Monday, January 9, 2017

Happy New Year 2017

I want to wish everyone a Happy, Healthy, 2017. May some of your wishes/dreams come true this coming year.

I spent about 2 weeks in Chicago visiting my sister and her family, which is why the blog hasn't been updated. I take the train from Boston to Chicago (and back home), for me it is a straight run, though we do stop in Albany, NY to link up with the train coming up from NYC. It takes about 22/23 hours but I have room for my feet/legs, I can sleep and get up and walk around so I find this method of travel not at all bad. It may take longer than flying but I don't have to go through security, I don't have to pay to have my bag checked, I get a discount for being a senior and the tickets are less to begin with. I also don't have to put my car in long term parking someplace, so that is another expense I don't have. All in all I am happier taking the train than flying. Flying is no fun any more, and I don't miss it.

Enough about my personal life. Over the holidays I tried to get back into the groove of making some art. My efforts are taking too long, I don't seem to have the concentration to just sit and work for hours on something, but I am doing some art.

Above is a bookmark, about 2 x 6 inches on cold press watercolor paper. I painted the background with watercolors before heading to Chicago and I took some reference photos with me to have something to work on. The bird is a tufted titmouse at a bird feeder. I photographed this little one with the new camera so the photo I was working from was sharp with lots of detail.

I used the copic multiliners to ink this little guy, and I am fairly pleased with the results. Esp. as it has been so long since I did any drawing other than doodles.

Also done over my Christmas holiday. My sister gave me some Hunts crow quill nibs for Christmas, well I did ask for them, and the above piece was me playing with the new nib and India Ink. Again this is done on cold press watercolor paper that had been pre-painted. Just various designs and textures. Still I think it is kind of fun and it was a good way to start getting my hand back into the groove of using dip pens before moving on to a more challenging piece.

A slight digression here, my sister had to order my nibs on-line, no brick and mortar art store seems to carry Hunt Nibs, they only seem to have Speedball or some Japanese Manga nibs. The Japanese nibs are good, better than the Speedball nibs but not quite as fine and I was looking for, hence the request for the Hunts nibs. I have also discovered that my local art supply store no longer carries a brand name India Ink, well, they have Speedball ink, but I don't consider Speedball inks to be artist quality. I am planning a trip into Boston soon and hope that Blicks still carries a good quality India Ink. The store owner was telling me that some stocks just are no longer available for purchase here in the US, like Hunts nibs. All I can say is bother, how are students supposed to learn if they can't purchase quality supplies. Thank heaven for the Internet, at least there are still a few suppliers that carry those products.

Another bookmark, again cold press watercolor paper pre-painted, this one was also done with my copic multiliners. Just felt like doing stars. It didn't turn out quite the way I envisioned it but it will have to do.

I also spent time working on a pencil drawing for my colored pencil series, and I also worked a bit on a couple of the colored pencil pieces I started last year. I do hope to finish the series this year, but we will see.

Thought I would share a few photographs. Above is the Chicago skyline from the Arboretum in Lincoln Park which is just outside the zoo. The photo is looking over the lawns toward the zoo and the city.

Above is Lake Michigan with a front moving in. It was actually a warm front, unlike the typical Chicago Christmas weather we had a lot of warmish days this year. Warmish is of course relative, but for Chicago in late December anything above freezing during the day is warm. After I left a cold front came through and put them back into the freezer.

We had about 8 inches of snow over this past weekend, the above photo was made in my local park, showing the frozen pond and snow covered trees. I just like the lighting in this photo.

If you want to see more photos from my Chicago trip visit my facebook page, link at the bottom of the page.

That is it for today, I won't say I have made a resolution to do more postings this year, but it is my intention. In the meantime comments are always welcome.