Tuesday, October 30, 2012

After the Storm, Rabbit Finished

A very short update today. I have actually been very busy working on my drawings but the rabbit drawing above took hours more than I usually spend on a drawing. I blame it on the grass which may not look it but requires hours of layering graphite, some erasure, and then going back in with more graphite to achieve both the darkness necessary to show the rabbit off, and to give the grass texture that looks semi realistic.

This process involves staring at the work, staring at the reference, and then working on the drawing, followed by more staring, repeating the cycle I have no clue how many times, but lots. Finally reached a point where I both thought it looked good enough, and was too tired of it to want to work on it further so called  it quits.

The other distraction in my life was Hurricane Sandy. I hate Hurricanes, so much destruction, and I get a bit tense listening to the wind and rain so that I find them exhausting even if I am not doing anything and even if I come through the storm with no problems.

I am fine where I am (inland) and actually only had the power flicker a couple of times during the day. I am feeling sorry for others here on the East Coast who received damage from this storm. I am sure recovery for many is going to take much longer than everyone would like. It was so odd last night to look out a window to see the full moon shining down after a day of strong winds and rain. Even with the wind and rain the bird feeder received some visitors, sparrows and at least one Downy Woodpecker.

Needless to say we didn't have our Studio session last night. It has been postponed until Wednesday, so I should have a figure drawing later this week.

No Nature Journal page today either, I have been out to Daniel Webster and other Sanctuaries but was too busy with rabbit to work on my drawings.

I did managed to work on this bookmark, ink with colored pencil on Stonehenge paper. It is covered with contact paper and I will add a tassel to it before I call it done. Sort of imaginary flowers but loosely based on some real ones.

I also spent some time on the stipple piece, but need to put in a few more hours on that one before it looks like I have been working on it, maybe my next update.

I am too far from the coast to be able to make dramatic shore/wave photographs so I am showing here another of my fall color photographs. Obviously made last week before the storm when we had a lovely sunny day. This photograph was made a Borderland State Park.

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

Friday, October 26, 2012

Updates, Finished Goslings, and a Figure

I promised an update on the stipple work I started last week. Above is a scan of where I was this morning. Background is starting to fill in though there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. I have done very little on the flowers themselves so far. I need to get the background still darker so that there is a strong contrast with the "white" flowers.

Not sure how many hours I have into this, eight to ten I think, but it may be more. The overall background stipple seemed to take forever, though of course it didn't.
I am not featuring the above drawing of two Goslings as the final version is so similar to what I showed last week, but I thought readers might be interested in seeing it. I am sure there are sections I could  have spent more time on, but over all I am satisfied with this drawing and it was time to move on. It is a picture, not just of the two young birds but of the whole landscape I found them in.

The rabbit is coming along, I have started working on the background and the body, may post an update next week.

Above is Monday nights figure drawing. We went with a truly different pose this week with the model on her front instead of her back or sitting. It was kind of fun, though the face was a bit tricky and I am not sure I have it foreshortened correctly. Her left hand also leaves a bit to be desired, though again that was a bit of a tricky pose, initially she had made a fist and that would have been easier to draw. Oh well the challenge is good for me, even though I have made a lot of progress drawing the figure, there are still some poses I struggle with.

Our fall foliage is almost gone. I made this photograph on Monday on a visit to Ames Nowell State Park. The maple leaves have pretty much fallen leaving only oaks and beeches as the source of color. This view of the dock into the lake at the park show some White Pine, Oaks and maybe a birch in their fall colors.

The above close up of some Beech leaves gives you an idea of the color variation on one tree.

It was a lovely day for a walk, sunny with a breeze and temps into the low 60's. I expect that by next Tuesday the trees will be pretty much stripped of their leaves by at least one storm. Hopefully the Hurricane (Sandy) won't give us a direct hit, but we can use the rain so I don't want it to miss us entirely.  The weather forecasters seem to be changing their predictions every few hours so I will just have to wait and see what happens.

