Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Conesus Sunset


Monday was the first real warm day this summer for the area. It was beautiful though a tad windy during the day on the lake. After dinner the wind calmed down. We enjoyed a colorful sunset. Two flocks of Canada Geese flew by and a couple of bats flew over the water near shore. I love to watch them hunt.

It was a perfect evening for a fire - a warm day but the damp evening air soon settled in after sunset. I know, we've become used to southern heat already. We're not hardy northerners anymore :)

Rob and I enjoyed the fire till midnight, making plans for how good he's going to feel after back surgery. The poor guy couldn't have any food from 8 pm on. His surgery was scheduled for 2 pm on Tuesday. They took him in a 4, I saw him again at 10. Long day but, all seems to be well. Now for recovery. A few days in the hospital and then I get to be nurse Johnson :)

Thanks to all for your prayers and support!! They mean so much!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday Sketches Between Rain showers


Crazy weather today. Started off partly cloudy, warm and a tad muggy. Then around 3:30 the skies turned real dark. A little rain fell but certainly not much for how threatening the sky looked. The sun graced us once again, then another quick shower.

I can't believe how much I've been sketching the last few days. Perhaps it's because I finally purchased a Moleskin. I chose a 3 x 5 with regular sketch paper. I think I'm wishing I had purchased the watercolor paper Moleskin, as the paper is a tad thin. But, it is holding up well with watercolor pencils and the Niji waterbrush. I love the way the Micron pen ink flows across the surface. I'm only working on one side of the paper, though, as I think images will show through the back side.

I'm designing a purse/sketch supply carry bag. If I could figure out how not to carry a purse I would. I've always hated having to tote one.

I have some old jean material at home to work thru my design. Then, once snags are worked out, I'm thinking of using a cordova type fabric for the back/bottom (waterproof) and ultra suede for the front (so it can look halfway feminine). I've some scraps of handwoven material, from my weaving days, tucked away too. Perhaps I can utilize some for the purse/tote flap.

This will be my fall project as we will be in NY most likely through Labor Day. Rob's having back surgery Tuesday. Probably another reason for so many sketches. As I mentioned before - it's the best way I know how to chill :)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Canada Goose

This afternoon I noticed a lone Canada Goose sitting two docks over. Very unusual sight. This evening after dinner, it was still there. I got the scope out and managed to catch it preening. I think it has a wounded wing. It's chosen a safe dock for refuge.


There are bad storms to the north. Monroe Country is under a tornado warning! Here is a shot of our sky and the lovely play of light on the water.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Sunset color on the lake

The Waiting Game



We've all been there. Hurry up and.... wait. Or, the medical appointment dilemma " I'm sorry, the doctor is running behind." This is when my eyes twinkle, and all the interesting plants I saw on the way into the medical building blur my brain. "How far behind?" I ask.

Despite the time snag these 'waits' can cause, I've come to enjoy new found 'down time.' I know no better way to chill than with sketch book in hand. Yesterday was bonus day. Two different 'waits' :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Daily Sketches


There hasn't been much time for sketching since arriving at the lake but, I did manage a quick sketch of the docks last evening and today, I did a quick rendition of an appreciation bouquet from my in-laws. Gray skies settled in last evening, and we had rain today.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Back at Conesus

After 16 hours straight in the car I'm happy to say we arrived at our destination safe and sound - although worn out. Even though these sketches were done on the 15th, my brain really hadn't recovered from the drive, thus the date of the 16th :)


The lighting on the water was lovely yesterday. I did these studies after 7 p.m., the sun peaking through clouds from time to time. The subtle colors and patterns in the water kept me intrigued.

Today the lake is choppy and the wind brisk. It may calm down this evening. At least it's in the 80's. Our first night here the temp reached a low of 46!!!!! It's July for goodness sakes :) Great sleeping weather though.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Off to NY

It's time once more to head to NY. Hopefully it will stop raining up there and we'll bring some warm weather with us. Have my sleeveless turtleneck packed just incase :)

It will be a few days before I post again. Y'all take good care!

Carrot

Okay, this is way off the nature sketch path but, I had to share :)

I love carrots: raw, steamed, sauteed, juiced with a bit of celery and apple, you name it..... Yum! Last night I was preparing chicken tacos. I like to add grated carrot as one of the toppers. Out of a brand new bag of carrots came this beauty.

