Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Inset Update - Cheraw


Making slow progress on my painting with my crazy out-of-the-studio schedule.  I should have a full day tomorrow, though.  I'll be able to finish the boardwalk into the woods and hopefully the third inset which is another view of Lake Juniper, this time from the golf course's 18th fairway.

Friday.......  it's off to Savannah College of Art & Design as it's time for their annual Art Material Trade Show.  Yummy!  Yes, I'm braving a trip into Savannah.  Rob's driving and I've got my my mapquest directions - you know I always get lost in that city!

P.S. The addition of music to this blog is to celebrate the upcoming Harvest Moon :)

Reminder.... It's Harvest Moon Time

Yes, this Saturday, October 3rd. Be there or be square :)  Can't wait to see it rise over my palm tree horizon.  Yes, I plan to do a crepuscular sketch :)

Just for the fun of it I Googled 'songs about the moon' - gracious!  55,900,000 entries! Here's a link to Moon Songs and Lyrics, the first site on the google page.  Kind of neat, they have a moon for the curser!

I couldn't help myself, I had to add moon songs to the blog for this occasion :)  Neil Young and Leon Redbone sing about the Harvest Moon.  I wanted to get Van Morrison's Moondance, but that wasn't on the play list........ bummer.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

National Parks • Ken Burns • PBS

You may be watching this series already but if not, try to catch it this evening - It began on our PBS station Sunday evening at 8 p.m. and there is an episode every night this week.  I've linked the title of this post to the PBS website that will give you more information.

The series is aptly titled "National Parks - America's Best Idea," and is true Ken Burns genius.  A must see!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Setting Up To Paint Cheraw


This is my painting area in the garden room.  I normally don't have my computer here, but decided it would be great to view the images, I want to use as references, on the screen versus printing them out.  They have so much more dimension on the LCD screen.


Yes, it's time to start the painting for the Cheraw State Park Aritist in Residence Program. Well, I'll be honest - it's way over due!  I hauled all my art supplies to NY hoping to have finished it and the painting for the dog sitter (we bartered). If you've been following this blog you know I barely had time to sketch!


I've decided to focus on Lake Juniper. The piece will be 16 x 20 and have a multi-image theme and include calligraphy like my Birders Journal Series paintings. Cheraw State Park has so many beautiful areas to paint, I just couldn't settle on one image :)



 Here is the general layout. I try to have somewhat of a design in place before I begin to paint. I know there will be twists and turns once I begin to put paint to paper but, that's OK. Then there is always the big question. Do I start with the large background image or play with the small fussy insets? The insets won.  



I've already made a change in the original layout.  I decided to let one of the Yellow Trumpet Pitcher-plant fall over into another inset. I've no idea at the moment how I will handle the area behind the plant....... It's rather like writing a book. The outline serves as a jumping off point. Books and paintings take on a life of their own. I hang on for the wild ride :)





Thursday, September 24, 2009


Here is my final draft for the All Art is Local column for the upcoming issue of ArtNews magazine.  You can click on the image for a larger view.

The painting for the artist in residency piece  for Cheraw State Park has been designed.  It's ready for paint :)  I'll keep you posted.

Monday, September 21, 2009

My Tools of Discovery


The theme of the next issue of ArtNews, the Arts Council of Beaufort County's quarterly publication, is Innovation: Science, Technology & the Arts.

I have been invited to author the All Art is Local column.  I love the theme.  It's a natural fit with my love of nature journaling.  I'm very honored to partake!

This is one of the images I will use to show how I innovate with science.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Another Side of Wasps



Ah yes, wasps can strike instant fear into our hearts. I can remember my first experience of being stung by a wasp and that was many, many moons ago.  So what's this other side???

Like Heidi Van Impe's story about the Bald-faced Hornet, there are many species in the Hymenoptera order that are non-aggressive, some even do not sting!  The long, intimidating "tails" of some wasps are not stingers but egg-laying organs called ovipositors.

Potter Wasps, also known as a Mason Wasps, are solitary and can sting we humans, but this rarely happens as they do not defend their nests.

The females do sting and paralyze caterpillars that they drop into the urns before they deposit a single egg into each container.  The wasp larvae will eat up to 12 caterpillars before it breaks out of it's chamber!

When sketching the pots, I wondered why one was open.  Was it waiting for the female to lay an egg?  Not!  My research tells me that the larvae has matured and left it's home!

By the by, the female Potter Wasp builds the urns all by herself!!  Go girl!