In the meantime that is it for today, hope everyone has a good weekend, and last but not least comments are always welcome.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Nature Journal and Fall

Not much to show today. I have been working on the new stipple piece but so far it doesn't really look like it. I am working on the background and the piece is large enough that even several hours of work don't show much of an impact visually. Maybe next update I will give you a peak at progress.

As a break from all the stipple work I wanted to do something a bit more straight forward so above is the start of my newest animal drawing. This is obviously a rabbit, from a photograph I made at Daniel Webster last summer when there was a young rabbit brave enough to feed in the grass next to the parking area during the afternoon. Since Daniel Webster is the home of many raptors/predators I am not sure how this brave (or stupid) bunny made out in the long run.

Above is a page from my nature journal for a visit to Daniel Webster a week ago Saturday, October 13. A break from my usual routine as I thought the sanctuary was going to be having its Farm Day. However I was off by a week (it was actually held last Saturday the 20th).

Actually it was a good visit where I saw either 2 or 3 Great Blue Herons in the Panne. I know there were at least 2 since they were both there at the same time. But shortly after they left either one came back or a new bird arrived. That one seemed to be panting, keeping its beak open while it was standing on an island. It didn't stay long and didn't do any hunting on the stop, the day wasn't that hot so I am not sure what was going on with that bird. Hope it was alright. Anyway I know I wouldn't have seen them if the activities of Farm Day had been going on, too noisy.

Back to the drawings the top drawing is my tree stump, showing water levels just a bit higher. We  have been having quite a bit of rain but it seems to be soaking into the ground, so even though I expect the water level in the Panne to be higher than it actually is the good news is that there is enough rain to keep it from dropping. Bottom image is one of the Great Blue Herons, this one took the time to try and find a bite to eat, the other two sightings were just of birds resting, but no feeding behavior  My guess is these guys were migrating south and had just stopped at Daniel Webster for a break.

Above is a not so wonderful photograph of two of the herons taking off from the Panne.  Very cool to see, though the photo isn't the best. There are also some Canada Geese and ducks in the water.

This photograph is of fall leaves at Moose Hill. Last Monday instead of going back to Daniel Webster I went out to Moose Hill and had a long walk. Above is one of the many photographs I made on that walk. It shows a field with maples turning colors. It was a beautiful day but not always as sunny as I would have liked.

That is it for today. Not a lot to show, but comments are always welcome.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Gosling Update and Misc Other Dwg.

Above is an update on my Goslings drawing, not quite done but almost. I am still in the process of tweaking a few things: feathers on the back of the front bird still need work, there needs to be some grass growing in front of them, I need to check values in the grass, and maybe make some changes to the plant in the upper right.

So far so good though and I am happy with how it is turning out. Not sure when or even if I will post the final of this drawing here. It will depend on how different the final looks from this version. Thought it may not be obvious without close examination I expect to spend at least a couple more hours on this drawing before I call it finished.

I have been doing some more stipple work. Here is another bookmark. This one was much faster to do than my last one of the sparrow. Not as much ink work, just the image of a few fern fronds needed to be stippled. These are very stylized drawings, I wasn't even really trying for accuracy here, but since I drew a couple of fern fronds for my Nature Journal I thought it would be fun to play with them for a bookmark. Still have to do the tassel for this one, I have pulled out a bright green embroidery floss to use.  I have also started the stipple work on the flower drawing from my last update, but so far that one doesn't look like much.

Above is my figure drawing from Monday night. Probably one of my last drawings of this model. She and her SO will most likely be moving out of state in the next few weeks. I think she is looking forward to the change, but I know we are all going to miss her.

Not sure how I feel about this drawing, parts I like but other parts I think I could have done a better job on. I admit I was tired that evening, I had spend the afternoon at an Audubon Sanctuary that I don't usually visit,  and walked further than I intended.

From a walk last week in Borderland State Park, Easton, MA. I have a couple of photographs of fall colors. Above is a photo of Silver Maple leaves showing some color. It was a small tree with leaves in sunlight. Since there wasn't a lot of other color that day I made this close up photo.

