Monday, June 27, 2011

Flower, Fruit and Berry Report

Please click to enlarge.
Along the cart path on the 10th hole, across from the 150 yard marker is a spot large enough to park the cart and be out of the way of golfers... Standing in this one spot, I was treated to all these beauties. Eye candy everywhere!

I did the pen sketching and added watercolor to one flower, Beautyberry leaf, Hickory leaf and nut - enough for reference when I returned home.

More time was spent doing research and the lettering than sketching! I love the thrill of sketching plein air. But, the fun continues when I hit the field guides. After searching all 3 southeast wildflower field guides in my library, I had to consult the internet for the Bigroot morning-glory. I'm a Wikipedia fan!

You can enlarge the page for the full report :) Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Witchhazel, Witch Hazel, Witch-Hazel

In November of 2010, I discovered a Witchhazel shrub/tree along the tree line on the 10th hole of our neighborhood golf course. It was the yellow, thread-like twisted flowers that caught my eye. This graceful, delicate, small tree was loaded with flowers and a few very colorful leaves that had a mind to linger a bit longer on the branches.

For those who are new to my blog, the 10th hole has a treasure-trove of trees. So far, I've identified 30 different species.... and those trees run right along the cart path!  I'm sure, when I get my snake boots and walk into the woods a bit, I'll find even more. This patch of woods is a classic bottomland hardwood forest because of its variety of trees, shrubs and rich, moist soil. About 15 feet in from the cart path, shallow water is always present. Thus, I want snake boots!

In last year's Witchhazel research, I learned that fruit forms on the branches the year following the flowers and will mature in October - November. I've been eagerly awaiting fruit development. In early June I began to notice fruit bearing trees were changing. Where Sparkleberry shrub/tree's flowers were in May, now tiny berries are appearing. The Hickory trees are sporting nuts, Red Cedars are decorated with their delightfully blue berries...... and, the Witchhazel trees has fruit :)

The pen sketch and some of the color was added on location. I didn't quite have enough time as golfers made the turn onto #10 a tad quicker than I had hoped. So, I drove the golf cart further down 10 to an area that had a good sized spot where I could pull to the side and continue my discoveries without fear of being bopped on the head with a golf ball.  Stay tuned for my next page :)

P.S. I found 3 different ways the name for the tree was spelled... thus my title :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Honored and Thrilled!

Look what came in the mail today!

In my hot little hands is my very own copy of Cathy (Kate) Johnson's new book... 'Artist's Journal Workshop, Creating your life in words and pictures.'

I'm both honored and thrilled that Kate asked me to be a part of this project and proud to say five of my journal illustrations are included within its pages.

I'm also a contributing author on the companion blog: Artist's Journal Workshop.

I can't wait to dive in and read every word. Just thumbing through, the content is astounding. North Light Books did a fantastic job. But the 'Best' award goes to Kate for all her hard work, dedication, and generous spirit. I know I can speak for all 26 international artists, invited to be a part of this project, when I say "Thank you, Kate, for creating a perfect book that not only shows how much fun, rewarding and therapeutic keeping an artist's journal is but also how to create one of your own."

Don't miss your own adventure - this wild ride around the sun!  To peek inside and order a copy of your own, click here.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Full Stawberry Moon Chronicles

Click image to read right page.
I've been anticipating this full moon all month. After missing the opportunity to paint last month's full moon eve, I was determined to capture this month's.

I was expecting the same overly large looking moon. Not so! I wonder what determines that optical illusion?  What ever it is, it wasn't working this time - at least not here.

I had envisioned painting the moonrise from the 18th tee box at our neighborhood golf course, but when we arrived, the scene was dull and lifeless. The haze from the day's heat (heat index of 101 degrees at 3:30 pm) was hanging on.  Rob and I rode over to number 9. Enough time had passed and the moon was strutting it's stuff.  We parked in the middle of the bridge that crosses the marsh that's between the 9th green and the club house. Happily I painted :) A great way to celebrate Flag Day!

Rob had to work the evening of the full moon, I was on my own. I parked on the bridge a few minutes before 9 pm. At 9:03 I caught the first glimpse of the moon behind the tops of the trees that border the marsh along 18. I quickly set up my chair, secured my book light and journal page to my foam core board, and by the time I was ready the moon had cleared the trees and most of a cloud. No moon reflection on the water yet but the lights from the houses on the other side of the 18th fairway twinkled through the trees.

