Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Sheep, a Figure and a Nature Journal

A friend saw my sheep sketch from a couple months ago and asked if she could acquire it. I replied that the sketch in question was just a sketch, not very large, not on good paper and that I would be happy to redraw the sheep for her, larger and on better paper. The above image is my finished sheep. I don't think I need to add that I am quite pleased with it. The sheep looks woolly as all good unshorn sheep should in late May, which is when my reference photograph was made

We are having very warm weather for November (60's), so last Friday I decided to take advantage of it and pay another visit to one of my sea side Parks. In this case I chose Ellisville Harbor State Park in Plymouth, MA. Below is my journal page from that visit.

Not much in the way of drawings. On my way down to the beach I noticed some bushes with leaves and seed pods on them. I picked a small branch from a bush and location where it should not show and proceeded to draw it. I wasn't thrilled with the first drawing (top) so changing my view slightly I drew it a second time.

I am fairly sure that the bush is a Japanese Andromeda. In the spring it will have waxy bell shaped flowers on a stalk. These are one of our earliest spring flowering shrubs, they will bloom even before the forsythia. I have of course no clue how these bushes got into the park. But the land was only fairly recently made a park so the bushes were probably planted by the former property owners.

Next two drawings are of 2 shells I picked up on the beach. The one on the left was so worn that all that is left is the white inner shell. The one on the right while a bit worn still has its brown striations. Both are sea snail shells. Since the tide was out during my visit I found several snail shells that were still occupied by their owners. Needless to say I did not bring those home.

Below is my figure drawing from last night:

Without the promptings of last weeks attendee last nights setting was far less complex. Well excepting for the fabric that is draped over the couch.

In a way it is not entirely fair of me to draw only with graphite. Scott changes the colors of the background fabrics from week to week and I can only suggest those changes by value differences. Last nights colors were a grayish blue with splashes of yellow orange. The piece of fabric by her right arm is black velvet.  It adds interest to the colored paintings that the other attending artists make. Without color I can only suggest that different fabrics are layered on the couch by using different values for each area. Anyway here is last nights effort, not too bad if I do say so myself. The model was pleased with it.

Below are a couple of photographs that I made last week at Ellisville Harbor.

The waves, wind and rain can do a number on the beaches and bluffs overlooking them. Tides have been high this year and between tides and rain the bluffs are being eroded. I am not sure how many more storms this tree will survive, the land under it has already been mostly worn away. I doubt this tree will be there come spring. Beyond it you can see the beach with its exposed rocks since the tide was almost at its lowest.

Above is another beach view, this section of the beach has more sand, and you can tell the visiting dog was enjoying his dip in the ocean. I have to wonder if the owners have to rinse it off when they get home. The land in the distance is Cape Cod.

That is it for today. Per usual non-spam comments are welcome.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday Alternatives

It is the day after Thanksgiving here in the USA, a day known as Black Friday. Because today is the day that retailers hope to start making their profits for the year off of all the Christmas shoppers who flock to the stores for the Black Friday deals. I am not one of the shoppers. I in fact am going to head out to one of the State Parks a bit later hoping to spend some time with my camera and Journal.

I drew the above glass yesterday while I was celebrating Thanksgiving with friends. A glass of wine (or two) with good food and friends is an enjoyable way to spend a day, esp. a holliday. Course I did overeat a bit (and now probably shouldn't eat for a week) but otherwise had a great day.

Above are some sketches I also made yesterday, not really portraits of my friends (not accurate enough) but as quick gesture type drawings they aren't bad.

Below is my Nature Journal Pages from last Monday's visit to Daniel Webster.

Monday was more seasonable weather wise then it has been (cooler), and it was the first time that I didn't see any turtles out sunning themselves on either rocks or the logs in the pond. I have a feeling they are gone now until next spring, having buried themselves into the pond mud to spend the winter sleeping.

