Wednesday, May 30, 2012

More Pastel, Nature Journal and Figure

I tackled another pastel drawing the other day. This time the image is a couple of apple blossoms that I photographed earlier this spring. The paper is a darker blue Crason pastel paper.

I don't recall that the drawing was as dark as it appears above prior to my spraying it with fixative and, actually, the real drawing doesn't look as dark as the scan appears. Pastels do have to sprayed with fixative or you end up with just a smear instead of an image (I recall that from my previous experiences with pastel), but I suppose I could use Photoshop to lighten the scan. I don't like doing that but, in this case it may be necessary.  

I think I know what part of the problem is. I don't have either a good dark green or dark brown pastel and have been using black to darken those colors. I try to not use very much, but black is tricky and appears to scan darker, so I may have to manipulate the scan until I can purchased some darker greens and browns for my collection.

Above is my Nature Journal spread from Monday's visit to Daniel Webster. It was a beautiful spring day, and I enjoyed my walk. I was surprised at how few others were there at the same time I was, after all Monday was a holiday for many people here in the US. But then a lot of the retail stores were open so I supposed more people had to work than would have in years past and others were probably at family gatherings.

No new bird sightings, but I did startle a couple of deer, and saw evidence that Wildlife Sanctuaries are not peaceful places for all the inhabitants. The bottom image above is one of those pieces of evidence. I saw an empty eggshell on the path, by size I would guess it was a goose egg. The shell didn't look like it had been cracked open by an emerging chick, but opened from the outside by a hungry animal. I know there are foxes at Daniel Webster, so that is probably the most likely culprit. At another path location I saw a scattering of feathers. It looked like a Phoebe's, but I can't be totally sure. Probably the culprit there was one of the birds of prey that live around or in the sanctuary, hawk is most likely but it might have been an owl.

The top drawing is of another turkey, I know I drew one for my last visit, but I saw this one out on the paths which I don't normally do so wanted to document it. I have been seeing a lot of the Turkeys so far this year, not entirely sure why, perhaps there are just more of them.

Above is Monday nights figure drawing, and yes despite the holiday we still drew. She was wearing a sweater and a short skirt, so we had another semi clothed model. Not sure about that one foot and leg but other areas I am fairly pleased with.

Another butterfly photo for you today, above is an American Copper. I have photographed one of these before as they are fairly common in my area. But they are also quite small (about 1 1/2 inches) so it can be hard to get a good photograph, when I manage I like to show them off.

My treat Monday was to capture this photograph of a tree swallow. I normally see them catching bugs on the fly at the pond or over the fields. There they are impossible for me to photograph with my camera. Monday they seemed to be in mating mode, which makes them a bit distracted, and not so noticing of humans. I actually saw one pair mating on top of one of the bird houses they have scattered around the sanctuary. That was amazing to watch, though with birds there isn't a lot to see.

This bird had landed on the bridge just prior to my crossing over. I slowly approached making lots of photographs and finally managed to make this one. I was probably only 5 or 6 feet away, which is much closer than I can normally get to wild birds, unless I am on the other side of a glass window. Isn't he a hansom fellow, and I am quite sure it is a he, the females tend to be a bit duller on the back. But he wasn't really watching me or my approach so I have to wonder what he was paying attention to.

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

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Turkey, a Pastel and EDM's

The above drawing is an experiment for me. I received a box of pastels for Christmas in 2010, and have been hauling them with me to my Monday night figure drawing sessions meaning to bring them out and use them to try a different technique to draw the model. Then I end up hauling out my pencils and before I know it, it is the end of the session and time to go home with my not being any closer to using the pastels. I think the real reality is that I haven't quite had the courage to try.

Anyway I had this photo of the pine cones on the pitch pine that I made at Ellisville Harbor, and decided it was time for me to see if I could do something with the pastels. Not sure how I feel about this, not bad, but not wonderful. I think I need more practice. Oh the yellow/orange area above the pine cones is the tree putting out its spikes for next years cones, the color has scanned more orange than the actual drawing is. I have seen this problem before with colored pencils, must be something about the pigments used for yellow that make the scans not correct. A photograph might have been better, but I am feeling a bit lazy so this is what you get.

