Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Commission

Now I can share what filled a chunk of my pre-holiday elfin magic :)

This lovely home is located in Colleton River Plantation. The view of the river from the equally large back porch is outstanding.

Thank you Linda and Nancy for the opportunity to surprise your folks this Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bear Tree

I've been walking by this interesting Live Oak for a year and a half, and finally, just the right day arrived to sketch it! I don't know if I achieved the look of a bear face in my drawing, but in real life it really does resemble one :)

The tree stands along a sidewalk in our neighborhood. I had to set my chair right in the middle of the walkway to capture the entire tree.  When I stood in front of the bear face for the close up, a delightful Fox Squirrel peeked from behind the tree. It was quite curious about the human standing there. At one point I thought it was going to leave the tree and inspect me up close!

Our lowcountry weather has been so absolutely balmy this November and December as compared to the last two years.  We really need a freeze. Our early spring wildflowers are thinking it's time to bloom!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Happy Waxing Moon

I so love it when the Moon smiles in the sky.

No Full Moon painting for me this month. Our sky was socked in with clouds.

I've two more sketches to do of the  convergence of Jupiter and the waxing Moon. Right now they are just hen scratchings on a piece of scrap paper and laying in my 'to do' pile :)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The 2012 LowCountry Sketchbook Calendar is Ready!!

Thank you all for your patience.  It sure has been an adventure to publish this calendar. Please click this link to preview and purchase my inaugural LowCountry Sketchbook Calendar.  That's just in case the video link below doesn't work.... ha ha, I'm so confident with my tech skills :)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

2012 Calendars Will Be Available Soon!


I've had such a good response to the calendars I made as gifts from Staples, that I'm very busy downloading my most popular journal pages into Lulu.com's calendar publisher.  I hope to have them ready to order by late next week.  The cost is $20 plus any applicable taxes and shipping.

Unfortunately, unless you have them shipped by ground, they won't arrive for Christmas. If you'd like to give this as a Christmas, Chanukah or Kwanzaa gift, let me know and I'll send you an image you can print and put into a card.....  Yes, I've been last minute with gifts before :)  But, I find a preview of what's to come really goes over well.  Sometimes, I've even wrapped the preview in a box... making it real special!  In this case, just blame it on the artist..... she has great ideas but an issue with timing... ha ha!

 Lulu.com offers very high quality printing.  The wall calendar opens to 17 x 11 inches and contains US and Canadian holidays. I've added Full and New Moon dates and other fun celestial events.... what a surprise, huh?

Stay tuned for the release date announcement! I will provide a link directly to my page on Lulu.com.

Back to the studio I go!  This elf is busy, busy :)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Moon Convergence with Planet Venus

One of the many reasons I love our dogs is that they have to be walked. So many sights I would have missed if not outside with them.

This is a memory sketch of yesterday's celestial happening. You can see it this evening, too :)
Look in the western sky not too long after sunset. The new Moon is a little over two days old and is only visible for a short time around sunset.

Friday, November 25, 2011

And the Winner Is....

Kate, from Letterplay :)  Congratulations, Kate!!  Please email your snail mail address to pjbartstudio(-at-)hargray.com.

Thank you everyone for inquiring where you can purchase the calendar. I originally made a few up for Christmas presents at our local Staples and decided to offer one here.  I'm now working quickly and will offer 2012 calendars either through Zazzle or Lulu. Please watch for updates!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

2012 Calendar GiveAway

click to enlarge
Oh, what fun! This 11 x 17 inch wall calendar contains all my favorite journal pages :-) It's printed on heavyweight paper with a mat finish that's perfect for writing on.

I've titled it, 'A Low Country Sketchbook', and hope that the lucky winner loves it as much as I do!

Along with traditional holidays that come with the base calendar, I've added Full and New Moon monthly dates as well as other celestial events.  In doing so, I've found that I have a full moon on my birthday! I'm tickled pink :-)

Just leave a comment that you'd like to be entered into the Thanksgiving Day drawing.  The winner will be announced on Black Friday.... shop 'til you drop day :-)

I'm very grateful to all my faithful readers! Have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 11, 2011

An 11.11.11 Thank You

Please click to enlarge
This shell will always have a special place on our bookshelves.
It's a memento from my Dad's Basic Training days at Parris Island.

