Showing posts with label Watercolor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Watercolor. Show all posts

Monday, March 17, 2014

Field Sketching Friday

Friday, my co-worker/naturalist, Kristen Marshall Mattson and I led a nature journaling workshop for members of Spring Island.  What a great way to start the day!   Walking through the woods, examining plants, sketching our finds, adding details, learning new things both art and nature related.  YUM! None of us wanted it to end :)

Did you know.....
White flowers are pollinated by moths? (the flowers show up better at night)
The purple flowers of wild ginger is pollinated by beetles?
That a hollow tree can still live and thrive as long as the outer 'living shell' is not compromised?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

EcoTherapy

Until a few weeks ago, the term EcoTherapy hadn't crossed my path.  However the practice of EcoTherapy has been with me for a long, long time.  It's the main reason I promote Nature Journaling!  Get out into Nature as much as you can and sketch, make notes, paint and observe the wonder of Nature. You will bring a balance into your life that will refresh and renew your spirit.

For me, the next best thing to being out in the field is watching birds at the feeders. I do urge you to try this pleasure.  I have trouble leaving for work some mornings as I get so wrapped up in watching the birds!  Oh, to have a full day of this pleasure :)

I keep a journal just for my birdwatching.  It sits on the kitchen table or counter along with binoculars, Sibley bird guide, mini palette, waterbrush, pencil, pen and micron pen.  Pictured here is my new mini palette that is the size of a business card case.  I purchased it from Maria Coryell-Martin of  Expeditionary Art.  I'm using limited palette colors by M. Graham that include: Hansa Yellow, Azo Yellow, Quin. Rose, Naphthol Red, Anthraquinone Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Quin. Rust, Nickel Azo Yellow and Sap Green.  The journal is a Stillman and Birn, Gamma (100# ivory paper) - just delicious to work in!

How do you get your EcoTherapy?


Monday, September 9, 2013

Lovebugs Everywhere!

I love keeping track of Nature's seasonal changes in my journal. 

Just last week, the Spartina started to take on raw sienna coloring in places.  I love the autumn colors of the marsh grass, but am not quite ready for the neon green to go!  It saddened me.

Another sign of seasonal change is the flurry of Lovebugs that emerge in the fall and spring. They are harmless, but smashed Lovebugs on your car can really do a number on the paint finish, not to mention they can clog the grill of your car and cause the engine to overheat!

What signs of change are you seeing in your neck of the woods?


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Wood Storks and Vultures

Last Sunday morning's weather was perfect!!! At 9 a.m. it was 72 degrees with no humidity..... in SC.... in August!!! Really? Yes, indeed!

Rob, the dogs and I piled into the golf cart and made our way down to the 17th hole of the golf course to enjoy a walk along the cart path before golfers invaded.

It was glorious.  There was a good breeze, and in the air, Vultures and a couple of Wood Storks were riding the thermals.  As we neared the green, all the birds landed in a dead, Spanish Moss draped tree. Luckily Rob had his camera and was able to capture the moment.  Once home, I painted the scene in my Stillman & Birn Alpha journal.

This little pond and tree area that sits between the 17th and 18th holes at The Crescent Golf Club course is a favorite hangout for Wood Storks, Vultures, Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Osprey, Night Herons and Ibis. The salt marsh flanks the right side of the golf course along these two holes.  This is where I could pitch my tent and stay forever :)  What a great way to start the day!


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Turtle Tuesday - Florida Softshell

A new series is born!

While I can't promise turtle postings every week, Tuesday's will be Turtle Day for this blog :)

I saw my first Softshell a little over a year ago and was amazed at its size.  It had to be a female. This species' females can grow to 24 3/4 inches!!!

 A deliveryman spotted the turtle crossing the street and was making sure this amazing creature made it safely across. Of course I had to stop, too :)  He tried to pick it up and the turtle was having nothing to do with that.  It gathered its legs underneath and lunged into the air each time he tried to grab it... feisty one!

