High Summer Light

Admittedly it is not yet summer, per the Sun, but it’s getting an early start with the amazing blue light that makes me giddy for a few weeks around the solstice every year. The sun is nearly at the zenith at noon, the air is boasting a cool fresh ocean breeze scented with magnolia blossoms, and as I sat drinking all this in, the most colorful thing to be found in corporate landscaping was sitting there right in front of me.

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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 22 – Azure Kingfisher Repair Job

101816-inktober-azure-kingfisher-fixedRemember the eye that was bugging me a few days ago? Well, I couldn’t stand it anymore!

After so many years of trying to be a watercolor purist, I finally realized that there’s no reason not to adapt a few things. There’s nothing wrong with opaque gouache, nor is there any reason why a given work has to be declared “done” at a given point and never ever touched again. This is a very freeing feeling, and I decided to exercise my new-found freedom on That Eye.

It took a little care, but ultimately wasn’t that hard to do. The Platinum Carbon ink did most of the work, as I knew it would. So, making the eye bigger and more oval was really not the problem. Recovering the lost catch light and the light rim that defines the lids, THAT was the problem. A few minutes with gouache and the problem was solved! It matched the watercolor perfectly and other than a slight difference in reflectance, looked as if it had been there all along.

So, Inktober Oct 22: One eye, a few blue highlights, and a big sigh of relief.

 

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 18 – Azure Kingfisher

101816-inktober-azure-kingfisherHere’s a bird I’d never heard of before: an Azure Kingfisher. They have the best birds in Australia! Clearly my life is not going to be complete until I’ve been there. If all I did was spend a day out seeing wildlife it would be a plane ride well spent.

Kingfishers have giant beaks as a rule, so this is actually fairly proportionate to the source photo. The color was just crying out for a strong dose of PB29 Ultramarine (in gouache) and some Burnt Sienna did a nice job on the bird’s warm breast. What I am not happy with is the eye – it’s not a bad eye on its own and would be fine on a songbird. This is an Azure Kingfisher though, and they have enormous beady eyes. A disappointing lesson in minding proportions! Letting it go for today, though with gritted teeth.

About 3″ x 4″ on the Strathmore paper, with the Kuretake #40 ink brush.

Inktober: Oct 15 – Black-Necked Stilt

101516-inktober-black-neck-stilt-birdNow here’s a bird that lends itself to drawing with an ink brush! Black-Necked Stilts have ridiculously long legs. They’re long when the bird is in water; on land, it looks like they have legs that were meant for different bird. Most of the time, they’re in enough water to look proportionate (for a wader, anyway.)   Read more

Inktober: Oct 9 – Tibia Fusus

100916-inktober-tibia-fususHere’s a Tibia fusus shell. These are one of my favorite shells! I placed one on the drafting table and drew it.

The background color is one of my favorite blues ever, which I rarely use because the paint fades so badly. No clue what pigment it is, was some very old Grumbacher Academie tube that has long since been thrown away. Just one well in my palette remains, trotted out for special occasions that don’t require lightfastness. Other paints used are Raw Sienna/Burnt Sienna (PBr7), Ultramarine PB29 in the shadows on the shell, and PB60 for the ground shadow.

Switched tools and drew this with the Kuretake #40 brush pen, same Carbon ink as before. 8″ x 2.25″ approximately.

Inktober: Oct. 3 – Keys

100316-inktober-keysThink this sketch got a little dark! I put some keys on the drafting table and drew them, so it’s like a mini-still-life. They were reflecting a lot more light on the upper parts, which I darkened trying to get contrast between one and the next. Not the best choice, but oh well. That’s what this is about, practicing and improving.

PV23 and PB29 for the background, Raw Sienna PBr7 on the keys, with a judicious dash of PV23 in the shadows. PR101 on the key ring. About 3″ x 3.5″ with the same ink, paper, pen as the wren.

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.