I do think I would have been happier with the results if I had used the smoother side of the paper. The paper is Cranson's Mi-Teintes paper, and has one side that is smoother than the other. Now I just have to look through my photos and see if I can find another subject, maybe one of my spring flower photos.

Above is my Nature Journal pages from my visit Monday to Daniel Webster. It was an overcast day with rain arriving later in the evening, but thankfully not while I was walking in the Sanctuary. It wasn't a good day for observations (too hazy), though I did see the Osprey sitting on its nest stand, the blue bird hunting, and the male Bobolinks courting. In fact I saw one male chasing another. I did not see the Catbirds this week, apparently they are back to being their normal shy selves.

Top drawing is of a Turkey (female I think) that was visiting the bird feeder area as I was leaving the sanctuary. She was looking for dropped seeds, and probably finding some, some of the birds who feed are very messy eaters. I can't convey in my drawing the sheen of her feathers which is quite lovely. They don't have very pretty heads or necks but the back feathers are gorgeous.

The bottom image is my usual tree stump in the pond. I draw it so often because it is a good way to indicate the ups and downs of the water level in the pond. This Monday the water level was back up, highest I have seen it for weeks and water even recovered rocks that had been sunning spots for the painted turtles. There were 5 turtles out on the this stump when I was making the photograph.

I am so behind with the Every Day in May Challenge. I have been pretty much drawing everyday, but some of the subjects in the Challenge weren't very doable for me on that particular day so.... I am behind.

Above are a couple of my catch up drawings that I made yesterday while I was out doing some laundry. Top is the "Store in my Neighborhood". Actually it isn't in my neighborhood at all, but it was next to place where I did my laundry so I used it. a complicated structure that was a bit of a challenge to draw. Not sure how well I did, esp with the window lines.

Bottom drawing is of 2 of the lights in the parking lot of the strip mall I was in. I thought about doing the street light outside of my apt, but I had time on my hands yesterday so drew these.

Two photographs from Monday's visit to Daniel Webster. What a difference a couple of weeks makes to the size of the Canada Geese young. These two are getting quite large and have totally lost the yellow fluff they were born with.

I actually saw 4 pairs of geese with young on Monday. Though each pair only had 2 goslings left out of their brood. I like this photo because the sitting one in the front seems to be talking to its nest mate. The adults were eyeing me, and a couple even hissed at me in warning as I walked by.

The above photo is a bit misleading as the flowers are only about a half inch long. This is Narrow Leaved Vetch, and is found among the grasses in the fields at Daniel Webster.

That is it for today. I need to work on another pen and ink sketch, but didn't get it done for today's Blog update. For my US readers I want to wish you a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day Weekend. Per usual comments are always welcome.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Nature Journal, Figure and Art Festival

Above is a Nature Journal spread from my visit last week to Ellisville Harbor, a MA State Park that is on the Ocean in Plymouth with a view of Cape Cod. The park has several ecosystems, shore, estuary, fresh water marsh, some pine woods, oak woods and even a meadow. It is wonderful birding habitat and I saw more varieties of birds on this one outing than I usually see. They have large areas of the beach fronting sand dunes screened off from the public as nesting habitat for endangered shore birds. They also have an occupied Osprey nest stand.

My top drawing shows one of those endangered birds walking along the shore looking for a meal. This is a Piping Plover in breeding plumage. I hope it and its mate successfully raise a brood of young this year. I didn't see any young birds just two adults.

The lower drawing is of a Pitch Pine with some of last years pine cones still clinging to the tree. These trees are fairly common in the sandy soil of southern MA heading down toward the Cape. They are also common trees on the Cape. This one was also putting out the flower heads for this falls pine cones.

