Thursday, October 8, 2015

More Inktober and a sketch

So far so good with my drawings for #inktober. Without quite intending it I seem to have a series going. It seems to be a series in 2 different ways, first; all of the main drawings are of plant materials of some sort, nuts, fruit, and leaves. Second I have continued drawing my little helper as the actual executor of these drawings.

All those hours of life drawing from models is coming in handy. I won't say that my figure looks really lifelike, but I think I am getting most of the proportions correct, and the poses mostly realistic. I am not quite sure I can come up with 31 different poses though, so that will be just another of my challenges for this month.

I don't know why I keep using vertical text where the letters are kept vertical, doing it that way throws the spacing between letters off and really isn't very attractive. But once I start inking there really isn't any going back so Apple above is vertical/vertical. Still if frames the apple so in a way it works.

Above are the leaves and some of the seeds of the Lindon tree. They have pretty yellow/green flowers in spring and this odd shaped leaf that both the flowers and the seeds grow from. I am sure there is a more technically correct term for this, but I am not in the mood to go chasing it.

The other change I made for this drawing was to make the plant material a different ink color. In the WetCanvas pen and ink forum another participant in Inktober was doing his drawings with brown ink, and I rather liked the look of it. Since I have 3 different bottles of brown ink I thought it might be fun to add a different color to the mix. Since I am continuing to draw my helper in black ink, it makes for a interesting contrast, which I rather like. So starting with this drawing the central drawing is done with different shades of brown ink. The one above was Daler Rowney FW Acrylic ink, Sepia.

I was in Boston on the 6th, visiting the MFA and then walking along the Fenway and picking up more nuts, mostly acorns but also some sort of a Hickory nut. The Hickory isn't the shag bark that I am familiar with but there are several other species of Hickory that can grow in the northeast and the nut I am finding is from one of those. One day I will actually pin it down. In the meantime I picked up this oak leaf and thought to use it as my subject for the the 6th.

The ink for the oak leaf was another Daler Rowney FW acrylic, Antelope brown.

The above is a graphite sketch I made of a fellow bus passenger while on route to Boston. I have played with it in Photoshop to darken the graphite which was otherwise a bit light, no other changes though. 

We had beautiful blue sky's on Tuesday, the day I went into Boston. This is a photo of the Fens, a bit more water in them since last weeks rain storms. Trees are just starting to hint and the fall change. We had the warmest Sept. on record last month and I think it has delayed the fall colors.

Above is the fountain in Copley Square. The last time I was in the Square in Sept. they were working on the fountain and it was dry. I wasn't happy because I was trying to get a good photograph in Copley for the 2016 Boston calendar I was working on. Course I was there at the wrong time of day also, This week I was there in the afternoon, which is the best time to photograph the square and the church, esp. on a sunny day. I expect they will be draining it again soon so I made this photo while I had the chance.

That is it for today, I do have a drawing for the 7th but am saving it for my next update. Per usual comments are welcome.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Starting Inktober 2015

Well, it isn't the best drawing I have ever done, but I did it without any preliminary work, so I don't think it is too bad. I had totally forgotten about the Inktober Challenge until I saw a posting on facebook which reminded me. It was still early enough in the day that I could take the time to make the above drawing.

If you are interested you can go HERE to read about Jake Parker and the Inktober challenge. It is still fairly early in the month so if you want to join/start there is still time. Most people post to facebook, or flickr or wherever, if you do a search on #inktober you should pull a lot of images.

Not quite sure where the idea for this came from, but I am finding it a lot of fun to continue with the theme of a small helper making my drawings for me. Just the kind of thing I need to ease me back into some more serious works.

For the first drawing my helper was just doing letters, reminding me of the Inktober challenge, for this second drawing it pulled out a couple of acorns and drew them. The drawing shows it caught in the act of shading the nuts. Well that is the story I am telling myself anyway.

For this drawing I first did a pencil drawing and added the ink afterwards. The result is a much more polished drawing and I am much happier with it. All of these challenge drawings are being done in one of my smaller (5 x 8 inches) sketchbooks and I am using either my technical pens or my Copic Multiliner pens, mostly the .1 and .03 tips, or the 0 and 00 technical pens.