Sketches are a bit strange today, I didn't draw the tree stump as I didn't think there was any change in water level between my visits.  Instead the top drawing is of some dried leaves and fruit/berries I found attached to a broken off branch. Not sure of the species I think a form of Cherry.

The bottom drawing is of a sight I saw on one of the wooden walkways. A dead mouse next to some droppings that some largish animal left. Probably not a dog, visitors are not allowed to bring dogs into the sanctuary. Besides it didn't look like dog droppings, and I have seen lots of those over the years. Maybe a deer or a fox left it, though I didn't see either on Monday.

I have never actually seen a dead animal before on my visits to any of sanctuaries (well dead seagulls down on the Cape, and the remains of a squirrel hanging in a tree) so find it very strange that I saw this one. How did this dead mouse get there? I would think that any predator who had killed it wouldn't have just left it for me to find. I didn't pick it up to examine it, but I didn't see any blood. So did it just die on the walkway or did it get dropped and left by an owl, hawk or fox? Obviously I will never know, and while I know it is a bit strange for me to have used it as a drawing subject, it was so out of the ordinary that I just couldn't ignore it. My journal is to document nature, and sometimes nature isn't very nice.

Below a couple of photos from my visit.

Above is a view through the leafless trees of one of the raised walkways at Daniel Webster. In one area there is an extensive stand of European White Birch and this is a photo of part of that area. Since the ground underneath the walkway can get very damp and sometimes be covered with pools of water they wisely decided to install the raised walkways. It keeps the ground from being turned to mud, and also keeps the visitors on the paths, safer for the animals/birds, esp. in the spring.

This photo was made from the parking area at Daniel Webster. You can see a largish flock of Canada Geese feeding on the grass, and part of the fence that circles the area. That large shadow toward the center of the photo is from a vehicle barn/shed they have on the property. There is a small group of structures in that area, probably left from when this land was a working farm.

Enough for today, per usual comments are always appreciated.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

EDM #24 with Journal Pages and a Figure

When I am not quite sure what to draw or need a quick drawing because I have been busy with other projects that aren't quite ready to be shown I fall back on the Every Day Matters list of Challenge's. It has gotten to be quite long so I can go through it and select something that I feel in the mood to draw with little difficulty. The other day I selected #24 Draw a piece of fruit. I happen to have an apple on hand so it became my subject.

Not too bad for something done fairly quickly. Still it was a bit of a challenge to suggest the striations on the apple along with the shadows. That white oval is the store sticker identifying the apple type, bar-code and source.

Below is another Nature Journal Page, this one from a visit to Borderland State Park last Friday.

I expect these will be my last leaf images until next spring. Well I may do some evergreen leaves but there aren't that many evergreen plants in my local woods so there won't be many.

I am not sure what the top leaf is, there were several trees that it could be, but in the end I couldn't make a positive identification so I will leave it as a mystery for now and hopefully next spring I will be able to figure it out.

The middle leaf is from a Norway Maple. The leaves turn yellow in the fall and can hang on a bit later than the Sugar Maples do. It does look a lot like a Sugar Maple leaf, but there are some differences that make it possible to identify the species. The Norway Maple is not native to the US so trees found in the woods are volunteers from plantings around homes.

The bottom sketch is of a small dog I photographed while on my walk. I have sketched in just the hint of feet and pants of the owner in the background. The dog was wearing some sort of sweater as the day was a bit chilly. I expect I will be including a lot more people and dog images in the Journal, it is that or just landscapes as winter sends wild animals away or into hibernation.

Below is my figure drawing from last night.

Does the setting for the model look different? It certainly ought to. Last night one of the women who sometimes models for us came to draw and she asked Scott if we couldn't have a more complex setting, so they set up a still life to act as a background for the model.

Yikes, I admit that all the visual distraction gave me a bit of a problem early on, esp getting the angle of the body/head correct in relationship to the cart and other materials in the center of the image. In the end I did leave things out and others I only hinted at. Otherwise the result is more successful then I expected at the first break.

