Sunday, August 2, 2020

Oh the Night Sky...


  

I’ll always be grateful for having dogs in our lives.  They’ve kept me connected to the night sky whether from the ‘last call pee trips’ before bed or the thankfully seldom wee hours of the morning ‘I’ve got the runs’ trips.  Probably TMI there!

During the last pee trip on July 31st, the sky was so lovely! I didn’t care that is was 11 pm, the sky had to be captured in my journal.  For those that have followed my art journey for a while, you know I’ve a passion for the moon... (see past posts here).  When I paint plein air at night, I have a setup that includes a portable LED light so that I can see my palette and paper.  There was no time to pull that setup out. 

I grabbed the little 3x5 Stillman and Birn Alpha Journal out of my purse along with a waterbrush and Art Tool Kit palette. Out to the driveway I went. The car hood served as my support, the porch light behind me as a faint light source.  Saturn and Jupiter were chasing the waxing moon. A Longleaf Pine framed the beauty.   The scene was captured using the direct watercolor technique (no sketching).  The paper stayed quite damp with the humid air.  I used whiteout for Saturn and Jupiter and a bit on the moon.  I added ink the next morning.

I so love the immediacy of working plein air!


Tuesday, July 28, 2020

10-Minute Tuesday Series Begins


As a celebration for fast sketching and a goal to create more accurate quick sketches, I've created a personal challenge to post a weekly sketch that was created in up to 10 minutes. 

I haven't had my bird feeders up in over a year.  Life was just a bit full and I let one of the things that brings me so much pleasure, slip by the wayside.  May I suggest if this happens to you, try and hold on and make time for those small pleasures in your life.  They are so healing.  We all need to take care of ourselves, so we can put our best foot forward.

Tools used: Platinum Carbon Fountain Pen, Art Tool Kit Palette with a mix of Daniel Smith and M. Graham watercolors, Pentel Waterbrush, Stillman & Birn Gamma Series Journal.

This sketch was created with a combination of observation through my binoculars and cementing the titmouse's body posture in my mind (or at least tried to), then immediately sketched what I remembered.  I love sketching with ink - no time for judgement, just get what's in your mind's eye down. 

Terrifyingly freeing : ) 

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

With Just Four Colors... Working with a limited palette


... And a waterbrush...  Oh, the colors that can be created!

This exercise was done with Derwent brand watercolor pencils.


Note the ratio of colors used when making the secondary colors.  Knowing this information before you paint is a real time saver.  Colors: Lemon Cadmium, Crimson Lake, Prussian Blue & Golden Brown
It's important to rinse your brush after every color so nothing gets contaminated.  You want to know what each color will give you - you want true color.


Steps for painting the marsh:
- Sky: horizontal strokes of blue pencil at the top of the paper
- starting at the horizon line, with clear water from the waterbrush, I wet the paper up and into the blue. 
- then let the deep blue blend down toward the horizon line by tipping the paper and using the waterbrush to bring down some of the blue into the clear water area.
- Marsh: put yellow pencil down everywhere there was marsh grass (horizontal strokes), then added bits of blue and golden brown. Wet the entire marsh, blending the colors.
- Treeline: now that the sky was dry, I worked on the background trees (vertical strokes).  Blue and golden brown at the bottom of the trees and yellow with a bit of blue at the top.  Added bits of red here and there along the bottom edge of the treeline.  Wet with brush, blending colors. Tried to keep the tops of the trees lighter at they were sunlit.
- added the far trees with blue and just a bit of golden brown (horizontal strokes) 
- Water: with the marsh grass now dry, I added bits of blue to the water area (horizontal strokes).  I wanted to keep it light, so just added spots of color that I blended into the white of the paper with the waterbrush.  The most blue was added to the water in the foreground.
- Foreground:  it's important that the marsh grass in the foreground have vertical strokes.  When the marsh grass was dry I added vertical strokes to the grass where it meets the water.  I wet the strokes with the waterbrush with vertical strokes.  Just enough to wet the pencil a bit.  I wanted to keep the texture of the vertical strokes.  While it was wet, I took my finger and moved the color down to create the reflection of the grass in the water.
- once dry, the added a darker horizontal strokes to create a sense of ground between the grass and its reflection.

