Scanned some very old artwork this week, from grade school to high school. I’d forgotten how much I loved carousel horses! Thought I would doodle in my sketchbook for old time’s sake. Not sure how well the backlighting worked out, but it was certainly fun to do. The vertical line to the right is the center of the book.
This was a very happy surprise while visiting family for the holidays: a Praying Mantis on my mom’s garage! The first I’ve seen in all the years she’s lived there, and the only one I have ever observed live and up close. Such incredibly interesting creatures. She was very visibly turning her head to keep an eye on me as I checked her out.
We only had a day together, a day that started far inland and needed to make up for all the years we’ve missed in just a few short hours. Thanks to the magic of an old truck and a tank of gas, we accomplished all that and so much more. Time has been hard on both of us, but this is an eternal friendship: it picks up where it left off, regardless of years or miles, never a beat missed. Read more
Apparently this is a European damselfly, Enallagma cyathigerum
. I would have seen Familiar Bluets, Enallagma civile. They’re all gorgeous, and always a treat when one lands nearby. This sketch began plein aire, since a Bluet landed while I was sketching the Bird of Paradise a few days ago. Of course it flew off a few seconds later! I found a photo taken from a similar angle and finished it up for Day 7. Not sure I love the Jadeite on the plant stem, but pretty happy with the rest of it.
TIL: Damselfly heads are really complicated! After finishing I realized that it actually has five pieces: two eyes of course, and three apparent sections between the eyes. In the ref, the left eye is nearly hidden. In the drawing, I sort of mixed up the left eye and the sections of the upper head. Might have to draw a damselfly head study to make up for my carelessness.
The queen palms serving as sentries for the mighty Date Palm. This is a favorite spot of mine in the landscaping, and these palms always seem so majestic. The viewpoint is a little below grade, from down among the blocks in the water feature. The decorative grasses are only about a foot tall, but I’m eye level to them here.
Laid out with the Kuretake #40 brush pen initially, then washed with color. The foremost palm frond and a few other points employ gouache, although the highlights on the date palm trunk are saved whites. Painted across the spread in my sketchbook.
Cobalt blue, green apatite, some PO62 to mute the blue and Jane’s gray mix for the background black glass building. The palm trunks are Raw Umber (with and without cobalt) and there’s a little PY129 and Naple’s Yellow among the greenery. Oh, and the shrubs are Jadeite. Nine pigments – no limited palette here! At least not for me.
Here’s another take on Il Fornaio. This time I wanted to capture the forest of umbrellas that shade their enclosed patio. Didn’t even notice, until deep in the sketch, that one of the umbrellas was a different shape than the others. I used a bit of Bleedproof White with PV23 to lay in the flower blossoms over the background. It was tempting to add a few silhouette diners behind the glass, but something told me that would go too far and I’d ruin it. Decided to listen for once and stopped, so here it is.
This is what kind of day it was outside today. Post-scanning, I realized that one of my feet looks like I’m wearing clown shoes. Ah well… this is what I get for diving in with an ink brush all come-what-may!
Jeans courtesy of PB60, Indanthrone Blue which I added to my palette this weekend. Painting on location demands speed, and I have come to rely more on using paint direct from the well (vs. mixing precise hues before applying to the paper). This might limit the hue range to whatever’s on hand, but drastically reduces the amount of time spent before brush hits paper. It also means there’s been an awful lot of people in my book wearing Prussian blue pants because I didn’t have a good “jeans” color on hand! As of yesterday, problem solved. Indanthrone is the best blue-jean-blue I know of, and makes a nice neutral with orange/brown as well. It gets a workout here, by itself and in combination with PO62 for the socks and shoes. Jadeite and Green Apatite were used for the lawn.
Is heaven any sweeter than Blue Jean?
There’s magnolia trees outside at at work. There was also a magnolia tree next door to the house I grew up in. Without my realizing it, that aroma seeped its way into my memories each year and became the olfactory theme for for late spring/early summer.
The first spring at this building I walked out the front door and immediately found myself feeling like school was about to let out. It’s a wonderful feeling, even if I only get to enjoy it for a lunch break!