Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Beidler Forest ~ Cypress and Tupelo

The Audubon Sanctuary of Beidler Forest is located in the town of Harleyville, SC, and sits in the middle of the very large Four Holes Swamp. I was first introduced to this amazing place during a 2008 field trip of the Master Naturalist Program I was enrolled in.  I've always wanted to return and take my time to sketch the beauty of this natural treasure.

We barely made it a quarter of a mile down the 1.75 mile boardwalk when the buttresses of two young tupelo trees caught my eye. We strolled a bit farther and I had to stop again to capture the middle cypress knee and the background knees and cypress trunk.  Then we happened upon a glorious cypress knee that was shaped like a cloaked, bent over woman...... 

I began to wonder if I brought enough paper with me :)  Rob was beginning to wonder if we'd ever make it out of the swamp!

There were a few other folks enjoying the boardwalk.  Everyone was very giving with information about a special sight...  which included two sunning Rat Snakes, a flock of White Ibis and best of all, one of the swamp's Barred Owls that was perched in a tree very close to the boardwalk! That was the last thing I sketched on the page during our walk.  I added the lettering while we sat on a bench outside of the gift shop, and returned home with the journal page mostly completed.  What could I put in the upper right corner that would highlight the owl but not take away from the rest of the page?  The next day, while perusing Beidler Forest's website, I came upon the perfect thing.  A map of the boardwalk from their Trail Guide.  I was thrilled to find it, as I had to return the copy we used on our walk.  Do check out their site.  For even more fun.... visit their blog.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sketch Outing with journal and iPad

I joined Rob for a golf outing.  We started on the practice range. I used my iPad and the Paper 53 app to create some plein air sketches.

I looked up at the tree tops.  Buds were popping everywhere. Unfortunately, so was the pollen.

 As I worked I could see the pollen building up on my iPad screen... this couldn't be good for the particular stylus I use.... I finished this with my finger.

Once Rob started playing I switched to my normal journal.  In the end, not my best page, not Rob's best score, but what a beauty of a day!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Walk in the Woods

With muck boots on, off I went into the woods that flank the east side of our home.  We always have deer in our front and back yard.  I wanted to see where they live.  This is a good time of year to traverse the woods.... no bugs to speak of and that particular morning was cool enough that I didn't think any snakes would be out.

I photographed the page-in-process as I sat beside the marsh watching a few Little Blue Herons and Snowy Egrets feeding.

All in all, a delightful Sunday morning walk!

Happy Spring!

Monday, March 18, 2013

"How-To" For 16 Page Journal

Please click to enlarge images.  This book has 16 paintable surfaces.

You'll want to use Fabriano watercolor paper as it doesn't crack when folded. I tore my sheets so I could get an uneven edge. I use their hot press surface as I like writing on the smooth surface.

Your book will be as precise as your folds.  Take your time and you'll be happy.  I practiced on  a 15" x 22" sheet of drawing paper.  I'm glad I did!

Happy journal making!

No charge for type-os :) If anything doesn't make sense to you, leave a comment and I will try to answer your question(s).

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A New Handbuilt Book

This journal was created from a half sheet of Fabriano hot press watercolor paper.  It's 7.5" high and 5.5" wide when closed.  If you count the cover... there are 16 surfaces to paint on! Amazing considering it came from a 15" x 22" piece of paper :)

Stay tuned for the "How To".......

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Correcting Lettering Mistakes

A lot of times I'll wait until I get home before adding lettering to a journal page. Mainly because of time and comfort. But on this particular day, I felt quite comfy perched on my camp stool and the 8.5 x 11 journal page in my Stillman and Birn Alpha hardbound journal was such a dream to work on.

However, on the way home, I began to wonder if this really was Harbour Town's Liberty Oak. There were two very large oaks in the heart of Harbour Town.  The magnificence of this tree, with it's sprawling low lying branches surely struck me as the one to bear this name...... Not!

