Sunday, February 25, 2018

Another from the Trout Lake Nature Center

This is one from the case of moths and butterflies.  I believe it's called a White-lined Spinx.  This particular one just jumped out at me due to the contrast in colors and pattern.  Although it's not showing here, some have areas of pink.  Maybe this one didn't because it was dried.  Another reason I like this particular moth is that I've seen them often around the house.  I just think they are so neat and amazed by the size I've seen.

Decided this time to hold off adding ink.  I might add it later.

Stillman & Birn Beta 3.5 x 5.5 journal

The scan is showing the lighter color a bit more yellow than it should.  The pigment used is Buff Titanium (Daniel Smith) and is more of a light tan or dark off white.  Other colors used are Bt Umber, Bt Sienna, and touch of Paynes Gray.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Sketchcrawl at Trout Lake Nature Center 02/22/18

Yesterday there were eight of us who met up at the Trout Lake Nature sketchers and one of the ladies' husband.

It was quite a warm sunny day reaching 86 (according to my car temp gauge) when we left around 1 p.m. 

The nature center has two buildings with bones, skulls, stuffed animals from gators to the smallest of turtles.  There were cases of moths and butterflies as well.

This center holds educational classes for school kids and while we were there, a bus load of youngsters were there for lunch, walking the trails, and going through the museum.

Outside are A-framed wired structures ...... one with a live turtle and not sure what other critters were there.

There are several trails you can walk, one of which takes you out a board walk to the lake.  It was a gorgeous day!

This is a page from my large Stillman & Birn Beta journal where I worked a few illustrations.  The left two were worked watercolor first with pen and ink last and those on the right were worked my normal way of ink first followed by watercolor.

I could probably fill a complete journal with all the things there that grabbed my attention :-)  A place I plan to return to.

Tribute to Mote-Morris House in Leesburg

We learned this week that another historical landmark may be demolished. 

We lost an Orange Packing Plant last year with the College buying the property and leveling the packing plant for their use.  This other is the Mote Morris House that is 125 years old and owned by the City of Leesburg renting out to the Chamber of Commerce.  Unfortunately bringing it down will not be by choice.  A fire broke out causing significant structural damage.  As of this writing they are not sure if a vagrant set the fire or if it was due to some other cause (arson, electrical?).  A few weeks ago a vagrant was caught and chased off trying to light a fire (to keep warm I guess) on the gazebo that sits on the property.

Here is a sketch I just finished today as a tribute to a building several in our sketching group hold dear and for one reason as mentioned below.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Labeling Spiral Journals and Sketchbooks

It used to be all I ever worked in were spiral sketchbooks/journals (once I stepped away from single sheets and placing in Itoya presentation folders).  Then I was introduced to the hard bound journals like Stillman and Birn or even hand-sewn journals we can make.

I kept going back and forth as to which I prefer and I'm at a point now that it's a true toss up.  Sometimes spirals can be difficult to lay completely flat for scanning but then I've also had problems with hard bounds as well.

Some people feel you can't work a two-page spread but I have and to me looks fine even with the spiral in between the pages.

What I determined was the biggest positive for hard bounds was the fact you had a spine you could write contents on so you could see at a glance on a book shelf what they contained (time period covered, subject, etc.). 

I like spirals because they are often lighter in weight.  Mentally they also give me permission to not treat the journal as some priceless book I can't use for fear of messing up the pages.  If a page is that poorly messed up, you can tear it out without leaving any trace you've done

The problem is, of course, with a bookshelf of spirals, you have to take them all down just to flip open to see what's in them or you pull off the shelf to see what you might have written on the front cover.  If you have several (like I do), that can be horribly time consuming.

Here's my solution to that :-)  You can use the round key ring labels but I used what I have on hand and to me these work out beautifully.  And you can color code if you wish depending on brand or type of journals you're using.  Or color code by subject, etc.

Couple other ideas:

One friend of mine takes stiff paper (watercolor paper as an example) and wraps it around folding the ends inside front and back cover.  That creates a spine you can write the contents on.  Unfortunately, I don't have paper laying around that I could use for that or large enough for some of my spirals.