The lighting source is also different, usually it is from a low source and last night it was shinning down on her. A lot is very sketchily done, but I think there is just enough detail to give the viewer something to look at.

Below are a couple of photographs from my visit to Borderland.

A leaf falling onto the surface of one of the ponds. I am not sure I have the crop right. I did play with it a bit before selecting this image. I wanted some context for the leaf, not just leaf and water. A narrower crop just didn't feel right.

This is just a photograph of the path I was walking. Totally covered with fallen leaves, and showing the shadows of the tree trunks on the path. But this view won't last, people walking will break up the leaves, the wind and rain will move them off the path, so this photo has like many captured just a moment in time.

That is it for today. Hope you enjoy reading my blog, and per usual comments are always appreciated.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Some Pencil Play

Sometimes I like to take my sketchbook, start drawing a doodle (more or less) and see what happens. Usually they don't go anywhere but sometimes I develop them into something that I like and want to explore further. The above pencil drawing is one of those. Using tracing paper I transferred the major shapes to a piece of cream Stonehenge paper. The images felt like they should be in browns so pulling almost all of my brown colored pencils out of their slots I worked on the drawing. I added a couple of blue greens and yellows to the mix to add variety to the colors.

Below is the resulting drawing.

I rather like it, though I am finding myself thinking about what could be added or changed. What I really like is the color combination of the browns with the sort of turquoise blues. In reality I am not going to add more background, I think it would only be distracting to the already complex shapes. It doesn't have a name just yet so if anyone has any suggestions please leave a comment.

Below are my Nature Journal pages from Monday's visit to Daniel Webster.

The top drawing is my usual tree stump, I think it may have shifted a bit more in the water. The water level seems to have gone down a bit from last week, but the way this stump is shifting around it is a bit hard to tell.  Anyway it is still my best indicator of water levels so I will continue to draw it.

This week there were four turtles hauled out on the trunk enjoying the sun. Each week when I arrive at the viewing blind I am wondering if this will be the week that I no longer see them, but each week, so far, they are still out and about. I have to wonder just how much longer they can stay active.

The center section is of some tansy flowers and leaf. Because of our warm weather and lack of a really hard frost (despite snow on a couple of occasions) the tansy is still blooming at Daniel Webster. I didn't draw the leaf very well, but the flower heads are rendered fairly accurately.

The last drawing is of a robin sitting in some sort of cherry tree that still has a lot of berries. Actually there were 4 robins in this tree, all dining on the fruit. They let me get fairly close with the camera before flying off. I am sure that as soon as I left the area they all came back to resume their interrupted meal. I expect the tree will be picked clean on my next visit.

Below are a couple of photographs from my visit to the Sanctuary.

A view of one of the bends in the river with the edge of a stand of Red Maples. It was a beautiful day Monday, though really too warm for this time of year, but I will take what I can get. You can see that these trees have totally lost their leaves so at least the next snow fall shouldn't take down any trees.

I photographed this dragonfly on the railing of one of the bridges that span the river. I didn't really expect to see it but there is it. This week I didn't hear any crickets in the sanctuary. I had been hearing them in the grasses near the river but this week they were silent.

That is it for today. Comments are always appreciated.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Lamp, a Journal, and a Figure

I should have been working on my sparrows, but instead I decided to do a quick sketch. From the Every Day Matters challenge list I selected #2 Draw a Lamp, desk or other. My lamp is other. It actually sits on the back of a chair, I don't have the scale of the chair vs lamp correct, the lamp isn't that large compared to the chair, but you get the idea anyway. This is a very useful lamp for when I am sitting in the chair and need extra light.

Saturday was another beautiful fall day, so I decided to visit Massasoit State Park. Below is the journal page from that visit.

Not very exciting I fear. The top drawing is of part of a branch of a sweetfern bush. These are low shrubs that spread not only by seed but by suckers from the parent plants. The leaves do look a bit like fern fronts. To me they remind me of rick rack. The plant has a pleasant fragrance when the leaves are crushed, and it is native to these New England woods. It tends to grow in disturbed or rocky soil and by roadsides.

