Seasons Change

A few months ago, this hill was screaming neon green thanks to the record rains we got in the first part of the year. Today? Everything’s changed! The lush, rich grass is now cured in place and the only green is provided by leafy summer trees and bulrushes. We’re back to normal, really. Wet winters are an exception around here. Semi-arid climate is the rule!

After the clouds broke, I spotted a lizard sunning on a curb. He was still, but for his head swiveling around, for plenty long enough to sketch him. Of course a car parked and scared him off before I was quite done. The sketch was far enough along at that point to finish from memory. Cute little guy, I enjoyed studying him from a little distance.

My Platinum EF pen was at home on my desk, so both of these are drawn with the Kuretake #40 brush pen.

Late Season Weather

Spent a fabulous (and chilly!) morning at the beach this weekend, with a very late storm moving in. The storm only bothered dropping a smidgen of rain, but more than made up for it with dramatic skies. There was a tanker at anchor looking close enough to touch, container ships waiting for POLA/POLB, and… something between the drilling platforms. What is that? Read more

It’s Morevember! Starting with a Cardinal Tetra

111316-cardinal-tetra-final

You might recognize this if you ever had a fish tank – well, almost. It’s a Cardinal Tetra, close relative of the Neon Tetra, which is one of the most popular aquarium fish in the world. I’ve always been a little obsessed with Cardinals and have kept plenty of them over the years. They’re hardy with a bit of care, and so incredibly beautiful. Saw a massive school of them at a public aquarium – in aggregate, they’re just breathtaking.     Read more

Inktober 2016 – Oct 24: The Finished Bat

102416-inktober-fruit-bat-completeThis may be my favorite artwork of Inktober so far, if not the entire year! Now I understand why Flying Foxes are so called – fruit bats all seem to have very canine faces. Some do indeed look very fox-like; this one slightly less so. They are complex and interesting creatures I’d like to know a lot more about.      Read more

Inktober 2016: Oct 23 – Lesser Short-Nosed Fruit Bat Portrait

102316-inktober-fruit-bat-portraitThis is a Lesser Short-Nosed Fruit Bat. It’s a long name for a very appealing critter! I like bats in general, and didn’t know this one had such a lovely face. Their mammalian nature is very apparent in the doglike snout and (apparently) soft fur.

So far he’s been a joy to draw. Wings and a body to come!

Inktober 2016: Oct 21 – Beach Rocks

102116-inktober-beach-rocksThis is one of my personal favorite drawings of the year, because it was done in the company of my bestest friend on the planet.

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

Inktober 2016: Oct 19 – Common Yellowthroat

101916-inktober-common-yellowthroatThis rather silly-looking songbird came with an extra challenge. I met a friend for an impromptu lunchtime drawing session. We both wanted to paint the same reference, so I placed it upside down for me (right-side-up for her). Call me a show-off, but it solved the problem and we had a lovely time drawing and chatting. Thing is, I was working an upside-down bird upside down, Betty Edwards style.      Read more

Inktober: Oct 10 – Fiddler Crab

101016-inktober-fiddler-crabThis is a female Fiddler Crab. They’re not hard to find at aquarium stores, and I’ve had more than one as pets. Interesting creatures! The males have one very large claw that is waved about (to attract the females of course.) All of them are busy, curious, and entertaining as they prowl around their tank looking for food. Unfortunately, they’re usually sold as freshwater creatures. Read more

Inktober: Oct 6 – Kestrel Portrait

100616-inktober-kestrel-head-portraitLove these birds! Saw one as a teenager and thought it was pretty cool to have a genuine Bird of Prey living right in my boring neighborhood.

Learned a couple things with this drawing. One, watch proportions! The head shape and eye size is a little different than the reference. It’s fine for practice, but not entirely *right*. Second, never use paint to do what you should have done with ink. I tried to get lazy and beef up one of the black neck stripes with Sodalite, and it just looked weird. Better to have just scratched away at it a little longer.

Third, perhaps, plan ahead. I was going to draw the entire bird and could see after a while that maybe 60% of him would fit on the page by the time I got done. Oops. Head portrait it is! This was about all I had time to draw anyway. Might do a full-bird drawing and stretch it over two days.

Reference is this Wikipedia photo.

Inktober: Oct. 2 – Bob Tarte’s Sedge Wren

100216-inktober-sedge-wrenToday’s entry is a serenading Sedge Wren, drawn from Bob Tarte’s fabulous photo and used with his generous permission. Thanks Bob! Do check out his books and podcast at bobtarte.com.

Birdy at left drawn with the Platinum EF fountain pen on Strathmore 140lb Windpower CP.