Wednesday, February 6, 2008

"Hiking on my Land" 2-6-08

Today, I felt a great urge to be outside, the weather was terrible for painting and drawing but actually not bad for a nice cold hike! The air was fresh, the wind steady but not too strong, and Ginger was very excited to go for a run. I used permanent ink fine point markers, no pencil for sketching and even tried out my watercolors. I must be crazy on such a cold day but I really felt like capturing some of the colors with some quick watercolor sketches. You can click on pictures to see the pages of my sketchbook close up or the photos. On the first page we had made it to the 'maze' an area of my land that I cut like a maze, and Ginger found something. I could tell it held great interest for her, it was scat (droppings) from I think a fox. Now don't get grossed out, but any naturalist would record and study it, so I did. It was very full of hairs, probably from the rabbit it ate.
Then I did a quick study of the open field, mostly to capture color, not detail. Detail would be almost impossible in this cold wearing the huge, stiff leather gloves I had on! A flock of geese went over...I tried to catch them through the trees, and some lichens growing on stick in the icy water of the lane.

I think artists should show themselves in their environment, here I was, thoughtful, studying the land...umm freezing! ha! You can see I'm wearing my heavy coat with rain coat over that, wool hat, big gloves. I kind of like the little sketch of my big old 'sister' oak tree on the second page of the sketchbook. I'm looking across the field, where there's the red barked bushes in front.

The third page I had frozen fingers by this time, you can tell by the loose, quick grasses I did. I also show a photo of how I held the sketchbook, palette, watercups and brush. In my hand of course, I also had picked up several 'treasures' to take back to the studio. I'm going to design a better way to hold a few brushes or pens, and the water. I was constantly on the move and this was too hard to handle with the gloves and weather. Did you notice the sarcastic note I wrote on my sketchbook about drawing with frozen fingers? At the end I was aggravated with struggling with my watercup lids so I just dipped my brush into the icy water at my feet. I tried not to swish it in where it was muddy and as I painted, it really was cold enough that I was getting icy crystals on my paper! YES, time for cocoa!

The last page of the sketchbook was done in the studio, I took more time to work from some of the 'treasures' I brought back. I drew most of it with a permanent fine point marker with no pencil sketch first. When you do this, it helps to make some little marks where you think your line will go before you commit to a solid drawn line. Pay attention to negative spaces especially on things like the center weed, it helped me to look at the spaces between the stems as I laid it out. Hope you enjoyed coming for a hike with me today at Long Lane Farm! ps. I drank two cups of cocoa to thaw out!


Rosy said...

I found that I almost felt like I was with you on your little adventure out in the cold air!

And I also enjoy your style of writing very well done along with your artwork too! :)

This is my first visit to your blog and I am so glad too.

camulus said...

I do not know how you manage to draw in those huge gloves Mary, they look more like leather gardening gloves or Cattleman's gloves rather than Winter wear. You would be better with a pair of warm wooly flap mitts. My sister sent some from Canada which I wear when it gets very cold. They are open fingered clothes when you need to use your hands but with a flap that makes them into mitts when you are not. With hand warming pads tucked into these flaps they help keep your fingers very warm indeed.

Mary McAndrew said...

Well your right, they are "cattleman" gloves or barn gloves I'd call them. They are NOT made to keep your fingers warm for a long period of time. But when I hike, I never wear 'good' gloves as I'm always pushing aside branches, getting my hands wet possibly. But I think you're right, I need to switch to something else just for days I'll be drawing! I need better boots too.
I was thinking I need a pair I can slip a handwarmer into, can you ask your sister where I can get a pair?

camulus said...

I cannot ask my sister at present because she is away on a business trip but these are the ones I have; They are warm but as they are wool are not waterproof. However as you are most unlikely to be sketching in a downpour they are more than adequate to keep the cold dampness of snow off your hands, being wool they are also washable if they get dirty.

These are waterproof synthetic fibre ones

There are also more attractive patterned ones but ensure that the wool is of good quality like these

Mary McAndrew said...

Thank you so much for your comments, I'm glad you felt like you were right there with me, I try to write in a down to earth way, 'cause that's just how I am. Maybe someday you CAN walk with me when I do a workshop!
I hope you visit my blog often, always something new going up.