Monday, October 27, 2014

Trip Map and House Layout

I had a blast doing these two pages.  One is of our outing this past Saturday searching out various parks near us.  The other is of the house we are renting in Florida.

Saturday Outing:

 We made a huge circle checking out four parks.  I had taken my sketchbook with me and Terry took his fishing rod to give him something to do while I sketched.  Unfortunately the areas didn't offer much to either one of us. 

First area we stopped at was Black Bass Resort.  I still chuckle each time I think about it.  Resort to me means some nice fancy place to spend the day or even camp.  Pictures on the website were extremely deceiving to both of us so when we arrived, we were rather taken back.  Turns out the resort is a small fairly run down park with rooms you can stay in and a few sites you can camp on.  They offer boat rentals but not sure I'd trust what we saw offered to rent.  Plus the narrow waterway/canal was pretty grown over.........which isn't necessarily a bad thing but just wasn't inviting.  Nothing appealed to us so we didn't waste much time there.  Plus the bait shop said it was open but no one was there :-/

Second stop was as Marsh Memorial Park.  It was a nice little park with playground and picnic areas all under nice shade.  Evidently not a very busy park as no one else was there.  The one plus we found a boat ramp where we could launch our kayaks headed out this narrow canal to the larger lake (Lake Yale).

Next stop was Idamere Park.  A definite inviting family park off another lake.  In the center of the circling drive/parking area was a really nice fenced in dog park with lots of trees to offer shade.  We have a dog park near us but it's all in the open.  There was a really nice play ground and picnic area with pavilions you can rent and tables, etc. all around.  The park was in fantastic shape..........very well kept up.  There were people there to include a child's birthday party with kids everywhere.  That was the closest to anything interesting me to sketch but I elected not to.  Not this trip.

On the other side of the play/picnic area was a very nice pier with two bench seats looking out over the small lake.  The pier is a bit high so fishing from it might be a bit challenging.  We walked around and although there was a sign showing where one can launch a canoe or kayak, it wasn't easy to get to and a long walk at that from parking area to the water.  Maybe someone 20 years younger but not us.

Final stop was PEAR Park.  We drove around both with expressions like.............. huh???!!!!  What's the attraction here???  We saw a dog park and lots of signs for biking and hiking but other than that.............let's just say we didn't spend much time there.  Maybe there are other entrances to this large pear shaped area but the two we found didn't impress us.

After several hours of driving around, in and out of the car, and walking around, we were ready to go home.

The House:

After working the trip map of Saturday's adventure, I thought I'd do a layout of the house we are renting. 

It sits on a very large lot.........3/4 to an acre of land (I think) surrounded by trees and shrubs of various types.  Flowering, fruit, oaks, hibiscus, etc.  Not to forget the various shrubs throughout the yard as well.  Some may see it as a jungle whereas we find it very appealing after living in the woods in West Virginia.  Living back in a subdivision with houses all around, we at least still feel somewhat secluded and private.

As for the house, it's definitely larger than what we left but definitely laid out differently spreading things out quite a bit and with no basement for storage.  In WV I had a huge bedroom that had enough ample space to include office and painting table.  TV and recliner plus all the normal bedroom furniture.  I didn't have to go far to do much of anything except cook and eat.

Here I'm spread out between three rooms.  The largest bedroom is back in the darkest part of the house with a huge bathroom off one side that is probably the brightest room in the house next to the closed in sun room (Florida Room as it's called here).  That bedroom is great for sleeping and where I can relax in the evening in my recliner watching TV.

That bedroom has three to the bathroom; one leading out to the living room; and a sliding glass door that opens out to the Florida Room.  THAT'S where I have set up for painting and sketching.  I LOVE the windows and the light that room gets.  Plus the room is actually climate controlled although with the western sun coming in, the room can get quite warm.  That rooms opens out to a little patio and then french doors going into the living room.

As for my "office" or main computer set up's in what is considered the formal dining room in the front of the house.  Right now it's a combination office and guest bedroom..........only there are no doors you can close.  Just two open doorways one of which leads into the kitchen.

