Thursday, September 27, 2012

Beach Day with my Stillman and Birn Journal

Last month I entered a drawing on Stillman and Birn's FaceBook page to win one of their hardbound journals that feature 180 lb. watercolor paper.  I was one of 10 lucky artists to win  :)

Two Sundays ago, I had the perfect opportunity to take it for a spin.  We treated ourselves to beach chairs and an umbrella and that's where I sat as I broke the journal in, carefully opening it in the center and bending the covers back until they touched.  I followed Jamie Grossman's instructions to the letter.  Thanks, Jamie!

I started with the sky. If you look real close at the photo above, you can see my travel palette on the right.  My brush was a large Pentel waterbrush.
Unfortunately, or fortunately as it turns out, my left margin listed to the right.  On one of our beach walks, we happened upon a new treasure. It turned out to be the tail of a horseshoe crab. And, as journal keeping goes, I celebrated this serendipitous find and drew in into the most perfect spot on my page :)  The part of the tail that connects to the crab was spooky looking. It reminded me of a Halloween goblin.... ooga booga!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Broad Strokes

Today, Spring Island's Landscape Ecologist, whom I share office space with, asked if I wanted to visit one of our resident's garden... I grabbed my sketch bag before he even finished his sentence :)

I've been hearing about Ann's garden for two years.  It is incredible. Loaded with native plants and in one small area she has a butterfly garden that does have a few non-natives.

As we approached, the Joe Pye Weed and Thoroughwort plants caught my eye.  I could go no further.

We visited during lunch and didn't have a lot of time, so I concentrated on capturing the shapes and colors that initially caught my eye.  This can sometimes tear at me as I do love the details of plants... But, lunch is lunch and I hadn't eaten yet!

The majority of this page was painted within 20 minutes.  I penciled in the names of the plants, but not in the position you see them now.... just scratched them in as reference.  Upon returning to the office, I wrote the plant names on a separate sheet of paper, erased my pencil notes, then began the lettering.  But, there was an awkward empty spot near the bottom of the page.... hmmm.  A perfect spot for Otto!  I had taken a few photos of butterflies during our time there.  Otto made it into one of them.  I'm glad I had a reference image of him!

I must go back to Ann's garden.  The majority of wildflowers are getting ready to bloom... Autumn in the lowcounty is a wildflower delight!



Wednesday, September 5, 2012

New Item in Sketch Bag

Click to Enlarge

This page started off to feature the new addition to my plein air supplies, but then the page took on a life of its own :) 

Often, when painting the full moon, I get frustrated with the drying time of watercolors, especially in the summer months when the humidity and mosquitoes are fierce.  I just don't have the luxury of waiting for paint to dry and often have to finish the page upon returning home.

I've been looking for small fans that would fit in my bag, not weigh too much and have some decent reviews written about them.  The size of this little Coleman personal fan is perfect.  It's 4 inches tall, 1 3/8 inches wide and 3/4 deep. It weighs 4 oz. with 2 AA batteries inserted and puts out quite a breeze!  The reviews were mixed and averaged 3 out of 5 - 5 being excellent. I ordered it on Amazon and since there were already enough items in my cart to qualify for free shipping, I took a chance on the this ever so expensive (ha, ha) $5.27 fan!

Now for the opportunity to try it out!!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Blue Moon Celebration... Goodbye Neil

We've had soooo many storms all week that I was thrilled when the Weather Channel said our chances for rain would be 30% at moonrise Friday.  I was still worried that a thunderstorm might pop up.  Usually a 30% chance of rain in the lowcountry means zero rain..... but lately, that truth is being rubbed out! I'm happy to say there was nary a cloud in the eastern sky come moonrise :) 

Before I left the house, I used masking fluid to spell out Blue Moon on a couple of journal pages. The nib was a little too broad on my first attempt, but my second writing, using a smaller nib, was the look I had in mind.  I used Daniel Smith masking fluid.  I like their offering as they provide you with several nib attachments that you can tailor to suit your own needs.

I was able to get the base watercolor sketch laid in on site, then moved to a different location so I could get the moon reflection in the tidal creek.  I wish I could have painted them entirely plein air, but neglected to test my light prior to leaving the house..... the battery was very dead.

Given the massive amounts of mosquitoes, I didn't get too upset with myself for not checking the light :)

It's amazing how dark it can get in 15 minutes!

As I finished the second sketch today, I knew this was the one I wanted to dedicate to Neil Armstrong. Neil, I'm sorry you've left this world, but happy that the universe lined up with your passing so that you were able to be laid to rest during a Blue Moon!