Ut oh, my book light fell off and now it's not working and the moon is high enough that the water is absolutely beautiful and I can't see a thing!!  I turned on the cart's lights but that's toooo much light.... Ahhhhhhhhh!

I quickly packed my stuff and chair into the golf cart and drove back to the house for a flash light.  Note to self: always carry two light sources!!

The moon and water were even prettier when I arrive back. This time I decided to paint from the cart. It was almost high tide. The spring tides have been quite high the last few nights and water was already starting to cover the dirt cart path where the bridge ended.

As I painted the scene I heard a very slow, methodical woosh, woosh, woosh, woosh of the water - the same sound you hear when you're walking in the water.  Oh, a visitor? In the water? My tiny flashlight beam didn't help me view the landscape, neither did the moonlight. Spooky! Then I realized is must be our neighborhood deer. I see their tracks in the marsh mud at low tide all the time. Sure wish I could have seen them, though.

I so love when full moons and high tides coincide. My wish is for everyone to experience the magic of moonlight on water - especially calm water. It's soul stirring.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Birding with Kelly... AKA Red and the Peanut

Imagine my delight when I received an email from Kelly, of Red and the Peanut, letting me know she'd be visiting Hilton Head Island real soon! I sooo love meeting blogging friends :)

click for larger view
We met at Pinckney Island Wildlife Management Area and off we went to Ibis Pond. Kelly has a keen eye and pointed out many a bird treat.  The first was a Boat-tailed Grackle nest built within the cattail reeds - a beautiful, deep structure constructed from dead cattail reeds and woven into living cattails.

Kelly captured this sketching moment for me :) My scope is just in front of me. I love sketching with a scope. My sketching combines both blind and modified contour techniques.

The Grackles were flying above us sounding like helicopters. Just as I was about to move on, I saw a Grackles beak rise above the side of the nest!

I moved a bit more to the left and started to draw a pair of White Ibis. One was perched above and to the left of a nest, the other laying on the nest. Just when I was going to start sketching the Ibis on the nest, they traded places. Dang... But, it was fun to see the changing of the guard :)

Then I spotted two juvi Tricolor Herons with fantastic 'bad hair' heads. Oooo they are so fun!

We moved around to see the more densely populated trees. Just amazing. Kelly said the bird numbers are actually down from her visit here last year.  We are in the midst of a drought which directly affects nesting. I can't believe how much the cattails have filled in the pond since my visit in 2009.  It's a wonder there's any open water. 

Kelly of 'Red and the Peanut'
Wait until you see some of the shots, Kelly got. She has such a great eye! Be sure to check out her blog.

Here's a taste of what we were viewing...
White Ibis







This short video of Little Blue Herons, Egretta caerulea, shows adults flying in to feed their babies.  Immature Little Blues are always white. Their feathers will start to darken after their first spring. You can distinguish them from Snowy Egrets, Egretta thula, by noting coloration of their beak (pale grayish green) and legs (pale dull green). I shot this with my little Nikon Coolpix.  I so love this camera :) Kelly's doing most of the narrative. She's so funny!

And, the completed journal page... I added color at home.
click for larger view
It was so good to finally meet you, Kelly!! Y'all come back so we can do this again :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Wood Stork 2

I think 'Flaps Down' would be a good title for this.  How about you?

This is the image for the back of the T shirt.  They should be printed and ready by the end of the month. I'll post the finished product then.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Wood Stork

I'm currently working on Wood Stork illustrations to be used on a T shirt for a summer camp.

This will be on the front, upper left side. This is fun :)

Stay tuned for the image for the back side!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Tank Mates

I work at three jobs - Nature Artist and Workshop Instructor as my business and Coordinator for Spring Island's Nature & Arts events.  For the most part I work out of my home but when I have to go into 'the office' it's located at Spring Island's Nature Center. 

I pinch myself every time I cross the causeway to Spring Island. It's a 3,000 acre nature preserve with a residential community that's been carefully woven into the natural landscape.  I'm continually inspired by the beauty there.

When I enter the back door of the Nature Center I walk past tanks occupied by various snakes and at the end of this room is a large tank containing two baby American Alligators, a constantly hungry Terrapin and a couple of Chicken Turtles.

On this day I witnessed a special treat.... A baby gator lounging atop of two chicken turtles.  I walked slowly toward the tank but didn't dare get too close. My co-workers are getting used to me taking an art break :) And, being conscious of 'the clock' I sketch really fast.... great practice :) I added color today. Below is the original sketch.