Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Breakfast Blooms...Lily of the Incas

Art and Oatmeal with Honeycrisp apple slices, dried cranberries, cinnamon, brown sugar, and a Lily of the Incas.

This is the first layer of gouache, white gel pen, and Pentel brush pen done during oatmeal.

By noon, the breakfast bloom was looking somewhat blase to me. Not the real flower, this species (Alstroemeria) lasts very long as a cut flower. It was the sketch that seemed to lack a spark. Since the art supplies were still on the kitchen table, I decided to "punch it up" a bit during lunch.

Covered the heavy black brush pen lines and added more color to the petals.

Also covered the white gel pen lines. I ended the "do-over" with a contrasting background allowing some of the flower to "bloom" into it. Still exploring the possibilities of gouache in the Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media Sketchbook.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Strange Meteorology...

The road to Lancaster on November 19, 2016 was bright with azure skies. As I descended in altitude from the hills above Oley to the lower lying farmland in Amish Country, the temperature rose. The thermometer joyfully proclaimed 72 degrees. 

There were trees along the way that had yet to give up their leaves of red, yellow and gold. 

But during the afternoon the sky turned an unfriendly shade of gray. 

And the wind kicked up and the oak leaves in front of the Museum flew. The temperature plummeted. 

By 9pm the white stuff started to fall! A day of shorts and snow shovels.

Oil pastel resist with ink and watercolor wash for the colorful corn.

Ink and watercolor wash for the husk. Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media Sketchbook.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Turkey Trot a la ROZ

Sketching at the North Museum November 19, 2016 with Carol and Sheila. Texas Turkey in gouache on Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media Sketchbook. Couldn't help but think of Roz Stendahl while painting this!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Two Turnips and a Pig...

Sketching in the Kitchen with Kay November 18, 2016, Walnut Woods, Boyertown. 

Kay had these turnips for awhile and when they began to sprout, they became our still life to sketch. 

My mantra that day was "No black lines, no black lines, no black lines, no black lines....." just to see what would happen without them. I always feel the NEED to add those black lines. I feel like it is something I MUST do to finish the sketch. I NEVER just let the picture be. Well, never say never. Watercolor (WITH NO BLACK LINES) in Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media Soft cover sketchbook. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Sun Dogs and Scattered Light...

Back in early October when Hurricane Matthew was down off the coast of the Carolinas, a cold front kept the Mid-Atlantic from getting wet. Here, the frigid temperatures aloft, the high bright clouds, the golden sunlight, and the sapphire sky resulted in a unique meteorological event: iridescent clouds.

Standing so that a backyard tree blotted out the sun, I could see in the western sky a strange looking cloud that actually had a rainbow on it! I have seen clouds of many colors, but never an entire rainbow formed on a cloud! These iridescent clouds form when there are especially tiny ice crystals or water droplets in the air that cause the light to be diffracted or spread out creating a rainbow like effect in the clouds.

To the east of the sun there was a sun dog just peeking out from behind a cloud. 

Ever since the scattered light event I have been working on this journal spread. On various days I have thrown collage, pen, marker, watercolor, molding paste, sparkly paints, and acrylics at these pages. This morning I finally decided to just be done with it and move on even though I am not happy with the results. In the bowl: oatmeal with Honeycrisp apple slices, cinnamon, brown sugar, and dried cranberries. And THAT, made me happy. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

A Loveliness of Ladybugs...

October 30th was unseasonably warm - 83 degrees. Down at the barn I was greeted by a "Loveliness of Ladybugs." Each one of the hundred red and black creatures seeking to secure a hibernation spot to spend the wintry days ahead. 

Raised black lines on the Lovelies done with Sakura Glaze Pen. 

Sitting on a bucket out in the pasture, filling the water trough and passing time with Corey the horse, movement caught my eye. When I looked to the fence line, standing there was an eight point buck. As he moved on, I hooted loudly a few times and he stopped and looked around for the source of the sound. I don't think he saw me. He moved on and I hooted and he stopped and looked. We played this game over and over until he disappeared into the woods at the far end of the field. Corey stood close by, watched, and I'm sure, was amused. Quick sketch with Derwent Graphtints. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016


Father Oak holds fast to his scared and leathery leaves while Mother Maple tosses hers, golden and red, onto the autumn breeze. 

Watercolor leaf mediation in a hardbound 140 lbs cold press watercolor paper Canson journal.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Silver Maple Leaf

Still in my autumn leaf mediation mode.. With the showers and the breeze the leaves are falling like raindrops today. Soon they will be all. 

Watercolors in a Canson cold press 140 lbs watercolor hardbound journal.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Sassafras Leaf

Painting leaves at Nolde Forest.

Old Possum Woman says that the Sassafras Tree was named after the frass of the Sassa. More on that later. Oh, yeah, and she says that she uses Sassafras twigs to make her toothbrushes. 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Treasure Gold...

The maple and the tulip trees have been touched by King Midas, even the autumnal light is golden...

Who can resist painting leaves in the fall? (a maple leaf - top side.)

Watercolor in Canson Spiral Bound Watercolor Journal. (a maple leaf - bottom side)

Wasn't sure about adding color in the background, but happy that I did.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Tree #141/10K: The Sacred Oak of Oley Pennsylvania

The Sacred Oak in Oley, PA is a 500-750(?) year old Chinquapin or Yellow Oak (Querus muehlenbergii). It is the holder of as many secrets and stories as the number of acorns that fall from its branches in the autumn. Some of the stories tell of how the local native people went to the tree as a place to pray to the Great Spirit in times of trouble and need. You can read some of these stories on Wikipedia. 

Sitting on a nearby tree stump, I captured a quick watercolor study of part of the tree. I gathered up some leaves that had fallen from its soaring canopy. 

Some leaves have a bit of a wax-like substance called a cuticle on them that makes it hard to get anything to stick to them. Here I am using some containers to hold the leaves down while the acrylic matte medium is drying. While they seemed to stay attached to the page, the medium peeled off of the larger leaves. But I decided to go ahead and paint them anyway.

I worried way to much over the back ground leaves, first painting them one color and them another. I finally just scribbled some Sakura black glaze pen over them and walked away. This is, after all, just a journal page. Speaking of journaling, I wrote on the trunk of the tree instead of adding details to the bark.

I used the Sakura glaze pens on the sky. Still in my Klimt-influenced mood as you can see here. Funny, never had the idea to use geometric shapes for natural backgrounds of sky, land, water, etc., but I'm loving it!

The Sacred Oak in Oley, PA is growing on private property and is open to the public twice a year. This is me at the tree on October 15, 2016. Hundreds of people came to show their respect to the tree. There were elders in wheel chairs, lovers taking their pictures in front of the tree, children running about, and even a Lenapi offering up prayers. The next visitation will be in June 2017. Check the Oley Township website for information.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Hawk Mountain: Sketching Miss David

Miss David is an educational owl at Hawk Mountain. I believe she was hit by a car, and now, with an injured wing, she is unable to be released into the wild to fend for herself. I had the opportunity to do a studio sketch of her with graphite and charcoal. Showing much patience, she is an excellent life model.

Screech owls are tiny and their face is a fluff of feathers. Interesting but hard to sketch. And, if you are wondering, because she is small the staff thought she was a male (among raptors the female is larger than the male) and so she was named David. After DNA testing however, the name was changed to Miss David to reflect her true identity.