The bottom drawing is of the fruit/berries/rose-hips of the mutiflora rose. This is the small many blossomed white rose that has invaded so much of our habitat. Not native to the U.S.it can now be found in many shore or woodland areas. The berries are small and not as large as the fruit of the rosa rugosa, but they do look pretty in this late fall landscape.

Below is my figure drawing from last night.

Actually I am fairly pleased with this one from last night. Not totally happy with her face, but I have her lying in/on the couch not floating over it. I do unfortunately have drawings where the model seems to be floating on top of the couch. Not the effect I am looking for at all needless to say. For some reason it isn't always easy to convey the visual information necessary to show fabric in front of the body. After doing this for a year and a half (approx.) I think I am beginning to learn how to convey that information. That said, please understand that I am still learning and each weeks pose presents its own challenges. At least I am much more comfortable drawing the human form.

Below is a photograph from my visit to Massasoit.

American Beech and Oaks are the last trees in my local woods to turn colors and drop their leaves in the fall. The above photo is of a small Beech tree surrounded by sapling oaks. It is being lit by an afternoon sun. I love this combination of colors, the gold/yellow of the beech contrasting with the rich red browns of the oaks. The green in the background belongs to the White Pines so often found mixed in with these trees.

That is it for today. Per usual comments are welcome.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

November 12th Update

I should have done this update yesterday, 11-11-11, such a cool date, and it's like won't be repeated again for a very long time (100 years). I certainly won't be around to see it. But I needed to finish a couple of drawings before doing this update so I had to delay it. Still 11-12-11 is sort of a cool date but not quite the same. Oh well, I am not going to beat myself up over the delay.

Above is a sketch I did based on the Every Day Matters list. The drawing of a peanut butter jar is my take on challenge #7 - Draw a bottle, jar or tin from the kitchen. I love peanut butter and so far at least I am lucky enough to not be among those who are allergic to peanuts. With luck I never will be, though one of my Aunts did develop a peanut allergy late in life so you never know.

Anyway my drawing was done with graphite in the sketchbook I have set aside for this project. I am not being very consistent about getting these done, too many other projects, but they make a nice filler for when I am at a bit of loose ends.

Below is an update on my sparrow drawing.

I actually did most of the work on this several days ago, but today I spent some time refining outlines to have a bit more accuracy. Eyes and feet needed slight re-positioning. I will let it sit for at least another day then I will check details against my reference photographs once more before starting the tricky part, inking in the birds.

Sorry the image is so light, but I am using a 2H lead for the outlines so I can erase them later when I finish inking the images.

Below is another Nature Journal Page.

Wednesday I drove south and visited another MA Audubon site.  Allens Pond in Dartmouth, MA is another coastal sanctuary, within the boundaries of the sanctuary is an ocean front beach, an estuary, a fresh water pond and some wooded areas.

I started my visit to this property by walking the beach and doing a bit of beach combing. Picked up a few shells, made a few pictures. The only bird in sight was a lone sea gull that eventually got a bit nervous about my photographing it and flew off. The tide was coming in so it wasn't a good time for shore birds. I then spent over an hour walking the more inland paths out to and around a fresh water pond. I heard more birds than I saw, but that is fairly typical.

Drawings for this visit are top, a couple of views of a honeysuckle vine that I think is a bit confused about the season. This vine had both berries and flowers. The drawing shows a section of vine with flowers, and another section that still had leaves but also berries.

The bottom drawings are of a couple broken shells that I picked up on the beach. One is the the inside of a Moon Snail Shell (the darker one to the left), and the other is a slipper shell that has lost the top of the slipper. The beach at Allens Pond had a lot of slipper shells and just about nothing else. Interesting how different beaches have different types of shells.

Last I will leave you with a couple of photographs I made Wednesday afternoon:

A view of the beach at Allens Pond, as you can see this is a very rocky beach. A more sandy beach which is used by the town is just beyond that rocky outcrop with the shrubs.