Above is my drawing for the 3rd, this time I started with a White Pine pine cone, and my little friend is viewing the results of it's efforts. I haven't decided if it is male or female which is why I am trying to be gender neutral.

Again I made a pencil under drawing for this one and then did the inking.

We have had clouds and rain most of this past week so I haven't been out with the camera since last weekend. This photograph is from last Sunday's visit to Daniel Webster, I think the plant is Wild Lettuce but I may be wrong, all of my plant ID books are still packed away so am guessing. It is a tallish dandelion looking flower. I just liked the image of the sun lit seed head.

That is it for today, hopefully I will be continuing with my Inktober drawings so should be updating the blog again soon.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

It is Fall, new Sketches mostly ink

It is fall, the autumn equinox has come and gone. We have had a full eclipse of the moon, which I mostly miss because I fell asleep, and only woke up when it was over and the moon was shining brightly again, oops. Ah well I have seen lunar eclipses before and hope to again in the future, just didn't see this one.

Still not a lot of drawing or other art work, except for continuing work on the curtain fabric for the living room, which I don't really count. But I have been doing a bit more sketching so today's update is all about those.

Above a pencil drawing of a candle in one of my glass candle holders which is sitting on a bookshelf. just practice since I am so rusty. Needless to say I can see lots wrong with it. Have to do more of this type of drawing to get back into the groove.

When I was last in Boston walking along the Fenway I picked up this half nut shell, the meat of the nut had been eaten, probably by squirrels, but I though the remaining shell looked interesting so I brought it home with me to sketch. I have no clue what the nut is, maybe Blackwalnut, though I don't think so. For some reason I tend to think this is some kind of European/English tree/nut that was planted along the Fenway. The whole nut reminds me of Hickory nuts, but much larger so that isn't what it is.

Drawn in one of my sketchbooks with either one of my technical pens or a Copic Fineliner.

On another walk in my local city park I collected a mushroom, some acorns and a white pine pine cone, more fodder for my pen. Above is the quick drawing I made of these articles. Again done in my sketchbook with my technical pens. I didn't bother to made much of an arrangement, maybe another time as I am collecting more objects. Can you tell I love found objects.

A page from one of my sketchbooks. Obviously I didn't pre-plan this page and there is no over all design to it. But I wanted to show it because of the seed pod that is featured. I picked this pod up in Boston on the same visit that I picked up the nut. I have no clue what species the tree it came from is, not one of our normal natives that is for sure and I don't recall ever seeing this type of pod before. It was planted in the yard of one of Northeastern University buildings so could be from just about anywhere in the world.

The pods are a bit fragile, I picked up two but only one remained whole, So the drawing of the open pod with seed is from the one that broke apart. I should have collected a leaf, but was on my way home and thinking more about that then identifying the tree at some point. I did make a photograph of pods hanging from the tree and will post that, if anyone knows what it it please leave me a comment, thanks.

Mystery tree with seed pods,

And finally my final image, made last week during a walk in my local park. The trees are just hinting at the fall color change, with a few, here and there, showing more color, but this bush obviously knows the season. Just liked the colors here, red, blue and green.

That is it for today, per usual comments are welcome.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Some Pen and Ink and other Updates

Oops, been way too long since I managed a blog update. Mostly because a problem with my Apt. required that I pretty much pack it up and store stuff while the problem was being dealt with. Heat has also been an issue as I just don't feel very creative when I am hot. That said things are mostly settled, thank heavens, and I am slowly starting to put the Apt. and my life back together. Still for the moment my art supplies have been reduced to a couple of sketchbooks and my technical pens and pencils so the type of work I can do is limited, graphite or pen and ink.

All of today's images are pen and ink aren't really much more than doodles, but still a way for me to keep my hand in, and some of them are kind of fun. Above a stylized moon with some funky stars and I think galaxies, hey if I say that is what I intended you will just have to take my word for it. Drawn with pen in one of my small sketchbooks.

Another pen work, this time an imaginary still life, Not sure what that image in the background is, but I had fun drawing it.