Not sure what this tree is, maybe a Shag Bark Hickory. Borderland seems to have quite a few of the trees on the property, they grow tall and turn yellow at this time of year. It might also have been some kind of maple or even a Sassafras turning yellow, but Sassafras aren't usually as tall as I remember this tree being. Anyway I think it is pretty yellow/green lit by the sun against the blue sky.

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

Monday, October 15, 2012

Back to some Stipple projects

Above is a small stipple project that I will probably make into a bookmark. The image is of a sparrow looking up with mouth open. It is from a photograph I made of sparrows feeding at my new bird feeder. I have a feeling I caught the bird in mid chirp, certainly not an image I usually capture. Done on Stonehenge paper size is 2 x 6 inches.

Doing the sparrow reminded me that I love doing stipple work. So I went through my photo images and came up with one of flowers that I have been meaning to do something with but haven't. The flowers are Bladder Campion and they were blooming down at Massasoit State Park over a year ago now. I love the photo and hopefully will be able to make a nice stipple work out of it. So far it is just sketched in. I will have to do a review of the drawing to make sure I don't want to make any corrections, but I think it is good. This will be a long term project as the image is fairly large for a stipple piece about 7 x 9 inches.

Above is a Nature Journal page from a visit to Daniel Webster October 8th (last Monday). Drawings are of a fern frond that I haven't yet spent the time to identify, but eventually I plan on doing that. A more delicate looking fern than my last one was.

The middle image is my standard tree stump, showing that the water level in the Panne is climbing, still has a ways to go, but it was higher last week than the week before and we have had more rain so it should still be getting higher and not dropping.

Bottom image is of some orange mushrooms growing out of a tree stump. The tree had been cut up/down earlier this summer, I believe it was not only dead but had fallen across the path. They left the cut wood in the woods to decay but it was probably easier to clear the path by cutting it up. Trees that fall but don't obstruct paths are just left as they are to decay. We have since had a light frost so I doubt I will be seeing too many more mushrooms this fall.

Photograph of a field with edging of trees at Daniel Webster. Not a lot of color so far this year, but I thought this view was rather pretty.

Above is a late blooming goldenrod. I just like the colors here, yellow and various shaded of green. This was also photographed at Daniel Webster.

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

Friday, October 12, 2012

Goslings, Mushrooms and a Figure Dwg.

My current in-process drawing is of a pair of Canada Geese Goslings. They are several weeks old, so not the cute fluffy yellow down chicks one thinks of. These guys are actually starting to fledge some more adult feathers/colors, and were shades of grey with no yellow. Drawing is from a photograph I made earlier this past summer.

I am not terribly excited by this drawing. Don't get me wrong it is a challenge and I think a good subject, it just doesn't excite me. Not totally a good thing as I can easily be distracted when my subject doesn't excite me so I make no promises about when this will get done.

Above is my Nature Journal page from a visit to Daniel Webster a week ago Monday. We had had several days of rain so the water level in the panne was higher. Which is why I drew the tree stump, though it may be tricky to tell from my drawing that the water level was higher.

On that Monday I walked a bit further down one of the paths than I usually go. Good thing I did as I was able to locate the leaf and acorn from a Black Oak Tree. Both are similar to the Scarlet Oak tree. The acorn is a bit flatter on the bottom, and the leaf is in a way simpler.

My last drawing is of a small mushroom clump I found in the Oak grove. Finally it has been wet enough that the mushrooms are fruiting. I find mushrooms fascinating so please bear with my indulging myself with some drawings of them. I will try to not bore visitors with too many pictures. I have mentioned this before but want to repeat, I do NOT harvest mushrooms in the wild, I do love to eat them, but I know I am not enough of an expert to dare harvesting wild mushrooms. Not to mention that at Mass Audubon sites nothing is supposed to be picked or harvested, though occasionally I will pick a leaf and one this day I did pick up an acorn.