Long ago, a skilled calligrapher taught me how to correct mistakes... Tip: correct your mistake before you lift any unwanted lettering.  Huh? Yes, write over the lettering on the page, then white out or lift off what you don't want.
That way the stroke of the corrected lettering will be smooth and you won't have to contend with the often bumpy texture left by white out or white ink.  I used a Signo Uniball broad tip white pen, available from JetPens.com.

I decided to turn Liberty Oak into Live Oak.  The RTY of Liberty would be taken out.  A good size space would be left between the two words.  I decided to put the tree's Latin name between Live and Oak.... a quirky fix, but it worked for me :)

Since this is a journal page and not a piece of calligraphic art, I was willing to live with a bumpy surface to write the smaller replacement text on.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bald Cypress

In the middle of the town of Port Royal, SC, there is a treasure... The Cypress Wetland Park.  Over the years, the town recognized the value of this wetland and have worked hard to preserve it.  Last year they completed a boardwalk that skirts the edge of the wetland.  In the middle is an island rookery. Along the east and south sides are stands of Bald Cypress, dancing ladies that grace the wetland with their hoop skirts.... at least that's what they remind me of, especially when the trunks have water around them :)

Here is a short video that the town made during the final building stages...
In a month or so, the rookery will be a hopping place.  I hope to find myself back here, capturing all facets of breeding season.

The above journal pages are in a Stillman and Birn 8.5 x 5.5 Alpha Series hardbound journal. The tree on the right and the Spanish Moss were painted with a large round Pentel waterbrush.  I find that if I load the brush with pigment, then touch the brush to a Bounty paper towel to get excess moisture off, I can achieve a dry brush effect.  The pen sketching was done with a sepia colored 005 Micron pen.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Workshop Demo Pages

Here are two journal pages I created during a couple of workshops, as demonstrations for students.  The left was sketched with a black 02 Micron pen. The right was sketched en plein air using an 005 Sepia Micron pen, then painted with watercolors using a waterbrush.  The assignment here was for students to sketch what they saw at ground level, eye level and then up to the sky.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Biking and Sketching in Sea Pines

It was a beauty of a day in the low country.  Rob and I took our bikes into Sea Pines Plantation on Hilton Head Island.

Sea Pines is a large resort and residential plantation at the south end of the island.  Charles Fraser, a real estate developer, transformed HHI with the creation of Sea Pines, turning the sparsely populated barrier island into a world class destination resort.

There are bike trails galore to explore.  We parked at the Sea Pines Club and then cycled a trail that winds through Heron Point Golf Course and made our way to the Forest Preserve.

One of our favorite places in the preserve is Lake Mary.  An Anhinga was perched on a dead limb very near the shore where we stopped.  It was busy preening and made a perfect model for quick sketching.  I started with a Pentel Brush Pen and finished up with a Micron.

We headed for Harbour Town, the home of the PGA's Heritage Golf Tournament that's held in April.  This area of Sea Pines is always full of life.  Luckily, this time of year, it wasn't at all congested.  We were able to ride our bikes right up under the huge oaks near the harbor. 

One tree's limb was almost touching the ground and it really caught my eye.  I thought it was part of the Liberty Oak but not.... I will have to amend this page somehow....

Rob's surprise: a photograph of me in the midst of painting this page :)
I've new equipment for my PaintCycle... Two saddle bags to carry art supplies and camp stools. I  truly have a portable studio working :)  One happy camper here!!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Sketching and Biking at Palmetto Bluff

Oooo, the BeeCycle has been getting a workout.  We went over to Palmetto Bluff to bike the trails.  This is one of the scenes along the five mile drive into the village.

On this trip I carried my 8.5x11 Stillman and Birn Alpha journal in my basket.  I love sketching with a Micron pen on this paper. I took a reference photo so I could add color at a later time. 

The day finally arrived :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sketching Practice with iPad

 I'm so enjoying honing my sketching skills on the iPad using Paper by 53 app.

I'm just scratching the surface with what this app can do.  Check out artist David Rankin's work here .

