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.