This year, the first day of summer coincided with my first day of my artist residency at the Indiana Dunes National Park. I woke to this beautiful sight of the crescent moon and Venus. The day was off to a great start!

I knew I wanted to paint the colorful prairie grasses I had seen during the tour of the park provided by Ranger Jeff Manuszak the previous day. The Chellberg barn peeking above the field was a "morning painting" with long tree shadows creating drama and the morning sun bringing out the many colors of the grasses.

I arrived by 8 a.m. and set up.

Several people waved to me from passing cars and Ranger Jeff Manuszak took a photo of me and the painting in its early stage.

I hardly noticed the time passing as I worked and got the painting to about 90% completion. I'll show it to you when it is done!

In the afternoon, I hiked the Dunes Ridge Trail, painted a black oak savannah (a protected type of forest here), and had my first swim in Lake Michigan.

It was a perfect first day of summer.