I have been photographing Hydrangea's, the flowers can be white, blue, pink and sometimes a purple color depending on the soil conditions they are growing in. This little sketch isn't from life, but from my imagination even if based (more or less) on real flowers. Drawn with a .03 Copic Multiliner in one of my sketchbooks.

The upheaval in my Apt. caused me to toss the curtains in my living room. It was time, they were old and some of them had sun rot and were splitting. Trying to keep the cost of the replacement curtains down I purchased some inexpensive flat sheets from Walmart, They are a cotton/poly blend and knit not woven. The fabric is not very nice and I would hate to have to use them on my bed, but for curtains they will work, however the plain cream color just was too bland for me to want to go with it.

Hey I am an artist and something of a fiber artist though I haven't been doing much with fiber these past few years. Still I had/have supplies (just had to dig them out of storage) so the above photo shows an in-progress image of what I am doing to the sheets to liven them up. I am stenciling leaves to the cream background using Shiva Oil Paint sticks and some leaf templates I had picked up at a quilt show years ago and never really used. I am using several colors of green paint, along with several gold/yellow/red iridescent paint colors

Needless to say this is turning out to be a larger project than I initially planned. It is taking longer to stencil the leaves than I expected and is a lot more work. I have four windows that I have to re-curtain, and at my current rate it will probably be sometime next year before I am done. I will try to remember to post an image of a finished set so you can have an idea of how the project came out.

Last week I finally managed a trip into Boston, the main purpose was to make some photographs in Copley Square for the 2016 Calendar that I am working on but I also added in a quick visit to the MFA, with a side trip to Dick Blicks for more paint sticks. I am working on 3 calendars for 2016, flowers, butterflies and a seasonal year of Boston images. More about these in further posts.

From my visit to the MFA, above are three photographs of artwork from a new exhibit called Pastoral to Pop, 20th Century Britain on Paper. As you can see the exhibit is very eclectic from abstracted to realistic, buildings to figure. I take every chance I can get to view works on paper, for many years a neglected part of world of art but one which I find compelling. Some of these works I found very compelling, others not so much. Since it will be up until next Feb. I expect to visit it a few more times and to be able to really examine some of the works more closely.

Sorry for the poor quality of the photo's but the gallery has low light and I can't use flash so.., also the works were sometimes hung over each other putting them above my line of sight, making a head on photo shot a bit tricky (hence the cut off top of the figure drawing)

Last image today is a photograph of a sunflower that I made last week. It is growing in a neighbors front yard. Actually a lot of my neighbors grow sunflowers, which I appreciate since I love to photograph them. Yellow, brown, green and blue wonderful colors that go well together.

That is it for today, hopefully it won't be so long before my next update. Hope everyone had a good summer and is looking forward to a splendid fall. Per usual comments are welcome and appreciated even if I don't always respond.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Pen and Ink from Life, more studies

Haven't managed to do another of the WetCanvas monthly challenge images yet, but I have been doing some pen drawings while out and about on my walks. After that statement I am sure you are now wondering what kind of walk has a wine bottle, a piece of broccoli and a slice of cucumber, none actually. I was visiting a friend for a monthly book club meeting and we had wine and a veggie platter with dip. To keep my hands occupied while things other than books were discussed I drew the wine bottle and a couple of the veggies with my copic .03 pen. I didn't want to actually draw the platter so just drew one piece of broccoli, and one cucumber slice. Obviously this was not a real arraignment and to be honest I even took a bit of liberty with the bottle.

Still not totally displeased with how this came out. Drawn in one of my small sketchbooks directly with pen, no pencil involved.

Drawn in my local city park, duck, a couple of geese, another park visitor, and a segment of distant shoreline. These drawings are more impressions than detailed studies. But hopefully doing them will help me keep my hand in, and even help me to improve at doing this type of drawing.

Another of my park drawings, a visitor with child feeding the ducks, it is a bit sketchy but I am not totally unhappy with it.

