Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Barn, a band aid, with flowers

Above is a barn done in pen and ink (no pencil) from another of WetCanvas Pen and Ink forum's April challenge photographs. I Should have spent more time on it as I managed to get the angles for the roof coverings a bit off. and I am not sure that the farm implement shows up as well as it could have. Still I got the values pretty much right and that always makes up for a lot of other deficiencies. Stone isn't easy to render in pen and ink, and I think I did a semi good job with it.

Above is another of the Everyday Matters challenges. This one is a band aid for challenge #238 Draw something from a first aid kit. I don't actually have a first aid kit in Apt. But I do have several of the standard ingredients, band aids, salve, an ace bandage or two. With no kids in my life first aid kits aren't usually something I need.

Above is another update on the pencil drawing I am working on. This still isn't done, and I am not quite sure what colors I will put in the spaces under my pool. I need to add some more greens so it may be that. Also thinking about adding some other details, but I won't get to specific here in case I decide not to do it. Have to think about it a bit more, as I don't want to ruin it at this point.

Getting here has taken more time than you might think as I have to work slowly with the pencils, and every element is using between 3 to 4 different colors/pencils.

Two flower photographs today. The top one is a Trout Lily blooming in the Blue Hills Reservation. The flowers aren't as perfectly formed as they could be, and when I was there there were only a few open. I think a late frost may have gotten to these. Oddly enough the ones out at Borderland bloomed over a week earlier and didn't show any malformation.

Sorry about my fingers, but it was so windy the day I was making this photograph (the same day I made the Trout Lily photo) that I needed to hold the branch steady. Still I rather like this image of pink dogwood flowers in bloom. Lilacs are also blooming. Both the dogwoods and lilacs don't usually bloom here in MA until the middle of May so they are being exceptionally early this year, while the Trout Lilies, a perennial spring flower, are blooming pretty much on their normal schedule of late April.

At least we finally got some rain last week so things aren't quite as dry as they were a week ago.

That is it for today. Hope everyone has a great weekend, and per usual comments are always welcome.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Nature Journal, Figure and WIP

If this is Tuesday then it must be time for another blog update. But I fear I don't have a lot of new material today, hope you enjoy what I do have.

Above is my Nature Journal spread from a week ago Monday's visit to Daniel Webster. Though I visited Stonybrook (another MA Audubon Sanctuary) also last week I didn't write in the journal, so saved the Daniel Webster pages for today. Photographs and comments about the Stonybrook visit are on my previous post.

Actually the Daniel Webster visit was quite wonderful. I saw a Glossy Ibis, the image I used for the bottom drawing above. It was really a beautiful bird, I only wish I had a lens for the camera that would have allowed me to make some good photographs. Oh well you will have to make do with the sketch, or if you want to see what they really look like you can visit here. The bird I saw had a copper brownish head and back. But was too far into the pond for my camera. I mostly observed using my field glasses, and I spent quite a long time observing it as it was feeding around the edges of the various small islands. I also observe some other smaller wading birds but I have no clue what they were, too far for me to ID, with my limited knowledge.

The top image in the above spread is of a woodchuck fleeing my arrival at the Fox Hill observation deck. It was hot that Monday (into the 80's) so not a lot of visitors were walking out to Fox Hill. The animal was taking advantage of the quiet to dine on some new plant growth along the fence. I only manage one photograph of its rear running away from me. It disappeared into a rock pile and I am sure it just waited for me to leave before it resumed its meal. I was out there to see if I could observe the Ospreys, but I think only the female was there sitting on her nest, and I didn't really identify her.

Above is the work in progress image of my latest colored pencil effort. Not quite finished, and to be honest I am not totally sure where it is going from what you see here. So far I am having fun working on this. The main image started as a doodle in my sketchbook, I rather liked the shapes so decided to play with it a bit. I am working on Stonehenge paper with primarily Derwent pencils.

Above is last nights figure drawing. The model is wearing a jacket that she is making for herself. In a way it is a pity that I don't work in color as the jacket was quite colorful and very fun. I only broadly sketched it as every time she resumed her pose (which she actually held wonderfully well) the fabric would fall different ways. I am not happy with her right hand, and the leg folded under her is only semi successful. Ah well, there is always next week.

Above is a flowering tree that I photographed out at Daniel Webster last week. Not sure what it is, some kind of ornamental Cherry I think, anyway I rather like the photograph showing the still bare white birch trees in the background and the still golden fall grasses on the ground. You can see hints of green here and there. Yesterday I did notice that the flowers are gone and the tree is now leafing out and turning green.

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

Saturday, April 21, 2012

EDM, Pen and ink work with flowers

As has become my habit on this second of my weekly posts I am including a drawing from the Everyday Matters Challenge list. Above is #43: draw something china or ceramic. My drawing is of a china cat.

