Monthly Archives: July 2018


Posted July 24, 2018 by Kerry McFall

butterfly in field

“Oh! Swallowtail on Teasel”, mixed media by Kerry McFall

There is a moment as I wander along the trail when something enters my field of vision so quickly, so softly, that I doubt it’s really there.  It stops me in my tracks, alert to every smell, every variation in light, every tiny buzz… then, “Oh!”  A tiny bunny!  There at the edge of the trail, ears shyly pressed to its little head.  Can I get my camera out before…. no.  Off it goes, noiselessly into the grasses.  I smile for a long time as I continue down the trail to the bench beside the meadow that is my favorite pew.

Bald Hill trail is my church. The 40 swallows on the power lines are the choir, with just one bird on an opposite wire apparently directing, although they are an unruly bunch.  The cows are the congregation, munching reverently.  Every once in awhile someone passes by with an ecstatic wet smiling dog, testament to the joys of this church, especially the rolling in the creek part.

Last Sunday there were two “Oh!” moments.  The second was at the edge of the big field beside the bike path, where teasels and young ash shoots have taken over from the scraggly hay.  A brief silent flash of bright yellow disappeared behind the purple tutu of a large teasel head.  I tiptoed into the grasses, knowing the folks passing on their bicycles thought I was perhaps just a bit eccentric.  “Oh!”  I was rewarded with the flutter of swallowtail wings.  They slowly spread to full sail, remaining just long enough for me to get out my camera and capture a few shots.  I imagine that the nectar tastes… well, purple!

A couple of days later, I spend hours staring at the photos, sketching, painting, meditating on the intricacy of those wings, remembering that rich grassy smell, the heat of the sun on my shoulders, the clop of horse hooves on the trail.  It takes me back to a moment when I was six years old, sprawled under the maple in my back yard, mesmerized by the tickle of a butterfly proboscis tasting the sticky drops of sap on my hands. ” Oh!”  Church can be in many unexpected places.

6 x 6

Nothing says summer like a rose in full bloom, bending down to greet you as stroll through the neighborhood…

peach colored rose on dark background

Peach Rose, 6 x 6″ watercolor by Kerry McFall

…Or maybe a basket full of berries delivered by the children down the street…

“Strawberry Diangle”, mixed media by Kerry McFall, 6 x 6″

Several years ago I participated in an exhibit of 6 x 6″ art, and it’s a terrific way to take advantage of the simple format of a grid on the walls.  Lots of art in a small space!  It’s my new size of choice in my sketchbooks, gives me a sort of theme without having to think very hard about layout, etc.

And then when you siimply cut a 6×6″ square into two triangles, you’ve got a Diangle.  I’ve also been experimenting again with “diangles” (huh? see for an explanation!).  They are a fun way to take quilt patterns and the geometry of triangles to a new level.  For example, here’s one way to make something new out of the strawberry “diangle”:

“Strawberry Diangle Square”, digital image by Kerry McFall

Making these sketches, paintings, and digital images, and some of the thumbnails below, are keeping me relatively sane as I navigate the pot holes and twists in Life’s Rich Pageant this season.  Between Alzheimer’s (my mom), epilepsy (my son), the ever-insane national news (Trump’s circus), and recurring breast cancer (me), there is never a dull moment.  When a waitress or barista asks, “How is your day going?” I always think to myself, “You don’t want to know.”  But I say, “Oh, can’t complain!”, or maybe fall back on the weather or the world cup soccer news…  Then I open my sketchbook and set out to draw or paint, which takes me out of my self and into the world.  So far so good.  Like I shared on Facebook recently, being able to make and share my art, and to see what other creative folks are up to, is the joyful center of my world right now.  Thanks for looking!