Monday, May 6, 2013
It has been a week of creating mixed quality art for me. The above is a fairly quick drawing of a Husky from a reference photograph I made at Borderland State Park this week. Not as good as last weeks cat drawing, but then I prefer cats to dogs so spent more time on that one. The dogs coat is a real challenge in this drawing, it is very fluffy and hard to get right. I rather like the photograph so may try again at some point to make a good drawing of this animal.
I have spent a lot of the past week out and about enjoying our beautiful weather. The above is my attempt at a plein air watercolor sketch. Made at Houghton's Pond in the Blue Hills. I should have left out that tree trunk on the right. I have never been able to successfully paint tree trunks. I can recall other horrible plein air paintings with tree trunks, thankfully long destroyed. Size of this is 4 x 6 inches, postcard size. About the only area I am pleased with is the background woods across the water. Obviously I need a lot more practice with watercolor.
I purchased a small set of travel watercolors a bit over a week ago and this was my first venture out with them. The bush that comes in the box is way too small even for a small work, I need to figure out some way to take additional brushes that are larger with me. It is hard to get a good wash with a small brush.
Above is last Monday nights long pose figure drawing. I am not very happy with it. Her face is OK but that is about the only part I am pleased with. Not sure what is going on, I know part of the issue was my paper. I had finished the pad of paper that I have been using for over the past year and had to change paper manufactures. The paper I am using here is good paper, Strathmore Drawing, but it has a surface and tooth that I am no longer used to. I found it a bit distracting to draw on. Ah well since I can't seem to find a replacement for my previous pad I will just have to get used to it, and hopefully make a better drawing this week.
Now for a few photographs from my various ramblings to MA Audubon and State Park Sites this past week or so. Above is a photo of a couple of trees just starting to leaf out. Most trees are now much further along, but I just love that pale green against a very blue sky it certainly says spring to me.
I was back at Stony Brook (MA Audubon) this weekend and found the bleeding hearts in bloom in the Butterfly garden. I was actually there because I was hoping that the May Apples were in bloom but found them still in the tight bud stage, though the leaves had grown since my previous visit.
Also again in evidence were the snapping turtles, huge ones a couple of feet across, I don't recall seeing them as active in past years. Believe me when I say that large snappers in action are very impressive.
My last image is a tom turkey displaying in Marshfield, MA. I had been over at Daniel Webster that afternoon and was on my way home when I noticed this turkey just outside the cemetery Not sure who he was displaying for, I didn't see any hen turkeys around but he was certainly an impressive sight, and not at all shy. I made a lot of photographs of him, not getting to close, but he certainly knew I was there and just seemed to ignore me. Usually wild turkeys take off when they see people so he was definitely in breeding mode. A big bird that I didn't want to get too close to.
That is it for today, per usual comments are welcome.
Friday, April 26, 2013
I have come to the conclusion that cats are hard to draw and I really need to have a lot more practice drawing them. Above is my most recent cat drawing and is the reason for my reaffirmed conclusion. This drawing took way longer to do than I expected. Still I am not displeased with the results but would have been happier if I hadn't had to work so hard at it.
The drawing is based on a photograph I made the other day of a neighbors cat in the front yard of the building where I live. I used it as reference because for once I had a photograph that showed a cat in motion instead of the sphinx like poses one usually catches them in. Obviously I was being given the hairy eyeball by a cat that wasn't too sure it wanted to be in my vicinity actually the cat took off almost immediately after I made the photo.
This week I was back at the short pose session instead of the long pose one. I have six images that I pulled out of the pack to show. The three above were quick poses, 2 or 3 minutes. and were are warm up poses. I rather like the last one on the right though it just shows her back, and a bit of an arm and leg.
Above are three more drawings from the session, times are marked on the pages, upper left 5 minutes, upper right 10 minutes and the bottom one was a 15 minute pose. To challenge myself I decided to try one drawing with a flair type pen instead of the fine tip pen or the 4B pencil which I usually use. You will note that that drawing isn't here, in fact I no longer even have it, it was one of those that I immediately tossed in the trash, ugh, pretty bad. I know that I need to spend more time using that kind of pen in order to feel comfortable with it, maybe in a couple of weeks I will give it another try.