When trying to help a turtle, it's best to stand back and just direct traffic.  Turtles know where they are going and always have a purpose connected to their walk.  If you do pick one up, when you set it down, make sure you point it in its original direction.

Last week was Camp Spring Island at work.  For three days, the grandchildren of Spring Island members get immersed in a nature camp.  Tony Mills, our Education Director, brought in several species of turtles for one of the programs.  When I spotted the softshell, I knew I'd be staying late to sketch :)

She wasn't too bad of a model.  Every now and then she'd get curious and lift her head a bit. Equally as feisty as the one I encountered before.... Do not touch my shell!  Apparently, their neck is so long, they can reach around very easily and bite whoever is trying to pick them up from behind.....  now that gives me pause!



I'd like to credit a Peterson Field Guild by Roger Conant and Joseph T. Collins 
for the information included on my journal page.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Autumn Wildflower Celebration

These were picked from Spring Island's wildflower garden last Thursday.  The Frostweed, Verbesina virginica, blooms are spent, but I still love their shapes. The Horsemint, Monarde punctata L, is barely hanging on and the River Oat sprig, Chasmanthium latifolium, has been brown for weeks. But Elliott's Aster, Symphyotrichum elliottii, Black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta and Wild Ageratum flowers are not ready to stop their celebration of Autumn.

I so wish I could have a scratch and sniff square on this page!

I sketched everything with an 005 brown Micron pen, then added watercolors.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Beach Day with my Stillman and Birn Journal

Last month I entered a drawing on Stillman and Birn's FaceBook page to win one of their hardbound journals that feature 180 lb. watercolor paper.  I was one of 10 lucky artists to win  :)

Two Sundays ago, I had the perfect opportunity to take it for a spin.  We treated ourselves to beach chairs and an umbrella and that's where I sat as I broke the journal in, carefully opening it in the center and bending the covers back until they touched.  I followed Jamie Grossman's instructions to the letter.  Thanks, Jamie!

I started with the sky. If you look real close at the photo above, you can see my travel palette on the right.  My brush was a large Pentel waterbrush.
Unfortunately, or fortunately as it turns out, my left margin listed to the right.  On one of our beach walks, we happened upon a new treasure. It turned out to be the tail of a horseshoe crab. And, as journal keeping goes, I celebrated this serendipitous find and drew in into the most perfect spot on my page :)  The part of the tail that connects to the crab was spooky looking. It reminded me of a Halloween goblin.... ooga booga!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Garden Sketching

Last year, I found the Upside•Down Patio Garden container at the store Tuesday Morning.  I thought it would be perfect for the condo we were living in at the time.  But, as silly condo rules go.... I found out I couldn't put this on the sunny front porch.

This spring we moved into a house with a sunny, private back yard.  Once the move was over and we were halfway settled in, I ran to Lowes for plants and potting soil. The bottom of the container is filled with sand. This keeps the structure quite sound.

What a joy it is to be tending a garden again.  It was planted a little too late in the season for the Beef Steak toms and peppers but the Grape toms are giving us a good crop.  The herbs on top are very happy. So many plants in one square foot of garden space! No weeding, just joy :)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Playing with Blue and Gray

Can you think of a better subject to practice blue and gray watercolor mixes?

Then, what shape is the heron's eye? And look at all the tones of orange in it's beak....

What may seem a bland colored waterbird from afar really is made up of such a plethora of subtle shades and tones. Oh so fun to kick back and explore with paint :)

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 :)

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!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Witchhazel, Witch Hazel, Witch-Hazel

In November of 2010, I discovered a Witchhazel shrub/tree along the tree line on the 10th hole of our neighborhood golf course. It was the yellow, thread-like twisted flowers that caught my eye. This graceful, delicate, small tree was loaded with flowers and a few very colorful leaves that had a mind to linger a bit longer on the branches.