This started out as a cloud study, There were large cumulus clouds in the sky that evening looking pretty. Sometimes up for a challenge I decided to see if I could draw them with pen and ink. Just clouds didn't seem to be enough so I started drawing the skyline of the trees in the distance. Oops, not sure the woods are very successfully done, so I guess I should challenge myself to work on how to depict distant trees besides working on my techniques for clouds. I think part of the sky works, but some of it doesn't. That said I usually find there is always need for improvement in some aspect of my drawings.

Again all of these drawings were done in one of my small sketchbooks with either a copic pen or one of my technical pens.

Before I get to my photo postings, I wanted to comment on something that came up on an e-mail list I belong to. They question was why make art, and someone commented that they were really interested, not so much in the hows of someone making art, but the whys. In that case the art works are quilts, so there are a lot of techniques that can be used and usually those techniques are what is described by the makers on their blogs. All well and good according to this writer, but what she really wants to know is why the artist is making the particular quilt in the first place. For me that is a hard questions to answer not only about the quilts I have made but also generally about my drawings.

Obviously I don't discuss how I draw, there are plenty of how to draw books out there, and I feel that most of them aren't worth anything, drawing is a very personal occupation and every artist has to undertake the learning to draw part on their own using trial and error to learn what works for them.

But why do I draw what I draw? Hmm, that isn't any easy question for me to answer. I love animals so for me there is a challenge in learning how to draw them well, actually there is a personal challenge for me to draw anything well with a fairly high degree of accuracy. That said I am slowly learning and realizing that accuracy is not the be all/end all of a work of art, in fact when it comes right down to it accuracy can be the least important part, as long as there is enough for the subject to be recognized. Real works of art need something more, and to be honest I am fairly sure I am not there.

But I am having fun working on it so will continue to do so. Any thoughts on this subject would be of interest to me so feel free to comment.

I don't often post dragonfly photographs to the blog. I find them endlessly fascinating, but I know that others don't share my views. Still I really love this photo of a Window Skimmer Dragonfly that I made this past week at Borderland State Park in Easton, MA. And yes they do have white on their wings, that white isn't a reflection. Whether you find them as interesting as I do doesn't matter, you should still be grateful for Dragonflies, they eat mosquitoes.

Usually I post a landscape photo to go with a close up of a flower, or insect, or animal, but today I have another semi close up. This is a nuthatch, and it was looking for a handout of seeds, which I didn't have so it didn't spend too long in my vicinity. I was at Ipswich River MA Audubon in Topsfield, MA this past week which is where this photo was made. They feed the birds there, and have done so for so long that the birds (titmice, nuthatches,and chickadees) have gotten very tame and will actually fly to someone's hand to take seeds directly from them. The first time I visited Ipswich River I noticed that the chickadees seemed very tame, but I didn't actually see them feeding out of visitors hands until this visit. And no I didn't try, I wanted to make photos not feed the birds and there was no way I could do both.

That is it for today, per usual comments are welcome, oh I posted more Ipswich River photos on my Facebook Page, link at the bottom of the blog you don't have to belong to facebook to view.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

A Barn and some other landscapes

I have been trying to push myself to do more drawing. I worked hard to get my drawing skills up to a fairly high level and I really don't want to let them get too rusty. So the above pen and ink drawing done from one of the July reference photos in the Pen and Ink forum on WetCanvas. An old barn, drawn in one of my small notebooks, so it isn't very large, approx. 4 x 6 inches and it was drawn with my technical pens.

I see some mistakes, but am otherwise not displeased with this small drawing.

The above is actually a plein air landscape, drawn with pen and ink in one of my smaller notebooks while I was visiting my local park. Not wonderful, but not too bad either. Trees are supposed to be birch trees. I need to work on how to depict leaves on a tree without drawing each and every one what I did in this drawing isn't entirely satisfactory.

In the same park where I drew the landscape I also spent some time trying to draw the ducks and geese that live there from life. Very sketchy drawings as live animals tend to not hold still. The advantage of drawing ducks and geese is that I have done a fair amount of drawing them from references so have some basic understanding of how they should look, which helps, but I have some pages with some pretty weird looking sketches, where I wasn't very on the mark with the drawings.