Now for some more of my spring photographs. Above was made at Houghton's Pond in Milton, MA. and shows a hillside planted with daffodils with the pond behind. The number of daffodils is starting really make a show in this spot. It is probably time for someone to come in and split up the clumps but since I don't know who was responsible for the initial plantings I don't know who if anyone would be responsible for splitting them up. Sure looked pretty though.
Yesterday I took a trip over to Borderland State Park in Easton, MA. Above is a photo of the main house and a really old weeping cherry in full bloom. Beautiful, and boy was it buzzing with bumblebees, big queens who probably have just emerged into the spring looking for pollen and nectar to get this years hive started.
The trout lilies are just starting to bloom, I expect more will be in bloom over the weekend. This is about the best photograph I have made of this early spring wild flower, they are really small flowers and the stem with the flower head is only about 6 inches long so they aren't the easiest flower to photograph. Not sure how many years I have been attempting to make a photograph that does them justice. Of course I don't plan on stopping any time soon, as I always have the feeling it could be just a bit better.
That is it for today, hope everyone is enjoying some great spring weather, except of course for those south of the equator where you are slipping into fall. Per usual comments are always welcome.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
It has been a strange week here in MA. Beautiful weather, perfect for running a marathon, and then for searching a bomb site for evidence, a running gun fight, a city wide shutdown, and finally a manhunt in one of the smaller Boston suburbs. The manhunt fortunately ended with the capture of the suspect and no additional loss of life, so the citizens of Boston were able to have a late night celebration on Boston Common. Today it is raining, much needed rain since the leaves are still not out on the trees so the woods ground cover was getting very dry. We don't need to add major brush fires to the events of this past week.
While I was listening to news coverage about the Marathon Bombings I was working on the above drawing of a fern sitting among the leaf litter. The image is an expanded version of the drawing I made for a book mark. I rather like how it came out, but haven't yet decided if I should try to add some color to the background. I think I will just leave it white, I feel anything else would just be distracting. This drawing is done on white Stonehenge paper with various colored pencils and is 6.5 inches square.
Monday night, despite the tragedy at the marathon I decided to attend the long pose figure drawing session. Above is my drawing from that evening. I am generally pleased with it, though per usual there are parts that I would have like to have done differently. This model is one of our twitchy ones who never seem to take exactly the same pose after our breaks. That makes it tricky to get the shadows correct. Also Scott shifted to an overhead light for this pose, which is not my favorite. The overhead light tends to make the pose flatter making it harder to define shapes. Ah well that is what the process is about, learning how to treat those difficult poses/lighting so they still work.
Since we were having such lovely weather I went over to Borderland State Park in Easton one afternoon. Mainly I wanted to make photographs but I also took the time to do a sketch of one of the pond areas. Above is that sketch.
The rest of this post will be some of the photographs I have made at Borderland in the past week.
Motor boats are not allowed on the ponds, but people can bring canoes and fish. Which is what the gentleman was doing in the above photograph. I actually made several photographs of the fisherman and his canoe, this is to my mind the best one. The reddish trees on the right are maples starting to come into bloom, red buds.
The above photograph I made at the rear of the house of one of windows showing some blooming geraniums inside while the reflection gives a hint of the blooming beds of daffodils outside.
One area of the back lawn at Borderland has a mass of forsythia bushes which were in almost full bloom for my visit this week. You can see some other visitors to the park in background.
One last image of some early pink azalea flowers that were blooming on a bush by the old swimming pool.
That is it for today, per usual comments are welcome.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
It is finally finished. I started the above stipple piece of Bladder Campion last fall but ended up putting it aside to work on other projects. About a week or two ago I finally pulled it back out and started working on it again. Yesterday I finally put the finishing dots in place. The drawing is based on a photograph I made in June 2011 in Massasoit State Park. I really liked the photo and actually decided way back then that I would use it for a drawing. Last fall I decided it was time to take action on using the photo and that it would be a good image for a stipple piece.
