Thursday, April 30, 2015

Pen and Ink, eggs, bottles and doodles

Not fabulous work this update, but at least I seem to be back into a cycle of getting some art work done, always a good thing even if the work isn't my best. Ah well, the above is from another of the WetCanvas Pen and Ink forum monthly challenge images. This is a plate of quail eggs, if you have never seen them in the stores they are about half the size of a Chicken egg and are speckled brown and cream eggs.

For this image that I drew on Strathmore Toned Tan paper I used first a brown pen for the eggs and their speckles then added black for the plate and shadows. For the black I used one of my technical pens. Size is about 5 x 5.5 inches.

I actually started this before I got sick and just finally got back to in the the past few days.

A bottle, drawn directly in ink for one of the Treasure Hunts in the Draw from Life forum in WetCanvas. This is a very wonky bottle, I am usually much better at symmetry but as I drew directly in ink there was no way to correct and I just had to let it go. It does have a certain charm, I guess, sometimes it is just better to accept that we can't be really accurate all of the time and work with what comes out of the pen.

The drink is a carbonated flavored water, no artificial or real sweeteners and as I try to stay away from soda (too many empty calories) this one of my preferred alternatives to buy when I can when I am out and about. Flavor for this bottle was black cherry, that or lemon or lime are my favs.

Another of my pen exercises is above. I start with a shape and then just work it, adding fills and other shapes as the mood takes me, the only requirement is that I use all of the pens, and I have 5 that I routinely keep ink in.

This week I made, with a friend, another trip to the MFA. We spent time in various galleries, seeing the new Leonardo da Vinci drawing exhibit; Herb Ritts photographs; In the Wake, photographs from Japan after the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in 2011; Hokusai, Japanese prints; and Court Ladies or Pin-Up Girls, Chinese paintings. Needless to say we didn't spend very long in any one gallery, more less just sampling the works. I do have to say that I have no clue how da Vinci and his contemporaries could get such a fine line with chalk, their chalk must have been nothing like any chalk I have used. Also the Herb Ritts photographs are amazing, I am not usually that interested in photographs that aren't connected to a story, but his really pulled me in.

Anyone in Boston in the next few months/weeks should plan a visit to the MFA, there is so much to see and admire. Oh the flower arrangements were already gone when we were there on Tuesday so I am glad that on my last visit I was mostly chasing them around the museum or I would have missed them.

After we reached our limit inside we went outside to visit the newly reopened Japanese Garden, above is a photo of some blooming cherry trees in the garden.

One last image for today, above is a Trout Lily, the first flower I have been able to photograph, I saw one at Borderland State Park last week, but it wasn't where I was able to photograph it. These delicate little yellow wild flowers are one of the earliest of our native spring blooms. They are very late this year due to the slow melting snow and our cool weather.

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

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Spring is Arriving, sketches and a MFA exhibit

Above is a graphite drawing I made on site at a local State Park, the lake, a rocky outcrop and trees. Not wonderful, but not too bad either. Next time I need to add some color to this.

The drawing was made on a walk I took just prior to catching a bug. I wasn't terribly sick, but I also didn't feel like drawing so I have been neglecting the blog. It is hard to draw when the hand I draw with is busy holding tissues to my nose or mouth. Feeling much better now and am hoping to get back to my drawings.

On another walk I made a photograph of a Song Sparrow which I used as reference for the above drawing. The photo is a bit blurry, I don't have the right lens to really photograph birds but I rather like the drawing anyway. Done with one of my technical pens in a small notebook.

Another of my pen exercises using all of my technical pens. Started with just the straight lines, then added the curved lines and with a bit of imagination created a face. Looks like some kind of cat to me, but then maybe you see a bear, whatever it is all good.

I made a quick trip into Boston yesterday, mainly to photograph the arrival of spring in the Boston Public Gardens, but also included a quick trip to the MFA. On exhibit at the MFA is their annual Art in Bloom show. Each spring different garden clubs and centers around Boston select works of art on exhibit in the museum and create floral arrangements to complement them. Since works are selected throughout the museum you never know what you will be seeing in each gallery.

I had fun photographing quite a few of the different arrangements but thought you might enjoy seeing two that were presented in the Modern Art Wing. The flower arrangements are the top photos with their accompanying art work the bottom.

The art work above is Crommelynck Gate, Enamel on Bronze created by Jim Dine an American who lives in Walla Walla, WA.

This second piece is by Gerhard Richter a German who lives in Cologne, Germany, and is called Vase, oil on canvas. Love his use of complementary colors in this, the real painting is relatively large and the colors really pop.

I was almost ready to kill when I was trying to make this photo, three women spent many minutes (which felt like hours) standing where I needed to be to make the photograph, discussing the painting, the use of color esp. the white streaks and how they pull the viewer into the painting. UGH, I am sure they though I was listening to their conversation, I sort of was, but only because they wouldn't move and I wanted to make the photograph with as little distortion as possible.

