Unplug and replug into nature.

Nature has a frequency that replenishes, not a high-pitched digital hum, but one that coordinates with our own, is part of our own. Ralph Waldo Emerson called it the “oversoul,” something that connects us all. It feeds your wellbeing.

Centred Outdoors is encouraging us to tune into this with guided walks at various beautiful outdoor locations in the Central Pennsylvania region. They asked me to supplement four of these guided walks with a wellness activity.

I will be offering a nature journaling activity, with which you will take some time alone with a tree. I call it “Leaf Me Alone!”

Giving yourself time to really focus on a leaf and its tree, by reporting about it onto paper, using drawing, numbers, tracing, and rubbings. This will be a form of meditation. Especially if drawing is not fluent for you, you will use a different part of your brain and push other thoughts out of your mind. You’ll form questions about the leaf as you work. You’ll begin a process of discovery.

After you spend time with the tree, you will take some time to write your questions about the leaf/tree and perhaps about your life. You can begin a process of downloading thoughts to paper.

I will introduce you to this method, showing you some of my nature journal examples. I’ll guide you in the process, but as much of it as possible is very private and totally up to you how much you share with me or others. It’s all about you and nature, exploring nature and your own nature.

For these journal pages, I looked at an entire scene of the edge of the woods and picked out plants and trees that interested me, that piqued my curiosity. I drew a bit. I wrote a bit. Then, I colored some areas. Next, on the left-hand page, I wrote three questions. Later, I looked for some answers, and recorded them. I enjoy discovery and it enlivens my mind. My Centred Outdoors activity will be simplified for you, based on this exercise.

Drawing to Inspire Bonsai Styling

I taught drawing to inspire styling your bonsai trees workshop to the Susquehanna Bonsai Club and to my club in Centre County, the Happy Valley Bonsai Club, over the last few months.

The images above show the progression of the drawing of the front and then the back of a ficus tree planted over rock.

We used squinting to see negative space, gesture drawing with charcoal, geometric drawing with light pencil and contour drawing with dark pencil, all combined to truly become keenly aware of our tree and to plan where to go next.  This type of drawing can help a novice to truly listen to their tree before and during styling. 

Great Horned Owl @ Shaver’s Creek by Ann Taylor-Schmidt

I donated this lovely little color pencil, graphite, acrylic medium and gouache piece of mixed media to the Art Alliance of Central PA for a September fundraiser. This subtle 5″ x 7″ on archival cream paper was adhered with wrapped edges to a 3/4″ block of sanded birch plywood with hardware for hanging. I hope its new owner enjoys it.

I included an excerpt from Henry David Thoreau’s book, Walden, on the edge.

I rejoice that there are owls … [like] the stark twilight and unsatisfied thoughts which all have.  – H.D. Thoreau

Great Horned Owl Thoreau by Ann Taylor-SchmidtWebSmall

All images of Ann’s art on this site are copyrighted. 

Continue reading “Great Horned Owl @ Shaver’s Creek by Ann Taylor-Schmidt”

The Joy of Teaching Artists

Love love love teaching adult artists. They get it!


Thanks to the Art Alliance of Central PA for continuing to give me these wonderful opportunities!


Prep to Teach Gesture Drawing

IMG_8775_Taylor-Schmidt_GestureDrawing_Poster01I am getting ready to teach a gesture drawing workshop for the Central Pennsylvania Art Alliance in October. This is one of my posters useful in talking to a class about the concepts involved.

Gesture is the Tai Chi of Drawing –

Sensing the energy in the scene and incorporating that movement, emotion, vibrance to a piece of art that contour or geometric drawing techniques can never do. I love to begin a drawing using a smudged gesture drawing and then build the remainder on that sculptural form, giving the piece so much liveliness. Smudging first takes away that awful blank page fear, too. Try it; you’ll like it.

Matting Yoga Lightness of Being Drawing


Matting some life studies to enter in the Art Alliance Juried Show this fall. 

I call this drawing “Inner Space” showing the centeredness of yoga and the calm universal connection of meditation. Dark inner shapes highlight the negative scape that we encompass. Soft grays show the lightness of being reached by practice.

Postscript: This one was chosen for showing the Art Alliance 2017 Members Show.

All-consuming Moving

Hey there. My name is Ann Taylor-Schmidt. I draw, paint, photograph and design and teach art. Since the summer of 2016, my husband and I have planned, scrutinized details, communicated, drawn, plotted, talked-over and generally obsessed about building our house and moving. By July 1, 2017, we were moving the big furniture and I had been shuttling endless carloads of boxes the only-one mile distance between old and new houses. We love our new house and have so much work to do yet in it, but it is starting to feel more sane now and comfortable. I will have more and more time to blog with you and show you my art as the dust settles here.

In January, I retired from a graphic-communications arts career and my lifelong dream of living my fine art can now come true, once all the moving dust settles and it can’t settle tooooo fast for me. Excruciatingly slowly, I clear boxes from my new studio floor in the new house and then bring more from the old; unearthing my years of drawings, prints and paintings and finally giving them the respect they deserve. (Although I did have stints when I ran Pennsylvania art studios, one in Bellefonte and one in Mechanicsburg along the way.)

This spring, I picked up a few hours of art teaching at the Art Alliance in Lemont, PA, teaching drawing from nature, and I’ve increased my fine art photography excursions throughout my local areas in the last few months.

I started this blog to showcase my work and haven’t had many minutes to fill it yet. I’ve collected many of my images of my work and started to create a folder of images to upload here. So, stay tuned for a mini-gallery of my work to whet your appetite for fine art. I hope you like them and consider buying some for your walls and world.


Stay tuned for more Ann Taylor-Schmidt artworks.