This photo shows the path that leads the visitor out toward the fresh water pond. The boards are because the path was very wet in spots and walking on the boards at least keeps the path from turning to mud. Notice the stone walls lining the path. I see a lot of stone walls on my walks but the person who built the ones down here was an expert. Many of the rocks he used were cut/dressed and the walls are higher than I a usually see them.

That is it for today. Per usual comments are welcome.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Green Dragonflies in a mythical world

 I was just playing around with my green colored pencils the other night and the above drawing is the result. Nothing wonderful, but I sort of like the dragonfly which is based on one of the photographs I made this summer. The weird plant is totally my imagination. I used only various green pencils with the addition of white and some Indigo blue.

Below is my Nature Journal page from my visit to Daniel Webster Sanctuary yesterday:

I found plenty to write about yesterday but coming up with what I wanted to draw was a bit more tricky. I really need a better lens for the camera.

There was a lot of wild life to be seen yesterday. At the birdfeeders by the entrance I saw squirrels, a chipmunk, cardinals (male and female), titmice, chickadees, redwing blackbirds, grackles (I think), house finch, a junco, blue Jays, turtle doves, downy woodpeckers and a Hairy (which is larger then the downy), and I am sure there were a few sparrows in the mix. Now that the weather is turning colder the feeders are becoming more active.

Out in the woods I also heard then saw a woodpecker, but can't tell you if it was a downy or a Hairy, it can be tricky to tell size with field glasses and I had to use them to see the bird. At the pond there were a lot of Canada Geese when I arrived, by the time I left to continue my walk they had all flown off to feed in the fields, leaving only a few mallard ducks. I did see a Hawk fly over the pond, and a couple of chickadees. On my trip round to the northern blind I saw a doe feeding in the same field with the geese. From the northern blind I noticed lots of turtles sunning themselves on logs, and a gray duck feeding out on the pond. I believe this was an American Coot. It was smaller than the mallards and would actually dive under water, instead of just tipping over to feed.

Drawings are of the tree stump in the pond, note the water level is lower than last weeks, but I expected that we haven't had any rain for over a week. Not a bad thing, even with our cooler weather things will get a chance to dry out. Second drawing is of a crow that was sitting in a tree. I was able to approach the tree closely enough to get a photo I could use as a reference. Not always something I can do with the wild life at Daniel Webster.

Below is my figure drawing from last night.

I have drawn this model before. She is lovely and slender, but she gets very restless with her hands, esp. her right hand, which is why the right arm/hand has an unfinished look. It is unfinished, she kept shifting her pose with that hand, and I wasn't in the mood to erase and redraw the entire arm continually. End result is that I am not totally pleased with this drawing. Ah well, one week OK/good and the next week thumbs down seems to be my latest pattern. Lets see what happens next week.

Below are a couple of photographs from yesterday at Daniel Webster.

Not the best photo, but considering how late in the year it is I was totally surprised to be able to make this one at all. I saw at least 2 of these yellow butterflies yesterday, this one was feeding on a dandelion, which is why I had trouble photographing it.

Last image is of Canada Geese taking off from the pond. This was just about the last group to fly off, leaving only the ducks and turtles in possession. It became very quiet when they left, geese can be very noisy birds.

That is it for today. Per usual comments are welcome.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Catching Up with Nature Journals

I thought I would do an extra posting this week. The weather has been beautiful, sunny if a bit chilly, but not too bad with a warm coat so I have been out and about to various state/national parks.

On Wednesday I decided that I needed to do another trip down to the Cape before winter really sets in. My aim was to go a bit further down Cape and visit the Audubon Sanctuary in Wellfleet. I didn't actually make it that far and instead ended up at Cape Cod National Seashore in Eastham. I actually visited a couple of locations in the Park which is extensive. My first stop was Fort Hill in Eastham. This site doesn't have any barrier beach access and is mainly salt marsh and estuary with some hills and woods, and an old Sea Captains house. I walked several paths down to the waters edge then along the salt marsh for a ways. Going inland I visited the Captains house making photographs.