The work is 9 x 6 inches, done on Stonehenge paper with a technical pen. I think this paper color is grey, the petals of the flowers only look lighter than the edges because of the contrast with the dark areas next to them. I love this optical effect, and have seen it in other stipple pieces I have done. I have to admit I sometimes get tired of making all those dots but when I get one finished I can't help but feel it was worth the effort.
Last night I went out to a short pose figure drawing session, and I have a few images from the session to post to the blog today. The ones above were 3 minute poses, drawing was done with a pen.
Above is one of my drawings of a 5 minute pose. I was trying out some new paper last night, and while this works I have to do some thinking about what media I want to use on this paper to achieve a more interesting effect.
Last are 2 drawings of 15 minute poses. I rather like the one on the left, and feel I could have used a bit more time with the one on the right. I have a feeling I was getting pretty tired by that time and it shows in the resulting drawing.
We have been having some lovely spring weather this week. The above photograph is of skunk cabbage which I made Monday in the Blue Hills Reservation. Skunk Cabbage is one of the earliest flowers that bloom in our woods. They aren't very impressive looking I know, but after this winter I will take any signs of spring that I can find.
One last image, yesterday I was over to Daniel Webster (MA Audubon sanctuary) for the first time this year. It was a beautiful day and I was rewarded with the sight of blue birds, a hawk, wood ducks, mallard ducks, a northern shoveler, and some blue wing teal.
The photo above is of a male blue wing teal.
That is it for today, per usual comments are always welcome.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Here it is the first week of April, so far our weather has been fairly kind to us, sunny day's with some overnight showers, and daytime temps in the 40's/50's. With the longer hours of daylight and sun I have been trying to get out and do more walking. I am not in very good shape after spending most of the past couple of months indoors so even the shortish walks I have been making leave me feeling a bit stiff the next day, esp in the knees.
I haven't yet made it over to Daniel Webster, with snow on the ground I didn't feel like wading through the paths over there but on Monday I did get over to Ames Nowell for a walk. Above is a sketch I made of one of the islands in the lake. Not wonderful, but at least it is something to get me started drawing outside again. Done with ink in my small sketchbook.
From over a week ago here are some sample drawings I made at a short pose session I attended that week. I am not thrilled with any of these drawings. I feel like I was having an off night. Oh well, that is why I attended the sessions, doesn't matter if I am on or off, just need to do the work. Anyway the above drawings were done in ink from 5 minute poses.
The two drawings above were made with pencil from 15 minute poses. Our model had pulled her back and was feeling some pain so to give her a bit of a break the poses were longer and not too stressful for her. Longer poses meant she didn't have to take as many.
Above is my long pose drawing from this past Monday night's session. It is OK, but I am not totally thrilled with it, I much prefer the last long pose drawing I made to this one. Ah well there is always next week.
As signs of spring I want to show two photographs I have made this week. Above are a couple of blooming crocus, the nights are still fairly cold so they may be a bit frost nipped.
Photographed on the same walk a couple of pussy willows growing along the lake shore. Still not a lot of other green but I did notice a few trees where their buds are swelling. YEAH, just hope we don't get any more snow this year, I have had quite enough of snow for this winter.
That is it for today. Not a lot of art, but I have been working on a stipple piece so may have that for my next update. In the meantime comments are always welcome.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Well according to the calendar Spring has arrived, but weather wise it has been a bit questionable, chilly with some snow. The good news is that the snow is melting, and since last week we have only had a few snow showers that didn't actually stick.
In the meantime I have actually been working on a couple of small works. Above is one of 2 bookmarks that are almost finished. The drawing part is done, just need to apply the clear contact paper and add the tassel.
I think wishful thinking inspired the one above of a fern plant growing out of some leaf litter. Both fern and ground are very stylized, but other than that I am quite pleased with it. Done on Stonehenge paper with ink and colored pencil. Even if the woods I have been checking out don't show any signs of new growth I can imagine how it will look in just a few weeks.
