pastel painting of stream
Unnamed Tributary, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

On a quiet sunny winter afternoon this little unnamed tributary surely had a lot to say, babbling along over rocks and shelves of slate and limestone on its way to Scrubgrass Creek a distance away. I see a few things I’d still like to do with it but I’m pretty pleased. The light changes quickly at this time of year, and I had to work quickly.

Off in the woods today, I stood in the snow and painted a little pastel sketch as well as took photos of the snowy hollow at Kane’s Woods in Scott Township, PA. I’ve been waiting for a significant snowfall, enough to give good even cover to most of the leaf litter. Much of this conservation area faces north and doesn’t catch significant sunlight, especially in the winter when the sun’s angle is low, but this little hollow and the hill next to it face south. Once the sun gets into the hollow it just fills it up, especially when snow can reflect it in all directions.

The Kane Woods Conservation Area is a place I’ve known since I was a child, before it was conserved and trails were established, but my lifetime of visiting and that of others is what inspired Scott Conservancy to consider the site worth working for.

person standing in snow sketching
There’s me, feeling a little silly.

I’ll be featured in one of the newsletters I design, this for Allegheny Land Trust, in a feature called “GreenTalk” to say a little bit about what conserving green space means to me. I needed a photo to go along with my Q&A, and since I’m the photographer I have very few of me. I asked a friend to take a few with my camera.

Along with the benefits of preserving water quality and air quality, protecting steep slopes from erosion and landslides and managing stormwater naturally, greenspace at the same time provides natural recreation areas that require little maintenance compared to a playground or formal park with accommodations. And for me, it provides a subject for my creative efforts, my paintings, photos, poems, and just a place to rest my eyes and ears from the onslaught of digital and social information and just listen to the breeze and the birds and watch the sunlight play across the snow.

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