Highlights of my visit to Fort Hill was seeing a Hawk, who I interrupted at her meal and later at the Captains house a downy woodpecker that was attacking the barn/garage looking for a late lunch.

I then drove further down Cape and stopped at the Visitors Center for the Park in Eastham, then I traveled on to the Coast Guard House and down onto the beach. I walked the beach picking up only a few feathers and making photographs. The beach didn't have much in the way of shells, mostly clam or crab shells that were the remains of a seagulls meal.  The tide was on the way in, but I was lucky enough to arrive when it was still mostly out. I thoroughly enjoyed my walk, though walking on sand gets tiring.

My drawings aren't quite as exciting as my photographs (which I will post in my flickr account in a folder if you are interested). The top image is of a Bayberry branch with leaves and some berries. The berries boiled to render their wax are the source of the wax for bayberry candles. Next 2 drawings are of pine needles and a pine cone both belonging to a Pitch Pine tree, a common tree on the Cape. The last drawing is of an Oak leaf from a tree in the Long Pasture Sanctuary (I stopped there briefly before coming home) I think it is from a Swamp Oak, but oak leaves can be tricky to identify, acorns would be better, but there just aren't any this year.  The other drawing on the page is of a land snail shell that I picked up at Fort Hill. The shell itself is prettier then the drawing makes it, a pale translucent yellow with a brown stripe.

The page below is from a visit to Ames Nowell State Park, Abington, MA.

I visited this park on Thursday afternoon. It is probably the closest park to me distance wise so it is easiest for me to get to. On Thursday I walked in a different direction from what I have taken before and only have leaves to show for my efforts. The leaves are almost gone from the trees and I felt that I needed to document as many of them as I could before I have to wait until next spring.

The drawings are top: a leaf from a Witch Hazel tree/bush. I found all the leaves on the paths and they were all showing fall colors, mostly yellow or a yellow brown. The middle leaf is actually from an American Chestnut. I wouldn't call it a tree, because of the blight Chestnuts no longer grow to mature tree size in my region, but saplings still grow from the old trees root system and will survive until killed back by the blight. The one I found in Ames Nowell was about 15 feet high, but a long way from being a mature tree.

The bottom leaf is I think a Northern Red Oak. As I mentioned above Oak trees can be hard to identify, leaf shapes even on one tree can have a fair amount of variety, but I think I am correct with this one. A leaf that I previously drew thinking it a Northern Red Oak was probably either a Scarlet Oak or a Black Oak, but I may still have all these wrong.

My next page is from a visit yesterday to Borderland State Park, Easton, MA.

The most notable thing about yesterday's visit to Borderland was the number of dog walkers I saw. Not just on the main trails but also on the trails through the woods. I decided to try and explore a new trail to me so went off the main road/trails into the woods. The top image of a gentleman with his dog was made there.

I also saw a group of Mallard ducks on one of the ponds and walked the Marsh trail, which is aptly named. Despite the fact it  has been a week since our last storm the trails are still wet and soggy in spots. Not just in Borderland but also in Ames Nowell. I am thinking I really should get waders so I can keep my feet dry.

The lower sketch is of some seed pods. I don't know what plant they are from, without flowers it can be tricky to identify seed pods unless you can identify leaves. This plant didn't have any leaves left so I am left to wonder exactly what it is.

Below are a few photographs made on my Park visits.

Above is the hawk I saw at Fort Hill. I am not sure what she is, though I am fairly sure it is a she. Female raptors are larger then the males and she was a fairly large bird.

The above photo was made at Ames Nowell and is a view of Lake Cleveland showing what is left of the fall color.

I used part of the image above for my Borderland Nature Journal drawing. The dog had gone on one side of the tree and managed to wrap its leash around it, the man is doing some untangling. The yellow leaves are Beech trees putting on their fall show, and you can see one of the large rocks that the glaciers left scattered around the park lands to his left.

