Plays With Pencils

Possum Patty from Pencil-vania Illustrating Life

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

August is Purple Mushroom Month

Abundant rainfall this summer has produced Basidiums of amazing size and color.

What we see as mushrooms are the "fruiting bodies" of the funnygus - Basidiomycota.

Underground the Basidiomycota are mycelium that run over large areas.

The "Hen of the Woods" mushroom tastes like chicken.

The "Old Man of the Woods" mushroom Strobilomyces Strobilaceus.

"...old men have grey beards, that their faces are wrinkled, their eyes purging thick amber or plum tree gun, and they have a plentiful lack of wit..."

These botanists exhibit Mycophobia.

Zinnias and Zabulons

What's on my mind?
Went out to sketch the Zinnias and found a zillion Zabulons!

Zabulon Skippers and Zinnias in ink and watercolor wash.

Monday, August 21, 2017

#DannyGregoryQuotes #3DaysinParsippany #WhereTheLadyGotHerGaga

It was November 3rd 
and with her Dia de Muertos face paint
 which she applied after watching a 
Theodore Bradley video, 
looking a bit the worse for wear 
after having it on for 3 days 
because she couldn't find her makeup remover, 
Stefani stepped off of the bus from NYC 
which was costing her quite a bit of cash 
whereas if she had been a resident of Parsippany
 she could have just rode to the music studio
 on the free transit system but oh no, 
she just didn't want to relocate to New Jersey
 so therefore had to put out the coins
for a daily bus ride during which 
she did look a bit odd that day 
wearing the skeleton suit which had been 
appropriate attire the day before 
though she hadn't time to change, 
anyway it was much better than wearing 
just slabs of meat which might have been 
a bit of a problem what with the 
local coyotes and black bears 
that roamed Highway 287 that autumn 
and as she walked across the parking lot 
to the studio there was a small crowd 
which had gathered around the storm drain 
to smoke and flip their cigarette butts down into 
and with no exception 
everyone that watched her pass by 
opened their mouths and spouted "gag-gag" 
though I think they were actually trying 
to say something besides 
that which was later shortened to "gaga".

For more fun in Parsippany:

#eclipse Helios Eclipses: Zones of Totality and Partiality

The Great Helios Eclipse of August 21, 2017.
Sketched at the North Museum from a Lunar Moth specimen, a Moon Snail shell, and a cut Sunflower which also substituted for a Sunflower Sea Star with ink and watercolor.

In the Zone or Path of Totality, a large Lunar Moth, Actius luna, named for the Greek word luna for "moon", lands on but having no mouth parts does not feed on, a Sunflower, Helianthus, named for the Greek work helios meaning "sun" and anthus meaning "flower" and blocks the entire center of the bloom which is actually many smaller florets that can number up to two thousand each of which may make a seed so that only the sterile ray flowers ringing the edge all with one large brightly colored petal which make up the corona can be seen. 

A Partial Helios Eclipse during which a Moon Snail or Naticidae from the Italian, natica referring to a part of the anatomy I shall call "buttocks" moves across the face of a species of Sunflower Sea Star or Pycnopodia helianthoides, from the Greek helios for "sunbut does not entirely block the view of the rays or arms of the sea star is a very short event since Moon Snails though voracious predators themselves feeding on clams, crabs, and in a cannibalistic way on other snails by drilling holes and releasing acid and sucking out the their prey's innards quickly fall prey to Sunflower Sea Stars. 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

#DannyGregoryQuotes #3DaysinParsippany #TheTreeCity

Whether it is Winter or any other season
New Jersey is one of the most populous states
never-the-less it has a 42% tree cover 
with Parsippany being recognized as 
for the past 40,000 years
because the First Children planted 
the original groves of Weirwoods
in the eastern section of the township

where you can still find a few hardy specimens 
of this species in a secret hollow
that the ice age glacial cover did not reach
but these wise and aware ancient ones are rare
and you are more likely to encounter
much younger Weirwoods
that were planted from seeds
flown on the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1997
and provided by the NJ State Forest Nursery in Jackson having been planted in habitats that contain 
other outstanding and popular Parsippany 
native plants some of which 
may be endangered or of local concern
such as the Wahoo, Erect Bindweed, 
Meadow Cuckoo-flower, Spiny Coontail, 
Green Adder's-mouth, Floating Heart, 
Northern Panic Grass, Strawberry-tomato, 
Hooker's Orchid, Indian Physic, 
Black-girdle Woolgrass, Lace-lip Ladies'-tresses, 
Humped Bladderwort, and every artist's favorite, Stylosanthes biflora, 
also known as Pencil-flower 
which ironically has recently become hard to find in 

For more fun in Parsippany:

Monday, July 24, 2017

#DannyGregoryQuotes #3DaysinParsippany #ParsippanyPastelMountains

500 million years ago
a chain of volcanic islands
formed of polychromatic basaltic rocks
crashed into the Jersey Shore
creating the famous Parsippany Pastel Mountains
that grew to tremendous heights
in the western portion of the township

but were eventually worn down
by the shimmering and glimmering
 Rockaway River
 that flows into a basin
created by the Wisconsin Glacier
around 21,000 BC and looks like 
an old crone picking blueberries 
currently called Lake Hiawatha

in an area called 
a word from a Lenape Native American sub-tribe
 meaning “the place where the river winds 
through the valley of the polka-dotted sky”

 in an area where the strawberry boulders
are quite common above which
 the oddly shaped stone formations
 that are the remains of the Pastel Mountains
can still be seen today.

For more fun in Parsippany:

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Tree #147/10,00 The Rhine Pine

A doodled pine-ish tree. Watercolor and ink in a Canson Watercolor Sketchbook, 140 lbs cold-pressed paper.

Art and Oatmeal with California Peaches. First I sketch with the watercolors.

Then details are added by doodling with a Pigma Micron .05 pen.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Tree #146/10,000 A Bluish Beech...

A Bluish Beech with unusually colored foliage.

Close-up of tree trunk. Pigma Micron Pen over watercolors.

Doodled leaves. Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media Sketchbook.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Tree #145/10,000: a series of hand-drawn arcs and linear marks...

Abstractedly done with acrylics and cellophane wrap in a Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media Sketchbook. 

Close-up of texture made by crinkling cellophane over the wet paint and left on page until the paint was dry. Under layer of texture is from a layer of gesso added to the page before painting.

Didn't want the circles to be perfect so I drew them by hand instead of tracing round objects. More organic this way.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Art and Oatmeal: A Wishing Stone

A Wishing Stone has a white ring around the entire rock. According to Wise Old 'Possum Woman, if you find a Wishing Stone, hold it between your hands, make a wish, and then throw it into the nearest body of water such as the ocean, a lake or a stream and the wish will come true.

Art and Oatmeal with California Peaches (all gone). Derwent Watercolor Pencils and Water Brush. Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media Journal.

Limestone rock with white quartz ring. The top sketch was the first try. Hah, not even close. I have a tendency to elongate everything! Tried again below it and next to the rose. Better, but not completely satisfied with the result.

Happy enough with the third effort to call it "sketched".  On to the next rock...