For those who are new to my blog, the 10th hole has a treasure-trove of trees. So far, I've identified 30 different species.... and those trees run right along the cart path!  I'm sure, when I get my snake boots and walk into the woods a bit, I'll find even more. This patch of woods is a classic bottomland hardwood forest because of its variety of trees, shrubs and rich, moist soil. About 15 feet in from the cart path, shallow water is always present. Thus, I want snake boots!

In last year's Witchhazel research, I learned that fruit forms on the branches the year following the flowers and will mature in October - November. I've been eagerly awaiting fruit development. In early June I began to notice fruit bearing trees were changing. Where Sparkleberry shrub/tree's flowers were in May, now tiny berries are appearing. The Hickory trees are sporting nuts, Red Cedars are decorated with their delightfully blue berries...... and, the Witchhazel trees has fruit :)

The pen sketch and some of the color was added on location. I didn't quite have enough time as golfers made the turn onto #10 a tad quicker than I had hoped. So, I drove the golf cart further down 10 to an area that had a good sized spot where I could pull to the side and continue my discoveries without fear of being bopped on the head with a golf ball.  Stay tuned for my next page :)

P.S. I found 3 different ways the name for the tree was spelled... thus my title :)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Tank Mates

I work at three jobs - Nature Artist and Workshop Instructor as my business and Coordinator for Spring Island's Nature & Arts events.  For the most part I work out of my home but when I have to go into 'the office' it's located at Spring Island's Nature Center. 

I pinch myself every time I cross the causeway to Spring Island. It's a 3,000 acre nature preserve with a residential community that's been carefully woven into the natural landscape.  I'm continually inspired by the beauty there.

When I enter the back door of the Nature Center I walk past tanks occupied by various snakes and at the end of this room is a large tank containing two baby American Alligators, a constantly hungry Terrapin and a couple of Chicken Turtles.

On this day I witnessed a special treat.... A baby gator lounging atop of two chicken turtles.  I walked slowly toward the tank but didn't dare get too close. My co-workers are getting used to me taking an art break :) And, being conscious of 'the clock' I sketch really fast.... great practice :) I added color today. Below is the original sketch.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Heritage Golf Tournament • Day 1

Every year that we can, Rob and I attend the PGA golf tournament on Hilton Head Island. The home to this event is Sea Pine's Harbour Town Golf Links.

This is the 43rd year for the tournament  and it no longer has a sponsor. Verizon ended it's contract last year. Rob and I can remember MCI as the sponsor prior to Verizon. Hopefully a company will step up and keep this much loved event running. What would spring be without the Heritage?? Not to mention the hit the area's economy would take and the losses charities would suffer.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Visiting Artist II ... My Lodgings

After a 4 hour drive on Monday morning, an hour to regroup, then a presentation to the 5th and 6th graders, followed by preparation for Tuesday's classes and an early dinner with Alice and Brent at the Pita House (yum!), I made my way to the Mann's residence to stay in their guest cottage called... The Cabin - a log cabin that was built in the 1700's, deconstructed and moved to this location in the 1940's. When reconstructed, all the original materials were used and modern conveniences added.

Have the words 'spoiled rotten' been said enough in my last post??

I was greeted by 'Yellow Dog' - not his real name but he so reminded me of Yellow Dog in the old movie Funny Farm with Chevy Chase. What a joyful way to be greeted by a loving, must lick you to death, yellow lab!

The family was off at their kid's baseball games and I had instructions to make myself at home.


I walked along the brick path, under the arbor covered in blooming Yellow Jessamine, past blooming Azaleas and a Dogwood tree to the front porch of the cabin.  The screen door was wide open, inviting me in.  I opened the very thick cabin door to this lovely family room.  Pinch me!!

Around to the left I found this bedroom and a good sized bathroom.

 Yes, the bed's as comfy as it looks :) Feather pillows, down comforter and beautiful quilted coverlets.

There's a kitchen with all the modern appliances... in stainless steel no less! A stocked refrigerator.... oooooh, I thought, Rob is going to be jealous that he missed this treat!! How to sound nonchalant during our call when I'm bubbling with excitement?

