Along the Brandywine is a passion project for this local artist. Illustrations by Amanda B. Kimball
Local artist Amanda B. Kimball draws inspiration for her watercolor art from what springs up during wildflower season.
Before the pandemic, I occasionally ran through the state park close to our home, always admiring the incredible beauty of the area. When COVID-19 arrived and everything was shut down, I found myself on the wooded paths or river trails every day.
Suddenly, I began to see and hear things I had run right past before: the clouds of pale-blue lichen on the boulders in the woods, the masses of wild bluebells along the edge of the crop fields and the trilling song of the spring peepers—those impossibly tiny frogs that hide along the wetland path.
Carrying a slim notebook in my pocket, I began to sketch the things I found. The drawings were quick and fluid, with the aim to capture the wonder in the moment.
This year, I am making a seasonal record of everything that is blooming, growing or revealing itself on a specific stretch of trail that runs through the woods along the Brandywine; careful notes of native and nonnative trees, plants and wildflowers will also be included.
The history of the area is an important part of this project as well and has led me into the world of old land records and county maps. I want to know more about who owned the steep wooded hillsides and traveled the narrow farm roads that are now bike trails, and discover the identities of the farmers who worked the land.
Hopefully by the end of this year, I will have managed to translate onto paper the sense of awe and joy I experienced with each new discovery. I hope you feel it too.