Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Watching Water Patterns

Last evening the lighting on the water was beautiful. Watching the patterns of moving water reminds me of classical music. Even better, I liken it to composing music. There are so many color layers (instruments), each adding their beauty to the whole. I try to watch each color, it's movement, in hopes of being able to recreate water's melody to flat paper.

I thought if I shot a short video of what I was so carefully studying, I could save this moment in time. So, imagine my surprise when I first re-played the below clip, that not only did I capture the water's patterns but Dudley halfheartedly singing to MASH's theme song in the background!

Just for the fun of it, one day I'll post a clip of our dog's full-hearted duet to MASH. One of life's joys :)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Old Town Bluffton - An Illustrated, Hand-built Journal

In May of 2009, Old Town Bluffton was celebrated by plein air artists taking part in the Bravo Event 'Art in the Park. For one week, artists were found around Old Town painting different scenes.

I chose to create an illustrated, hand-built book. The May River was my main theme for this watercolor journal. I was able to paint plein air for two of the spreads. Due to rain, the other two (Boundary Street and Calhoun Street) were created in my studio. I worked from photographs displayed on my computer monitor.

The finished Concertina Book is bound with a hardcover featuring hand-painted paper in the colors and design of water. The inside covers feature the same acrylic ink and pattern used for the cover. Two sets of pages have their edges bound with embroidery floss to match the colors of the cover. For the closure I used hand-painted thread elastic and 2 shell buttons.

While the majority of the book was painted in May, I just finished assembly last week. I wasn't quite sure what to use as a closure. The original plan was to use ribbons but, I knew I'd get the chance to peruse JoAnn fabrics when in NY. I couldn't believe it when I came upon shell buttons that matched my colors!! I'm glad I waited :)

As an extra special touch, I included a pocket in the back of the book that holds a small written journal containing notes I kept while painting plein air.

The book can be displayed as a sculptural piece as it is sprayed with Krylon's UV protectant. The ultimate would be to display it under a small plexi-glass cube. This one-of-a-kind 'child' of mine is looking for home. For more information, please contact me at pjbartstudio-at-hargray-dot-com.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

3 Second Poses of our Doodle Bear, a.k.a. Dudley

Dudley sat still for the longest time. That is until I reached for my Moleskine. Then he really put me to work with 3 second poses. Finally I grabbed the camera :)

Here are our sweet fur kids enjoying the back of the docked pontoon boat. It was a picture perfect evening.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Nightshade & Jewelweed

Thanks to blogging friend, Carol, I have names for my wildflowers/plants and...... a finished journal page! My heart is happy :)
Thanks, Carol :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mystery Plant # 3

Crazy weather made for fast sketching. Glad I didn't attempt to camp out in front of this plant with supplies spread all over. Soon as I finished the right page, the rain came down hard - the first of many quick storms we've had today.

Okay, need another name. Quiltin' Mama, are you up for this one too? I hope, I hope :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Forgot to pack my Wildflower Guide!

I can remember the moment clearly. I was packing our suitcase and thinking I must not forget to throw my Roger Tory Peterson Wildflower guide in with my art supplies........ Really miss my scanner too.

So....... this is my unfinished journal page for today. Slightly out of focus with poor lighting. Grumble, grumble, grumble...

I had a lovely 2 hour nature break! The creek, which is usually dry this time of year, was gurgling away. How I love water music!
I see these flowers daily when I walk the dogs. I've one more plant to draw. It's a beauty so it'll get it's own page :)

Do you by chance know common and latin names of these plants? (you can get a slightly bigger, blurry image if you click on it) If so, please share. In the meantime, I'll try rephotographing and post a better image :) Many thanks!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Western NY Summer Colors

Since arriving in NY I've been dying to get out and paint these roadside beauties. Chicory lines the rural roadsides. I'd love to see it cultivated in rows. It would be the Finger Lakes version of the wonderful lavender fields of France.

Queen Ann's Lace is so abundant I'm tempted to paint a scene similar to Monet's poppy fields and title it Monet's QAL :) Time for this girl to be silly...

The yellow wildflower/weed is a mystery to me. It has a dandelion like flower, multiple flowers on the tall stems and I've seen different plant structures. Need to get home to my reference library.