I've also tried sticking a pen through in between the spirals and trying to write on the edge of the pages with very little luck. 

Trying Out AutoSketch on Note8 Phone

A dear friend of mine uses AutoSketch on his Note8 all the time.  I thought now that I have a Note8 that I would try the free version out of this app with the stylus pen.

Not sure I'll use the phone app often as the stylus pen is a bit tiny and awkward for me to use.  At least at this point.  Probably in time I might get used to it but only time and usage will tell.

I found the app very limited and not real user friendly.  Unlike Procreate, I couldn't find very much on how to use the app on the mobile phone.  What videos I found were on larger tablets and the interface appears different.  And maybe the videos cover the paid version whereas I'm not going to pay for an app unless I understand how to use it or if the features are those I like and one can easily use.  So far that's not the case for me with this free version.  It took forever for me just to locate how to undo or erase or make the pencil tool size larger or smaller. 

With all that said, I did manage this simple little sketch from memory of what I did the other day after seeing our little hummer friend at the feeder again this morning.

Another Whimsical Illustration for Group Flyers

Just playing around with various illustrations for our sketching group, I came up with another to add as eye candy on flyers.

Using Procreate, I originally worked this.  After a couple of days I decided it needed some more work.........especially some shading.  Then I had to add the

Due to the fact I work each component on layers, I can keep the shadow under the car or untick and not use it.  And the sunglasses is the same deal........I can include them or not depending on my mood :-)

One of the ways I thought of using this is as if the car is pulling a trailer (Trekkers)

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Couple Quick Sketches

Yesterday and today both we saw our little hummer friend.  That's encouraging and hope he/she sticks around.  Would be nice to see more but thankful for the one after all this time not having them around.

Quick pencil sketch in Paper Blanks journal. 

And this is just a very rough sketch of something we laugh at several times a day, every day.

Miya, our little yorki-poo, likes going out with Terry every time he sits out front.  He sits while she sunbathes a few feet away.  And every time she goes out, she has to take something with her........mostly a toy.  Once in awhile she'll take her bone out but that's another story with her behavior that cracks us up.

This illustration shows what she does when Terry stands at the front door calling her to come out with him.  She runs to grab a toy (most often sitting in the middle of the floor in the living room by the foyer/front door) but instead of turning to go outside, she always continues on through the living room......through the kitchen.......through the dining room......back to the foyer and out the front door.

You have to wonder what goes through their minds or what makes them do what they do sometimes.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Subject Approached Two Different Ways

This is a statue I decided to try two different methods in sketching just for my own comparison.  Which do I like better?   Hard to say honestly as I like each for different reasons.

One of the reasons I love sketching is for spontaneity and liveliness they often portray (mine don't always but I do strive for that look).  Not so stiff looking or formal when spending a lot of time working on a sketch.  I tend to overwork when I spend a lot of time.  I keep seeing things that might look better and then find to my eyes they often look over-worked.  And a lot depends too on the subject.

I enjoy using Procreate but like using a single sheet of watercolor paper, I tend to labor over what I'm working on........often spending several hours on one piece.  Using a sketchbook mentally gives me permission to sketch loosely and quickly if I so choose.  Other means for some reason I feel I have to keep striving for perfection which I never reach..........and that's OK (as I keep trying to remind

The left to me is more spontaneous.  The statue to my eyes appears rough and weather worn whereas the one on the right is smooth and doesn't quite portray it's been sitting outside for any length of time except for maybe the green I placed for moss or mold.  Although the face on the right is more true to life looking than the quick sketch.

I like the brown leaves in the right example but then the more I think about it, I also like the green grassy area of the left example.

The other thing I like best about the left is it has better contrast between lights and darks on the statue itself.

And I haven't quite made up my mind with the backgrounds.  I like the suggestive look of the background on the left as I don't feel it competes with the statue itself.  In some ways I feel the background on the right competes.  But it's all in the eyes of the beholder.  Everyone is different and even I tend to change how I see things from day to day depending on my mood (lol.)

