Sunday, January 31, 2016

In Search of Acorns

Practing Acorns and repeating patterns
Yesterday and today was about working on my next lessons in my Botanical Illustration class with Wendy Hollender. We had our "Live Meeting" conference call/shared destop session via Adobe this past Monday. It really fired me up and I learned ALOT. The class was engaging and VERY well put together. I'm really starting to appreciate and better understand drawing in colored pencils.  

These are my first forays into lesson 2 which is about roundish forms and repeating patterns in nature. Along with my love of nature and botany, I think repeating patterns and pattern in general are what draw me to natural forms. Mother nature never ceases to amaze me. 

For my lesson, I had to find some acorns. This time of year, the deer have eaten most of them, so I found alot of empty "cups". I did find a few smaller acorns including a couple in various stages of sprouting! I need to work on measuring more accurately as my acorns tended to grow. That or do better with purposely increasing size x 2 or x 4. These acorns are really tiny. Be sure to click on the photo for up close views. Next up will be a big Burr Oak Acorn and pine cones. I'll be asking my friends for pine cones - as I don't have many here in Central Texas. 

Doing this drawing is very helpful to me, and it's giving me time to think about my next series of pastel drawings. I have no idea what to draw right now. After our vacation to Tulum, I had planned a series of paintings inspired by that trip. Perhaps it's time do those. Also, I need to draw wildflowers for the upcoming shows at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in March and April. Flowers it is....

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sticks and .....more Sticks

Some water plant stump
Actual stick on the left, drawing on the right
as if I had to tell you
I've spent the last couple of weeks drawing twigs and sticks for the first month of lessons in my Botanical Illustration classes with Wendy Hollender. This is my first experience with professional level pencil colors and it has been interesting. I'm also learning how to create different colors by layering as well as which colors to choose in the limited pallette to be able to create various colors. The waxy quality to these really does lead to a 'polishing' of sort. 

Anyway, not much exciting to share about sticks except that the process can be very humbling. I have so very much to learn. Tomorrow is our first web class. I'm sure I'll be much more excited after the live/distance session.

I suppose I'm also kind of tired. I spent my day cleaning the closet in my studio. The "great purge" as one of my artist friends called it recently. Good gracious I collected alot of bubble wrap scraps and cardboard. I finally invested in some ULine bubble bags for my paintings for storage and transport. I like them already. 

Sticks on left, drawing on right - 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Breakfast Fruit Cups

Breakfast Fruit Cups
18 x 12
Pastel on UArt 500 Sanded Paper
Good to be back at the easel this weekend. I've had this little Verdin calling me. This little guy had been calling my name so loudly that I dreamed about him, which of course meant he needed to be in a painting. 

After my last painting fiasco, I took this one to the sketchbook first. I see a couple of touch ups I need to do at this point. That's the good thing about taking photographs. For example, The back left wing in shadow needs to be a bit longer, simply because of the way the bird is leaning in. Speaking of leaning, the saguaro is leaning a bit to the left - so I guess it's not a conservative saguaro (hah!).

I enjoyed doing this piece based on shapes - cylinders, spheres. It felt really good to paint overall. Here's a few progress shots - including the sketch. 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Agave and Cactus Wren

Agave and Cactus Wren
18 x 24
Pastel on UArt 500 Sanded Paper 

This is an example of what happens when one goes into a half baked idea. I can't even say I was half baked, just impatient and arrogant. I was composing a good photo of a cactus wren with an old photo of a wren and an agave that was over exposed. What I didn't have was a desired photo of a particular agave, just the one I didn't want to use. I've painted alot of agave, so thought "Oh yeah, I'll make this up". Well, no. I started this painting 3 days ago, then wiped out the agave to make it come up under the wren. Then he lost his long legs. 

There are things I like, the wren, for the most part. The agave colors, particularly the blue shading, but not it's shape and leaf formation. It's kind fo a surreal painting - not very realistic. Ugh. I'm over it for now, but I WILL revisit this painting with a better more formulated plan.

The sketch - already the wren and agave are too large/small respectively

Here, the wren has good sized legs

The agave wiped down, I realized it was too small