wall and open beams, hangs a magnificent elk head.  The chimney tends to be smoky on windy days, so his coat is slightly dimmed by a fine coating of ash and soot.  It’s weird drawing an animal from 18 feet below its chin, but it presented an interesting challenge.  My intent was to finish with watercolor washes, but the skiers came home about the time I was pulling out my watercolors, and I thought it would be wise to just go play with all the kids and let them share my colored pencils instead — scroll down to the previous post to see one of the young artist’s renditions of this elk!  Done with brown ink and colored pencil.  Looking at these sketches from a week away, I sure wish I could go sit by that fire and commune with these guys again!

A Taste of Winter

sketch of Odell Lake

"View from Odell Lake Lodge", mixed media copyright 2013 by Kerry McFall

We spent a relaxing long weekend up at Odell Lake Lodge, my husband skiing at Willamette Pass, me toasting myself in front of the lodge fireplace.  As always, Odell came through for us:  we drove up on dry pavement, it snowed the second day, there was perfect powder the third day, and the sun came out for a glorious finale and dry pavement to drive home.  I sketched this view from the back corner of the dining room on Saturday morning, racing the clouds to get the mountain outlined before it disappeared for two days.  A storm was blowing in, and the only thing that really didn’t change as I worked was the rock in the foreground.  Everything else tossed in the wind or foamed in the current, and a few hours later the landscape became a study in white and grey, very different from the early spring feel of this sketch.

Once I finished this one, I moved into the fireplace lobby, where I had fun sharing my pencils and paper with several children who were in between snowball fights, skiing, and games of CandyLand.  My new surrogate grandchildren, Kyle, Anya, and Ryan, were eager students.  Kyle at age 12 was reticent to share his drawings, Ryan at age 4 made all of his into paper airplanes and flew them on suicide missions into the fireplace, but 7-year old Anya carefully crafted this detailed sketch and left it for me of the elk’s head mounted over the mantelpiece:

child's drawing of elk above mantel

"Anya's Elk" by Anya age 7

Well done, Anya!  It was a much-needed dose of winter quiet, of simply watching sparkling snow, swaying trees, endless waves on a wide expanse of water.  Odell Lake Lodge is a hidden 1920’s vintage gem in the Willamette National Forest, only two hours away on a good day from Corvallis.  I’ve been visiting Odell since I was a child.  There are cabins for those who want to have a family outing – nothing fancy, but a kitchen for making spaghetti or brownies – or simple lodge rooms and a lovely dining room for those who prefer to enjoy someone else’s cooking.  You can rent snowshoes or cross country skis if you have knees that still function, grab a beer from the cooler or a red licorice rope from the jar, or just sit by the fire.  Otters play (and poop) on the docks, eagles swoop at the edges of the lake, and by Sunday afternoon I felt like a queen with the whole place literally to myself – except of course for the concierge and the chef, who kept the fire crackling, brought me more chardonnay, and made extra-crispy bacon for my BLT croissant with avocado.

Summers are busier at Odell, with their own appeal – but it’s not summer, and our taste of winter was idyllic.  Thanks, Odell!


Machu Picchu Baby

sketch of baby Llama

"Machu Picchu Baby", mixed media copyright Kerry McFall

When I downloaded this from my “Daily Sketch” folder I had to chuckle – daily has become more like weekly, but this too shall pass.  Life gets in the way, some months more than others.  This was one of the babies we saw roaming around the terrace pastures at Machu Picchu last month.  Our guide said she was probably about a day old, and Corey pointed out that her ears were so soft and floppy she looked like a Dr. Seuss cartoon.  That and her crooked little grin were so endearing!

This was water color and colored pencil, with just a bit of Photoshop tweaking to put more contrast on the right side of the sketch.