Some of the other birds I saw on my visit were nesting Osprey, Laughing Gulls (they have black heads this time of year), a Heron, I think another Little Blue but it was a bit too far for me to get a good look, a Baltimore Oriole, Yellow Warbler, Catbird, Robin, Canada Geese, Common Yellow Throat, and a Hummingbird.

Above is my Monday night figure drawing, We had quite a crowd, and a model who held her pose wonderfully, so it was a good evening, The model was wearing a robe which always is a bit tricky for me to handle as the fabric never flows the same way twice after the first session, so I  have to  make decisions about how to treat it fairly early on. Hands per usual can get tricky also.

This next section is devoted to photographs I made at the Massasoit Community College's Fourth Art Festival which took place on Sunday May 20th. The top photo above shows the tent where the juried Professional show was held. They had a College Student show in the Art Gallery, and upstairs in the classrooms they had juried exhibits of works created by students from several local High Schools.  All the student exhibits showed work by some promising artists. I had two pieces accepted into the Juried show, but didn't win an award this year.

The rest of the photographs show the annual printing of a large linoleum block print. This year the theme was mythical animals. The combined blocks are printed with the use of the small "steam" roller, 2 prints on paper and 2 prints on fabric. This year they also used 2 colors for the print and I think it is really effective.

Above is one of the Fabric prints which they hung from a balcony so the ink could dry.

Below are a couple of photographs I made at Ellisville Harbor:

The little bird above is a Piping Plover. They are rather small birds, and can be easily disturbed off their nests which is why the protection is set up for them. The black ring around the neck is part of their breeding plumage.

Look to the lower right corner of the above photo and you will see the Hummingbird I saw. Since it was back lit I can't tell you if it was a male or a female. It actually sat on the branch for a fairly long time before it flew off to wherever.

That is it for today. I didn't have a lot of art for today, I have been working on another project, and the weather yesterday wasn't good (pouring rain) for my getting a photograph of my figure drawing, hence the delay in the blog update. Per usual comments are welcome. Hope all my visitors here in the States have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend planned.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Challenges and a Nature Journal Page

Above is another pen and ink challenge drawing done from one of the WetCanvas Pen and Ink forum's May photos. I took some liberties with the photo, leaving out a couple of flowers, and simplifying background designs in a couple of areas. This is stipple only work, which is why I didn't have it finished last week. Doesn't look like I will manage four photos this month, not at the rate I am going anyway. Just felt this photo needed this technique. Actually I am quite pleased with how it came out. Oh, for the purists out there I didn't use any pencil for the layout, only for the lines to create the border edges.

I am getting behind with the Every Day in May challenges and only have the one above to show. Part of my problem is the subject of the challenges, I need to get out and either draw plein air or make some photos so I can get caught up.

The subject above is a hot dog bun, New England style, which is what I prefer for my hot dogs. Not quite sure why, I don't think there is any less bread, but I can toast the sides and so heat the bun up, maybe that is the reason.

Above is a Nature Journal spread. This one is from my visit to Daniel Webster on Monday. Top drawing is the tree stump in the pond. Water levels were higher than they have been in weeks, which I wanted to document. I even saw standing water in some of the wooded areas, this is a good thing, we have had a very dry spring so the rain has been needed. There was nothing much to be seen on the pond, didn't see the wood ducks, didn't see the Canada Geese with young. There were Sandpipers feeding but with their coloring they are so hard to make out against the islands and the water. Also they were too far away for me to even try and make photographs. Oh I did see Phoebes and Tree Swallows. A Tree Swallow has a nest in one of the nest boxes next to the South Blind. While at the north blind I did see a frog in the pond and heard many more, so the frogs are awake and active.

The second drawing above shows 2 Cat birds sitting in a tree in one of the Red Maple groves. I think they have just arrived back at the sanctuary since I don't recall seeing them last week.

