Friday, June 27, 2008

"Spring Birding at Iroqouis" 5-17-08

Today I went birdwatching with the Audubon Society at Iroqouis Wildlife Refuge in Gasport, NY. This is north of Buffalo. a very beautiful area to hike around. The weather today wasn't gorgeous as it rained off and on and was quite cold...but we saw birds. There were a few expert birders leading the informal outing, they were so good at naming birds just by their song.
I'm using a new bag that my friend in England sent me. It's a military bag that feels really comfortable, holds my drawing supplies but not the sketchbook. It's nice because it takes the weight off my shoulders.
I had to put up one of my sketchbook pages so you could see, just how little sketching I get done when on a hike like this. There is no time for stopping to sketch when you're with a group of determined birders! haha...that's ok, I have listed most of the birds we saw and heard. The check mark means I saw the bird not just heard it.

Here you can see the group coming to the area where Ospreys are nesting. We had a good look with a scope on a tripod. There were areas in open fields with chicken wire around them, I pointed out to everyone that they (the Wildlife Refuge) were trying to grow lupines there, a very important host plant for butterflies, and beautiful too! Here's the link for the Iroqouis Nature Refuge:

"Dandelions for Mother's Day" 5-11-08

It was mother's day and gorgeous...I had a chance to go out and just sit in the soft spring grass and draw. So I thought I'd just play with a non permanent ink pen and a waterbrush to do a little demo on how simple it is to make a nice value drawing. The pen is just a typical non permanent writing pen from an office supply store.
By the way, I didn't just get dandelions for Mother's boys brought me beautiful tulips!

"May Hike on My Land" 5-7-08

This post, and the next few from me, are being put up late...but I wanted to keep the hikes I took in sequence....more exciting things coming soon!
I couldn't resist starting off with Ginger coming up the's so green and lush in Springtime! You can see the buds are just coming out on the trees.
Well, it was a very wet, rainy day as you can see by my raingear and barn boots! I always keep a plastic garbage bag in my pocket when hiking, this makes a great surface to kneel or sit on when the ground is damp or if you want to put your camera or bag down, it protects it. The page below shows a very, very quick sketch of grows all over my land in damp or wet areas and in spring + summer it'll have the prettiest yellow flowers. You can click on any picture to read my notes closer...yikes the mosquitoes were rampant!!

This is a video clip about the Mayapples and one of my old oak trees.
This is another one of my old oak trees on "Oak Lane". I love walking up to each one and checking on them, touching their bark, feeling their power and strength.Growing under the oaks were these plants that I think are Adderstongue...I didn't get to make a final identification yet. What I did was sketch the upper leaf at actual or life size in pencil. I shaded then smudged with my finger then used a kneaded rubber eraser to 'wipe out' where I wanted the light spots. Because the leaf had a mottled look I thought I'd try a little watercolor technique to recreate it. I painted the leaf green then as it was drying I dropped water onto it, this makes a nice mottled effect. It also had a fruit that was green colored. Sorry to say I didn't get back out there to see what the plant did as far as flowering. You can see where I tested my colors in the corner of the page.At the end of my walk I came to the only Crabapple on my property, what a pretty sight when you find it in Springtime! It's hidden in an out of the way place in the "Maze", a field I have with paths that go all over like a maze. I didn't get to finish the painting properly, I tried to work on it as rain was starting. But it was good practice anyways! I do have some 'sweet' pictures of the blossoms for future use. By the way, this was done with watercolor pencils that I then wet with a waterbrush.
The final video clip below is a nice bit of music by one of my favorite singers...the Wood Thrush!!