Have you worked with limited colors before?  If not, I hope you give it a try!
Let me know if you have any questions!

Monday, June 29, 2020

What is Going to Catch My Eye?

            
I organize a group of sketchers that meet once a month for what we call a SketchCrawl. We meet at various places around the Bluffton-Hilton Head area and sketch what ever is in front of us.  For the last several months, our Sketchcrawls have been virtual. 

I've been sketching a lot of plants in my yard.  But in June, the plants weren't speaking to me.  I hopped in my car and drove around.  One thought was to sketch at the vegetable stand, but there were way too many people for me to feel socially distanced enough.  Back into the car and down the road I went.   I then remembered a rather good sized drainage pond around the building where my dentist has their office.  It was a good choice. 

I found a tree lit by sunlight against a shaded background.  And, I was able to paint it from my air conditioned car - an extra bonus given it was one of our first humid days.



Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Salute to the Redbay Tree




Painted plein air using the direct watercolor method.  Text and line work added in the studio with Faber Castell markers.  Journal:  Stillman and Birn Alpha, soft cover.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

The Ever Lovely Horse Sugar Tree


Drawn and painted from life.  I'm fortunate to have these lovely trees in my backyard : )

Ink drawing and lettering done on 5.6.  Painted on 5.9. 
A page doesn't have to be completed in one sitting - Create when you can.

Friday, May 1, 2020

My Way to Play


For years I gave playing the game of golf a go.  I loved the scenery and happened to see a lot of the courses we played with my particular game...  I came to look on golf the same way Mark Twain did - a good walk spoiled.

Then, the last 5 years I played, I began to bring my sketchbook and watercolor pencils with me.  My husband and I would always play with 2 other men.  I had time to sketch little bits of things when they were on the tee box.  I immersed myself into what I loved and would forget the last lousy shots made.  This practice helped me take 10 strokes off of my game!!!

I no longer play the game, but do join my husband in the cart with my plein air setup.

These two small studies were started while the foursome finished one hole and teed up on the next.  I finished them from memory as we rode along.  
My little lap desk was purchased at an office supply store.  They also come in a light aluminum.  Their original use is for workers in the field that have forms to store inside.  When closed it acts like a clipboard.  I use blue tack to hold my brushes and small mixing palette.  Lots of clips to hold things in place.  It can be a bouncy windy ride around the courses!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Celebrate Earth Day! 50 Years and Counting

Twelve years ago today I began this blog to celebrate Nature in my newly adopted home in the lowcountry of South Carolina.

Fifty years ago today I took part in the first Earth Day celebrations.  Me, my good friend Jane, our Mothers (organizers of this clean-up event) and a few more kids and adults that my mind has now blurred, cleaned up an off-road spot on Farley Road.  It was a dirt car path into the woods that was frequented by young adults to park and drink.  I remember groaning at the thought of cleaning up all the bottles and cans  thrown by those with no respect for the land or other people's property.  Now what stands out in my mind is the feeling of accomplishment we all had at bringing this lovely little spot back to it's former beauty. 

My prayer continues to be for each person to do their small part to keep our Earth whole.  Little steps lead to such big things.  Not a chore at all.  We can do this!

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Conversation / Covid-19 Style

When we took our dogs for a golf cart ride the other evening, this was the scene at the end of our street.  When we returned, the conversation was still going on.  This sign of the times just had to be captured in my sketchbook.

Fountain pen with water soluble ink, platinum fountain pen, white gouache, water soluble tailors chalk.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Honoring Bloodroot IV

It's a good thing this pot of Bloodroot was in my office and I could check it frequently or I may have missed out on the plant's quick growth!

In just eight days seedlings went from barely popping out of the soil to blooming!