Above is the photograph I used as reference for my drawing. Catbirds are all over grey with slightly darker caps on their heads. Their call can sound almost like a cats meow, which is slightly funny to hear, and the reason why they are called Catbirds.

Above is a butterfly I was able to photograph on Monday, it is a Common Ringlet. I had to ask the experts at the butterfly web site I visit because I couldn't find it on my own. Not sure what it was after on the grass, maybe moisture or maybe it was just advertising for the opposite sex, whatever it stayed put long enough for me to make several good photos.

My last photograph for today is of some buttercups. For some reason buttercups are extremely tricky to photograph so that you can see details of the flower. I think it is because they are shinny and somewhat reflective. I don't want to think about how many times I have made photos of them only to discover the flower is just a reflective blur in my photos. These were in shade which helps. I love their sunny yellow color, they certainly brighten a green field this time of year.

That is it for today. Tomorrow I attend an Art Festival at the Community College I attended for a couple of years. Should have some photos for my next update. In the meantime comments are always welcome.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bluebirds, Butterflies and Every Day In May

Saturday we had a beautiful spring day, blue skies and a temp. in the mid 70's. I took advantage of having a day without rain or gloom to revisit Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary in Natick, MA. It is another of the MA Audubon sites and while I was there last fall I felt it was time for a return visit.

I had an excellent visit though I didn't make the walk down to the Charles River which borders the park on its eastern edge. I did however see several birds of note and also one Butterfly that was new to me. The above spread in the Nature Journal shows the pavilion or observation structure that over looks the outflow pond for the mill pond that is on the property. While there I saw an orange and black bird, perhaps a Baltimore or Orchard Oriole though I am not sure which, the bird didn't hang around long enough for me to get a really good look. It is sort of a pretty spot thought the pond is getting a bit overgrown.

The bottom image is one of my rare (for this Journal) colored drawings. It is of a blue bird sitting in a tree. I watched the bird catch a bug and then land in the tree to eat it. For some reason it hung around for a while which allowed me to make some photographs. Not wonderful ones but not bad ones either. Anyway I wanted to document the sighting, but felt it needed color to show it really was a blue bird. They do have those sort of orange fronts esp. under their bills, that then fades to white underneath.

Other birds I saw were Canada Geese with young, red wing black birds, a Great Blue Heron, I think, though it might have been a Little Blue Heron which are a darker grey than the Great Blue.  I am just learning about the Little Blue's and am going to have to spend some time learning how to tell the two birds apart. The Little Blue is smaller and darker, but I have a feeling that since I usually see these birds at a distance telling them apart is going to be tricky. I also noticed some oak trees in bloom, maybe there will be acorns this coming fall.

Above are the last four drawings I have done for the Every Day in May Challenge. For May 12: Draw Buttons, I drew my old TV's remote control. May 13: Draw something that waves in the Breeze. I found a photo of an American flag flying on the Web and drew that. May 14: Draw your lunch. I had a banana and a ham sandwich. We were supposed to blog about it, but what can you say about a ham sandwich? Also for this one I made a photograph yesterday so I could eat and run, made the drawing this morning. For May 15: Draw a Traffic Sign:, I drew the stop sign that is at the corner of my street and visible from my balcony. I just did it free hand, no rulers so I think it might be a bit out of square, but hey it is done. Same note as the last time I posted these to the blog if you wish to see larger images of individual drawings please visit my Flickr account.  Also all drawings have been posted to the Every Day in May Flickr Group.

Above is last nights figure drawing. I think it has been a while since our model stretched out on the sofa. She did actually fall asleep at one point, but mostly remained awake. A challenge to draw though a relatively simple pose.

Above is one of my photos of the blue bird. I know a bit hard to see, but take my word for it that there is a bird in the photo and it is a blue bird. Actually I just like the tree branches in this photo which is why I chose it.