He wrote the date on the shell. I can see him walking the shoreline of Port Royal Sound and finding this treasure as he contemplated his next steps into WWII.

I've been wanting to preserve the shell as a journal sketch for the longest time. I can't think of a better day... a more special day than today... to honor it forever :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Black-crowned Night Heron Juvi

click to enlarge
It was a sunny, crisp morning. The wind kicked up a bit and the dogs were frisky in the cooler temps. On the way back from our morning walk I spotted five Great Egrets and a couple of Black-crowned Night Heron juvi's roosting in the trees along the pond near our home.

I hurried the dogs into the house as I knew I needed to give myself a treat before I spent this beauty of a fall day indoors.... 

Today is the day I get to purge and reorganize  my studio to make way for an elliptical. I'm so looking forward to exercising but really not in the mood to go through my ever growing pile of papers.  I think I inherited the piling syndrome from my Mom. The art of procrastination.... well, I developed that all by myself!

A few minutes later, art bag, bins and chair in tow, I found only a couple of night herons and an Anhinga left in the trees. No matter. Plenty of visual goodies to choose from.

I added the pen work and white feather dots after I moved the furniture around in my studio. Now I'm taking a break from the purge....  a girl has to have some fun :)

Have a great weekend and don't forget to turn your clocks back tonight!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Playing with Watercolor Ground

I've been wanting to try Daniel Smith's Watercolor Ground (DSWG) since it first came out.  My subject.... a cigar box :)  No, I'm not a closet cigar smoker! Gag!

It's all about repurposing, and now that the smell from the little devil's finally faded, I'm quite excited about the possibilities. Tip: if you have a cigar store in your town, check them out. They sell their boxes for very, very little... Our local store asked $1.00 for the cardboard boxes and $2.00 for the wood boxes!

I decided I liked the red cover on this box and chose to tape off the foil stamped illustration and used this area for application of the DSWG. 

Once applied, the DSWG has to cure for 24 to 72 hours before applying watercolor or acrylic.  It can also be thinned up to 10% with water.  You can see in my second image that the ground looks thin in some spots. My intuition was telling me to add a bit more to even out the first coat, but my adventurous side wanted to see if the uneven coating really mattered.  I had several cigar boxes that I applied the DSWG to.  My studio was filled with the essence of gesso..... it was a bit too strong from my nose.

 You can see in the upper and lower left corners where the ground was applied too thinly.  Could I make this work?

Well, yes and no. The lower left corner was a bit too thin and when you view the box in person you can tell.

Painting on the DSWG was similar to the feel of  painting on watercolor canvas. It was necessary to dry each application of paint with a hairdryer. Lifting paint is easy and I didn't see any wear on the surface.  Truth be told, my lifting was more like scrubbing.....

Almost done! I'll let this sit for a couple of days and no doubt tweak the image a bit more. The last step will be to spray it with Golden's MSA Archival Spray Varnish to seal the surface.
This will be home for my Garden Journal - a collection of single watercolor paper sheets... but more on that later :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Current View

In April, I could see out of my right eye better without my current glasses. Now... it's the same with and without glasses....  Sketching has become increasingly difficult and for the last month I've only sketched twice. Haven't bothered to add color.  My left eye is tired. I'm sooooooo looking forward to a better view!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fish Haul Creek Park

At long last a few hours away that made me feel like I've had an entire weekend getaway!

Fish Haul is on Hilton Head Island and borders Port Royal Sound. It's a birder's paradise and an ecological wonder. Every SC Low Country Master Naturalist class gets a field trip here and is warned not to get stuck in the pluff mud.

When Rob and I arrived just before 5 p.m., the tide was on its way out. I set up my chair facing east and reached in my bag for my supplies when I discovered I'd left my travel watercolor palette at home! Luckily the Pentel pocket brush, Micron pen and waterbrushes were there.  A black and white page was not what I had in mind on this beauty of an autumn day, but it did give me a chance to finally play with the Pentel brush. 