This is just a sample of the many combinations of flowers and art that can currently be found at the MFA. If you are in the Boston area it is certainly worth a visit.

Last photo is from Boston's Public Garden and is of a early blooming Magnolia tree in full bloom, they and some early pink cherry trees were yesterday's attraction. The tulips aren't quite out yet, though there were a few beds of pansy's along the main walkway.

Weather was actually a bit chilly though sunny but still after the winter and snows we had it is a wonderful sight.

That is it for today, per usual comments are welcome. Hopefully there will be more art in my next update.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Easter Flowers and other

Last Sunday I had Easter dinner with a friend and her family. Food and wine were excellent, company was good and I believe a good time was had by all. My friend had been gifted with a couple of potted flowers, the above an Easter Lily arrived while I was there brought by another friend.  I spent a little time sketching it first in pencil and then adding ink while her family conversed around me. I like to keep my hands occupied.

When I arrived these tulips were sitting on a table in the living room. At another point during the afternoon I sat on the couch in front of them and did this graphite sketch. The tulips were yellow so I tried to not add too much shading.

I love drawing Easter flowers, their shapes are relatively simple with not a lot of complex petals, and in the case of tulips also have large leaves which make relatively simple shapes. Lily leaves are a bit trickier, but both drawings were fun and fairly quick to do.

Hope that everyone reading had good holidays this past weekend, Easter, Passover or even just a good weekend with family and friends.

Otherwise I haven't been drawing a lot. I have been doing more reading, and when not reading I am trying to get out and about to various parks and nature reserves to check on their status, and oh yes lots of visits to library. Still I have been a bit hampered with my park visits since snow is still covering paths and so far there hasn't been much in the way of signs of spring. Oh, well I just have to have patience it will come, I know it will.

The above is my pen "exercise" for this week, I have been trying to think of a title for this, how about "Watching educational videos". Well the shape of the watchers did turn out to be a bit suggestive. It wasn't my intent when I started this, it just sort of happened, honest. At least that is my story and I am sticking with it. I did have fun drawing this though.

The above photo was photographed in my local park, standing water in the foreground and one of the parks lakes in the distance. Ice is almost totally gone from the lake, the mallards and geese are again able to feed. I spotted a couple pair of Merganser ducks diving for their dinners the other day, too far into the lake for me to photograph, and almost too far for me to ID them even with my field glasses. But with their distinctive heads and the males white fronts they are unmistakable. I was happy to see something other than the usual mallards in my local park. I have been over to Daniel Webster, but the water level in the pan is very high and not much was taking advantage of it. I did also see some song sparrows so at least the birds know that Spring is coming. Should see more in a couple of weeks.

Short post today, per usual comments are welcome.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Pen and Ink, doodles and sketches

Nothing very finished to post this time, the above is mostly stipple work with various colored pens, size is small only 5 x 5 inches on Hot Press Watercolor paper. I started with the flowers and just kind of went from there. It needs something, but of course it is too late to add anything to it at this point.

Another of my pen and ink "exercises" Not sure where the spiky bit came from and the bird is very weird, I wasn't using any references and it ended up looking a bit strange. The bird was sort of an after thought, but I knew I needed to add something up in that corner and that is what I ended up drawing.

Done in my sketchbook with my various technical pens.

The next two images are pages from my small portable sketchbook. The above was done on one of my bus trips, A couple of faces of people I saw, and at the bottom two trees were sketched mostly from memory as they were based I trees I saw by the side of the road when the bus was making a stop. I am trying to work more quickly and more from memory. So far not having a lot of success, but I will keep trying.

I was in Boston earlier this week, mostly to make photographs of the end of winter and arrival of spring, but I also visited the MFA and was able to spend time in the Hokusai exhibit which was open for members only. Some of the Boston photographs I posted to my facebook page.

The sketch above I made while resting my feet in the gallery exhibiting the prints of his views of Mt. Fuji. I really need to go back to see this show, as I only spent real time with the first couple galleries, the others I just glanced at. Hokusai deserves more study than that.

I love this piece, not sure you can tell but the two figures appear to be tumblers or actors, and I am sure they illustrate the poem written on this scroll. Hokusai may be more famous for his prints (wood block colored prints of original works) but I loved seeing the commissioned works that are included in the exhibit.

I am feeling a bit frustrated. Now that I have caught up with the illustrations I needed for my nature journal, I wanted to start working on new pages. However the nature reserves and parks still have so much snow covering the ground that there isn't much to write about. Spring has yet to start arriving in many locations. It can't be much longer but I am truly feeling impatient.

The photograph above I made yesterday at Borderland State Park, and is of the major road/path through the park. There were a few spots that weren't snow covered but for the most part it wasn't easy walking, and the garden where I hope to see Trout Lilies and Bloodroot flowers is still buried under snow. It is supposed to hit 60 on Friday, so with a bit of luck the snow will soon be gone.

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