Above is Monday's figure drawing. And yes she was actually wearing a dress and shoes. Well, we all can use a  change every now and then and this was our change for Monday Night.

The drawing is OK, but I have a feeling I have something slightly wrong, maybe I made that right hand a bit too large. Ah well, there are some areas I like so I guess that compensates.

My two photos today come from two different locations. The one above is from Daniel Webster, one of the red maples that hangs over the South River was turning bright red in spots.

This second photograph was made at Broadmoor, another MA Audubon location and shows some mushrooms growing out of a mossy log. These are very small mushrooms, but I find the type interesting, and love to photograph them. If anyone has any idea what they actually are I would love to know. Because mushrooms are usually found in the woods in deep shade I usually use the flash for my photographs. I would rather not, but it is hard to get a clear image if I don't.

That is it for today. Per usual comments are welcome. Need to go work on my goslings, or maybe something else.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Bookmarks and chipmunks

Above is my finished chipmunk. So another of my animal series is finished and the next one started. I have also been going through older photographs looking for other images to draw. Not as wide a selection as I would prefer, but it is what it is, I may go back to some photographs that I sketched previously and redo them as more finished drawings.

I was cutting a sheet of Stonehenge paper the other day as prep work for my drawings. Tinted Stonehenge paper comes in large sheets, well larger than I want to use for a drawing. I store it in a cardboard folder and cut it up as needed. Most of the sheet I cut into 8 x 10 inch pieces with a couple of 6 x 6 pieces and a few 2 x 6 pieces. The 2 x 6 inch pieces I will use for bookmarks.

Above is my playing around on one of those bookmark strips. My take on a giraffe, totally from imagination/memory. Done with one of my technical pens and colored with watercolor pencils. The Stonehenge isn't watercolor paper as such, but with the watercolor pencils I don't need to use a lot of water to get the colors to brighten and merge so the paper holds up quite well. I apply clear contact paper over the surface of the drawing to add support and protection. I will add a tassel using embroidery floss and consider it done. A bit of whimsy which after all the realism I have been doing was fun to do.

Above is another page from my Nature Journal, this is for a visit to Borderland State Park in Easton back in September. The top left image is of some grape leaves that I found on the site of an old farm house. The house burned down years ago but these grapes still grow on the property. They are small and so far I haven't been able to ID the variety.

The lower drawing is of one of the many people who bring their horses to the park to ride the trails. It is a very popular location with local riders. I can totally understand that, several miles of wide trails, open fields where they can canter the horses and all with some lovely landscapes. I am a bit rusty when it comes to drawing horses, but don't think I did too badly.

On that visit I stopped by the main house to check out an art exhibit. Not a large show, but some really lovely work including one quilt. Fiber art is becoming more acceptable, YEAH.

Both photos today are from my visit to Borderland. Above a view of one of the ponds from near one of the spillways.

Probably one of my last butterfly images for this year. This is a crescent butterfly, I think it is a Northern Crescent, but the crescents can be tricky to tell apart so I am only guessing.

That is it for today. We have sun after a couple of days of clouds and rain with more expected so I need to get out and about. Per usual comments are welcome.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Finished Mallard

Here she is, finally finished my female mallard duck. In the past few days I finished her feathers and add some background so she isn't floating in space. I deliberately left the background a bit blurry, not only because it is in the photograph but because I want her to be the center of attention. She about 8 x 5.5 inches, done with graphite on Stonehenge paper.

I don't think I need to add that I am pleased with the final result. I am sure there are some errors, but at this point I am not going to go looking for them.

Above is my Nature Journal page from a visit to Daniel Webster the last week of September.

Top image is of a Sensitive Fern frond. I see quite a bit of this type of fern along one of the paths, though mostly on a northern edge where it wouldn't get a lot of direct sun. From what I have read it is called a sensitive fern because it is sensitive to cold and will be killed by the first frost, even last week some of them were starting to look a bit ragged.

Next image is my stand-by tree stump showing how low the water had dropped in the pond by that Monday. It was higher this past week, and I expect to see the water even higher next week since we have had more rain.