We spent about an hour on the beach. The receding tide moved out quickly and shorebirds that had settled on the highest ground at high tide took flight several times, moving farther out into the Sound, landing on newly visible shoals. Pelicans, gulls and skimmers filled the sky! Great Egrets started to collect just past the large rock eddy. They know there's good fishing in shallow tidal pools :)

I love the time of the 'long shadows.' The colors of the marsh grass, ocean and sky were incredible... so many shades of green and blue. But, oh the bugs! AT 5:45 p.m., it was as if someone turned on the bug switch. Boom! They were everywhere. No-seeums, mosquitoes and whatever... Dang.  Driven off by insects.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Signs of Autumn in the Low Country

Spartina alterniflora
Here in the low country of South Carolina, our trees do not rush to change their leaves to the colors of orange, yellow, red, burgundy and purple we so love in Autumn. For that matter, Mother Nature doesn't abruptly turn the temperature down either!

Telltale signs that the hot, humid days of summer are finally going to come to a close revolve around the shortening of daylight, the observation of Hickory and Oak tree's bounty of fruit, Beautyberry and Sparkleberry bush's berry colors changing from green to magenta and black respectively, Devil's Walking Stick tree and Poke Weed fruit formation, and best of all, the color change of the cord grass in the salt marsh.

It seem's like just yesterday the smooth cord grass, Spartina alterniflora, turned it's beautiful, almost electric green. Over the last couple of weeks I've begun to note a plethora of greens and both raw and burnt sienna tones evolving. Altogether a feast for the eyes :)

Now that the Autumnal Equinox is upon us, what changes are you noticing in your neck of the woods?

In the above plein air sketch, I used Derwent watercolor pencils in an AquaBee Super Deluxe Sketchbook. It may have taken all of 10 minutes, but as I painted the below canvas in my studio, I could still feel the warm morning air and recall the smell of the pluff mud where the Great Egrets, Wood Storks and Ibis love to dine.

What's for Breakfast?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Harvest Moon Eve and 9-11 Anniversary

I listened to the reading of the names of those who lost their lives ten years ago. Like the moon, your light will always shine. You will be remembered.

Thank you to all those who met this attack head on and saved lives.

Thank you to those who worked in the rubble day after day, not thinking of the hazards.

Thank you to all that have rebuilt the holes in our country, that we may feel hope.

Thank you, troops for your sacrifice and courage, that we may remain free, rebuild and keep praying and working toward  harmony for our world.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Harvest Moon and 9/11

Harvest Moon 2010
Sunday, September 11th and Monday, September 12th, one of the most popular lunar events of the year takes place. The Harvest Moon :)

The name "Harvest Moon' is given to the Full Moon that's closest to the Autumnal Equinox. Sometimes it falls in early October. Other names for this moon are Fruit, Corn and Singing (Celtic) Moon.

Interestingly, the Harvest Moon rises closer to the same time on these two nights and right around sunset! Before automation and electric lights, farmers used the brightness of this Full Moon to continue the harvesting of their crops well into the night.

Now, y'all know I've been painting Full Moons for a couple of years. I can't seem to stop, nor do I want to :) I'm fully immersed into my Moon Journey © and am very thankful for discount book buying options. My already full library is in need of culling so I can find a place for these moon book purchases :)

I love reading about moon lore, how different cultures celebrate the moons travels across our sky and most fun of all is learning how ancients lived in harmony with nature and lunar cycles. Yup, I'm immersed :)

This is one of the many reasons I love Nature Journaling. My early artistic creations revolved around painting landscapes. As I sat outside sketching and painting, I began to take note of the vegetation around me, then the birds and insects... on and on, deeper and deeper my art and soul have explored the wonders around me. The connection I feel to the natural world makes my heart sing. I took John Muirs quote to heart and decided I wanted to be in the world... not on it.

Here is the expanded version of John's quote.... "Most people are one the world, not in it - have no conscious sympathy or relationship to anything about them - - undiffused, separate and rigidly alone like marbles of polished stone, touching but separate."

Tomorrow, we as a country, and hopefully as a unified world, have the opportunity to pause, say a prayer, fill our hearts with love, peace and a determination to overcome human tendencies that cut and destroy lives, surroundings and our world, while we remember the horrible loss of life and country that happened ten years ago. All week I've watched programs that document 9-11 and the rebuilding of the empty hole left in the ground and in our lives.

