Friday, April 26, 2013

Cats, Figures and more Spring Photographs

I have come to the conclusion that cats are hard to draw and I really need to have a lot more practice drawing them. Above is my most recent cat drawing and is the reason for my reaffirmed conclusion. This drawing took way longer to do than I expected. Still I am not displeased with the results but would have been happier if I hadn't had to work so hard at it.

The drawing is based on a photograph I made the other day of a neighbors cat in the front yard of the building where I live. I used it as reference because for once I had a photograph that showed a cat in motion instead of the sphinx like poses one usually catches them in. Obviously I was being given the hairy eyeball by a cat that wasn't too sure it wanted to be in my vicinity actually the cat took off almost immediately after I made the photo.

This week I was back at the short pose session instead of the long pose one. I have six images that I pulled out of the pack to show. The three above were quick poses, 2 or 3 minutes. and were are warm up poses. I rather like the last one on the right though it just shows her back, and a bit of an arm and leg.

Above are three more drawings from the session, times are marked on the pages, upper left 5 minutes, upper right 10 minutes and the bottom one was a 15 minute pose. To challenge myself I decided to try one drawing with a flair type pen instead of the fine tip pen or the 4B pencil which I usually use. You will note that that drawing isn't here, in fact I no longer even have it, it was one of those that I immediately tossed in the trash, ugh, pretty bad. I know that I need to spend more time using that kind of pen in order to feel comfortable with it, maybe in a couple of weeks I will give it another try.

Now for some more of my spring photographs. Above was made at Houghton's Pond in Milton, MA. and shows a hillside planted with daffodils with the pond behind. The number of daffodils is starting really make a show in this spot. It is probably time for someone to come in and split up the clumps but since I don't know who was responsible for the initial plantings I don't know who if anyone would be responsible for splitting them up. Sure looked pretty though.

Yesterday I took a trip over to Borderland State Park in Easton, MA. Above is a photo of the main house and a really old weeping cherry in full bloom. Beautiful, and boy was it buzzing with bumblebees, big queens who probably have just emerged into the spring looking for pollen and nectar to get this years hive started.

The trout lilies are just starting to bloom, I expect more will be in bloom over the weekend. This is about the best photograph I have made of this early spring wild flower, they are really small flowers and the stem with the flower head is only about 6 inches long so they aren't the easiest flower to photograph. Not sure how many years I have been attempting to make a photograph that does them justice. Of course I don't plan on stopping any time soon, as I always have the feeling it could be just a bit better.

That is it for today, hope everyone is enjoying some great spring weather, except of course for those south of the equator where you are slipping into fall. Per usual comments are always welcome.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Spring Photos, ferns and a figure

It has been a strange week here in MA. Beautiful weather, perfect for running a marathon, and then for searching a bomb site for evidence, a running gun fight, a city wide shutdown, and finally a manhunt in one of the smaller Boston suburbs. The manhunt fortunately ended with the capture of the suspect and no additional loss of life, so the citizens of Boston were able to have a late night celebration on Boston Common. Today it is raining, much needed rain since the leaves are still not out on the trees so the woods ground cover was getting very dry. We don't need to add major brush fires to the events of this past week.

While I was listening to news coverage about the Marathon Bombings I was working on the above drawing of a fern sitting among the leaf litter. The image is an expanded version of the drawing I made for a book mark. I rather like how it came out, but haven't yet decided if I should try to add some color to the background. I think I will just leave it white, I feel anything else would just be distracting. This drawing is done on white Stonehenge paper with various colored pencils and is 6.5 inches square.

Monday night, despite the tragedy at the marathon I decided to attend the long pose figure drawing session. Above is my drawing from that evening. I am generally pleased with it, though per usual there are parts that I would have like to have done differently. This model is one of our twitchy ones who never seem to take exactly the same pose after our breaks. That makes it tricky to get the shadows correct. Also Scott shifted to an overhead light for this pose, which is not my favorite. The overhead light tends to make the pose flatter making it harder to define shapes. Ah well that is what the process is about, learning how to treat those difficult poses/lighting so they still work. 

Since we were having such lovely weather I went over to Borderland State Park in Easton one afternoon. Mainly I wanted to make photographs but I also took the time to do a sketch of one of the pond areas. Above is that sketch.

The rest of this post will be some of the photographs I have made at Borderland in the past week.

