Getting Ideas Together

Daily sketching for the series “The Wonder of Trees” has brought my mind to new places. So many ideas are floating around inside my head for where I want to take this series and what I want my viewers to get out of the experience. Trees are wonderful in so many ways. I find myself focusing on the intricacies of the bark. The lines or striations that grow, adapt, and develop overtime are fascinating to me. Nature has so many rich and subtle colors and everyone sees these differently. I love using a brown and blue mixture of paint to get the dark shadows and let these hues dry for days or weeks. They are so rich and deep all on their own and stand out with such presence. These colors remind me of how I feel when out walking on a hike and staring up at these tall wonders.

There will be a variety of trees in this series. Not all will be tall wonders with their roots planted firmly in the ground outstretching for miles. Some trees will be wood curled upon itself, fallen from their mighty mountain tops, or simply bushes that have rolled their way into a new life. Finding random cactus, weeds, and bushes that have turned into a hard wood appearance is a great joy of mine. I also love how Joshua trees form a hard seed pod that could be used as a baby’s rattle with all the dried seeds inside. The outer appearance is wrinkled, lined, speckled, and amazing. I did a whole series on these pods under my Acrylic Paintings Tab if anyone would like to see what I am writing about.

What are some amazing hikes you have been on? Did you find anything fascinating while you were walking? I always love walking in the Redwood Forests of California. The coastal air or salt and sea is wonderful. The trees always make me feel cool and shaded from the sun in a form of protection. I love the ferns on the ground and the forest floor filled with debris from the trees above. Almost as if I am walking in a whole different world filled with possibilities. I would love to hear about your experiences, hiking or otherwise. Especially, how the journey made you feel or what it made you wonder about. Thank you for reading! Until next time…

-Karen Hilliard

4 replies on “Getting Ideas Together”

I love your blog! 🥰 Well, I have so many wonderful memories of hikes all over the west coast and Midwest. There was one when I was a kid that was actually scary and magical at the same time. My grandparents owned a cabin in California’s Redwood Forest. They had a long winding staircase in back that went down to a large stream. I followed it for a while an a few times I almost fell in since the side lip was not very solid. The sounds were dizzying and so foreign to me back then. Being a city kid. Then I happened upon an opening under one of the huge redwoods created by its roots from above. They reached across the path in almost an archway, right around the edge of the stream. The opening was very dark and I was curious to see if it went back further but afraid because I wasn’t exactly close to the cabin and I didn’t have a flashlight. When I heard clicking and dirt being kicked I panicked and fleas back the way I came.

Honestly I had believed it was some sort of beast or monster. Was a kid so I didn’t know any better. But, all that week my curiosity was brimming. What if it was something never seen before? Could whatever it was be guarding something or some hidden place? I never did go back. But the memory hold a special kind of magic. Reminding me to never be afraid of what I don’t know. And it pushes me to this very day to continue to explore and learn no matter what may come. 😉😁


I love the lessons you learned from that day. It is easy to be afraid of the unknown and I am happy you welcome it. Exploring is wonderful and I learn something new every time I go on an adventure. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us here in the blogosphere. The Redwoods are an excellent place to be!!

Hi Karen,
I like this quote, “bushes that have rolled their way into a new life”. That’s where I am right now.
For me, the joys of hiking are when I open my mind and soul to whatever happens. Sometimes it’s the peace in traveling old familiar trails with all the trees, bushes and rocks you know. And sometimes it’s a new trail in a new place, where so much is unfamiliar. And curiosity sets in. For instance, I’m leading a hike in an area and have been told there’s porcupines around. I knew didly squat about porcupines. But now I learn that the old joke asking, How do porcupines have sex? And the answer is, Very carefully.
And that answer is true! And quite noisily too. So fun to learn.,

I too find peace in familiar trails as well as new paths. I am excited for you to lead this hike with porcupines! That joke is hilarious and I think “very carefully” is the best answer!! If you are leading children or adults, I hope they have an amazing time and that you find a new adventure. Thank you for sharing your story with us here, I appreciate your comments!

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