I spend most of my time back in the Florida room.  :-)

Practicing Building Components

Kind of in a haze with what I wanted to do next, I decided to comb through some of my books.  One of my favorite artists is Richard Taylor and one of his books grabbed my attention drawing and painting buildings.

These are two different windows I picked out from the book to practice on.

Strathmore Visual Watercolor Journal, ink (one with water soluble and one Micron permanent ink), QoR watercolors.

Again practicing ink only (no pencil).

Itsy Bitsy Spider

We've seen Orb Weavers before, which we feel are gorgeous and unique spiders, but this is the first we've seen this Spiny Back Orb Weaver.  This page is deceiving giving the impression this little guy is huge but it's very tiny.  Not even a half inch wide.....maybe the size of the very tip of my pinky finger.

There are two in particular with either white body / dark red spines or yellow body / black spines.  Our first siting of this one in particular looked yellow with black.  It was later in the day and I had to try and get underneath to get a photo of him.  The next morning I found him on top of the web giving me a better viewing and realized it was more white with dark red spines.

Of course I did the illustration from my first viewing.  Notice at this point there were three main threads of his web.  Each had this fuzzy part and we read where only the supporting threads will have this.  The next day there were four supporting threads and more of the web between them.

Strathmore Visual Watercolor Journal and QoR watercolors

No Pencil Sketch Practice

Even after the numerous exercises I've done in the past, to include the 75 Day Challenge involving pen and ink, I still find myself a bit skittish using ink only (no pre-sketching in pencil).  Here are two pages done practicing again using no pencil.  This is something I need to do now and then to help build confidence I still lack.

This first page is using water soluble Namiki Black ink in the Pilot Prera.  Went back and took a waterbrush to the lines to give the illustrations some tone and depth.  The generic sketchbook paper seems to soak a bit of the ink in so I didn't get the nice bleed I know I can achieve on other paper.  To help compensate for that, I mixed little pools of ink with a bit of water using a brush and filling in.

Preparing myself to attempt going out and sketching people I see, I worked each illustration rather quickly.  Some were done with brush and watercolor laying in or blocking in shapes with color and then going back with pen and ink for detailing.  Some were done quickly with the pen and ink first and then color applied last.  My "models" are from photos for this practice.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Miss Kiddo - Son's Cat with an Attitude

Miss Kiddo is a small cat compared to my youngest's cat, Mocca.  Kiddo likes to aggitate Mocca.  Something you might see between sibblings.  She has such an innocent face but wow what an attitude that does not go along with the sweet look :-)

Love her Raccoon tail!!!  The black or gray markings on her head is actually shaped like a capital M seen when standing over her looking down.

Worked in the Handbook

Finishing (FINALLY) my Handmade Fabriano Spiral Journal

I made this spiral journal years ago using Fabriano 140lb CP watercolor paper.  Because I have so many journals going at the same time, it's easy to go for some time before picking up particular journals to work in.  This is one of them.

Here are pages I've done to close this one out.  Some pages are just messing around with little thought and others planned out to some degree.

Final Page using my miniature Bear - Opal

By the way......the QoR watercolors scan beautifully!!!  Really shows the vibrancy of these pigments.  The more I work with them, the more I'm liking them.  I'm even adjusting to the staining properties of these pigments.

Still Trying to Catch Up

I just have too many journals going at the same  Difficult to keep up with what I've shared and what I still wish to upload.  I may get caught up with one place and then find I'm way behind elsewhere.

Here are some pages in the Strathmore Visual Journal (watercolor paper) I'm pretty sure I haven't uploaded yet to my Blog.

This is a figurine I purchased while visiting my sister a few years ago in Rockport, TX.

This next page is of a Ghost Crab (according to my son) from a phone picture he took a couple weeks ago.

Couple of pages celebrating the time of year.............I LOVE Autumn!!!!

