At the onset of 2019 I embarked on a project that I ended up calling Field Notes From a Lost Year. Each week (or so) I sketched botanical specimens from life in pen and watercolor. I identified each specimen by both common and Latin names, noted the weather on the day I sketched, and added interesting notations about the plant’s native or invasive status, whether it was poisonous, etc. Sometimes I added sketches of birds, insects or mammals I had seen that week. Each page notes the longitude and latitude where the sketch subjects were found (usually Albemarle County, Virginia, but sometimes Hancock and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a highway in Ohio, the Chicago Botanic Gardens, or Northampton, Massachusetts). Importantly, in addition to the sketches, I included short quotations from the week’s climate-related news from a wide variety of sources. I hoped that juxtaposing my intense meditative sketches with mostly grim, but sometimes hopeful news about climate change would make it easier, and more poignant to recognize the gorgeous diversity of what we could lose if action isn’t taken immediately.
The original sketches are gathered in a spiral bound Bee Paper notebook; my son forbids me to break up the notebook and sell the originals. So I’ve made limited edition giclée prints on archival, acid-free bamboo paper. The photography and printing was done at Stubblefield Photo Lab in Charlottesville, VA. All images are copyright 2020 by Suzanne Crane–please do not reproduce without permission. The images on the website each have a small watermark on them to discourage copying.
Unframed limited edition (of 200) prints are $50 each.
May 12-19 includes sketches of a family of wood ducks (which I saw floating down the Creek Road creek while walking my dogs, who, thankfully, did not see them. There were six chicks). Also included are sketches of invasive Chinese bittersweet, honeysuckle and air potato vine–all pests, except that the invasive honeysuckle makes the air in my part of Virginia heavily scented and sweet. Even though it invades everything, I love the season it blooms. And, my birthday is May 12, so what’s not to love about this season?