Friday, May 15, 2009

NEW HOME for my BLOG!!

Hello everyone, just letting you know I've successfully moved this blog over to my website. You can now visit my galleries, read more about my art and visit my blog all in one place. Please sign up there so you can get updates from that site now.
Many of my friends here have never seen ALL of my artwork and may be surprised at the variety. I encourage you to visit. I have a new blog post up there too.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Free Talk and Demonstration on Nature Sketching!

This coming Saturday April 4, 2009, I’ll be giving a free talk and demonstration about nature sketching in the field. It’ll be held at the Iroquois Wildlife Refuge from 1pm, at the refuge headquarters building, 1101 Casey Road. I’ll be showing my personal sketchbooks, art supplies I use in the field, how I carry things and demonstrating some basic drawing techniques along with how to make a simple field sketchbook for yourself! Please come and meet me and see my sketchbooks and be inspired to go drawing in the field after!

Here’s some links to past entries from this blog about hikes around the Iroquois Wildlife Refuge.

There is also a link for the preserve there you can go to their site to have a look around. I hope you join us!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

"Everlasting Valentines Bouquet" 2-23-09

A Valentines Day bouquet from your sweetie is very nice...smells so sweet, warms your heart..but doesn't last forever no matter what you do. Unless you get out your paints and do some studies! After a week of enjoying the blooms...then watching some slowly fade, I picked out the freshest ones and moved them into another vase up to my studio. As I did the tulips dropped their petals in a flourish, woosh...all over the table. I picked some up and looked at them, thinking how beautiful their individual forms and colors were.

I decided to do studies of the petals and laid them on my paper with a strong little lamp above me. I should have titled this post "How to Paint Through Pain"...that is, how to cope with painting while in pain. I painted these on the floor, my lower back has been hurting and sitting in a chair was too much to bear. So, I put it on the floor and kept moving around...kneeling, laying on my stomach...what ever I could. I got a bit messy with some areas of these studies, but then it was hard to concentrate! I started each with a basic gesture of the shape very lightly drawn with pencil. The shadows were the most fun to paint, studying the colors coming through the petals. A tip here, to keep the petals fresh until you're ready to work, put them in a ziplock sandwich bag with a sprinkle of water, then put them in the refrigerator. Tell everyone NOT to eat them!!

Oh yes, the other thing is I did them with just my waterbrush...see above picture. You can see the petals laying on my paper and waterbrush in my hand. (PS. this was really late at night...actually I think it was 1am!)
So now I can look at the little study and always remember my Valentines surprise bouquet! I wish I had time to do more studies..I had planned to, but you know how that goes!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

"Derwent Water Marina" 9-13-09

Today I'll take you to the Marina at Derwent water where I stayed overnight at The Derwent Hotel. It's a gorgeous place to stay all newly refinished, the bedroom was just sumptuous! And oh yes, I really liked that they had internet so I could catch up with the folks at home and let them know I wasn't lost somewhere in the English countryside!
This is the front lobby, coming down in the early morning to have my oatmeal made with cream and oh boy was it rich!
Then I made my way across the street and just down a driveway and there you are...the marina. A small, uncomplicated, peaceful place so early in the morning. toward the water...I took note of birds I saw, almost all were new to me, how exciting!
I love when the mist is lower than the mountains around it, the puffs were making their way up each 'valley' from the lake. Small coots were chugging across the still water looking for fish...I did some small sketches of birds and wrote my bird list on the sketch page shown below.

Click the page to read my notes.
These are simple sketches done while walking around, this is typically how I draw birds in the field. Not much to them, just identification notes, and I had my Altoids watercolor kit with me and did some simple coloring. I think one of my favorite birds was the wood pidgeon; with a flash of white on his wings when he flew from the deep trees where hidden. They are quite big compared to 'our' rock doves or pidgeons.
Later in the day I walked up the hill behind the hotel. It was very chilly and damp as I sat and worked. I did a small sketch of the lake view over the hotel, trying to get some color notes on it so I'd remember how it looked. I think my friend Gary arrived just in time though as my fingers were getting quite stiff! Time for hot tea!
I just finished the sketch,(back home in the states) working from a dull photo because it was a dull day. I sat in a coffee/lunch area in the grocery store on a nasty snowy day and worked on it...then finished it in the comfort of my studio. I perked up the color a little trying to keep in mind the original colors I had on the paper. I signed it Lake Derwent before I learned that it's called Derwent Water. By the way, I did the entire painting using one waterbrush and my travel palette. I'm trying to practice using the waterbrush so it'll come naturally in the field.
I think it's a nice little painting!