I don't like to think how many years I have owned this cat. My mother gave it to me when I was in High School, I believe it was an Easter gift, and I was surprised because I wasn't expecting anything, having outgrown Easter egg hunts. Anyway it is a white china cat, and I have always felt it was particularly graceful and very cat like.

This second image is of a pen and ink drawing for the April WetCanvas Pen and Ink forum challenge. This is  from a photo of an apple with some grapes. Just goes to show that sill life's don't have to elaborate to be effective. That said simple shapes not always so simple to draw, this drawing is my 2nd attempt at this photo, and I feel this is much better than my first attempt. Course per usual the longer I look at it the more I see wrong. Done on Stonehenge paper with a 005 micron pen.

Above is my finished pen and ink drawing that I posted a work in progress of on a previous post. The end result isn't quite as elaborate as the original pencil sketch, and I may revisit that sketch to see where else it might take me. No reason why I can't play with it a bit more, and I am not sure I have completely explored the ideas expressed there.

I am calling this Gaia's Garden. You can use your imagination as to what she is growing, I think something cosmic. Done with technical pens on Stonehenge paper.

By the way for those of you who might be into Zentangles, I don't consider this one. Why you may ask, well first I don't totally fill my space with patterns, second I don't start with "strings", and last but not least I don't use their pattern reference books as guides for my fills. That said, do I copy fills I have seen elsewhere including real Zentangles, yes of course I do. With mark making there isn't much that is really new and borrowing ideas is acceptable.

I am ending this post with a photo of some flowers on a bush that I made this past week at Stonybrook, a MA Audubon sanctuary in Norfolk, MA. I am not sure what the flowers are but isn't the color beautiful, a sort of rosy coral color. I do love spring with the renewal of life and color here in the northern hemisphere.

One last photo, also made at Stonybrook. These are Marsh Marigolds. Prior to this week it had been years since I last saw blooming Marsh Marigolds, they are a wild flower that blooms in early spring in marshy/damp areas. Love the lemony yellow color, and unlike many wild flowers the blooms are fairly large.

That is it for today. Per usual comments are always welcome. I am working on a colored pencil piece and will probably have a WIP photo for you next week.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Nature Journal, Figure and sketch

First image today is the sketch. This is actually from one of the photos for the WetCanvas Pen and Ink monthly challenge. I drew it in pencil to get the feel for the shapes, hopefully before the end of the month I will render it in pen. I enjoy drawing birds, and am beginning to feel I am getting a handle on their shapes and textures, still I wasn't quite brave enough to draw this with pen only without a trial run.

Over the weekend I paid a visit to Borderland State Park, in Easton, MA. Above is my nature journal page from that visit. The day was sunny and warm for an April day, and I enjoyed photographing spring flowers.

Top image is a bloodroot flower with some additional plants to give the viewer an ideal of what the leaves look like. They have one almost circular leaf with the flower stalk growing up through the center by the stem. The flower is white with at least 8 petals. Since I found this growing under a tree that is next to the house I am sure these wild flowers were planted there, not sure just when, but the original owner was a Botanist so he might have been the instigator. I also saw some blooming trout lilies near the old swimming pool area, again I am sure these were planted at some point. Both wild flowers are perennials.

Lower image is a view of the front of the house on the property. They are starting on a project to restore the landscaping to the original plan which required them to cut down several trees that have over the years grown up near the corner of the house. In the lower left of the drawing you can see the tree trunks that are currently there. I am sure they will be removed shortly and other plantings will replace them. Still I hate to see any tree cut down so wanted to document this stage of the project. Drawing was sketched first in pencil from a reference photo I made.

Above is last nights figure drawing. The model had very little sleep the night before and kept falling asleep on us. It made it hard to draw her face, and as she tilted it down as she nodded off I had a slightly foreshorten view. I thought I had it right, but looking at it today am not so sure. It is tricky to draw a face from that angle, features get compressed. She really does have a mass of wild hair, and the black was a hair band. I have no clue how she gets a comb through it. On the plus side I am fairly pleased with how the hands came out.

Two photographs today from my visit to Borderland. Above is the bloodroot flower from a different angle than I used for the journal drawing.  

The above photo shows a corner of the house with blooming forsythia bushes around it. Love the contrast of the bright yellow against the stones used to face the house. I believe they used native stone for the facing. Despite the amount of rock and stone we have in New England very few homes were ever built out of it. The early immigrant farmers built walls around their fields and maybe lined cellars with the stone/rocks but rarely used it to build their homes. I would guess that wood was much easier to work with and it was readily available. I also have a feeling a wood home is warmer in winter, but I am really only guessing.