Motor boats are not allowed on the ponds, but people can bring canoes and fish. Which is what the gentleman was doing in the above photograph. I actually made several photographs of the fisherman and his canoe, this is to my mind the best one. The reddish trees on the right are maples starting to come into bloom, red buds.

The above photograph I made at the rear of the house of one of windows showing some blooming geraniums inside while the reflection gives a hint of the blooming beds of daffodils outside.

One area of the back lawn at Borderland has a mass of forsythia bushes which were in almost full bloom for my visit this week. You can see some other visitors to the park in background.

One last image of some early pink azalea flowers that were blooming on a bush by the old swimming pool.

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

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Stipple Flowers and figure drawings

It is finally finished. I started the above stipple piece of Bladder Campion last fall but ended up putting it aside to work on other projects. About a week or two ago I finally pulled it back out and started working on it again. Yesterday I finally put the finishing dots in place. The drawing is based on a photograph I made in June 2011 in Massasoit State Park. I really liked the photo and actually decided way back then that I would use it for a drawing. Last fall I decided it was time to take action on using the photo and that it would be a good image for a stipple piece.

The work is 9 x 6 inches, done on Stonehenge paper with a technical pen. I think this paper color is grey, the petals of the flowers only look lighter than the edges because of the contrast with the dark areas next to them. I love this optical effect, and have seen it in other stipple pieces I have done. I have to admit I sometimes get tired of making all those dots but when I get one finished I can't help but feel it was worth the effort.

Last night I went out to a short pose figure drawing session, and I have a few images from the session to post to the blog today. The ones above were 3 minute poses, drawing was done with a pen.

Above is one of my drawings of a 5 minute pose. I was trying out some new paper last night, and while this works I have to do some thinking about what media I want to use on this paper to achieve a more interesting effect.

 Last are 2 drawings of 15 minute poses. I rather like the one on the left, and feel I could have used a bit more time with the one on the right. I have a feeling I was getting pretty tired by that time and it shows in the resulting drawing.

We have been having some lovely spring weather this week. The above photograph is of skunk cabbage which I made Monday in the Blue Hills Reservation. Skunk Cabbage is one of the earliest flowers that bloom in our woods. They aren't very impressive looking I know, but after this winter I will take any signs of spring that I can find.

One last image, yesterday I was over to Daniel Webster (MA Audubon sanctuary) for the first time this year. It was a beautiful day and I was rewarded with the sight of blue birds, a hawk, wood ducks, mallard ducks, a northern shoveler, and some blue wing teal.

The photo above is of a male blue wing teal.

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

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Signs of Spring

Here it is the first week of April, so far our weather has been fairly kind to us, sunny day's with some overnight showers, and daytime temps in the 40's/50's. With the longer hours of daylight and sun I have been trying to get out and do more walking. I am not in very good shape after spending most of the past couple of months indoors so even the shortish walks I have been making leave me feeling a bit stiff the next day, esp in the knees.

I haven't yet made it over to Daniel Webster, with snow on the ground I didn't feel like wading through the paths over there but on Monday I did get over to Ames Nowell for a walk. Above is a sketch I made of one of the islands in the lake. Not wonderful, but at least it is something to get me started drawing outside again. Done with ink in my small sketchbook.

From over a week ago here are some sample drawings I made at a short pose session I attended that week. I am not thrilled with any of these drawings. I feel like I was having an off night. Oh well, that is why I attended the sessions, doesn't matter if I am on or off, just need to do the work. Anyway the above drawings were done in ink from 5 minute poses.

 The two drawings above were made with pencil from 15 minute poses. Our model had pulled her back and was feeling some pain so to give her a bit of a break the poses were longer and not too stressful for her. Longer poses meant she didn't have to take as many.

Above is my long pose drawing from this past Monday night's session. It is OK, but I am not totally thrilled with it, I much prefer the last long pose drawing I made to this one. Ah well there is always next week.

As signs of spring I want to show two photographs I have made this week. Above are a couple of blooming crocus, the nights are still fairly cold so they may be a bit frost nipped.

Photographed on the same walk a couple of pussy willows growing along the lake shore. Still not a lot of other green but I did notice a few trees where their buds are swelling. YEAH, just hope we don't get any more snow this year, I have had quite enough of snow for this winter.

That is it for today. Not a lot of art, but I have been working on a stipple piece so may have that for my next update. In the meantime comments are always welcome.