While at Broadmoor I spotted a bunch of butterflies all feeding at some blooming bushes. I am not sure what the bushes are, it has little white flowers and smells sweet. But there were at least a half dozen butterflies all enjoying a snack. I made a lot of photos, but the one above is probably the best of the bunch. This is a Red Admiral Butterfly. They were mostly above my head at a bit of a distance, and they didn't stay in one spot very long so I was pleased to get even one good photograph.

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

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Must See TV and some Drawings

Before writing about my drawings today I want to recommend a TV program/series. For the past 3 years PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) has been producing and presenting a series of TV shows on Crafts in America. The shows have been consistently excellent and I feel they are must see viewing for anyone interested in Art or Crafts in America. Each show highlights several venues or people talking with them not only about what they do, but how they came to do it, and why. All of the artists highlighted are skilled in their crafts and very interesting in their own right. The shows have not only featured well known crafts but also some more obscure ones like basket weaving.

The most recent episode in the series was broadcast last Friday evening and was on "Threads". In this episode the subjects were 2 weavers and 2 quilters. One weaver weaves traditional fiber, the other will use wire and anything else that interests her. The 2 quilters both do pictorial type quilts but their subject matter is quite different. Please if you can find a rebroadcast on you local station take the time to watch and let PBS know you would like more of this program. Otherwise I think you can view recent episodes on the Craft In America Web Site.

OK back to my drawings. The image above is from my visit to Daniel Webster Sanctuary last Monday. A beautiful day after days of clouds and some rain. My images are of a Great Blue Heron   Little Blue Heron that I watched feeding in the man made pond, probably longer than I should have, but I was so fascinated. It had a very light body with darker grey feathers toward the tips of the wings and back body. I am not sure what it was catching and eating, something longish so I have to think fish, though I didn't know the pond had fish, perhaps stocked. (Edited Note: I found out on 5/14/12 that what I saw on this visit was actually the juvenile form of a Little Blue Heron, adults are a dark grey, and this one was starting to molt into its adult colors)

The lower image is another Canada Goose with several goslings. I saw both pairs of parents again on Monday eating grass, probably safer than feeding on the pond with its snapping turtles. The one pair that had so many young seemed to have lost several as they now have only 7 rather than the 11 or 12 they did have. The other pair still have their 6. Course the Sanctuary has other dangers to young geese, fox, maybe coyote, Red Tailed Hawks and probably fishers so who knows what got the missing ones.

The only other sighting of note was to see two wood duck males and one female. One pair at least is nesting in one of the nest boxes so I hope I will eventually be able to make a photograph of them as they should be around for a few more weeks. Oh, yes, the bobolinks are back, I saw and heard the males.

I am continuing work on the Every Day in May Challenges, though sometimes I get a couple days behind. Above are 3 drawings, May 6th Draw a Holiday Card, May 7th Draw a Spoon, May 8th draw an egg carton. Sorry for the size if you wish to check out larger images you can visit my Flickr photostream.

Above are 3 more drawings: May 9th Draw a paper bag, May 10 Draw an apple, and May 11th Draw something with wings. The apples are drawn from a still life photo I made last fall when I had quite a few apples on hand, the bird is another of the WetCanvas Pen and Ink Forum's challenge photos. Unless otherwise noted I am drawing objects from life.

I am working on another pen and ink challenge piece, but I am doing this one with stipple so it is taking longer.

Above is one of the photographs I made Monday at Daniel Webster. Here are 5 goslings all in a row. As I recall this pair had another who was off elsewhere. Probably not a good thing for it, I will have to see if I can find the parents the next time I am at the sanctuary and check my counts.

Above is a view of the man made pond and the Little Blue Heron I was watching Monday. That light spot in the center of the island is the Heron. The distance is just too far for me to get a good photo with my camera. I really need a 500 mm lens for this venue. Ah well one can dream. In the meantime this photo also gives you a view of the leafing trees in the background. Spring has truly arrived at the Sanctuary.