Friday, February 16, 2018

FINALLY a Hummingbird!

Since we moved to Florida, we've not had much luck seeing hummingbirds.  We had scores of them back in West Virginia and I've missed having them around.

This year we thought maybe to place the feeder in the front yard rather than the back.  We also put the feeder out early after researching and reading mid to late February or early March would be a good time.

Within the first 24 hours of setting up a feeder, Terry heard a humming while sitting out reading his book.  The little guy quickly tested out the feeder and flew off.  A few days later Terry saw one again but didn't stay around very long.

Today I FINALLY had the opportunity to see one and this time he or she sat for quite awhile on the feeder taking his fill of nectar.  I had plenty of time to observe and even take photos through the window before he flew off.

Here's my recording of today's sighting.  I'm using pigments I don't normally use by Daniel Smith.  A light and darker green........the darker having quite a bit of sediment in it leaving a texture on the paper.  Something similar to the lunar pigments.  The Greens I used were Rich Green and Green App.  Then I used some Sap Green with Dioxide Purple to darken some areas.  I finished it off with watercolor pencils for some added darker bluish green tones.

This time I chose not to use pen and ink.

Beta 3.5 x 5.5 journal

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Lake Sumter Landing Sketchcrawl Continued

This goes along with the post I shared yesterday from our sketchcrawl Monday at Lake Sumter Landing.  Started out with light pencil sketch and finally finished using Lamy Safari and a bit of color.

Beta journal

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Sketchcrawl Lake Sumter Landing 2/12

Yesterday there were five of us ladies who showed up at Lake Sumter Landing in The Villages, FL.  After sitting and chatting for a few minutes, we all disbursed in various directions.

With the water level higher than I've seen since we moved here, I decided to capture the sunken boat over near Cody's Restaurant.  I sat on a wood bench while I sketched in pencil first and then added the pen and ink.

When I first sat down it was cloudy but then the sun came out and I found it too hot to continue sitting there.  I left that spot and headed over towards an area of the boardwalk under shade.  There I sat down on the concrete wall and sketched the second page........same method........pencil first and then ink using my Lamy Safari pen.

Journal used:  Beta 3.5 x 5.5

I have one more page I started with people but haven't finished yet.  Will post later.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Yesterday's Sketch Outing at Venetian Gardens

We had another sketch outing yesterday at one of our favorite spots........Venetian Gardens in Leesburg.

There were five of us this time and for a change, the weather was gorgeous............minus it being a bit on the windy side.  But the plus side of that was keeping the bugs at bay (for the most part).

It was upper 70s and sunny.  Our area has seen more gray days this winter than I can remember in the last three winters I've been here.  It was good being out and soaking in that sun.  Another thing different this winter......we've had more really cold days and many of our trees have lost their leaves.  Normally (based on the last few winters), the trees have maintained their leaves with many of the shrubs still flowering.  Not this year.

Normally at the park you will see many folks walking or sitting on the benches or in their cars eating lunch.  And other times I've been at the park, there have been several fishing.  Not yesterday.  I watched one man walk along throwing a line into the water.  There were a few people walking, one man sitting reading a book, and a small group that had lunch under one of the pavilions.  When we first arrived, there was a man sitting on a bench near the water's edge feeding the birds (maybe he was sharing his lunch as he had a small cooler with him).  Most of which were seagulls and ibis.  Then there were us five ladies.

Both quick sketches worked in a 3.5 x 5.5 Beta sketchbook using the TWSBI mini fountain pen and Lexy Gray ink.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Monthly Challenge Between Friends - February 2018

I have a friend who's more like a sister to me, who lives in the United Kingdom.  We met through Peter Saw's Paint Doodles forum many years ago.

She sets herself yearly challenges similar to what I do for myself.  Well this year she suggested we set monthly challenges for both of us to accomplish.........each taking every other month to come up with a task we must complete in the month.

Our first challenge for January 2018 was the Indirect Self Portrait.  This month, Clare set a challenge where we choose a poem, a story, a play, or song, and come up with at least six doodles/illustrations that fit the source we choose.

