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 :)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Charcoal Sketching on iPad

I love the look of charcoal sketches... just not the mess associated with the medium. Now, thanks to ASKetch app for iPad, I'm not covered in black dust!  Oh, happy days :)

I've got a bit of a learning curve to tackle, but overall, I'm pleased with my first attempt.  Grizz was beside me on the sofa and when not in food mode, she's a perfect model :)

Couldn't figure out how to get a pencil stroke to write the date and sign this for my electronic journal, so I loaded the image into MyBrushes app. Oooooo, I'm feeling like such a modern girl!

Mind you, I'm ignoring the fact that the house requires Saturday chores..... they won't go away, but the quiet time to create will!  Tough choice :)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Anhinga Study - Playing With Brush Pens

click to enlarge
































I so love using minimal brush strokes to capture waterbirds.

The Anhinga, or Snake Bird, is one of my favorites.  It's very calligraphic and begs to be sketched with a brush.

I was looking through my old sketchbooks the other day and ran across this demo I did during a workshop.  The blue sketch was made with an Elmer's Watercolor Brush Pen. They come in assorted colors. You can see a few strokes of different colors above the Anhinga. The sad thing about these pens is that when the color is gone you toss the pen. 

The foreground Anhinga was sketched with a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen
At JetPens (link above) it has 'for Calligraphy' tacked onto the end of the name.  At Dick Blick, that specification is left off. This brush pen comes with a refill cartridge and you can also purchases refills separately :)  I love the texture you can achieve with this brush pen - almost a dry brush look.  If you let the ink set up for a minute or so, it becomes waterproof.  Or, if you are quick, you can stroke the pigment with a waterbrush and create diluted grays.  You can view this technique here
The bulk of the Anhinga's body, neck and head were made in one stroke...  takes a bit of practice but that's all part of the fun. If I remember correctly, I began by pressing the brush into the paper to create the bird's body and then lifted up to thin out the stroke until the brush was barely touching the paper for the bill.  Practice pressure strokes with this instrument. Lots of pressure gives a bold stroke, light pressure a fine line. Have fun!

Friday, July 6, 2012

iPhoto for iPad app....Fun!

Click to enlarge
I love my iPad... it's convenient and the apps that are available are incredible.

Last week I downloaded iPhoto for iPad.  This week, I was able to play with the possibilities :)

I have lots of canvas and a set of water soluble oil paints waiting for me to dig in.  It will be fun to see how the oil paint effect translates images I want to paint. Plus, it's a great jumping off point for the look and feel I'd like to achieve.  I love what the effect did for my Midday Sun sketch!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Midday Sun

The shoreline of Conesus Lake is littered with cottages and homes. There is hardly any unpopulated land.  Our direct view across the lake is teaming with cottages... one mass of buildings, not even room for a tree between them.

However, just to the right, there are larger homes and cottonwood trees that grace the shoreline. The above house is one of our favorites. It's adorned with red clay shingles that you find on homes in the Southwest, and the afternoon sun really made the roof sing to my artistic eye.

It was a delight to be able to play again with Caran d'Ache Neo Colors in my sketchbook. They are juicy and opaque but can be transparent depending upon how much pigment you lay down. I only have 15 colors...  Time to visit the local art store and pick up a few more sticks of color :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A View of the West Side

Back at Conesus Lake. Took a break from chores to play with Caran d'Ache's Neo Colors in my AquaBee Super Deluxe Sketchbook.

All we pretty well until I didn't clean my waterbrush off quite enough... thus the dark greenish cloud in the upper right corner :)  Oh well, had a good time anyway!

Happy 4th of July!

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, June 20, 2012

Happy Summer!

All good wishes for you this summer 
Have happy and safe travels
Take in even the smallest of details
Breathe deep breaths of life well lived
Enjoy!


This is a water study using Caran d'Ache neo color crayons 
with a touch of white pen in an AquaBee Super Deluxe Sketchbook

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mother's Day Celebration Dinner

One of the best things about eating out on Hilton Head Island are the many restaurants that offer outside dining.

We chose Skull Creek BoatHouse to celebrate Mother's Day.  It was a perfect evening to dine al fresco.

What entree do we recommend?  Why the Coco Seared Sea Scallops Coconut butter, pineapple salsa, yukon gold smashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables.  Then, be real bad and split a decadent, over-the-top chocolate dessert with vanilla ice cream!  Yum!   

 I didn't get much painted at the restaurant, but with the aid of my phone's camera, the bounty of food was safely stored :)


We highly recommend this dining establishment. It's one of our favorites!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Full Stawberry Moon 2012

As the moon rose over the trees, it resembled the great pumpkin!  I love it when the tide is high and coincides with the full moon.  Water reflections.... yum :)

We've had no humidity for the last four days.... unheard of in June!  In fact, most of the month of May had beautiful days with low humidity.