Hmmmmmm, perhaps it's a sign to keep on body sculpting with Gilad on Fit TV :) The carrot has been dangled in front of me...... look at those hips! :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

For the Love of Trees

Vivien Blackburn has posted a Challenge to paint or sketch trees. The sketches must be done from life - my favorite way to sketch and paint :)

I've gathered together a few that I created. The first is the currently blooming, ever beautiful Loblolly Bay. I cut a sprig from this much loved Loblolly Bay to sketch. You can read the original post here. I don't always create decorative type for my journal pages on location but, can surely say the following tree images are all plein air studies.

I can't wait to see everyone's work. This is such a celebration of trees. I must end with a quote......

The trees are God's great alphabet:
With them He writes in shining green
Across the world His thoughts serene

Leonora Speyer








Thursday, July 2, 2009

Last Day at Cheraw..... The Dancing Ladies


The weather forecast promised a hot and humid day with a heat index over 100 degrees. We picked up the cart at 7 a.m., and made our way through the woods. The alternate map, Corinna gave me, cut out the narrow bridge of the nature trail. We traversed through more longleaf pine forest. All was very quiet and luckily, our movement kept bugs away. We arrived at our destination around 7:45. The trail ended on a narrow elevated piece of land. Lake Juniper on our left and wetlands on our right. There was a bench in a little clearing. If you deviated from this clearing, horse flies came from every direction! As Rhonda in the park office said, "Oh, they might lick your applied bug spray before they bite....." So true!!

I set my supplies on the bench seat and then stood behind the bench, resting my watercolor paper, small palette and water container on the flat top of the back rest. Great bench design for painting!

The morning sunlight and the humid air muted the colors of the cypress landscape. It would have been great fun to canoe through these dancing ladies........

I managed to get two paintings done before the heat became intolerable. Took lots of photographs :)

It's sad that the week went so quickly. I'm grateful the heat wave didn't arrive until the end of the week. I've a lot of images to cull through when I return home. My plein air work will help me re-capture 'the day' back in the studio. I've photographed so many scenes I want to paint. It may be difficult to pick which painting to give to the park :)

Thank you to all the Cheraw State Park staff! You're so lucky to spend each day in this wonderful location. The park will forever be a part of my heart.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Friday....Painting Day at Cheraw

Yes, a day off to golf helped me decide on a subject, and I became a painting machine! Lake Cherokee stole my heart. A number of views were screaming to be painted but, since the temperature was climbing into the 90's and the humidity rising, a shady spot next to the lake's outlet won.

We arrived at the chosen spot, just below the 14th green, around 10:15. There was a wonderful breeze off the lake (well, really it's a pond) and the shade was divine.

I decided to do two studies of shoreline reflections, at the same time, using traditional watercolors. One on Kilimanjaro 140# cold press wc paper, the other on Arches 140# hot press. It was helpful to work this way, as while one was drying I'd work on the other. Sometimes, I can get a little itchy waiting for watercolors to dry. This was a great solution.



The paintings are on 5.5 x 7.5 sheets. After a bit of working on both, I put most of my energy into the Kilimanjaro CP paper study. The hot press just didn't have the same glow.

After our picnic lunch, Rob decided he'd had enough heat, so I drove him back to the cabin. Upon returning to the same location, the shade was greatly reduced and the reflections weren't nearly as captivating. But, the far shoreline of Lake Cherokee was glowing. I found enough shade, and even though the breeze had died down, I quickly became ensconced along a narrow piece of shaded shoreline.

There was a local golf tournament being played and I had lots of golf traffic coming by this otherwise peaceful setting. Only a few stopped to ask questions. This time I focused on one painting, as my subject matter demanded much more attention. It probably would have been faster to work larger but I often enjoy the challenge of working small. It took about 2.5 hours for painting and drying time between layers but, I'm one happy camper with the results :)



We journeyed out again after dinner. I was high from the day and exhausted by the heat. That's the excuse I'm using for this next sketch :) Yuck! An experiment that I'm embarrassed to show but, I like the subject and am happy with the perspective acheived. Using this particular toned paper with General's sketch and wash pencil and watercolor pencils just didn't work.








Before I forget again.... Everyday we've had the pleasure of Eastern Kingbirds, Tyrannus tyrannus. By far the most seen bird in our travels. This sketch is from our first evening at the park when we were checking out Lake Juniper.

Corinna, the park's Natural Resource manager, was to contact me about taking us down to the cypress swamp on Saturday. She has a boat with a small motor. You can kayak or canoe there but, it takes one hour each way. Not something we wanted to tackle in this heat! When she called, Corinna apologized for not being able to accommodate us but, did have an arial map of trails we could take a golf cart on, that would get us to Lake Juniper's headwaters and cypress swamp. I double check about golf cart worthiness :) Woo Hoo! Cypress Swamp here we come....... tomorrow!