Next stop.... in the field!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Jupe and the Moon Encounter

Y'all know I love keeping tract of celestial events :)  Thankfully the sky was almost clear... Even better, atmospheric ice crystals created a huge ring around the moon as if to celebrate the closeness of these two heavenly bodies.

I sketched the 6:45 pm and 10:30 pm views plein air, but in a different sketch book, then added them later to this journal page.  The painting was done inside after running out, taking a peek, and then creating the sketch from memory.

One thing I'm very careful to do is make sure I have the slant of the gibbous moon correct. I imagine a clock face to judge the angle. In this case, at 6:45 pm it was 11 and 5 o'clock, at 8 pm - 11:30 and 5:30.  It was a big surprise that the moon had turned so much by 10:30.  This was also when Jupiter was at its closest point to the moon.

If you had a clear sky for viewing, did you have a ring around the moon, too?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Mackay Creek View... Another Tutorial

click to enlarge all images
I finished the page at home, adding a few more darks and textures to the exposed oyster bed on the left side and finally, the type.  I made my notes in pencil while on location.  I didn't want to forget anything!

One day, I'll be able to write in a straight line :)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Plein Air Nature Journal Page Tutorial

Last week, we had some unusually warm weather in the lowcountry.  Rob and I took advantage by taking our bikes to Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge.  This is one of the major reasons I asked for a bike for Christmas.  I've been yearning to sketch and paint the far and beyond of Pinckney. By the time we were done, we'd cycled 7 miles :)  I must get a softer seat for my bike!!!!

Our first stop was Nini Chapin Pond. It's roughly two miles from the parking area. There was not much bird activity, but we found some shade and it was a good time to eat our lunch.

This was the view we looked upon.  There was a small group of Buffleheads feeding in the water.  I loved how their dives caused the olive green water to shimmer with the blue of the sky.

Viewing the scene for a few minutes is a great way to narrow down what really catches my eye, helping me to decide  what to record in the journal.

The next page in my Stillman and Birn journal, that I've devoted to water scenes, was the right side of a spread.  I didn't want to fill the entire page with a sketch so decided upon a smaller vertical image.
Click to enlarge

The first thing I did was to secure a piece of foam core to the right side of the back of the journal.  This made a great surface to hold the palette and less of a balancing act for me.

Next, I drew the vertical shape that would hold the watercolor sketch. Then added pertinent information for the day: date, time, temperature, where we were, and around the edge of the box, I started adding notes about any wildlife that crossed our path.

To me, the lightest color in the scene was the blue of the sky and water.
I knew that if I let most of the paper show through on the lower right corner, I'd stand half a chance at keeping the true color to the foreground grasses.

click to enlarge

Hopefully you can see the first layer of blue!

 Now you can see the first layers of green water and the brown of the far shore's bank.  While painting, the Buffleheads were diving away, always changing what the water looked like.

When painting plein air, light and reflections are ever changing.  Once I've laid down the initial frame work of colors, I take a good look at the direction of the shadows. I will have to paint from memory in order to make the painting read true. 
All that was left to do was to add notes of any other wildlife that we saw after heading over to the other side of the pond.

I'm loving my trusty steed.... the PaintCycle, a.k.a. the BeeBike  :)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy 2013!

Starting the New Year off right :)

Took my PaintCycle for another spin this morning and sketched a Live Oak that has intrigued me for years.  Finally down on paper!!
It was sunny when I started out a little after 9 a.m., and the angle of the winter sun was perfect for seeing all the nooks and crannies this tree possesses.  This is the first sketch in an 8.5 x 11 Stillman and Birn Alpha hardbound journal.  It straddles my bike basket perfectly :)

The tide was coming in. A flock of small shorebirds was active in the marsh. I love how they fly in unison. I need to remember to pack my binoculars!! 