Let's use the brightness of this Harvest Moon to celebrate the courage of the men and women that gave their lives helping to save others. Let's dance in the moonlight and celebrate the lives of all who we've lost.  Let's let them know they are not forgotten and promise we will strive to not take one moment of our lives or our freedom for granted. Let's, with our prayers of and for peace, turn the tide of hatred to one of harmony.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Garden Journal Workshop Offering

Are you ready for an Artful Autumn Get-Away?

In conjunction with Coastal Art Supply and The Beaufort Inn
I will be conducting 
A Garden Journal Workshop
October 25, 26 and 27 · 10 am - 3:30 pm 

Images from the May 2011 Garden Journal Workshop

Autumn in the low country of South Carolina.... kiss the humidity goodbye and say hello to perfect Carolina blue skies and temperatures that will sooth your soul. Plan an Artful Autumn Get-Away and visit the delightful destination of Beaufort, South Carolina.

I am excited to join forces with Beaufort County's own Laura Lee Rose, a Clemson Extension horticulture agent and one of the area's foremost advocates of horticulture. She teaches the Master Gardener curriculum, oversees county-wide horticulture projects, speaks to schools and community groups, and has been active in organizing and promoting Beaufort's downtown community garden.

Learn sketching, page design, watercolor, lettering and artful journaling techniques from Pam and valuable plant identification, information and other horticultural goodies from Laura Lee.  

By the end of the workshop you'll experience the joys of keeping a garden journal and discover first hand how it can be utilized to plan your garden and serves as a record of your gardening trials and triumphs.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention.... lunch is provided by Southern Graces... Yum!

For information and registration call Coastal Art Supply at 843-524-2782

For lodging information, please click both the link attached to 
The Beaufort Inn and Beaufort, South Carolina. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Red Sky at Night Lesson For Me

It seems Nature wanted to let me know that there are many meanings to the old folklore saying of "Red sky at night, sailor's delight." This was our western sky the eve before Hurricane Irene's arrival. All I could think was.... so much for the red sky at night theory!

While I would not have wanted to be out on the water yesterday with the severity of riptides and ocean swell, the storm we experienced from Irene's far-reaching bands was relatively mild. At least in my patch of the low country!

This is my poster boy, Dudley. His cuteness saved his life during puppyhood. Now he's my very good, very spoiled boy, and I'm a well trained human!

In preparation for Irene's arrival, I took all  the porch furniture cushions into the house, leaving just one dog bed for... his highness. He was okay with that as it frequently occurs for thunder storm prep.

Around 3 pm, Dudley became quite agitated. I saw him bouncing around out on the porch. He started twirling... a true sign he's upset. Then, he came into my studio and actually pawed at me, wanting to climb up and sit on my lap. I was perched high up on my drafting chair, in front of the computer, trying to get work done for Spring Island.

As you can see, Dudley is not a fluffy, ragdoll type of lap dog. He weighs 21 lbs., and has a bony little bottom!  When he sits on your lap, he has no concept of lying across your legs or curling up in a ball..... On no, he sits in the pictured position with his front paw nails digging into your legs.  The poor boy was shaking like a leaf and then.... Irene arrived. It's so amazing what animals know!

Prior to becoming blind, his sister, Grizz, always let us know it was going to rain. She'd find me and pace, eat/chew anything she wasn't supposed to, just to get my attention that it was time to go out for a walk NOW!  Her radar was about a half to an hour out from the time of rainfall. As I became a better trained human, she didn't get the opportunity to eat/chew so many off limit things :)

Back to Irene..
The rain was quite heavy at times, but I've experienced more winds during some of our severe thunderstorms. It would pour, then nothing. During one of the nothings I took the dogs out for a quick trip but.... we had to race back to the house very shortly after leaving it!  That outburst lasted about an hour and we haven't seen rain since.

Oh, but the sky around sunset...
Look at these cloud bands..... This is the view to the east, and below, the western sky.

click to enlarge all images
So, my lesson from Nature is to learn to read her signs and trust she knows what she's talking about :)  Overall, our day was a sailors delight given what it could have been.