I did this quick watercolor sketch in my Auwabee sketch book. The paper wrinkled a bit, thus the dull uneven colored background. I don't have my scanner with me and I'm winging it with a small digital camera.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sketching in Nature Blog

Woo Hoo!!! I'm pleased to announce that I've been invited by Cathy Johnson(Kate) to be a correspondent for Sketching in Nature, a group blog of international nature artists who enjoy working and learning in nature.

You'll want to have a peek :) There is also a Flickr group pool by the same name that you can join if you are a plein air nature artist.

Here's my introduction and first entry.

Hello Everyone! I'm Pam Johnson Brickell, a born and raised New England farm girl, currently living in and loving the low country of South Carolina.

As a youngster, I knew art had to be a big part of my life. In my early teens, my folks fostered this passion by letting me study pastel painting with a local artist, and then didn't bat an eye when I announced I didn't want to attend a traditional college but desired to apply to the School of the Worcester Art Museum. Luckily, SWAM accepted this determined girl :) After college, I sought full time jobs that kept me close to creative 'types' - I worked my way up to positions in photographic lab management and then advertising production and traffic management. My personal creativity ebbed and flowed as time allowed.

In 1990, I left the corporate world and focused full time on my art career. At that time I was heavily into weaving, but in 2000, when we moved from NC to western NY, my focus returned to watercolors. I became enthralled with birds, especially raptors and water-birds. I've always sketched in journals, but I attribute the loooong, cold, gray winters of the finger lakes region the catalyst that made me fine tune my nature journaling skills. The dogs and I would bundle up and head out for our daily walks. I'd look for and record any signs of life; migrating waterfowl, geese, raptors, animal tracks, and come March - tiny signs of spring...... Nature journaling was my religion, my link to sanity during the gray days!

I think I own every 'how-to' nature sketch/journal book ever published by Kate, Hannah Hinchman, Clare Walker Leslie, Claudia Nice and Irene Brady. How honored I am to have Kate invite me to participate in this blog. Wow! I'm still smiling :)

My family, (husband and various fur kids over the years) have lived in MA, NC (2x), AZ, NY (2x), TN and now, our second time in SC. My moto ~ have husband, will travel ~ It's been fun to experience different parts of the country but for me, it's time to stay put and actually get a chance to settle in. Living in the south is sooooo different than the northeast. My days of wandering off into the woods to explore halted. Why? Primarily snakes and insects, the latter having a field day with me in manicured landscapes. I could only imagine my fate in the southern woods!

My goal to become settled in the low country led me to enroll in Clemson University's Master Naturalist Program. It's an intensive, 12 week study of the low country's environs. My classmates and I tromped through woods, held snakes (thankfully a friendly corn snake for me), walked tidal flats and waded in shallow tidewaters finding all sorts of goodies and some oogie slimy critters..... While I love being a constant student of nature, I definitely like to focus on trees, wildflowers, raptors and water-birds :)

I show my nature inspired acrylic and watercolor paintings at galleries, attend a few fine art fairs a year, and accept commissions. But mostly, I enjoy teaching nature sketching/journaling with watercolor pencils and Niji waterbrushes and share my knowledge of the low country with other transplants. Many people are moving to the area, building is out of control, and we need to protect the fragile ecosystem of the marshes and rivers. Like my role models listed above, I hope to help my students see with new eyes and hopefully they will get involved in the quest to save this place we now call home.

You can view my paintings at my website and follow my low country discoveries at my blog. I'm also on Flickr.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

10 Minutes for Geese


Surgery day for Rob. There was the sweetest tree outside the window of the surgical center's waiting area. I was so happy I brought my sketchbook. Thought I'd have lots of time to work on my sketch while they prepped Rob. Not! I barely finished the ink sketch. I added the color while Rob and I waited for the surgeon. Could have painted a forest then......... Had a three hour wait. In desperation, I sketched Rob's feet and lower legs. They put heavy duty white knee socks on, then the cute sock booties you always get in the hospital. I won't embarrass him by posting that sketch :) Needless to say, I titled it "Nice Socks!"