That is it for today. Hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my Journal. Per usual comments are appreciated.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Squirrels and other Animals

I don't usually post images elsewhere prior to posting them here on the blog, once I have done that I will then post the image around the various groups I am a member of (WetCanvas or Flickr). I made an exception with the above squirrel drawing. It was supposed to be the lead in drawing for last Tuesday's post, but I hadn't gotten around to drawing it yet. Oops, so Tuesday night I finally sat myself down and just drew it in one of my sketchbooks. Since I rather liked it I didn't want to wait to show it off, so my apologies if you have seen this image elsewhere.

The image is from a photo I made on my porch sometime this spring/summer. I do so much line work when I am using pen and ink that I wanted with this pencil drawing to keep lines to a minimum using only tone and shading to suggest them. So I used lots of short pencil strokes and layers to do the body and esp. the tail. I think I did a fairly good job, at least to me the tail actually looks fluffy, and there isn't a solid line between the tail and its back just different values to show they aren't attached. I did use lines around the ears. The far ear esp. was almost the same tone as the wooden boards and I didn't want it to get lost in the image.

I want my drawings to be realistic but not the hyper photo realistic that some artists go for. It can be a fine line, and I hope I am learning how to accomplish that.

Below are a couple more Nature Journal pages.

I am trying to get out and about while we still have fairly good weather. This past weekend has reminded us that winter is coming quickly. A time when it will be more difficult to get out and also when there is less to see in the natural world. Insects are dead or hibernating and so are many animals. Trees won't have leaves and there won't be any blooming flowers. I am already wondering what I will find for my subjects, but I will take it as it comes. Have a feeling I am going to start drawing even more birds and trees and maybe even just bark.

The pages above are from my visit to Blue Hills Reservation last Sunday afternoon after our snow storm. The Blue Hill area didn't receive much snow and most of it had melted by the time I arrived. Though I did make some pictures with snow in them. The above drawings are of two birds at one of the bird feeders, I am taking some license here usually only one bird is at the feeder at a time, though this scene would be possible. The birds are a chickadee (front hole) and a titmouse (rear hole) This particular type of feeder has no perches so the birds actually grab hold of the feeder holes. Means they don't stay very long and only small birds can use the feeders.

The bottom drawing is of a doe. The Trailside Museum has two does on exhibit. This week they were up and about so I made a few photos, this drawing is from one of them. I am leaving out the chain link fence of their enclosure, but otherwise hopefully have managed a fairly good drawing of the doe.

I can remember when the Museum used to have one stag to go with the does and they would have at least one fawn in the spring for the visitors to ooh and ah over. Such breeding is no longer considered acceptable practice so these does live a solitary existence.

The pages below are from my Monday visit to Daniel Webster.

I arrived fairly early at the sanctuary Monday (well early for me) and spent some time on the far side of the bird feeder area making photographs. Usually that area is over grown with grasses but because of Farm day a week or so ago it is still mowed fairly short. I still wasn't quite close enough for me to make good photos of the birds with my camera but I did capture the squirrel in the bottom drawing sitting on the fence post and surveying the feeder area. I made it look fat, but then I think it was, the squirrels are quick to collect seeds the birds drop, and one or two of them have figured out how to gain access to the feeders despite squirrel guards.

The top drawing is of the tree stump in the Pond. The water level Monday was the highest I have seen. The stump has actually changed its position so the level may have been even higher over the weekend. I keep drawing this stump because it is a good indicator of just how high or low the water level is. This week there were no turtles sunning themselves on this stump, though I did see three at the other end of the pond when I visited that blind. Usually this is a favorite spot for them, I have seen as many as six turtles at one time sunning themselves.

The middle drawing is of a section of a Green Brier vine. Most of the leaves had gone except for the single small one out at the tip. This particular bit of vine also had a small cluster of black berries still remaining. Winter food for some bird or animal I am sure.