My heart and prayers are with all of you who are caught in this huge storm. Stay safe, be wise and know you will make it out to the other side.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sparkleberry, May Day and A Journey of Discovery

Click image to enlarge
This page has been a long time in the making! Truly a perfect example that you don't have to finish a journal page in one sitting.

I started this page on May 1st and while I put the finishing touches on it a couple of days ago, my journey of discovery is still going strong.

On April 30th, I caught a quick glimpse of flowering trees tucked in along the tree line on the cart path of our neighborhood's golf course. It was almost dark and I decided it'd be best to make a clear ID the next day, which happened to be May Day!

Perfect for celebrating, the day was adorned with a Carolina blue sky, plenty of sunshine and the heat and humidity were trying to creep in but a soft breeze kept it comfortable, especially in the shade. The challenge was to time our trek to the fourth hole so we didn't interfere with golfers... Finally, in the early afternoon there was a lull in play. I had my camera and sketching supplies ready to go and couldn't get there fast enough!

We arrived to find a mass of Sparkleberry trees
glowing in filtered sunlight that streamed through the
upper canopy trees. It was glorious!  I'd never seen so many Sparkleberry trees grouped together. Some were shrub like, others dainty trees.

I didn't want to leave, but since the golf course was still being used, we had to move on. I knew of another Sparkleberry tree that I could sketch and off we went.

Here is the plein air sketch.

Spring is such a happy time, trees bud, flowers bloom and everyone/thing feels so alive. A line from Camelot kept running through my mind... 'The lusty month of May.'

I wanted to celebrate May Day and the Sparkleberry Tree together. Something was driving me to take my time in planning how I wanted to finish this spread.

Click to enlarge
A tissue paper overlay is a great way to experiment with the placement of other elements you may want to add to your page. It keeps the paper from being compromised from too much erasing.
Click to enlarge

I started research on May Day and here's where my journey of discovery began.

The traditions of dancing around the Maypole and the making of May Baskets are familiar to me, but when digging deeper in my research, I found out that May Day is a Cross-Quarter Day.

Cross-Quarter Day?

Ancient mankind was very attuned to solar, earth and lunar cycles. The Vernal and Autumnal Equinoxes and Summer and Winter Solstices were major days for marking of length of daylight versus darkness, distance between the earth and sun and for celebrations to honor the four seasons.

Then, after a time, days that fell halfway between Equinoxes and Solstices were used to mark additional seasonal/agricultural changes. Enter... Cross-Quarter Days! Many religious holidays can trace their roots to these early agricultural origins! In fact, today, our yearly calendar notes three out of the four Cross-'Quarter' Days.  Are you ready? I've noted ancient names in parentheses.

Ground Hog Day (Candlemas/Imbolic), May Day (Beltane) and Halloween (Samhain/All Saints Day)! The only C-QD that, for the most part, gets ignored by modern man is August 1st (Lammas/Lughnasa). There are some regions that celebrate this time of harvest but mostly we, in the 21st century, haven't a clue it exists.

I also want to note that February 2nd, May 1st, August 1st and October 31st are rather generic versions of the exact timing of a Cross-Quarter Day. Some of the information I pulled up on the internet got quite involved. One source spoke of C-Q days as 'movable feasts,' another referred to them as a 'window of time' and yet another related these special days to the phases of the moon. I can go on and on but I really must finish this post!

Somewhere in my research I learned that May Day was associated with honoring trees. This made me smile as I wanted to celebrate the Sparkleberry!

Wow, all this information and I have a journal spread that measures 7.5 x 11 inches! I really needed time to think this all through.  Then, that evening, it was announced that Osama bin Ladin was dead. Mercy, that horrible feeling from 9-11 came rolling through me. I saw Americans celebrating his demise while I could feel only sorrow for our fallen and our country. Too little, too late, now what lies ahead?  A few days later I heard that both Hitler and bin Ladin share May Day as the time their deaths were announced to the world. Too weird for me.

On a happier note, in July, a poem by E. E. Cummings that perfectly describes my feelings as I sketched the Sparkleberry, found it's way to me by chance. Ah, all my journal page pieces are in place... I can finish my page.