I think the painting will always mean something different to the artist who painted it in the field. As I sat and sketched, then painted...I absorbed all around me. My eyes studied the colors, my ears heard wrens and thrushes singing, the wind blowing through the pines, my fingers felt the cool rain drops and mist, my face felt the breeze and my nose smelled the wet leaves and mosses in the undergrowth behind me...and the smells of the kitchen below. As I look at that little painting...I can remember it all! THIS is what makes painting outside in nature so rewarding, and it's why I do it. I hope you'll join me someday in experiencing this feeling.

"My Travels from Grasmere and Ambleside to Derwentwater" 9-2-09

River Rothay in Grasmere, a wonderful little town in the Lake District.

I'll tell you from the start, this post has NO drawing in it! I feel a bit guilty but what can I say? I loved my travels between the places I stayed while exploring the Lake District and I wanted to share some of the photos with you. I must declare here and now, I fell in love with England when I visited the Lake District! It has swept this artist's heart away and I won't be truly happy until I return! Happily that'll be soon, as I plan to return to England this Summer for more exploring and painting. I also hope to teach some outdoor nature sketching classes while there.
I thought this was a Merganser but here they call it a Goosander, it was working it's way up the river fishing...turning around in circles sometimes then diving. What a beautiful bird!
Wonderful Celtic crosses in a churchyard right in town. I love the different colors from the moss and lichens growing on them.
Another wonderful thing I discovered in England was flapjacks. When I went with my friend Gary to buy goodies for our journey he said "how about some flapjacks?" I looked at him like he was rediculous! Who carries flapjacks around with them?? haha....To the American a flapjack is a large flat pancake you eat with butter and syrup for breakfast, you don't take it in the car to nibble on. (Though I have been known to nibble on cold ones for a snack from the fridge!) He kept pointing to stuff in the bakery case and I kept looking for the pancakes! Well, to the English a flapjack is a wonderful healthy snack made from oats and whatever you want to put in it like raisins etc. It's like a chewy granola bar. So in the picture, here I am enjoying my first flapjack! Just check out those hills behind me; the reddish color is from the Bracken turning color in the fall.
Me taking some shots before we moved on, it was hard to leave this spot it was so beautiful.
A farm in the valley where we stopped.
This is in Ambleside, the "Bridge House" set right over the river or "Stock Beck" (Norwegian name for river is Beck); this was to escape the land tax at the time. It was used as an apple store and at one time had a family with six children living in it!

That's a Jackdaw on top of it; Jackdaw's are a common bird much like our House Sparrow or Starlings are...both came from England originally by the way. So as I was excited to see the Jackdaw about everywhere, no one payed any attention to them. It's something to remember, things in your own backyard can be really fascinating to others. So take a closer look at what you've got and appreciate it.
Hmm...that could have meaning on several levels ;-)

Friday, February 20, 2009

"Rydal Water Hike" 9-11-08 painted pg 1

I've been trying to go back into my sketches I did on my trip to England and add some color or finish what I've started. On this little sketch I scribbled it out in 5min....and added some notes on color right on the page. So to keep practicing with my waterbrush and watercolors I added some color while looking at a photo I had taken that day. It's different using the waterbrush alone and not an assortment of brushes. You have one tip to work with and a different kind of flow of water. I'm liking it more and more, but it still has it's limitations, most especially when wanting to lay in a large wash of color. You have to mix a puddle of color first on your palette, squeezing the barrel to make drops of water come out.
Here's the sketch as it appeared in my original post about my hike. To read more about this hike go to my post:

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

"Another Snowy Day" 2-1-09

The cardinals I did looking at the little feeder that is stuck to my studio window. I wasn't concerned with a fantastic drawing, just practicing the gesture sketches of it. I added a touch of color with a waterbrush and watercolor.
Then I decided to take my sketchbook, watercolors and a simple waterbrush with me when I went out to feed the chickens. It was really cold and windy, so it was hard to draw, but I donned the flip top mittens and went to it! was worse trying to paint, but I did some simple color studies. It's very hard to sketch chickens as they move so much!
Then I headed outside the barn and set my pad on top of a tripod that I attached a piece of wood to, it was very windy! The mount isn't a very strong one, it loosened up sometimes, but it allowed me to set everything down in front of me. I'm always experimenting with ideas.
Above you can see the some chickens that were roosting in the rafters. I painted them with Chinese ink...from a dry cake I keep in a tin; it used to be liquid I just let it dry and can use it like dry watercolors. Below that is the little landscape study with some notes. The hawk sketches I added today actually. I saw a hawk through the window and tried to do a sketch using my binoculars. I'm pretty sure it's a red tailed hawk.
My landscape was pretty far away from me, but I was after the colors of the field. You can see the picture below. Oh yes...and then there's Ginger, always waiting for me to walk on somewhere else! haha....

That's it for now...stay tuned for more updates about my trip to England, sign up your email in the box in the right column. Bye!