Monday, January 28, 2008
Today I found a green caterpillar when I picked up some bricks that were piled by my driveway, it was tucked in some rotting leaves and snow. I can't imagine how caterpillars survive the winter like this. But he looked as fresh as springtime! Umm...so if you knew me, you'd already know I took him inside to draw and study!
The picture shows him lying on my sketchbook page. 1st I did a pencil sketch with the 'outliner' pencil that comes with the Inktense color pencils. I drew it at actual size then made an enlarged drawing that looks like he's under a magnifying glass. The shadow and the magnifying glass make it look more real. Then I drew him again (small) and tried to add a cast shadow. This didn't work out too well at this tiny size so I pulled the ink black color all around it to 'fix' it. I also show a picture of the sanding block I use to sharpen my colorpencils. I don't keep a very long point on them because they are more prone to breaking then graphite. Click on the pictures to see enlarged views and read my notes on my sketchbook.
First I lay down a very pale wash about an inch long and 1/4 inch wide. (the wash I did was a 'dry wash', this is a term that means a light layer or drawing with a light touch to add a light layer.) Then I added, with a progressively heavier touch, more to the strip going left. You can see it's darker on the top left of each color swatch and lighter on the right. Then I used a 'waterbrush', that is a brush that holds it's own supply of water for field work, to pull down color from the top. As I got to the darkest area, on every single color I was amazed at just how brilliant and beautiful each color was! Even the browns, neutrals and mustard color were lovely!
I'm really not used to using water soluble color pencils but I will make an effort to use these till I get the hang of it. My intent is to use them in the field when hiking, to lay down washes that may be worked over with ink or color pencil.
Let me know if you have used the inktense pencils and what you thought of them.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
I had to put my gloves in the picture just to show what I was wearing on my hands while attempting to draw in the FREEZING cold barn!! It took me awhile to thaw out my fingers and toes when I was done ;-)
Enjoy my sketchbook pages, click on them to see better and read my notes. Do you see the chicken standing on one leg? It reminded me of a fairy tale about the cook who made a succulent roast goose for the king, then ate one huge leg because it looked and smelled so good. The King was furious...the cook, a fast thinker, took the King to see the geese by the lake. He pointed out to the King how they all had just one leg! (of course you and I know they were keeping one tucked up to keep warm under their feathers!) The King didn't see the trickery of the cook and showed him how to shoo the geese and make them put their feet down. NO more ONE legged geese for dinner!! hahah.... I should illustrate this story, it's cute.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Thursday, January 17, 2008
I show a close up of the arrangement so you can see the watercups; they are actually for holding mediums for oil painting, designed to hold the liquid even when tipped slightly on a hand held palette. They worked fantastic! I had to get over the habit of looking for my watercup on the table! You can see the 'sticky tack' or 'blue tack' in my palette. Yesterdays blog explained that better, so they get tested today and it worked wonderfully! Yay..two experiments that worked.
My hand got a bit tired from holding the board and palette but this set up is supposed to be for quick studies, I worked on it longer than I would in the field.
The pictures are to show the stages of my painting, start to finish.
Monday, January 7, 2008
So as a wasp kept landing on my painting and easel, I figured it was interesting. I took pictures of him of course. Then every time I started to paint, a tiny spider would appear hanging from the brim of my baseball cap, I'd lift him off with his thread of silk and put him in the grass, then another would appear on my easel. My guess was they were 'sailing' on their threads down from the beautiful oak tree.
'Memory Lane' is so flooded I didn't dare go there with leaky boots! But it still looks beautiful, all that water reflecting the sky, dry grasses, great color.
Here are some photos, so hard to pick from so many beautiful flowers and plants! Here's a link to their home page: http://www.buffalogardens.com/
This little ditty I did outside, while bundled up in snow bib overalls, boots with wool socks, down coat, wool hat, scarf over half my face and leather gloves. I did the painting (6"x 8") with Oil Pastels that I cut in half so I could fit more in my little field kit. Do you know how hard it is to paint/draw with a one inch chunk of crayon while wearing bulky gloves and fffffrrrreeeeezzzing to death?? I actually worked as quickly as possible, laying down some outlines for the shadows and other shapes with pale grey, then drew in some shadow and tree color so I could finish it inside later. I took some pics with my Canon 20D...even looking at those later, you can't see the colors in the tree as well. That is why it's so important to work from life!
This is a watercolor sketch I did from a photo of a sparrow. I used my small watercolor travel set for practice and did it while watching tv with my son. Trying to get artwork done at any time is a challenge so I practice when I can!
Thursday, 1-10-08 Cold morning but not too bad! I visited Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve in Depew, NY. It's an almost 300 acre preserve with forests, wetlands and ponds surrounded by suburban developments. What a surprise it is to find a place like this when you can walk in and feel like your far outside the city (Buffalo) limits but you're not!
Today was a camera exploring day, I didn't pull out the sketchbook. I saw turkeys, white tailed deer, a beaver (must be the warm winter) chickadees, downey woodpeckers, mallards and Canada geese. I captured so many wonderful pictures of leaves, dead ferns, lichens, mosses and fungi...but...alas the computer Gods were against me when I downloaded them! I lost almost all!!! Heavy Sigh....
But I shall be returning there often as I will be teaching my Nature Sketching class there this spring and summer. I will be planning several different days and time options to accomodate as many as I can. I might also offer a 'fairy house + fairy making' class! Directions to Reinstein Woods: http://www.dec.ny.gov/education/1975.html and here's another link about Reinstein Woods: http://www.dec.ny.gov/education/1965.html
It might seem silly, but I think I can write a book for a hundred and one uses for 'sticky tack' or 'blue tack'! I wanted to add more colors to my field kit but there are no more places, so I made some! Where the brush should go, I put three little blobs of sticky tack and smooshed them down. I then put just a bit of wet paint into the divided areas and let it dry. Then the little removable water pan (I mean LITTLE!) I've been using for black paint, so I added a little wall to that and added Naples yellow, I thought it would be good for grasses, people etc. I will let you know if it works, the stuff is amazing, really!
Anyhow....to keep my small kit small...I broke the oil crayons in half, half for my kit, half in a baggie to keep in studio. This way I can try out colors, see what works, what doesn't.