Patience. A wonderful thing!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

New Workshop

I just can't contain myself and must share the fun :)

Being offered this Fall at 
Coastal Art Supply in Beaufort, SC

Painting NightScapes Plein Air - The Hunter's Moon
November 8 − 10, 2011
Tues: 1 − 4 pm
Wed and Thurs 4:30 − 7:30 pm
For the workshop description, please click here

Monday, August 15, 2011

Waning Sturgeon Moon

How to start your day? I highly recommend plein air painting in the cool air of the morning with the sun's warm glow touching the landscape before you.

I had written off recording the Full Moon this month. Thunderstorms popped up on the eve and day of this August Moon.

But, at 6:45 this morning as I was waving goodbye to my love from the front porch, he said "Look, the Moon is still up!"  Thank you. Sweetie :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Day at the Beach and Whitelines Paper

Being at the beach on Hilton Head Island in August can make you feel like a sardine packed in oil, in a very small can. The word 'crowded' just doesn't fit the bill.

Rob and I found this out back in 2007, our first full year back in the low country since the mid '80s. We decided to celebrate his early August birthday at the beach. We've enjoyed Hilton Head beaches a lot over the the last 25 years... but our vacations usually fell between September and May.

Just for the heck of it we tried a summer visit again in 2009. What were we thinking??

Ahhh, but yesterday we were a lot smarter with our planning. Instead of a mid-week beach visit, we chose Saturday.... the day of check out/check in for vacationers. While everyone else was stuck in traffic on Route 278, we and a decent amount of people were enjoying a beautiful day at the beach :)

On the technical side...
I made this journal entry in a new journal by WHITELINES. This is a Swedish company that makes a toned paper using white for lines. They also offer paper with grids (squared), isometric lined notepads and perspective lined notepads. There are many choices of binding: hard covered spiral, soft covered flexible and glued pads.

The paper has a nice feel. I estimate it to be about 24# in weight. I've been using Pentel energel and Signo uniball ballpoint pens on it and have experienced no smudging. The ink in these pens is water soluble. Micron pens remain waterproof on it's surface.

I used watercolor pencils on the page above with minimal water using a Niji waterbrush. The paper did buckle but that was no surprise. I think colored pencils would really work well on this surface, perhaps even pan pastels. When you turn the page over you can see a little bleed through, but not nearly as much as you do with Moleskine's regular journal paper.

WHITELINES claims that when pages are copied or scanned the white lines and toned background will disappear.
As you can see above, that was not the case when I scanned the page at my scanners normal settings. I had to lighten the overall exposure of the original scan, lost some subtle tones but the page on the right is a lot cleaner looking.

I do like how the ink really stands out on the paper. And the toned surface is easier on your eyes versus looking at dark lines on a white surface. I liked working on a paper with grids. My type lines remained square to the page :)

Overall, I like the paper. I will continue to use this particular hard covered spiral bound book for my research into moon lore... but that's fun info for future posts :)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Look Who I Met :)

I know. How can you tell who it is with this view?

Well.... I'm pleased to say it's my blogging friend and fellow contributor to the Artist's Journal Workshop book, Ms Laure Ferlita from Painted Thoughts Blog.

She's autographing my copy of the book :) (great idea, Debo!)

This was just a quick visit as Laure was passing by on Rt. 95. Next time..... Sketching!

Great to finally meet you, Laure!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Steamy Summer Day

After sketching the Wood Storks, Rob and I drove over to the golf club on Spring Island. To one side of the club house are tabby ruins from the original plantation home. I headed for the shade of some Live Oak trees that stand on the edge of the marsh in front of the ruins and did this quick sketch of the view.
It was just about 11 am. The haze was thick, and the sky barely blue. The shade was divine for a bit.... Long enough to record the view, but the days heat was gaining rapidly. Rob looked so happy when I said 'let's go.'. :)

I'm especially proud as I figured out how to.......
Post using BlogPress from my iPod.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wood Storks Nesting

Ever since I saw my first Wood Stork I've wanted to observe, sketch and photograph them throughout their nesting cycle.

This year I got my wish :)

For the first time ever recorded, Wood Storks chose to nest on Spring Island! Yeah! They're relatively close by and I have access!