I say keep it coming.  But, please keep the rain coming. We are in such a drought!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Daily Journal

Dudley tucked under my arm as I sketch.
This year I purchased a lovely yearly planner by artist Jeanette Jobson. A painting graces the cover and there's one at the start of each month. The weekly pages have good sized daily spaces to record whatever you like.

I'm tired of the days sailing by without even a notation. This year I wanted to start a new leaf. Mind you, I didn't even know Jeanette was selling the planners until late January, but that didn't deter me from making one mine :) 

I love having just a bit of space to make a daily note. Sometimes, if the mood strikes, I'll sketch the dogs.

Working in my illustrated journal isn't a daily event. The pages in that journal soothe my painter's soul. I don't have time to create large works of art lately, so I keep my 'hand' active with mini journal paintings.  It truly has helped me to not have to reinvent the wheel when I do break out a canvas.  However, having a separate place to record and celebrate the day's happenings gives me comfort.  Each day is such a gift, I want to honor it in some small way.

Lately, there's been a lot of talk about the Stillman and Birn sketchbooks.  They're getting rave reviews.  Perhaps I'm headed in a direction that combines daily scratchings with my illustrated journal.  The one thing that's stopping me is the ability to scan my pages.  Hmmm... research is in order :)

The fur kids are enjoying the sun spots our new home offers. The sun comes through the sliders from about noon till four.... They don't move for anything!


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Around-the-Town Sketching

Back in April, I conducted an Around-the-Town Sketching Workshop in Beaufort for Coastal Art Supply.

On the first day, we started by drawing small boxes of various sizes on a page in our sketchbooks.  Then we headed outside with just our Micron pens, pencils and sketchbooks. 

My goals for the students included learning how to sketch quickly, how to make color notes and in the end, completing their pages with color and decorative lettering.  We started filling the boxes with 30 second and 1 minute sketches.  Sometimes we splurged and stayed in one spot for 5 minutes.

After lunch we'd work in the studio and finish our morning sketches using watercolors or watercolor pencils.  Check out these results!


The second day, we approached our journal pages differently. We used multiple images to create  flowing vignettes on a single page.  I picked the subjects and taught them how to decide where to position each item on the page.
This is my demonstration page.  The first item drawn was the metal palm tree sculpture on the right side of the page. I chose that spot because of the strong design of the fronds that pointed to the left - and into the center of my page.  The second element was the umbrella with the people.  Note that the shape of the umbrella points into the center of my page.  And the people are facing right, into the page.
The third element was the cafe sign.  I made it a size to tie into what was already on my page.  The type was added back in the studio.  The page was screaming for a border.... type is perfect for that.

After lunch we hit the streets again with another page of boxes - they were a big hit and perfect for quick sketches.... and, what a flavor of Beaufort we captured!!






















Here is the colorized version of my top b&w page:
















If a blank journal page puts you off.... try a page of boxes.  They don't have to all be filled in the same day... perhaps one a day? They are perfect for the travel sketcher.  Or even keeping tract of your gardens growth.  The possibilities go on and on :)   Enjoy!  That's what it's all about :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Day Three - 2012 RBC Heritage Golf Tournament

The shadow on the number three tee box caught my eye.  Another beautiful day on the links. We stayed here throughout day and watched all the players come through.

This is our last day at the tournament. We always watch Sunday's round on television - a much better view of the entire action :)

While I was working on this page a man came over to me and said "You know, I came here to watch golf, but I'd rather watch you paint."  Blush.....

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Day Two - 2012 RBC Heritage Golf Tournament

A new location! Another favorite spot is the green of the 14th hole.  It's a par three and the views looking back at the tee box and the 13th green are one of my favorites.

This year the house past the green called to me.  Perhaps it was the red umbrella and the potted geraniums..

An all together happy day :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Day One - 2012 RBC Heritage Golf Tournament

We made our way to the number six green.  The tree that sits just to the right of the green was calling my name :)  Later we moved our chairs to the number three tee box.  The stands face number two green. And, as always, the MetLife blimp graced the sky above.

And.... a funny.  Between the 1st and 9th fairways is a spot where vendors can set up tents.  It's always fun to walk through and see what's being offered.  This year RBC had a blue screen set up and you could get your picture taken.  This is a good laugh.  It looks like I'm going on safari :)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

2012 RBC Heritage Pro Am

Back in early April, Rob and I made our annual trek to the Heritage Golf Tournament at Harbour Town Golf Links in Sea Pines Plantation on Hilton Head Island, SC.  This year we celebrate new tournament sponsors.... Royal Bank of Canada and Boeing.  A lot of work was done to secure RBC and Boeing and in turn, it keeps The Heritage alive and well.  Thank you to all who made this possible!