Another park, this time a State Park in Abington, MA, and another landscape. Foreground is actually a huge rock which I was sitting on to make the drawing of the woods beyond. Should have spent a bit more time on this to get the values a bit more accurate, but it was getting late so I really didn't have the time.

People make fires at this spot even though the park is supposed to be closed after sunset, probably local teenagers who come to drink beer, no one would be able to see or hear them. The rock is off of a main trail along the edge of the lake so would be fairly easy to find even in the dark.

Two photographs today, the above was made in Boston during a recent visit and is the fountain in the Christian Science Plaza, in the summer the kids love to play in the fountain, which is allowed I have a feeling that by allowing them to play in the fountain they hope to keep them out of the reflecting pool behind. Beyond in the background is the dome of the Main CS church.

The above is a head shot of a bumble bee gathering nectar and pollen from a Milkweed flower. Even if you don't like bees I hope you like this photo, It isn't easy getting a good photo of a bee they move so much so quickly. I really like this one, and hope you do also.

That is it for today, per usual comments are appreciated. One last note I have been collecting so many butterfly photos that I though it was time I set up a separate page for them. I have just started working on it so don't have all the butterflies I have photographed posted yet but if you have a moment do take the time to check it out.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Pen and Ink, Still Life, flower, and doodle

I am working on a watercolor, a not very good one at the moment but it isn't finished yet so I haven't given up hope. In the meantime I actually managed to finish a couple of pen drawings. The top two are both from WetCanvas Pen and Ink forum June Challenge photographs.

The one above is a Hibiscus, done with my technical pens 1, 0 and 00 tips in my Bee sketchbook. I have to say I really love the Bee paper, it is heavier with perhaps less tooth, and I don't think the paper is as soft as the Stratchmore sketchbooks I have been using. I like the way ink lays down on it.

I did make a pencil outline under drawing for this one. Flowers are just so complex that it is hard for me to draw them well without making some corrections, so I need to use pencil first.

The photo reference for this one was 3 oranges with a blue and white print cloth as a backdrop. I didn't really try to reproduce the print on the fabric though some of the lighter areas in the background represent the white print areas. I drew this directly in pen so the shape of the oranges isn't quite as round/accurate as it could have been. Still I am not displeased with how this came out. Again I used my technical pens for this, mainly the 1 and 0 tip.

The above is one of my pen exercises. This one was done in one of the Strathmore sketchbooks. Before ask I didn't really have anything in mind with this I just added design elements as I felt like it. no particular rhyme or reason for them.

We have been having a bit more rain the past couple of weeks, so not quite as much out and abouting for me, but I still manage most days to get in at least a mile walk if not more. I am trying to make those walks in State Parks or other nature areas, and I always take my camera along.

I have been visiting Borderland State Park quite a bit. It is the one area that I am pretty sure of seeing Dragonflies which are my most recent focus for photography, besides the flowers, birds and butterflies. Had a really fun day there last week when I spotted 2 frogs (different locations), a couple of butterflies, some new to me Dragonflies, and a blooming pitcher plant all on the same walk.

I hadn't even realized there were pitcher plants at Borderland so was thrilled to find one blooming. The day before I had been down on the cape visiting Wellfleet Bay MA Audubon, and had a fun outing there also, though the butterflies were mostly seen and not photographed. Did see some great birds including a Snowy Egret. If you are interested in seeing more photos from my outings they are on my Facebook Fan page, link at the bottom of the blog.

The photo above is one of the lakes/ponds at Borderland State Park. Visual interest is all about values, and this photograph has them. great shadows, fun reflections, to me this looks like a slightly overcast but otherwise perfect June day, which it was.

I may be chasing Dragonflies (actually I have been in the past also) but I am still after any butterfly that I can find. Above is a brownish Silver Sided Skipper. Usually the ones I have seen have a darker background color, more black than brown. Too bad this one didn't as it would have made a more dramatic photograph, black and white against the red flower. Oh well I take what I can get, and try to be happy. Silver Sided Skippers are known for nectaring at red flowers, and this late blooming azalea is certainly red. Photograph was made yesterday at the Trailside Museum in the Blue Hills, Milton, MA.

That is it for today, per usual comments are welcome.