Sunday, June 28, 2015

Pen and Ink, Still Life, flower, and doodle

I am working on a watercolor, a not very good one at the moment but it isn't finished yet so I haven't given up hope. In the meantime I actually managed to finish a couple of pen drawings. The top two are both from WetCanvas Pen and Ink forum June Challenge photographs.

The one above is a Hibiscus, done with my technical pens 1, 0 and 00 tips in my Bee sketchbook. I have to say I really love the Bee paper, it is heavier with perhaps less tooth, and I don't think the paper is as soft as the Stratchmore sketchbooks I have been using. I like the way ink lays down on it.

I did make a pencil outline under drawing for this one. Flowers are just so complex that it is hard for me to draw them well without making some corrections, so I need to use pencil first.

The photo reference for this one was 3 oranges with a blue and white print cloth as a backdrop. I didn't really try to reproduce the print on the fabric though some of the lighter areas in the background represent the white print areas. I drew this directly in pen so the shape of the oranges isn't quite as round/accurate as it could have been. Still I am not displeased with how this came out. Again I used my technical pens for this, mainly the 1 and 0 tip.

The above is one of my pen exercises. This one was done in one of the Strathmore sketchbooks. Before ask I didn't really have anything in mind with this I just added design elements as I felt like it. no particular rhyme or reason for them.

We have been having a bit more rain the past couple of weeks, so not quite as much out and abouting for me, but I still manage most days to get in at least a mile walk if not more. I am trying to make those walks in State Parks or other nature areas, and I always take my camera along.

I have been visiting Borderland State Park quite a bit. It is the one area that I am pretty sure of seeing Dragonflies which are my most recent focus for photography, besides the flowers, birds and butterflies. Had a really fun day there last week when I spotted 2 frogs (different locations), a couple of butterflies, some new to me Dragonflies, and a blooming pitcher plant all on the same walk.

I hadn't even realized there were pitcher plants at Borderland so was thrilled to find one blooming. The day before I had been down on the cape visiting Wellfleet Bay MA Audubon, and had a fun outing there also, though the butterflies were mostly seen and not photographed. Did see some great birds including a Snowy Egret. If you are interested in seeing more photos from my outings they are on my Facebook Fan page, link at the bottom of the blog.

The photo above is one of the lakes/ponds at Borderland State Park. Visual interest is all about values, and this photograph has them. great shadows, fun reflections, to me this looks like a slightly overcast but otherwise perfect June day, which it was.

I may be chasing Dragonflies (actually I have been in the past also) but I am still after any butterfly that I can find. Above is a brownish Silver Sided Skipper. Usually the ones I have seen have a darker background color, more black than brown. Too bad this one didn't as it would have made a more dramatic photograph, black and white against the red flower. Oh well I take what I can get, and try to be happy. Silver Sided Skippers are known for nectaring at red flowers, and this late blooming azalea is certainly red. Photograph was made yesterday at the Trailside Museum in the Blue Hills, Milton, MA.

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

Thursday, June 11, 2015

June, flowers and butterflies

Haven't been doing a lot of drawing these past few weeks. But I have been busy taking a lot of nature walks in various parks, sanctuaries, and Boston, and making photographs. I have also been busy reading, mostly non-fiction but still interesting. A book on Japanese design concepts, a very short book on watercolor painting that was nevertheless packed with tips and useful information, a book on the Arts of China starting with prehistoric stone age crafts, and a book on Dragonflies. The dragonfly book is beautiful full of wonderful photographs with well written text that gives information about the lives of dragonflies without getting too technical. The title is Dragonflies by Pieter van Dokkum, published by Yale University Press if you want to check it out.

I recently splurged and purchased some new tubes of watercolor paint. The above is partly my experimenting with washes using my new paints. Course I didn't limit myself to just the new colors but added in some of my older ones as well.

Over the top of the watercolor wash I drew a flower using one of my technical pens. I was using an inexpensive water color paper so it wasn't perhaps the best choice for the washes. Still I had fun playing. I really need to do more watercolors, and the ink looks kind of cool overlaying the colors. The flower is loosely based on a photograph I made of a purple clematis flower.

Still the pens need to be exercised so I have been managing to do a few doodles, the one above is kind of like snail shells linked together drifting in space. 

On one of my walks I came across an American Toad both out in the daytime (not usual) and out in the open, again not usual. It was a fairly small one so I guess you could say it didn't know any better. It jumped onto a board that was lying in this open spot in the woods (an area where park trash tends to be collected, ie: old picnic tables) I spent a fair amount of time photographing it before I ignored it and it jumped away. No toads were harmed and I got some good photographs. 

Later that day I needed to do some pen exercising so drew the above. I am a bit annoyed with myself as I initially left one of the T's out of start, I have a tendency to leave out letters if I don't pencil in words before I start lettering, concentrating too hard on forming letters and not hard enough on spelling words I guess. Any way here is a race between a toad and a snail :), who do you think the winner will be? Pure fun, drawn with my technical pens, mostly the finer tips as they are the ones the clog the easiest. 

A few weeks back I was walking in a MA Audubon sanctuary, mostly woods with a pond, but they also have an open field in this location and after my woods walk I though I would check out the field, where to my surprise I found hundreds of blackish caterpillars crawling in the grass. There were enough of them that I was sort of creeped out and left after a very short time. Well I did manage to make a couple of photographs of them and I posted one of the photos to my Butterfly Facebook group asking if anyone had a guess as to what the caterpillar was for. A fellow member suggested it was a Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly caterpillar.

This past weekend I was down in the same area (Attleboro, MA) visiting the main MA Audubon site and thought before I left the city I needed to check the field. AH, yes, what did I find but some Baltimore Checkerspot Butterflies flying around the field. Above is one of my photos of one of these beauties. They aren't terribly large, smaller than an American Lady, though larger than the Pearl Crescents, but isn't it hansom with its white, orange and black colors. I will have to go back as the field still had Checkerspot caterpillars crawling around.

 I usually reserve this spot for landscapes or photos of native wild flowers but I really like this photo so even though the flower isn't a native species I am posting the photo. I believe this is Night Flowering Catchfly and I photographed it at Borderland State Park, though it may be Forking Catchfly another similar species, I wasn't paying enough attention to plant details to remember at this point and there isn't quite enough information in the photograph. Whatever here it is for your visual enjoyment.

That is it for today. I will try to not go so long between updates, but at this time of the year I tend to spend more time away from the computer and my drawing board. Per usual comments are welcome. Oh, one last comment, I have been posting more photographs to my facebook page including one of the toad that posed for me, link at the bottom of this page, you don't have to be a facebook member to view.