Welcome to Birchtree Studio, an art studio based in historic Exeter, NH. I illustrate mostly natural history subjects but also provide a variety of other art services. Take a look around these pages. Enjoy the visit.

My home page will feature a different watercolor sketch each month. This is a way for me to show what I do in my sketch book, although sometimes the sketch might be on a sheet of watercolor paper, or it might be produced from a photograph. It’s unpredictable. I never know what kind of art might come through me. One thing is predictable: I will always be producing art.

I hope you will become as excited as I am to find out each month what shows up on this page.

Sandy McDermott

From my sketchbook...

Spring Hike

This year my daughter has taken to hiking with serious intent....a change that brings great delight to my husband and I. We started her hiking as soon as she could walk. That first hike lasted about 20 minutes. As she grew we increased the distance and the degree of difficulty befitting her interest level. By middle school she was happily hiking on average about 9-10 miles with us. Of course, it helped that a friend or our dog would be by her side to keep her going. Then one season it stopped. She was done. Lost interest. Like many young kids, she became more interested with what her peers were doing rather than what her family was doing. As parents we decided to roll with it, see where it leads her. We let her take some control over how she spent her time so that she could discover what SHE was really interested in.

It payed off. After several years of her not visiting the mountains we were able to get her out on what has become an annual family event....an overnight hike to catch sunset and sunrise on a summit. This summer will be five or six years running. Even more delightful, she has committed herself to hiking once weekly while home from college this summer. And she's kept up with that commitment. Yahoo!

One of my favorite things to do is hike and sketch. Kelsey is a budding photographer with ambitions to become a photojournalist. She's a perfect companion on the trail. When I want to stop and paint, she's happy to spend time exploring and photographing. We recently hiked the Welch-Dickey Trail, located just outside Waterville Valley, one of my most favorite places in the world. This sketch was about 20 minutes time on the trail and then completed at home several days later. On site it was all paint, no drawing. At home I added some graphite line work to add a few details and a little more interest. There's more sketches from that day and the spring season but you'll have to go to my blog to see those.

Happy trails!