I had a hard time with this as I don't listen to music and when I do, I only "hear" the melody and beat.  I don't pay attention to words.  And most often songs are about people and feelings or actions anyways.  I don't get into poetry or plays either.  And as for reading, I'm a visual reader where I pay more attention to illustrations than words......especially the older I get and the difficulty in seeing.  So this felt impossible at first.

I spent hours pouring through poems, quotes, and song lyrics.  Nothing grabbed me.  Then I thought about children's nursery rhymes and songs.  I found that they often dealt with things......people, animals, etc. 

After searching various children's rhymes and songs, I settled on one that I could relate with and with subjects I love............animals. 

Throughout my life I've always been attracted to barns and farm lands.  Maybe because my grandfather was a farmer and the fond memories of visiting him and Grandma Cain.  And, it hasn't been long ago that I made two trips to Heather Oaks Farm here in Florida with animals so this made things a little easier for me........more personal.

Do you recognize the song?

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Revisiting Universal Studios

I was going through photos from last year and this one jumped out at me to sketch. 

Procreate 6B pencil and airbrush med hard for blending.

This is part of a week with family when the boys' father and his family came to Florida in April last year.  Terry and I were included in their daily activities while here and had a great time!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Digital Scratch Art - ZenDoodles

Similar to scratch art, one can produce drawings and even zendoodles and tangles with a similar method using a digital art app.  In my case, Procreate.

First I created a layer with random colors completely covering the layer leaving no white areas.

Then I created another layer on top and filled in with black.

My "scratching" tool is the eraser tool and work my tangles on the black layer.  As I erase, the colors from the layer beneath show through.

Scratch Art without the mess of scraping paint or clay :-)


Twice this week I missed going to classes/presentations I would have loved to have gone to.

One was an actual beginner's class given by a certified ZenTangle teacher (Ginny Stiles) and one by a gal at the art center (Gail Bannock) who just likes to zendoodle with no official training.  It would have been great to experience the difference between the two ladies in how they approach this meditative drawing.

Although I might not have been able to attend in person, I was with the groups in spirit and decided to play a bit with how I like to approach zendoodles/tangles.  I don't start out with a string but instead start in one location and then build off of that.

Both of these were started at the gem I first created and then just continued along until I decided to stop.  I think it's easy to tell that my brain seeks balance and might be the reason I prefer not to use a random string.

This first one I ran out of paper surface or I would have added a bottom that looked like feet or some sort of support..........almost like a lady standing, wearing clothing similar to what Morticia in The Adam's Family wore.  I had started with the gem and then worked the two strands that created a figure 8 and just continued from that point adding to both sides.

Worked the color first with yellow and then the bit of red.  Placed the highlight area and then added the border.

Worked a few lines with red and finally some shading with red and light pressure.

This one I also started at the gem.  Worked this while I was listening to/watching CSI on TV.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Daily Sketching - Jan 31st thru Feb 2

Catching up with the last few days.

January was a very productive month with regards to my sketching and painting, and I'm well into my 365 sketch goal for the year.  This gives me a bit of a cushion as I feel a "recharge" period is about to hit me.  (Actually I foresee a slump but I prefer to view it as something positive so I mentally think "recharge" rather than slump.  Slump sounds too negative to me.)

Here's the final for the month of January - Two guys fishing at Venetian Gardens - Procreate 6B pencil tool

To start off February, I chose to sketch my eldest son's little dog, Chewy.  We miss him and the family.   Procreate water brush tool

A quick digital sketch as an inspirational reminder to myself.

Today's sketch is an exercise playing with watercolor - trying to limit placement of color by looking for and thinking about shadow areas.  I went a bit too far with color on the bottom left pot.  Thinking only shadows will take some practice on my part because I always feel the need to completely fill in an area.  I want to work exercises like this to help speed up a bit for when I'm out on locations AND to loosen up a bit getting away from all the tedious detail I tend to include in my work.  Just something different for a change :-)

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