That is it for today. Sorry I am late with the update, I was out at another sanctuary yesterday and when I got home was just too tired to do the update. Hopefully I will get back on schedule next week. In the meantime comments are always welcome.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

More EDM, a Nature Journal and a Figure Dwg

Above is another of my Every Day in May drawings. I should have two more, but got lazy Sunday, and was busy running around yesterday. I had lunch with a friend and then checked out the Student Art show at the Bridgewater State University Library. Both were good, though I understand the show comes down this weekend with the end of year Graduation celebration. Leaving Bridgewater I dove over to Daniel Webster for my usual Monday visit and finally attended my weekly figure drawing session. A busy day that didn't leave me much in the way of extra drawing time. I will catch up, hopefully by my next blog post.

Anyway the challenge was to draw something sweet. I often keep miniature peanut butter cups on hand, so I used one of those for my subject. Need I add that I ate it after I finished the drawing.

Above is another Nature Journal spread. This one not from yesterdays visit to Daniel Webster but from my visit the week before. I ran into 2 sets of Canada Geese parents that day. One with 6 goslings and the other with about twice that many. They were hard to count as one group seemed to stay with daddy and the other with mommy, but I think there were about 10 or 12, certainly way more than 6.

Still it does seem a bit odd that there are only 2 sets of parents at Daniel Webster, esp. since it has not just the man made pond but also a natural pond, not to mention the river. I have a feeling that the MA. Audubon folks have taken active steps to limit the number of young raised at the sanctuary. Since there are still a lot of Canada Geese on site I can't say I blame them.

At the pond I watched a Killdeer having a bath, and noticed a medium sized bird sitting on one of the small islands. Another visitor arrived as I was leaving and I took the opportunity to ask him if he knew his wading birds and if he could help me to identify the sitting bird. He told me it was a Wilsons Snipe. Later that afternoon I saw a Wood Duck pair on the pond and a Green Heron. A good visit, esp. as I was also able to see the Osprey preening its feathers on a fence post near its nest stand while I was out at Fox Hill.

Above is last nights figure drawing. The model had brought a couple of hats with her and we all though the white hat with the black rim quite fetching. Another artist had brought some other accessories which included a pair of red gloves. So our model last night was "dressed" in hat and gloves. I didn't realize that I had her expression quite so severe. She is really an attractive young woman, I just have no love for drawing faces so foreshortened. Hopefully next week's pose won't have this feature.

I have been seeing butterflies out and about for several weeks now. Mostly the white and yellow cabbage butterflies but also some of the small American Coppers like the one in the photo above. These are small butterflies and not easy to get a good photo of, so I am fairly pleased with this one, made on my April 30th visit to Daniel Webster.

Because the weather has been a bit crazy this year I almost missed the blooming of the apple trees at Daniel Webster altogether. Just one tree was still blooming that Monday which enabled me to make the above photo. I am just hoping the trees didn't get hit by a late frost killing the young apples, only time will tell.

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

Saturday, May 5, 2012

More Challenge Drawings

All of my drawings today have been done for one challenge or another. Since I have been working on these challenges I don't have any other work to show today. I did spend time this week matting and framing 3 drawings to take to a local Art show to see if they can get through the jury process. Cross your fingers for me, please. I am hoping they take one of them anyway, but have no expectations that they will take all three. I selected very diverse images so hopefully one of them will appeal to the Judge. My other side project this week was to cut some new Stonehenge paper up into smaller pieces for me to use for my art. One of the smaller pieces was used for the above pen and ink drawing.

This is another of my weekly pen and ink only drawings for the WetCanvas Pen and Ink forum. Another still life, this with 2 apples and a peach. The plate isn't totally round, and I don't like the dark outline around the rear apple, but I do like how the red delicious apple came out, and the peach isn't too bad. Drawn on Stonehenge paper with Micron 005 and 01 pens.

These next 4 images were drawn for the Every Day in May Challenge. This is the second year I have attempted to do this project and so far so good, course we are only 5 days in so who knows how it will go.

