Sunday, May 21, 2017

Redwing blackbird with 4 bands

Yesterday was a nice sunny day, so decided to take a paddle down the lake and back.  On the way back saw some grackles on the shore, drifted over and took some pictures of them.  A redwing blackbird flew in, I  took a couple shots of it, and noticed something shiny.  Looking closer I could see that it had 4 leg bands.  So I tried to get as close to possible to it.  Moving canoe, moving bird, good luck with that.  I managed to get a few shots.  Having shot raw files I was able to enlarge quite a bit, converting to 1000 dpi I even managed to get some of the markings on the numbered band.  Now, not the clearest shots, but I'm hoping that if I find out who's doing the banding on the birds maybe they'll at least be interested in where one of them is currently located.  Seems unusual to have 4 bands on a redwing.  Can't quite make out the markings on the band but hey, as small as it is from about 20 feet away, at least it's something.

Sunday, March 3, 2013


I had been happily painting away, enjoying my art class, then got interrupted by a miserable head cold and a few other little "emergencies".  One of the things I did find time to work on was our present subject, leaves, and started this exercise from a photo I had taken a few years ago of autumn leaves on lichen-covered rocks.  I drew the leaves, transferred to watercolour paper, started painting, all was going well.  In fact I was rather pleased with how well the leaves were turning out.  Then I tried to lay in the background of rocks and lichens.  The idea was to put down the colour, use "back splats" to create some clear spots to paint in the lichens, throw on a little salt to make some little spots.  Well I got splats all right.  And pooled up areas that dried into lines that I didn't want.  The more I try to fix it the worse it gets.  I think I'll just start over.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


We were continuing with leaves, I was piddling around with techniques we had learned and got thinking of cattail leaves, so tried a study on cattails.  I'm realizing that cattail heads are more "hotdog" shaped when in their prime, they only start to deteriorate into the fat-batten shapes in winter when the seeds are fluffing out.  I was just happily drawing in leaves and heads, this is where I  need to pay more attention to details in  reference and specimens.  Or...I can just use the ol' standby excuse of "artistic license"....yeah, let's go with that.  ;-)

I need more practice on the leaves, gotta work those greens, and don't like that one that divides the composition in the middle, but it's good practise and I like it.  Going to do some more of these.


On to specific flowers.  Tulips are fun to draw and paint.  I like the simple form and clean lines, although "simple" isn't always the word to use when depicting them.

This one I'm happy with, going to cut  a matte and frame it and put it on my wall.  All these classes over the years, gotta put something on the walls to show for it.


Onward to more parts, we looked at leaves.  Looking through field guides there were types of leaves listed, for fun I put a bunch of them together.  At one point I took a break and got a cup of coffee, got sidetracked, came back and forgot to finish one of the segments, so see if you can find the "mistake".


In the parttime course catalogue for St. Lawrence College, winter semester, I saw that my favourite art teacher was giving a course on watercolour botanicals.  (Unless I know someone doesn't mind having their name mentioned in a public blog, I won't publish it.)   At any rate, got me signed up, and have been enjoying the course.  Our first assignment was doing a study on the parts of a flower, which is a good review for me, couldn't remember some of them.  Having to draw, paint and label helps make it "stick" a little better, and makes you pay attention to shapes and structures.  This first one is from a handout we were given, I drew it freehand.  (140 lb coldpress watercolour paper.)

This exercise got me looking through some of my field guides, and I soon discovered there were other types of flowers and more labels for the parts, so I did another study.   This one was on hotpress paper, drawn in pencil and outlined in ink, painted in with watercolour.  For these types of studies I'm putting reference notes and "for personal educational use only" since it is copied from some artists' copyrighted artwork.  Also, it is annoying when I look back through my collection of artwork and can't remember where I got the reference image from, my photo or some publication?  Now if it's not my original image it's going to have the obligatory disclaimers.

Monday, November 26, 2012

I finally did it.

I finally got wireless.  Watch out world, now I can post more often.   I'll start with an aurora image from November 14, 2012.