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

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Challenges and updates

I am starting the post today with an Everyday Matters Challenge drawing. Number 188: Draw a peanut in the shell or out. I sort of did both, but I didn't do a whole unopened shell, just the 2 halves with the 2 peanuts. one still inside and one outside. I did draw it a bit larger than life sized, and probably should have gone even larger so I could have included more details.

I enjoy peanuts for a snack and peanuts in the shell have a lot more flavor than the ones in cans or jars, though because last years harvest wasn't very good they can sometimes be hard to find.

Another attempt at a strictly pen sketch, no pencil, from another of the WetCanvas Pen and Ink Forum April challenge photographs. Not terribly happy with this one. If I were doing it other than as a challenge I would have laid in some pencil guides, and I think I should have switched to a finer pen tip for the distant landscape. Well this exercise is about learning, and sometimes learning what doesn't work is as important as learning what does work, on Stonehenge paper with my 00X technical pen.

Above is the stipple border piece I have been working on. At this point I am calling the border done and trying to decide what I am going to put in the center. A flower of some sort I think to go with the flowers and leaves in the border design. .

So far I like this piece and am pleased with how it is coming along.

Above is a in-progress scan of the pen and ink I started last week. I have to say it isn't staying a lot like the thumbnail I drew. Doesn't matter of course, the thumbnail was only a guide to get me started. I don't have a title for this so if anyone has a suggestion let me know.

The photograph for today I actually made 2 weeks ago and is of a skunk cabbage flower with emerging leaf.  The name of course has to do with the smell of its crushed leaves, but to be honest I have never really noticed, I don't get that close to them as they tend to grow in soggy ground. The skunk cabbage flower will bloom in March, even if it hasn't been a warm spring. The dark flower will generate enough heat to melt snow so the flower can emerge even if covered. The heat helps it to attract pollinating insects.

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

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Nature Journal and other

Had a great visit at Daniel Webster yesterday. It was certainly a day to see wild life, though it actually was quite windy and not terribly warm. Temp was in the upper 50's but wasn't too bad as long as I was out of the wind.

Top image is the tree stump in the pond. Only eight turtles yesterday, well there were that many when I made my reference photograph, later there were fewer and who knows there might have been more earlier in the day when I wasn't there. I drew the stump not only for the turtles but because the water level in the pond is dropping. We haven't had any rain, or at least not any significant amount of rain. Doesn't bode well for the summer if this weather pattern doesn't change soon.

Bottom image is of a deer I saw on one of the more protected smaller fields, it was busy eating grass and basically ignored me as I snapped multiple images of it. I moved slowly and was actually able to walk past it without startling it enough for it to run off.

Last week I promised to show an update on the stipple border I am working on, so here it is. Making good progress on this. But progress on this means I am not getting much else done. Stipple, while I love the look takes a long time to do, esp. as I want it dark so the light areas will stand out.

I spent Easter Sunday with a friend and her family, and while they chatted I sketched her brother and sister in law. Not terribly good likenesses, but I didn't want to be too obvious about what I was doing, so didn't spend a lot of time on them.

Above is last nights figure drawing. I am mostly pleased with this, though I think I could have gone a bit darker with the darks. This is a slightly different view of a pose from what I normally do, but my view of her pose from my regular position only had one arm in view, and I thought it might make an odd looking drawing so I moved until I could see both arms.

I am sharing two photographs today. The above I made on Easter Sunday and is of weeping cherry blossoms. It is an old tree, in not very good shape, but still come Spring it puts out these lovely pink flowers and is beautiful for a week or so.

My visit to Daniel Webster yesterday included sightings of several raptors, my first sighting was this hawk gliding through the tree tops looking for a snack. This is the only photo that really came out of the several I made. Not sure of the species, but it was a large bird so probably a red tail. Watching it circle through the tree tops was amazing, so smooth and silent.

My second sighting of raptors was of a pair of probably kestrels sitting on the Electrical wires out at Fox Hill. They didn't let me get close enough for a good photo, but I know they were raptors because of how flew and hovered over the fields looking for dinner. I did check out the Osprey nest, and I think I saw the females head but it is so far away I can't be sure. She should be sitting on eggs about now so I probably did see her.

The last sighting was at the bird feeder area where a Cooper Hawk flew past looking for its dinner. All the smaller birds scattered and the Cooper landed in a near by tree letting me get a good look but not a photograph. Fun day, that ended with me getting to play with a really large lens at the man made pond for a couple of photographs of green wing teal. I now have lens lust, but lens of that power are expensive and not in my budget.

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

Saturday, April 7, 2012

EDM with a Peak in the Sketchbook

First two images today are a couple of fairly quick drawings that I did for challenges posted by Web groups I belong to. The top one is for the Everyday Matters list. I chose number 250: Draw something you got for free.