The Every Day in May Challenge list is taken from the Everyday Matters list. I will reference the number from the Matters list on every drawing but also give the date so you know what day in May the challenge was for. To check out the Flickr Every Day in May group click HERE.

The above drawing was for May 1st, draw a landscape. I chose a photo that was actually one of the WetCanvas challenge photo's. Not sure where this rocky coast is located. It reminds me of Maine, except Maine doesn't usually have black rocks and this beach did.

For May 2nd we were supposed to draw something related to our New Years Resolution. I don't make New Years Resolutions, and actually can't recall the last time I did, so I drew a blank Post It Pad. I think it took me longer to come up with the idea than it did to draw it.

For May 3rd we could draw anything we liked. I selected another WetCanvas Challenge photo and drew this Audubon Warbler. I really should have done this one in colored pencil, the bird is a beautiful blue with some yellow accents.

Last but not least for May 4th we had to draw a present. I drew this soft doll that my mother gave to me many years ago. I don't recall if it was for a Birthday or a just because gift. Anyway I have always thought it cute and it now lives on a shelf in my living room. It used to live on top of my TV, but the new flat screen TV's don't have enough space.

All of these drawings were done in my EDM sketchbook with graphite (pencil).

Today's photo is actually over a week old. We have had rain/clouds since Monday so I haven't been out and about to make any photos this week. This is a cabbage Butterfly, settled in the grass after something, dew or maybe even soil for minerals. I have been seeing the Cabbage whites and yellows for several weeks but this was the first chance I have had to photograph one.

That is it for today. I am feeling the need to start on another major project just have to settle down and decide what it should be. In the meantime comments are always welcome.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Day Update

Well I am calling it done. But otherwise don't have a name for it. I am open to suggestions. I sort of wish I had done something a bit different with the foreground but I suppose that is what making art is all about, exploring ideas and discovering what works and doesn't work. I do like the central shape and the colors I chose, it is just some of the other details I am conflicted about.

Above is a Nature Journal spread from my visit to Daniel Webster a week ago Monday. It was raining off and on for my visit so I spent most of it in the blinds watching the swallows swoop back and fourth across the pond eating insects. In nice weather they normally don't perch, but for some reason some of them were taking pauses to rest on a near by tree limb. The above image shows one swallow, extending its wings while sitting on the wooden support.

The lower image shows a bird I saw that seemed to be hunting something in the island areas. It was perching across a couple of reed stems. I think it was a red wing blackbird, mostly likely male, but I was seeing females that day, something I don't normally see (they are colored differently than the males) if so she may have been looking for nesting materials.

The pond was mostly empty that day a few geese were visible, but mostly I watched the swallows, at least two kinds, Barn and probably Tree Swallows. There weren't even a lot of turtles out and about though there were a few.

Above is Last nights figure drawing. Last night I thought I had done a pretty good job on her face, but looking at this photograph I am not so sure. All things are relative of course and since you guys don't know what she looks like you probably think I did a pretty good job. I don't know about you, but I tend to be fairly self critical with these drawings. How else can I learn if I don't pick up my mistakes?

I am closing today's update with a couple of photographs. The above stand of trees I made at Daniel Webster when I was there over a week ago. You can see the grass is turning green, and colors have been darken and intensified by the rain. Not sure what these trees are, leaves are just starting to emerge, but I loved the texture of light against the dark background. Patchy areas on the tree trunks are lichen rounds.

The photo above is a very dark bee getting nectar from a flowering bush. This photo was made over this past weekend at Massasoit State Park. The flowers are very sweet smelling and usually bloom a bit later in the year. In past years I have noticed the bush covered in Bees, this year I had to look hard to find them. It is not a really good thing that trees and bushes are blooming before the pollinating insects are ready for them.

That is it for today. May Day, a holiday for Workers in many parts of the World other than the US. Not sure why we have never adopted it as a Holiday, maybe because we already had Labor Day in Sept. prior to the May date becoming popular. Anyway, hope everyone is have a great day, and if you care to comment I always enjoy reading them.