Below are a couple of photographs from my visits.

The above flower was still blooming in the wild flower garden at Trailside. The white in the background is snow.

Not sure of the name of this river that runs through Daniel Webster, it creates an Ox bow on the land and the Sanctuary has a couple of bridges so a visitor can cross the river and walk through a stand of mostly red maples. This photo was made from one of the bridges. Not much color left here, the trees are almost bare, ready for winter and the next snow storm.

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

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

All Saints Day, Snow and some Images

November 1st is All Saints Day, it is also the first day of the Festival of the Day of the Dead. Did you know that you can search on a date and find a listing in Wikipedia that will give you notable events, Births, Deaths for that day? Sometimes it is useful to be able to find such information but otherwise I imagine you could get overloaded with that amount of trivia.

I don't have a new drawing for today, and haven't managed to get any further with my bird. Well I am thinking about adding a second bird and have printed some reference photos but that is about it.

The above photo was made Sunday afternoon at the Blue Hills Reservation. While much of the East Coast and even Central and Western MA got buried in snow Saturday night we here on the south shore only received a couple of inches. It is mostly gone now, though there is some left in shaded areas. The poor central portion of MA is still dealing with it and the aftermath of down trees and downed power lines. They certainly have not had a good year weather wise. Tornado's, Hurricanes, floods and now snow, have all caused major damage to that region of the State. I am thankful to be living in a quieter portion.

I do have a couple of Nature Journal pages to share:

The above page was done last Tuesday on a visit to Massasoit State Park in East Taunton. First image is another maple leaf. This one I believe is from a Sugar Maple. The tree might be a Norway maple (the leaves look similar) but Norway's leaves turn yellow in the fall and this one was more red/orange which is typical of a Sugar Maple. It was a young tree so I couldn't go by the bark.

Next images are related to the ornamental Cherry trees that are planted by the road at the edge of Lake Rico. These poor trees have gotten confused as to the time of year and actually have some blossoms on them along with their fall berries. So I drew both the berries and the flowers. So strange to see an almost leafless tree with small bits of green and white scattered through the branches

The next page is from a visit to Borderland State Park, Easton, MA., October 28th.

The ferns are beginning to turn first yellow then brown. The top drawing is of a fern frond that had turned brown, curling up into just these bits before they crumble back into the soil. Not sure why it attracted my attention, but it did and I thought it would make for an interesting sketch.

The next image is of an Ash leaf. I am not sure the variety of ash as I found the yellowed leaf on one of the paths and wasn't able to identify the tree it came from. Without knowing what the bark looks like it is a bit hard to truly identify the tree.

Last image is of 2 mallard ducks on one of the ponds feeding on something at the bottom of the pond. I call this sketch Bottoms Up as that is all you can see of the 2 birds. Drawn from one of my photographs. I saw more ducks visiting the ponds this past week then I have on other visits.

Below is my figure drawing from last night.

We didn't have a large turn out. One regular was probably hanging or prepping to hang his pictures for a solo show that starts Friday at a local Art Association Gallery in Scituate, MA. Everyone else was probably handing out candy. I don't get trick or treaters so had no reason to stay at home. I was much happier being out and drawing.

I am much happier with this weeks efforts. Not sure about the feet, but that isn't unusual, otherwise I am fairly pleased.

Next a couple of photos from my Park visits.

Above is the photo I used as reference for the drawing on my Massasoit State Park visit pages. The only hint that this isn't a spring photo is the reddish brown blur in the background from some of the fall foliage. Otherwise you are going to have to take my work for it that I really did make this photo last week.

A spillway at Borderland State park leading from one of the upper ponds to the lower ones. We have had so much rain that water is spilling over the entire length of the spillway. When I first visited the park only a little water was flowing over one end. You can see that there isn't a lot of color, mostly brown. Weather has finally turned cold, but too late for this fall.

That is it for today. Lots of photos and only a few drawings. Hopefully the next post will have more drawings, in the meantime comments are welcome.