This little plastic guy showed up in my office area one day (back when I had a day job) and I could never find out who left it so I adopted it and it has lived with me ever since. Since I didn't pay for it, I did get it for free though it wasn't a gift. For those who might not know, it is one of the toys from the grab machine in Toy Story I, well it is a plastic version of an animated image.

Above is another pen and ink drawing done from one of the monthly challenge photographs in the Pen and Ink forum on WetCanvas. The photograph shows the 2 jugs standing in a tiled corner. I am semi pleased with how it came out, but needless to say I can see a lot wrong with it. Things I would have corrected if I had drawn with pencil first. But the point of this exercise is to make me stop and think before I put pen to paper, and so improve my accuracy the first time out of the box. Not sure that it will but I will keep trying for a bit longer and see where this takes me. Drawn with a Micron 01 pen.

The next two images are pages from my sketchbook. I drew squares on a couple of pages and then proceeded to draw quick sketches in each square. No particular goal in mind other than I wanted to start one of my abstract type drawings and didn't know how to start. So I started here with realism. A couple are sketches of reference photographs, a couple out of imagination. The images become more abstract as I worked down the page. I filled this page and then moved onto the next where I drew the sketch below.

I liked this one and felt it had possibilities esp. with several of the shapes so I pulled out a sheet of Stonehenge and started to lay in some pencil guidelines.

Above is where I have gotten so far with this. It isn't going to look exactly like the thumbnail but that is OK with me, I find the thumbnail a bit busy really. I am doing the ink drawing with the 00X Rapidograph pen.

Not a lot of progress because I am spending most of my time with the stipple border I posted in my last update. That one is coming along nicely and I will post another update next week.

One last image, a photograph I made this week of some Andromeda in bloom in my local city park. This is one bush that is blooming pretty much on schedule, but then Andromeda is the earliest of the flowering shrubs to bloom in my area, the flowers will last for a while, and they are cold hardy so a late frost won't hurt them.

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

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Nature Journal, WIP and a Figure

Not a lot of work to post today so I am again starting with my Nature Journal page from my visit to Daniel Webster MA Audubon Sanctuary yesterday. The day was more March like weather wise then some of the days we had in March. Temp in the mid 40's with off and on clouds (with rain) and sun. Thankfully it didn't rain while I was in the Sanctuary but it had on my drive over.

Drawings for this page are some more turtles, these were clustered on a rock in the pond. The water level is going down and we could really use a good soaking rain. I don't like the gloomy weather but. The bottom image is of an Eastern Phoebe sitting on the end of a branch. They come to the pond to find insects and tend to sit on branches until they spot one, then it swoops in to collect its snack returning to a perch for more watching. I was very happy to see these birds back again this spring, they are one of those that leave for the winter.

The green wing teal were also in evidence at the pond, I had a chance for a good photo but botched it by making too much noise in the blind, scaring the bird into flying off. If they hang around longer I may manage a good photo, but I am not holding my breath. Oh I also saw a female Osprey on their nest stand. Unfortunately the stand is so far away that you need field glasses to even make it out, so no chance for photos there.

I have been busily working on this stipple border piece. So far so good, 2 corners done and one side. Not a lot to say about it, but so far I am pleased with how it is coming out. I am going to have to start thinking about what to put in the center soon.

Above is last nights figure drawing. Some parts I am pleased with and others, well there is always next week. A new model to me, though I gather she modeled for Scot several years ago so she was known to him.

We had a good sized group last night so it was a fun evening.

I have been going through some of my older art work and destroying it these past few days. Mostly short pose drawings from my figure class 3 years ago. I would prefer to just toss them in the trash but I don't want anyone "rescuing" them so feel better about it when I tear things up. I really need to weed out some of my figure drawings that I did in past couple of years. A few are good, many are OK but some are not very good at all. Even paper accumulates when one is busy creating art.

Finally I have a couple of photographs from my visit to Daniel Webster yesterday. Above is an apple tree just starting to bud out. Should be apple blossoms before the end of the month.

Above is my reference photo for my turtle sketch in the Nature Journal. The two on the left were just hauling themselves out of the water to join the 3 already on the rock. The do seem to like to pile up, and notice that they are mostly all of the same size. I am sure there is a reason but I don't know what it is. Oh, I believe these are all painted turtles, we have other varieties in the state (notably snapping turtles) but I have only noticed painted turtles in the pond.

That is it for today, I will hopefully have some new pen and ink drawings for the next update. The April Challenge photo's are up in the WetCanvas pen and ink forum, and I have told myself that I need to practice drawing with just ink. In the meantime comments are always welcome.