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Looking Forward to Fall Workshops


We're heading home to SC. Just in time to enjoy the cooler temps and the long relaxed slide into Autumn.

These two sketches were workshop demo's on saving whites when working with watercolor pencils. On the left image, I used a colorless blender pencil (normally used with colored pencils) to save the trunks of the trees. It works fairly well but needs to be reapplied after each wash. The right sketch tree trunks were masked.

I'm looking forward to fall workshops. I'll be conducting intro's to watercolor pencils, nature journaling, and plein air painting with wc pencils for the Sun City Art Club in September and October. My schedule for SOBA has not been finalized as yet, but it will include some Saturday morning classes.

I'll be off-line for a few days while we travel. Our normal 16 hour straight routine is not in the cards. But we will get to enjoy a stop over with our good friends in Charlotte :)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Mature Climbing Nightshade

What a difference a few weeks makes! The once green plant with small purple flowers and green berries is now an eerie looking purple leaved woody branch with a few red berries. Very Halloween - Sleepy Hollow looking! If I knew nothing about this plant other than my field observations, my heart would tell me that you don't want to ingest any part of it!

Found an interesting site from the University of PA. At the bottom of the page it has 'Tox Factoid' info about potatoes (also in the nightshade family). It says....... ordinary potatoes, if grown too close to the soil surface, will develop a green skin due to sun exposure. The green skin (in addition to young sprouts) can contain harmful glycoalkaloids. Green tissue should be removed from potatoes before eating.

Egads! I've purchased bags of 'taters from time to time that had green spuds in them. Didn't like the looks of them either but, I do think I peeled all the green away.... I hope........

Sunday, September 6, 2009

October Clouds in a September Sky

I started this watercolor sketch a few days ago. The dark bottomed clouds, big and full. So full of Fall.

The last few nights, flocks of Canada Geese have been flying in. Such sweet music to my ears.

Labor Day Weekend, the lake is buzzing with activity. The last hurrah. Next week, lots of docks will be pulled out, cottages winterized. I'm glad we're heading south. I hate to see summer end.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Summer Color Moods

Our time in New York is almost at an end. When we arrived in July, I had envisioned a lot more time on the boat taking in the evening colors. Silly puddin'!

Between nursing Rob through back surgery/recovery, keeping the dogs from eating my in-laws newspapers, mail, food, cat food, litter (this house is not Basenji proof!) elder care, cooking and cleaning......... Whew! I need a vacation :) Some days I've felt like Goldie Hawn in Overboard after she's cleaned up the house and kids and all she can do is sit with a dazed expression and say 'Buh, buh, buh, buh, buh.' My hand is raised, I am there!

Thank you, Lord, for helping me to find some time to journal! It has so saved my sanity!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Mystery Plant Solved!

Back in mid-August I came upon a wildflower I'd not encountered before. I sketched it in my small Moleskine, and because I had failed to pack my wildflower guides for our NY trip, I asked my blogging friends to help me out with it's I.D. Here's the 'Mystery Solved' completed journal page.

I've been wanting to create a larger page to celebrate my new find and finally, yesterday, I managed to escape to the creek. I remembered to bring a towel to sit on (grass stains on white pants last time) and there I sat for an hour, in the late afternoon sun, watercolor pencils laid out in front of me on my tote bag, sketchbook in my lap.

This time there were only a few flowers in bloom and most were at the end of the plant's stems. Lantern shaped casings covered most of the plant. They had grown quite a bit since my first sketch and I could feel the small fruit inside.

My internet research on Groundcherry provided interesting facts and I wanted to include 'Faunal Associations' on my page. That's where I started and worked the illustrations around this type block. First, I split one of the casings in order to get a good look at the fruit. There was a loose dried up piece of plant in the casing - part of the flower? I was hoping the berry would be larger and I'm assuming they will grow more as this fruit was green. When ripe they can be yellow or red in color and the casing turns brown.

I wrote and sketched with a .005 Micron pen that kept wanting to dry up. I had to retrace some letters - not always a fun thing to do. I finished drawing just before 5 p.m. and then was attacked by skeeters! Coloring waited until after dinner.

It's funny. A lot of time lapsed between the initial sketch and yesterday's. Plenty of time for me to think about page design for my next entry. HA! Working in the field can oft times take you on a different ride. While initially disappointed in my endeavor (crooked type and date block, light ink on words....) today, when I photographed the page, I felt like it was fresh and immediate - just as it should be for field work.