My first trip to check out the rookery was back in June. I saw a few hatchlings and some Storks were still sitting on eggs.

click to enlarge
I had just purchased a Platinum brush pen from JetPens and tried it out in my Aqua Bee sketchbook. I'm not used to sketching with such a bold stroke and felt a bit timid with my line work. I'm still playing with the pen... but that's for another post :)

Yesterday, Rob and I arrived at the rookery around 8:30 a.m. The day promised to be steamy. We walked past black vultures that were standing on the ground.  We were ho hums to them. That's what I love about Spring Island. Wildlife is revered there and everything/one lives in harmony. The rookery was teaming with activity. Snowy egrets, Black-crowned Night Herons, Great Egrets, Little Blue Herons, Anhinga and Wood Storks were in the trees. Most of the sounds, or should I say the loudest, came from the juvi Wood Storks. Music to my ears :)

During my June visit, I sat close to a sand trap and suffered many a red ant bite. This time I set up my chair and scope well away from from the sand. I dowsed my self in sunscreen proir to leaving the house and now bug spray. Yuck, but necessary.

Here are my on-location sketches. The ants found me anyway and they paid no attention to bug spray! I was so warm I kept fogging up the eyepiece of my scope. I managed to get a few good digi-scope images early on.
Not real sharp but good enough for my reference purposes. I used the begging juvi to fill a spot on the right side of the journal page.

If you look real close at the photo you will notice a juvi with it's beak
pointed straight up to the adult's head. The beak blends with the dead tree.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Full Thunder Moon

I'm ever so pleased to report the clouds that covered our piece of the sky for the last two days parted just in time for me to get a quick glimpse of the full moon!

I'd written July's full moon off.... while daylight lingered, there were far too many clouds... not to mention a shower or two.

I was stunned when I took the dogs out for their last pee trip at 11 pm to see this gorgeous sight! I rush back inside for the camera, but to no avail. The clouds smothered the moon and rain soon followed.

The image was burned in my memory and it had to come out :) Today, I painted the sky, let it dry and then sat on the front porch and painted the tree.  I'm such a pick about having my full moon sketches being executed en plein air.... I love the drama that I just don't feel in the studio. I did get the brightness of the moon better in the studio, though :) For the highlights on the clouds I used a uniball Sigmo white pen. Even put some on the moon. Ha ha!

July's full moon is also known as the Full Buck Moon as in the northeast (I like using the NE Native American's full moon names) the new antlers of buck deer push out of their foreheads. It's also know as the Full Hay Moon. We saw a lot of dino balls in the fields on our drive back from NY this week (that's what I call the large hay rolls they make now instead of bales.... The first time I ever saw hay roles I imagined dinosaurs visiting hay fields and leaving their calling card.....  kind of like bunny pills) That was probably TMI :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Garden Companions

Sunday was the perfect day to sit out by the lake and sketch. Nearby was a small flower garden. Mother Nature sprinkled in the perfect aster to compliment the purple of the hosta plants.

Momma Nature knows color :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th • Conesus Lake... Lake of Fire

Here's to being able to celebrate our Freedom! Thank you to all who help us keep it!!

We are once again in the Finger Lake's Region of Western NY. July 3rd is the big celebration on Conesus Lake. Here's some sights and sounds.....

At 10 pm everyone around the lake lights flares... thus, Lake of Fire. It truly is a magical sight. Fireworks are going off everywhere, the shore line is aglow with orange. The police long ago decided it wasn't worth their effort to chase down all the firework offenders. It always amazes me how much $$ goes up in smoke. Sure is fun though :)

And a bit of live action directly across the lake:

Safe celebrations and travels to all!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Flower, Fruit and Berry Report

Please click to enlarge.
Along the cart path on the 10th hole, across from the 150 yard marker is a spot large enough to park the cart and be out of the way of golfers... Standing in this one spot, I was treated to all these beauties. Eye candy everywhere!

I did the pen sketching and added watercolor to one flower, Beautyberry leaf, Hickory leaf and nut - enough for reference when I returned home.

More time was spent doing research and the lettering than sketching! I love the thrill of sketching plein air. But, the fun continues when I hit the field guides. After searching all 3 southeast wildflower field guides in my library, I had to consult the internet for the Bigroot morning-glory. I'm a Wikipedia fan!

You can enlarge the page for the full report :) Thanks for stopping by!