The tag line that goes hand in hand with the tournament is "Get Your Plaid On".  I was feeling a bit rusty at journaling and decided creating a plaid page would be just the ticket.  Besides, what a great backdrop for players autographs :)

It's so relaxing to putter with paint in my journal while sitting outside enjoying beautiful weather.  Getting autographs during the Pro Am is always a treat.  The players, for the most part, are very giving.  We chose our favorite area of the golf course to park ourselves... the intersection of holes two, three, six and seven.  I collected signatures at the third tee box. There were a couple of sets of grandparents with their granddaughters there.  After the pros hit their balls, two of the sweetest little girls would step right up with their hats in hand to be autographed.  Now who can refuse a little girl???  I stood just after them and had good success with the players I wanted to adorn my journal page :)


One last signature to go and I had to wait a bit for it.  This page is entitled 'Waiting for Paddy' - Padraig Harrington didn't pass our way until 4 pm.  Well worth the wait.... he such a leprechaun :)

This is the view of the number two green and looking back up the fairway from our seat at the 3rd tee box.

Three more day's sketches to come....

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Nature News

You know I have to have no time at all when I post photographs instead of journal page sketches!

A pair of Carolina Wrens have blessed a potted plant that sits right outside of our front door to build their nest. They must be okay with Rob, the dogs and me since this door is used constantly.

They have fashioned a very cozy bird cave.... Now, how am I to going observe their babies with the side cave entrance.... The whole point, I expect :)
view from the top
entrance















 
I'm excited to announce that I will be a part of a Wood Stork monitoring group for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR). We are very fortunate to have two nesting colonies in Beaufort County.

Monitoring happens on a weekly bases and I am so happy that the SCDNR accepted me as an alternate monitor. As crazy as life is right now with work and moving, I couldn't let this opportunity to be a part of the Wood Stork nesting cycle slip by. Rob will be able to join me. He is the best bird spotter - it has to be his type of color-blindness, as foliage doesn't hide anything from his eyes!

Our training is this Tuesday and monitoring runs from March to mid-July. And, yes.... I will be sketching along with note taking :)  I'm so looking forward to sharing what I learn about these amazing birds!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Redbuds Blooming Early!

Happy Sadie Hawkins Day!

This is the first day in a while that's been nice when Rob has it off :) We took advantage... Off to the driving range we went.  Rob with clubs, me with paints.

This little Redbud sits just over a small hill from the tree I painted last March 8th.  This year the Redbuds started blooming about 2 weeks early. The leaves on this one are already starting to pop. 

I know it's been quite a while since my last post.  Please bear with me. We are in the process of packing for a move and my job at Spring Island is incredibly busy.  It felt so good to sit a bit and take in the beauty of the day.  Every now and then it's good to go on strike!

Wait until you see the Live Oak that lives in the back yard of our new home.... a supreme beauty :)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Crescent Moon, Venus and Earthshine

Earthshine... what a lovely word! I probably learned it as a youth, but paying attention to science, history and math really wasn't my thing back then :)  Just imagine if illustrated nature journaling was part of my school's classroom curriculum.... ooh, la, la... what fun it would have been to learn these subjects through art!

Best seen during Crescent Moon phases (the one to five day period before or after a New Moon), Earthshine is caused by direct sunlight on the earth that reflects onto the Moon which creates the smoky glow of the shadowed portion of the moon.

Click on the Earthshine link above for great information from NASA including these goodies:
Scientists in recent years have found that Earthshine is most intense during the northern spring months of April and May.  I could only see a milky glow even through binoculars.  But during the spring, you'll be able to see the Moon's features :)

Leonardo Di Vinci explained this phenomenon nearly 500 years ago!

This sketch by Leonardo is part of the Codex Leicester, written by Da Vinci between 1506 and 1510!  Oh, the mind this Renaissance artist had. Leonardo's journals and notes show what an "unquenchable curiosity" and "feverishly inventive imagination" he possessed.

Wouldn't it be marvelous to give each child a sketchbook to call their own. A place for them to discover their world, make their own observations and conclusions. What a way to learn :)

This is my quest. Step by step I'm making in-roads into schools: Visiting Artist at Christ Church Episcopal School in Greenville last April and last week, leading a Beaufort County School District Teachers Workshop: How to Integrate Nature Journaling into the Classroom.  But more on that for my next post :)

After sunset tonight, take a peek at the sky to see Venus, the Crescent Moon and Earthshine for your very own. Venus will be to the lower left tonight.  Happy viewing and hopefully painting!!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Wedding Day Walk

A Wedding Day Walk by PJBee
Today,  I happened upon a co-worker with his girl friend.  They were especially dressed up and I just had to ask what was going on :)  "We were just married!!"

Well, I thought a watercolor sketch of where they first walked as husband and wife was in order, so I used this image as the front of a card that was produced through iPhoto on Apple.  Now, I anxiously await delivery of the card so I can give it to them :)  I love surprises!!