Take A Walk

By Tara Bell, Color Pencil Artist

Autumn, it's time for a walk in the woods, mountains or along the canal.

If you don't already do this, give it a try: pack a little notebook for watercolors (the paper will be tough enough for pencils and pen too). Find one of these tiny watercolor kits and a brush that you can fill with

H2O (buy from Cheap Joes or find sources with Google). Rubber band up some colored pencils (contrasting colors are nice), a lead pencil, a dark brown or black pen for lines, and take off for a local walk.

Find a twig, duck, leaf, rock, river, insect, tree bark, and sketch it. Hmm, what gets you in

trouble, the sketching part? Me too. Okay, here's the trick-it does not have to be a

masterpiece. In fact, it most likely will not be. Make the marks, splash the colors. Don't try for realism, be inspired by what you see, don't try to copy can take a photo for that. And then put it all away and go home.

I tell myself I can "finish it later" but then, I rarely do. It is what it is. I like writing a date, or some words of inspirations, or just say "took a walk at Antietam today and saw this funny stick". There is something liberating about it all.

BTW, I have been leaving this kit in my backpack and sometimes I don't take it out during

my walks, but just knowing it there makes me feel good.

Listed are some of my favorite places to walk, what about you? Share your sketches and


Cool Spring-Potomac Valley Audubon Society

  • There is a gazebo here, and a sitting area by the creek, perfect for reflective time with a pencil.

Maryland Heights Loop

  • There is vista here, if you like sketching landscapes.

Antietam Battlefield for a great map.