Monday, January 26, 2009

It's back............ The Osprey Webcam!

At last, Palmetto Electric has turned on it's Osprey Webcam for the 2009 season :) When you visit this site, make sure to click on the Osprey Gallery too. And, if you really get addicted..... there's a blog you can take part in. Happy virtual birding!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Water Studies

I have had a long love affair with water. One of my earliest journal entries was of a reflection study at Look Park in Massachusetts.

In the 90's I explored water, this time my media was fiber. I was weaving on an 8 harness floor loom. Great fun! Now, all that know me understand my affinity for birds, especially those that frequent marshes, lakes, swamps and oceans. Hmmmmm, there seems to be a pattern here.

My latest acrylic, Who's the Fairest, begins yet another study of water, but this time, with wonderful winged creatures. I've been sorting all my images, of water reflections, I've photographed over the years. Can't wait to dig in, but first, I can't resist playing with a new image I photographed a few days ago.

It really is pretty drab but....... when I looked through my sun glasses into the view finder there were these wonderful colors. It must have been caused by the polarizing lenses. This dull, gloomy winter water reflection became....... well, here's what I saw.

I decided, since this was my first large watercolor pencil study (9x12), I'd make scans at different stages. The first scan shows the initial sketch, right side is straight pencil, left side has been wet with a Niji waterbrush.The final scan for this post may be the final stage. I have to let it sit for a day or two and see if I want to play anymore. I used the Faber Castell pencils and the large Niji brush. I went thru a bit of water. 2 barrels on the first scan, but then water output slowed down. I think traditional watercolors may be easier. I think I would have had more control on the water ripples also. Let's call this my impressionistic take :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Watercolor Pencil Workshop at SOBA

I always get so excited when it's time to teach a workshop. This time the theme was not the usual "How to Create a Nature Journal," but an "Intro to Watercolor Pencils." I didn't mandate what type of paper or watercolor pencils the participants should bring but, insisted that they get a Niji WaterBrush.

This workshop was part of the Saturday 'Winter Blues' Series at the Society of Bluffton Artists (SOBA) Gallery, and they are three hours long. By far the shortest workshop I've given. I will teach a mini "Intro to Nature Journaling" on two consecutive Saturdays, at the end of February. No watercolor pencils then, though. I think it will be best to focus on how to get your subject down on paper and enjoy telling about it :)

Some of my students already owned their wc pencils prior to the workshop, but really hadn't explored the possibilities yet. None had ever used a waterbrush before. What fun we had!

First, they took their pencils out for a spin by creating color charts and mixing colors. Then I did some demo's on how to create marsh grasses, waves and clouds. To my dismay I forgot to show them my technique for spanish moss.......

Then, each went to work recreating their watercolor pencil rendition of a photograph. I hovered and gave pointers/mini demo's when asked. It was a quick three hours!
When the weather warms, I promised to arrange a plein air instruction session. Thank you, Carol, Debbie, Ruth, Donna , Judy and Pat! See you soon!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Breeding Plumage

The other day I saw a Great Egret with the beginnings of breeding plumage! Such a celebration to see these magnificent birds alive and well. To think they were once hunted and killed for their plumes for the millinery trade. Thank you, George Bird Grinnell for creating the Audubon Society in 1886 and for the group of women who started the Massachusetts Audubon Society in 1896. They boycotted clothing that used bird feathers! Our voices can be heard!

The day I made the above journal entry, I was in search of Great Egrets in breeding plumage. I went to Pinckney Island NWR and walked to Ibis Pond toting my spotting scope, Nikon coolpix camera, and journaling supplies. When I arrived, there wasn't an egret in sight. Common Moorhens were chattering away. They always make me smile. I walked around the right side of the pond, still nothing. Then, as I reach the far side, I spotted a Great Egret in the reeds. At last! I can set up shop and get this scope off of my shoulder - it gets heavy!

My initial view of the egret was at a weird angle but, I loved it. While my one eye was looking thru the spotting scope the other helped guide my hand with a modified contour sketch. The green of the bird's lores was amazing! Could I do them justice with the colors I had on hand? After my sketch was finished, I watched the bird a little longer, taking some digiscope photos. I chose to create this painting using a different body position that looked more believable. I'll always love my Quasimodo Egret sketch though :)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sea Pine Forest Preserve

Lake Mary, at Sea Pine Forest Preserve, on Hilton Head Island, SC is one of our favorite spots to spend the day.

We bring the dogs, our cameras, my scope and most important.... my journaling supplies. The dogs get so excited as we make the turn into the Preserve. We head for the picnic table area off the Anhinga Trail and set up camp for the day. Since we don't have the type of dogs that can be 'off leash,' we bring their x-pen and their picnic carpet pads (no, they are not tooooo spoiled) so Rob and I can do our thing and the dogs can enjoy a snooze in the sunshine. The above journal page is from January 2006. We will be back in our favorite spot in a couple of weeks. I love returning to places and journaling. I love to see the changes and compare observations from season to season. You can really engrave favorite places into your heart this way. I hope the Brown Pelicans will be there. We usually hear a Barred Owl call. Perhaps this year we'll see it!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Baby, it's cold outside! (more journal reflections)

Back in 1981, I was living in Littleton, MA. Frost patterns on the windows have always intrigued me. One of my bedroom windows faced east and I can remember this lovely, cold, January morning as the sun streamed through the window creating such beauty through the frost. Tooooo bad that you can't see the image that's in my memory from looking at this page.... It's beautiful!

I'm sure glad it doesn't get that cold here in SC :)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Do You Know Where You Were In January 1976?

For me, the New Year always brings a time of reflection. Back to my journals I go :)

1976 was my second year out of college. The New Year began with reflections of the summer of 1974 when my college friends and I spent our last 'free' summer after college on the Cape (MA). This color pencil rendition was inspired by a photograph I had taken. East Dennis was the home of my (at the time) heart throb :)

My friends, Chrissie and Patty and I worked various jobs that summer. I was a hostess at an IHOP in Hyannis. My claim to fame was being able to carry 12 glasses of water (all at once and w/o a tray) to a table. Oh, I also remember seating Herb Reed of the Platters and he gave me a $10 tip!!

Note the poem by Rod McQuen. I still have three books of his poems that filled our hearts during and after our college years. Sigh........

I could go on and on about this magical summer but, not today. See why journals are so priceless? So many memories come flooding back with just a glance of a page :)