The lower image does't read as well as I would have liked. It is showing two white tailed deer heading for the trees. I had caught a glimpse of them through the trees earlier on my walk and when I finally walked out into one of the fields I startled them and they took off. Two does, I think, at least not mature males, no antlers, their white tails and white rumps really flash when seen from behind.

Above is my figure drawing from Monday. Model was a bit twitchy and had a difficulty (it got painful) holding her left arm in the position she started with so I am not pleased with how it came out. I didn't realize in the first session that it was going to be an issue and didn't get it defined as well as I could have at that point. During the rest of the evening she didn't quite recapture that position so I had to more or less wing it, and it shows. Also her dark hair almost makes it look separate from her body, not a look that I was trying to achieve.

For today's two photographs the one above is a close up of a dragonfly photographed at Oak Knoll. I observed last year, but am really noticing this year that the late summer/fall dragonflies are mostly red. I am sure it is one specific species but so far I haven't taken the time to do any research on them.

Last photo is from Daniel Webster, an image of the open fields surrounded by trees. The trees are only showing a bare hint of color here and there. That Monday was a partly cloudy day with some dramatic clouds appearing off and on in the blue sky.

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

Monday, October 1, 2012

Mainly Nature Journal Pages

Started another animal drawing this weekend, this time a chipmunk. Above is about where I am with it, not quite done, but I feel I have a good start with it.

They are cute for a rodent, I am just happy that they prefer to stay outside. This little one is from a photograph I made at the Trailside Museum in Milton, MA. in the area where people feed the ducks. The chipmunks hang around and if the ducks aren't fast enough will pick up some of the extra duck food.

I have drawn chipmunks before, some more successfully than others, this one is turning out pretty well. I have also spent some time on the Mallard, she isn't quite done but further along than my last update.

Next  up are a couple of pages from my nature journal. With these two I am almost caught up to myself.

The above page is from a visit to Daniel Webster, Ma Audubon Site in Marshfield, MA on September 17. Water level in the man made pond was down from the previous week. Which wasn't a surprise since gone the week between my visits without any rain.. Thankfully it has rained this weekend and I am hoping to see higher water levels on my next visit to the sanctuary. Anyway I obviously did another drawing of my tree stump to indicate the lower water level.

Drawing at the top left is of an oak leaf with acorn that I found on a tree growing in one of the wooded areas. I believe this is a swamp white oak. The leaf isn't as deeply grooved as a standard white oak and the acorn, while it has the bumpy cap, is a bit larger than the other white oak acorns I have been finding.

The last drawing is of a wild flower called butter and eggs. It is another of those plants introduced by Europeans that had a medicinal use, escaped from the garden it is now common in open fields and waste areas. Flowers except for coloration and size look similar to Garden Snapdragons.

The page above is from a visit to Oak Knoll in Attleboro, MA. lots of oak leaves and acorns. At least this year I am finally able to ID some of the oak leaves by using associated acorns. The only one I am still not quite sure of is the Black and Scarlet Oaks, their leaves and acorns look very similar.

I first ID this leaf/acorn combination as being from a Black Oak, but decided that no, it is probably from a Scarlet Oak, though I have to say I am not totally positive. Fall color of the leaf would probably be the best way to really figure it out, the Scarlet oak leaves turn scarlet in the fall but I doubt I will be able to find this particular tree again so will just have to keep watching.

On my walk I spotted a grey squirrel climbing a tree and thought that it would make a good addition to this page, after all the squirrels love to eat acorns. Hopefully they are all busy squirreling away this years crop for the coming winter.

Two photographs today. The one above is from a visit to Stony Brook, where I saw a Great Blue Heron. Not the best photograph, but not my worst either, here you can see the Heron taking off from the shore of the pond, legs aren't quite in flight position.

The photograph above is of New England Asters in bloom with an American Copper Butterfly, made at Oak Knoll where they have a lovely garden, lots of flowers so attractive to butterflies.

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