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.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Found some more Foxfire

It's that time of year again for the Great Canadian Pasttime:  gathering firewood for the winter.  I've been cutting most of our supply by myself, Dad just turned 88 years old and can't quite run up and down these rocky hills like he used to.  The one bright side to last July's drought was the drying out of one of our swamps, I was able to get in there and cut a bunch of fallen dead maples and ash trees and throw the lengths onto a rocky outcrop where they could be retrieved later when the rains returned and refilled the swamp.  Easier said than done, it's a long walk up and down the woodland path to the road.  Even so, I've got a respectable pile already gathered for the winter.  My legs and shoulders are sore this morning.

Some of the smaller and more decayed pieces are being used here at the summer residence.  Several small ash trees had died and fallen over, pulling up the root ends with them.  I had brought one of these back to the house and cut it up, and put the pieces in the woodbox last night.  When I shut the lights off the box was glowing lime  green from one of the butts that we had split in two, got some lovely foxfire again this year.

Took some pictures and have tried to upload, but this old slow dialup is proving to be a major pain in the hind end.