Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sketch Time

Sketching is a habit I've had since I was little. Whenever I had nothing to do, I'd try to draw something from nature, just to see if I could do it, but more importantly, to learn more about whatever object I was drawing. We know what a maple helicopter seed (Samara) looks like, although vaguely, when it's still green and hanging from the tree limbs, and we know the flurry of motion it moves in as it falls to the ground, spinning and whirling like a helicopter. But we don't know what it really looks like until we give it our full attention, look at it for a long time, and SEE it. See all of it's little veins, how thin the blade wings are, see where the little fruit/seed is hidden in the thicker side of it.
I've been doing little sketches of the maple seeds and the squirrels that are fattening up for Winter by eating them. These couple of sketches I did on a beautiful autumn afternoon in my backyard. The squirrels would walk a few steps, pick up some seeds, sit back on their haunches for a nibble, followed by a big couple of hops to the next choice looking pile. I used a moleskine watercolor pad and an ink pen, then went back inside the house when the sun went down (so early now!), and followed up with a couple of quick splashes of diluted watercolor from the Koi pocket field sketch box that I bought this year. I do have a waterpen that came with it, but I haven't learned quite how to control the amount of water that can come out of it, so I tend to add the color wash with a regular brush. It was quite a nice way to spend an afternoon.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


I've been working on this one for a while. Yes, I'm a slow painter. A very slow painter, which is why I retired the notion of being a mural painter. I painted a few murals in people's homes, with my busy full time job schedule, it had to be after work and on weekends, and I would try to push myself to move faster, cover more area, get the idea out with broad strokes like most murals are made up of, but I would just have to go back over what I did before because it never looked good enough. So I've accepted that I'm a slow painter and that's that. I do sketch and work with colored pencils at a much quicker pace, so I try to move back and forth between the two, to get a better sense of accomplishment. So guess what's next? A few sketches and colored pencil drawings will be coming soon. So this painting is also a much larger size, "18 x 24", than I have been working in, which has usually been 8" x 10". So double the size and change to acrylics means the seasons will change before I finish. I was able to snap some photos of seagulls wading through the incoming surf at a nearby beach. There was no wind, so the water was slowly rippling, with long flat, mirror like panels. It was also at sunset, so the water was full of colors that you don't usually associate with the cold Atlantic, purples and greens, rosy reds. I think this painting is a perfect goodbye to the summer season.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Hi there! Hope everyone is doing well. Busy little chipmunk that I am, it's taken me quite a while to finish this drawing. I saw some gulls exibiting this behavior one day, one was young, the other mature. I'm not sure if it was imitation on the young gulls side or not, I read that spreading wings might be a way to cool off as well, but I thought it would make an interesting composition. I have a big tin of Derwent Graphic pencils and I like to see if I can use as many different degrees of lightness and darkness.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Welcome Spring!

Spring is here, just in time for a potential April Fools Day blizzard here in the New England. Hopefully not. Everyone has a big case of spring fever, and a last snowstorm is not what we need.

Well, a lot of time has passed since I last posted. January and February were stellar snow shoveling months, and I spent them tending to my aching wrists from marathon snow shoveling during our weekly blizzards, and so didn't have much to show. During March, I have been working in the studio, but it has been on a couple of paintings for private collection only, so were not to be shown. Now that there's longer light during the day, Spring Fever has hit and I've spent some time organizing and cleaning, and finishing up some projects. So here's the Canadian Goose that I started working on in December, background finished finally. Sometimes it's hard to know what to do to finish something. You know when it's unfinished, but not quite sure what it takes to bring it to completion without overworking it. The grass part was challenging for me. The drawing has so much detail in the feathers, and so little in the water, that I had to find a middle ground with the grass. I think I found a good balance. Let me know what you think- does it need more work?