Upstairs is one big bedroom with the old fashioned slanted ceilings.  Just delightful!

I grabbed my art bag and made my way back out the front door to sit in the yard and paint this lovely piece of heaven.

I had time enough to get a light wash of the scene down before the Mann's arrived. Jacob, Elizabeth and their three delightful boys greeted me and welcomed me into their home. What gracious hosts.

I was delighted that the cabin portrait came out to my liking. Wednesday, I found a rustic frame at the local Michael's, matted and framed the painting and presented it to the  Mann's as my thank you gift. There were squeals of delight. My heart still sings :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

March Moon

Everything has a yellow cast to it here in the lowcountry. The clear glass top tables on our porch now look like they're opaque light yellow.
Some are saying it's the worst they've seen the tree pollen.

I do like to use the Northeast Native American names for the full moons I sketch and have been wondering, of late, what the local Native American's named the full moons.  I've not been able to research that yet but I'm sure they would agree that March's moon should be named after the time when tree pollen covers the land :)
I love full moon eves.  The moon looks big and it rises when there is still plenty of light. I will try again next month to capture the the beauty.  This poor page became very overworked.....

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Snow Moon

As stated in my previous post, I was a tad excited to capture the full moon rise but horizon clouds got in the way. I had a perfect spot by the marsh picked out and it was close enough that I could walk from our condo.

After dinner, the moon was just rising over the trees out front.  It was way to dark for me to toddle off to my spot by the marsh so I parked my folding chair on the front walk way. A snippet of the first condo building made for a good left corner frame. The buildings have green metal roofs.  When the moon is high overhead the roofs have a wonderful shine.

The name Snow Moon was given to the February moon by Native American tribes in the northeast. Rightfully so, as February is the time of the most snow. I also learned that it's sometimes referred to as Full Hunger Moon.

My quest to find what southeastern tribes called this moon took some digging. The Cherokee tribes territory in Georgia, North and South Carolina didn't really encompass the Coastal Plain of SC. But, they called the February full moon the Bone Moon and held a yearly ceremony to honor the dead. The native tribes of this area were called the Yemassee. Hopefully I'll have more info on them another time.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Sketchbook Project - Final Update

Here are the final pages. I had to clean these up quite a bit from the original scans. The wrinkled paper and the difficulty I had getting the book to lay flat on the scan bed was a real treat.... Especially at 2 am in the morning :)

click all images to enlarge
It was late on January 17th when I finished painting/writing. I then had to scan the last pages so that come daylight and a little sleep, I could bind the book into it's pink cover and send it on it's way.... deadline met.

My last words are from the heart after a very long journey.......


And, in it's entirety.......



Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Sketchbook Project Update IV - Trees

Please click all images to enlarge.
It's time to celebrate trees :)

Walk with us to the 10th hole. It's
423 yards from the back tee to the green. The cart path runs along the edge of the woods.

Now that it's winter and much of the greenery has died back, I can see standing water not too far into the woods. This, along with the variety of trees found in a mere 423 yard stretch of land is a clear sign that this section of the neighborhood can be classified as a Bottomland Hardwood forest.

This type of forest usually borders a swamp and may be temporarily flooded should we get a whopper of a hurricane and the river reaches flood stage (not a warm and fuzzy thought!)

Here are all the trees I've identified so far. The illustrations are of two 'new-to-me' trees. I feel like such an explorer when I find a new flower, shrub, vine or tree. I don't care that Carl Linnaeus, or another botanist, may have named named it long ago - it's my discovery :) That's what I sooooo love about nature journaling! Even better is now that I've drawn it, it's mine.... forever in my heart :)

I never would have guessed Witchhazel comes from a tree! I always imagined witchhazel to be an herbaceous plant. A student of nature, that's what I am :)

These trees live on or near the 10th hole.




So many trees, not enough pages :) There are only two more spreads left in the sketchbook and I have other goodies to share. So, to all the trees that didn't make it into this book..... Patience, I'm working on it :)