Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wildflower Finds III

Back to purple :)  These morning glories were so lovely I decided to create a journal page just for them.

Gil Nelson's book 'Atlantic Coastal Plain Wildflowers helped me make the correct ID.  I wrote his comments along the outer edge of the illustration.  Thanks, Gil!

'The name sagittata means "arrow shaped" in reference to the outline of the leaves.  This combination of deeply sagittata leaves and rose-purple flowers is an excellent field ID character.'

Wild Flowers Finds II

For most of July, all the wildflowers I found were purple or pink.  I found this most curious.

Mother Nature must have been reading my thoughts as I then found these brightly colored specimens.

I should know to trust Mother's sense of color :) 

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Wildflower Finds I

These days, my wanderings are highlighted with wildflower finds. Most seem to be purple!  I've two more journal pages to create for this series. One flower was a 'lifer' for me.  I found it on my way back from drawing the Marsh Fern.  Luckily I had my camera with me as I my schedule didn't allow drawing it in real time.  I hope my interpretation will do this wonderful specimen justice!  Say tuned.........

Monday, July 14, 2008

Marsh Fern

It is my quest, this summer, to learn the ferns common to the low country. I studied them while enrolled in the SC Master Naturalist program but, there was so much I was studying, that I didn't have the time to let each one's characteristics shine in my mind.

The only way I know to do this is to spend time in the field, observing and drawing. I can let my pencil dance along the paper as my eye traces the outline of each Pinna and Pinnule, (ah yes, there's the vocabulary to learn too...). It's a great way to get lost in time. Two hours flew by while I drew and painted the marsh fern. Then, once in the studio, research began concerning the Leafroller Moth. My naturalist friend, Marvin Bouknight, first answered my question about what critter folded over the tops of the ferns. I had to laugh when he said the 'Leafroller' Moth. I like it when science doesn't complicate things. The latin names are confusing enough! He said that it was a diminutive moth. I guess so! And, once I saw a picture of one on the internet (a great research tool) I realized I saw one of these moths last year! I love it when I can tie things together :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Nature Journaling From Afar

Let's face it, the majority of mankind lives in suburbia and the chances of observing intimate wildlife dramas are few and far between. But ahhhhhhh, there is a solution.... Webcam's! You can watch to your hearts delight and cause no stress to the animal you're viewing.

On March 8th, I checked out Palmetto Electric's webcam of an Osprey nest that is located on one of their towers (click title to connect to webcam). I became a webcam junkie! The images were incredible. I designated a part of my current nature journal to cover the nesting and hopefully birth of this Osprey family. I was chewing up pages with my observations. I became real good at capturing 5 second poses. Luckily, the Palmetto Electric webcam operator would capture some still images of the birds and post these to the website. How wonderful to have all this at the tips of my fingers! Who says you have to be outside to make journal entries! :)

I visited these magnificent birds first thing in the a.m and many times during the day until nightfall. I became worried about getting my work done as the Ospreys kept calling me to check them out. Kind of like the dark chocolate candy in the refrigerator......

It was fascinating to to watch the interplay between the male and female. Then, there were the times when the roosting parent would get in a defensive pose.... Eagle flying over? As I look back on my notes, I find many question marks. Bird behavior befuddleties (is that a word?)

This year's nesting story has a sad ending as, after the 3rd egg was laid, the birds stopped roosting on the nest. They covered the eggs with lots of nesting material and visited the often but, would not commit to laying on the eggs. ??????? Bbb!

Hopefully, next year will make for a happier ending. I better make sure to have all my new paintings, for spring shows, done early as I know I'll get nothing done should 2009's brood hatch!!