Other birds of note:  Osprey, Wood Stork, Hooded Merganzer, Snowy Egret, Red-shouldered Hawk and American Crows.  A good way to start the day and New Year :)

Wishing you, my readers, a happy, healthy and blessed New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Long - Night Moon... the beginning

click to enlarge
This morning was my maiden voyage on my new 'PaintCycle' - A hearty thank you to my in-laws for gift money to purchase a cruiser bicycle with a basket perfect for hauling art supplies :)

A tad chilly,  make that a cold 33 degrees at 6:45 a.m., but I had to capture the Long-Night Moon that reached its peak of fullness at 5:22 a.m. EST.

I rode to the 7th green where the moon was about to dip behind far the trees.  My light was positioned between the brake cords and the basket, but this setup will have to be tweaked as the light kept slipping and preventing me from painting.  The whole expedition took about 20 minutes and I managed to capture the initial scene minus the houses across the water that line the 6th fairway.  I so love not being a camera! The moon disappeared below the tree line. Ho hum, it's tough when you have to go to work when all you really want to do is stay home and paint :)

Ooooooh, I'm so going to love traversing the trails on my PaintCycle and sketching!!!

Stay tuned for the final journal page!

Friday, December 21, 2012

2013 Lowcountry MoonScapes Calendar

It wouldn't be Christmas if I wasn't last minute with creating special things.  I thought for sure I wouldn't get a calendar produced for 2013 but somehow I've pulled it off.  I need your help though, as I using a different provider and it's not a print-on-demand service.

So..... if  you would like to own an original, limited edition, ordered just for you.... Lowcountry MoonScapes 2013 calendar, please hit the 'Buy Now' button to the right through Tuesday, December 25th!

The calendar is 8.5 x 11 wall calendar with a spiral binding and opens to 17 x 11.  The images below are taken from the design page on my computer and show the layout as side by side but in reality, the calendar page sits below the moon painting. 

I received my sample calendar in the mail yesterday and am very, very pleased with the colors and the stock it's printed on.  I've added full and new moon dates based on information from NASA, and they are calculated at Eastern Standard Time. The full moon dates remain the same across the United States but  new moon dates in Pacific Standard Time during February and July are one day earlier!  Who knew???

The cost for each calendar is $26 and includes shipping via priority mail within the United States.  Holidays are also geared to the United States.

I have to place the order by December 23rd so you should receive your calendar within the first two weeks of January.

This is the first time I've used a 'buy now' button from PayPal and I'm not quite sure how it all works.  Please send me an email letting me know you've order (pjbartstudio-at-me-dot-com) and included your snail mail address and any special instructions.

Thank you so for traveling down a new road with me :)

Monday, December 17, 2012

The 12.12.12 Commerative... Cotton!

I have a childhood memory of a family friend's treasure box that was filled with interesting organic items she'd found during her travels.  I remember exotic shells, all types of stones and a sprig of cotton.

A week ago, I had my first one-on-one experience with a field of cotton. What a delight to the eye!  I had no idea the plant had such lovely architecture. 

I picked several cotton sprigs but what really thrilled my eyes were the pale yellow flowers blooming out of a three-sided leaf-like structure with long thin fingers.  I brought my treasures home and put the flowering branches in water.  After a few days, the pale yellow flowers slowly started to turn the same crimson color of what I now know is called a 'square'.  I found a great website that explains the life cycle and gives the names of the various parts of the cotton plant. A 'boll' forms from the flower and it takes 24 days to reach full size. An additional 24-40 days is needed for the fiber to fill with cellulose and the boll to open.

I'm tickled that the cotton plant came into my life at this time.  It has such a rich history, especially here in the Lowcountry. A special plant for a special day!

In remembrance....
Charlotte Bacon, Daniel Barden, Rachel Davino, Olivia Engel, Josephine Gay, Ana Marquez-Greene, Dylan Hockley, Dawn Hochsprung, Madeleine Hsu, Catherine Hubbard, Chase Kowalski, Jesse Lewis, Jame Mattioli, Grace McDonnnel, Anne Marie Murphy, Emilie Parker, Jack Pinto, Noah Pozner, Caroline Previdi, Jessica Rekos, Avielle Richman, Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach, Victoria Soto, Benjamin Wheeler, Allison Wyatt. 12.14.2012