Props seen in one of my TV shows.........either LOST or in one of the NCIS shows.  While watching TV, my eyes seem to be drawn to various things that might trigger an inner voice saying "sketch me."

Friday, October 17, 2014

QoR Color Charts on Two Different Paper Surfaces

I've been playing lately with these new Golden QoR Watercolors to include making charts on different paper.

The bulk of these pigments are staining to some degree.......more so than I have found in other brands, but really beautiful colors.  I like how they reactivate with water after allowing to fully dry in the palette.  I like how they seem to explode when dropped in an area that has been pre-wet with water.  And, I like how they blend.  As for how much more vibrant they may be on paper due to their "exclusive" binding properties, I haven't been able to make up my mind when comparing with my other brands on hand.

These following were done in the Stillman & Birn Beta watercolor sketchbook.

These were the first charts I did using the Strathmore Visual Journal with 140 lb cold press watercolor paper.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Lake Griffin Kayaking/Fishing

Yesterday, for my birthday, Terry, Travis, and I went out early kayaking and fishing at Lake Griffin.  This is our second trip out to this particular spot with the first trip being very productive catching fish.  Yesterday the fish were breaking the surface but really not all that interested in what we threw out to try and catch them.  I did manage to catch two small bass and Travis caught three.  Poor Terry was skunked by us :-)

Even without the fish activity, I enjoyed being out on the water paddling around, taking pictures, and I even managed two quick pencil sketches.  Only problem with that was the fact I grabbed a less than desirable sketchbook that doesn't like watercolor added to the paper surface.  I did manage to work one page of the two with watercolor when I got home and then decided to create a journal page in a better sketchbook.

Moleskine Sketchbook:

Strathmore Visual Journal Watercolor - 140lb CP

Now although I've put 6" down on the page (which Terry jokingly said was the size), I do believe it was a little larger than that but not by much.  I'm thinking compared to my hand, it was more like 7 or 8 inches.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Finished the Sennelier Accordion Fold Journal

This particular journal gifted to me last month was dedicated to Terry's and my trip to Venetian Gardens in Leesburg, FL.

Here are the rest of the pages completing this journal:

And yes his legs are really that thin :-)

To see the other pages making up this journal, you can see from this link:

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Earnest Ward - Artist - New Ebook

One of my favorite artists who enjoys capturing many of the same subjects as I do as well as keeping a journal recently launched a new ebook called "The North Cascades: Tale of Two Seasons (Spring)," through the Apple Itunes store.

This morning I finished reading this beautiful Artist Journal and adventure ibook by Earnest who’s a naturalist and an artist who loves to observe and record the wonders he encounters in his daily life.

This particular book focuses on his trip to Stehekin......a very remote area of the North Cascades National Park, located in Washington.

As the reader, you accompany Earnest on his daily adventures as the ice and snow begins to melt and the world around awakens with the warming of Spring weather.  You get to experience these wonders via his wonderful illustrations, photos, video clips and descriptive commentary of his encounters; which includes wildlife, flora, means of transportation, people, buildings, and the surrounding landscape.

What I really enjoyed was the variety of mediums used in his illustrations.  Something to tickle the fancy of all artists regardless of their personal preference in medium (graphite, pen and ink, watercolor, acrylic, and oil.)

The other aspect of this book I really enjoyed was his choice in going with the ibook format.  I love the interactive nature of these enhanced ebooks which is a far cry from a standard page by page flip ebook.  From scrolling sidebars of photos and descriptions/observations, to the enhanced illustrations and photos one can view full screen, to the wonderful videos that leave you feeling like you are standing right there experiencing the moment in sight and sound.

This adventure was truly entertaining, informative, and visually pleasing.  A fantastic example of what one can do keeping an artist’s journal and sharing the world and experiences with others.

I hope others will check this gentleman and his ebook out as I believe you'll enjoy the experience as I have.   Here are a several links you might enjoy viewing:

Earnest Ward - Drawn to Life Blog

Earnest Ward Web Site

Earnest Ward Photos - Flickr

Earnest Ward Facebook

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