Plays With Pencils

Possum Patty from Pencil-vania Illustrating Life

Friday, August 26, 2016

National Dog Day Friday August 26, 2016

I have a horse and a dozen (barn) cats but not a single canine, so I went to my friend Andee's house to sketch her pooch, Cody. He's very sweet.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

LEARNING LANDSCAPES: a conversation with myself


On my journaling journey, I experiment with supplies, try new techniques, leave my comfort zone when it comes to subject matter, and share the good and the bad with my art friends. Today, as part of the learning progress, I  am self- critiquing my Neversink Overlook landscape.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Urban Sketching in Boyertown... And Tree #135/10,000

So used to drawing organic shapes! Buildings and angles are hard to understand. But I gave it a go anyway. This is the Good Shepard Church in Boyertown, PA. The church was built around 1814 and the steeple was replaced by the clock tower about a 100 years later. Instead of tackling the whole building, I started with just the clock tower and one chimney. What a wuss. I probably should take Liz Steel's course on drawing buildings or at least practice, practice practice.

Gum Ran is a wonderful artist who puts up with my sketchbook antics while she masterfully executes watercolor paintings. The other day she actually said, "You're getting better!" 

Egads! Look at the angles on that tower!

Ahhh, saved by the trees on the side of the church. 

Interesting display of very old tombstones behind the church. I searched for information about them on the webber-net. All that I could discover was that a cemetery was "reduced" for the expansion of a bank and then again for some work done at the church.  The headstones are arranged in 5 double rows. The names on the monuments are barely or not at all readable and yet someone planted an American flag by one of them.

Tree #135/10,000.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Who's been eating the Zinnias? Mystery solved...

What's on my mind? Well, someone asked me what could be eating their Zinnias. I just figured that it was a beetle of some sorts, but while keeping a close eye on the flowers outside my front window I spotted these culprits systematically laying bare each bloom petal by petal. 

It was hard to get a good photo through the window. This one's been cropped quite a bit. You can see the evidence in his bill: a pink Zinnia petal. I caught two males and one female red-handed or pink-petaled, as the case may be.

I sketched, inked and painted this page with Neocolor IIs while riding in the car last week. I convinced my husband that I was not painting but "coloring" with crayons. Remember the car has white leather seats.

The sketchy wiggly lines are due to the motion of the car. Coloring wasn't easy either. Before I could finish this Zinnia, I dropped the green Neocolor II under the seat and I couldn't retrieve it. It was a balancing act featuring journal, waterbrush, and crayons on a small pillow in my lap.

I love to sketch birds in action - something besides the "guidebook pose."

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Kutztown Folk Festival: Sketchbook page from July

Enjoyed the Folk Festival in July, but only did one sketch while there and that was of the Distelfink. Pennsylvania Dutch Hex Signs were quite evident across the fairgrounds. I added the pig and rooster later. They were on the cover of the fair brochure. 

Not Forgotten Friday: '49 Ford Pick-up Truck

Really stretching the art muscles lately! First landscapes and now vehicles. But this truck is special to me and when I saw that it was on the calendar in the garage, I just had to channel my inner "Lapin" and sketch it.

Art and Oatmeal with Peaches: during breakfast I sketched in the green truck. While painting it with watercolors, I added the primer red fender because that is what the '49 that my ex and I bought in California back in 1970 looked like. 

Big trip down memory lane. While inking and painting the picture, I thought of the adventures we had in this vehicle. We drove it the length and breadth of the Golden State: sleeping in the truck bed on the beach in Capistrano, using the large water container that we hauled with us to dowse a fire in Yosemite (inebriated campers trying to build a camp fire); putting my feet up on the dashboard so that they wouldn't get burnt while I watched the Mojave Dessert pass by through a hole in the hot metal floor of the truck. Yes, I've been through the dessert in a truck with no AC. Ahhh, those were the days.

Love the iconic grill! We also drove the truck from California to Connecticut in 4 and 1/2 days. Once when it was my turn to drive, I got pulled over by a State Trooper. "If you can't make this thing go any faster, you are going to have to get it off of the highway!" I got a warning, but not a ticket, for going too slow. Not my fault, no speedometer, and at that moment, no traffic to judge how fast, or slow, I was going.

While the ex was in Viet Nam, I drove the truck everyday to work. With mechanical steering, (there was no power anything - not steering, not windows, etc.) parallel parking was a bitch. There was, however, a built-in metal tool box behind the seat that could easily be overlooked. That is where I kept a bottle of Boone's Farm Apple Wine for when I picked up my friends over at the college. My friend's brother was a city cop and he laughed hysterically to see me driving around in that old green "tank" and decided to give me a handle. "Mother Trucker" signing off.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Neversink Mountain Overlook: Tree #133

Looking through the Scrub Pines towards the Schuylkill River. Working on painting landscapes. Looking through green trees onto a river with a greenish tint surrounded by rows and rows of green trees fading out to mountains covered with green trees in the distance. hmmmm..... any suggestions?

The edge of the cliff.

Neversink Mountain: Don't eat the Deer Berries!

Wednesday Botany Walk, August 17th. Sitting at the overlook on Neversink Mountain enjoying the view and admiring the abundant crop of Deer Berries. Beautiful blues on the bush. Not sure if this species is edible or not because some sources say yes and another says no. Need more research! In the mean while, I just admire and not eat.

Full Journal Page:

"The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn." Ralph Waldo Emerson

What child (poet, artist, naturalist) is not fascinated by the acorn?

On Neversink Mountain we stopped to compare the nuts of the Oak trees. This acorn is probably from an Oak in the White Oak group (leaves with rounded lobes) because the cap or cupule extends halfway down the kernel. I call this cap the Tam O'Shanter. Acorns from White Oaks usually mature and drop within months and are sweet to eat.  This may be a nut from the Chestnut Oak.

Acorns in the Red Oak group (leaves with pointed lobes) mature slowly taking up to two years before they fall, contain high levels of tannin, and are bitter to the tongue. The cap or cupule sits high on the kernel and I call this one the Yamaka. This may be an acorn from a Red Oak.

Neversink Mountain Wednesday Botany Walk August 17th

Nature Journaled on Neversink Mountain. The forest seemed to be mostly a variety of oaks, chestnuts (young ones growing from old diseased trunks, and scrub pine at the point in the trail where the overlook was. I picked a few oak leaves for comparison: Black Jack, Chestnut Oak, and White Oak. Note: The leaves were all green.

I used to be such a serious Nature Journaler! Now I just have fun and then blame Carolyn Dube for the Colorful Play and Joanne Sharpe for the Whimsical Lettering.