A couple of weeks ago I attended another short pose drawing session. These images are just a sample of what I drew that evening. The image above was done with pen and was a 2 or 3 minute pose.
The two images below were drawn with pencil and are longer poses, the one on the left was a 10 minute pose and the one on the right a 15 minute pose. It was great to have a male as our model. Though I missed this weeks long pose session where the man in these drawings was sitting for a long pose session, ah well hopefully I won't miss the next male long pose session. The men seem to bring more energy to their poses, certainly they are more challenging (for me) to draw, but still fun.
Above is the drawing from the long pose session I attended last week. For the most part I am happy with how it came out. I really do think the short pose sessions have helped to fine tune my drawings. It is hard to put a finger on exactly how they help, but that is my current story and I am sticking to it.
Last but not least I am posting 2 photographs. The one above was made in my local park about a week ago and shows another of our March snow storms. The one below made yesterday in another local park (Ames Nowell in Abington, MA) shows what a difference a week can make when it comes to snow cover. Since the first of April arrives next week I am crossing fingers that we have finally seen the last of the snow storms.
That is it for today, I want to take a moment to wish those who celebrate a Happy Easter or Passover. Per usual comments are welcome, I love hearing from my visitors so if you have the time leave me a note.
Thursday, March 14, 2013
I have been suffering from the blahs, I would say winter blahs though since it is March by the calender it is almost spring. Is there such a thing as the Spring Blahs? We had a very cloudy/snowy February and start of March. I am hoping that the weather will improve and we will start getting more sun so that these longer days of sunlight will chase my blahs away. Switching over to Daylight Savings time as we did this past weekend should help. The end result of my mood is that I haven't been doing a lot of drawing, so not much to post to the blog, hence the lack of blog updates.
Above is a colored pencil drawing that I actually started about a month ago and for many weeks was only working on it a bit here and there. I finally in the past week or so decided that I really needed to get it done and pushed myself to do the work.
This is another of my floral Fantasy pieces. I am calling this one Flagged. It is colored pencil on Stonehenge paper, and sort of goes with the last one I finished, it is approximately the same size 8.5 x 7.5 inches. I used a different flower this time around along with some other different shapes but to me the feel of the two works is similar.
I am also working on a smallish stipple piece but haven't much done on that one so far so will wait to post an image of it.
Even if I am not doing much other drawing I am still getting out to a weekly live model session. As catch up I am posting 2 weeks of drawings. The ones I am posting first are from 3 weeks ago. That week I attended the Tuesday night short pose session and found that we had a couple modeling for us. Because we had 2 figures the poses were longer than usual. These above done with pen were approximately 3 minutes long.
Above are a couple of pencil drawings of 10 minute poses.
This last pencil drawing was also a 10 minute pose. They did do one 15 minute pose for us, but I was not particularly pleased with that one so am not posting it. The challenge of couple poses is getting all the arms and legs not only drawn but looking like they belong to the right body.
So far this year I seem to alternating the weekly sessions, so last week I attended the Monday night long pose session with the above results. I rather like how this one turned out. Not sure if it is the pose or that attending the short pose sessions is helping my overall drawing skills. I do know that the months of long pose sessions have helped to improve the short pose drawings. I have a feeling that the two techniques feed off of each other, so it has been good for me to mix it up a bit.
One last image, or rather photograph, I know this looks like a photo made in the middle of January. It isn't, I actually made this image last Saturday after our latest snow storm. The snow had been correctly forecast but not the amount. Some how the experts didn't quite get this storm right and we ended up with more snow than expected. The storm actually lasted a couple of days, starting on Thursday morning and not really ending until late Friday night. However after the snow we had several days of warmish weather and then lots of rain so by today most of it is gone, got to love spring snow storms. The photograph was made at Houghton's Pond in the Blue Hills Reservation up in Milton. The couple in the distance was skiing.
That is it for today, no promises when I will managed the next update but in the meantime comments are welcome.