Posted in drawing

Sleeping under the Supermoon

Sometimes Life sends you a gift. Late last week, my husband and I decided it was time to go camping. We needed the therapy of the great outdoors. He checked online and discovered that the fishing lakes in Kansas are still open to the public. After reviewing the weather forecast, we chose Tuesday, April 7 for our outing. The weather would be dry and the temperatures mild.

He is an avid fly fisherman and hadn’t dropped a fly in the water for ten months. I don’t care for fishing, preferring to sit at the lake’s edge and enjoy more passive activities. I brought a book, my sketching supplies and a pile of tangled yarn to straighten out.

We arrived around eleven a.m. at our favorite Kansas lake. At that time, there was almost no one else there. It was glorious – the sun glinting on the water, the fresh breeze blowing off the water and the trees just barely showing leaves. He was off like a shot in his float tube and I got out my sketch book.

Willow at Lake Montgomery April 2020
Sycamore tree at water’s edge
Bluebirds nesting in hollow branch

This is the first outdoor sketching I have done since getting interested in drawing last year. I found the experience very relaxing. The goal of the plein-air sketch is just to capture some basic information about what you see. It’s after you bring the sketches back to your studio that you can turn them into more detailed drawings. These bluebirds intrigued me. I had never seen a pair as such close range, and never seen them nesting in nature.

Here’s the yarn I untangled. It used to be a cabled glove in process. I decided to abandon the project completely and start over with the green wool.

After cooking and eating dinner, the sun was beginning to set. Eager to see it up close we strolled along the lakeshore toward the western part of the lake. Bill took still images and made a few videos of the gorgeous sky and its reflection in the water. Once the show was over, we turned and proceeded back along the shore, now looking east.

We were astonished at what happened next. The full moon, now rising just below tree tops, sliding up through the gathering mist of the lake, and soon in full view, was huge. With the fading of the sun, the sky turned from blue to indigo to deep purple. The moon changed from pink to orange to gold, and then paled out to white.

What a lucky surprise, we said to each other. We hadn’t been expecting a full moon, and certainly not one of such beauty. Returning to the campsite, he built up the fire and we sat quietly waiting for night to fall. By around nine o’clock, the light of the moon was so intense we could still discern colors. The moon shadows of not only our bodies but also of everything around us were crisply outlined on the ground.

We retired to bed. The moonlight’s glow penetrated the tent walls. It never did get dark that night. And it certainly never got quiet. It seems that the full moon in April is the time specified by Nature for every frog in the county to go a-courting. I have never heard such a raucous sound coming from the lake. It out-shouted the cattle lowing, the coyotes barking and the owls whooing. I called them laughing frogs, but really it sounded more like the din of a sports bar during the biggest game of the year.

Despite the noise, we slept. We woke just in time to see the sun rise over the still, glassy lake. Another moment that will be etched deeply into our collective memories.

Posted in drawing, painting

Fun with Fish

#doodlewashJanuary2020 This one’s for you, Charlie.

Here’s a whole school of the little wrigglers. When I found the reference photo on Unsplash, I just couldn’t resist those beautiful yellow tails. I will confess to adding Micron ink to the sketch after the water color paint had dried.

Posted in drawing, painting

The Time Between Fiber Object Work

Since I received such nice art supplies for Christmas, I feel the imperative to put them to good use. In my breaks from sewing, knitting and doing chores, I’ve made a few pictures.

Lemon floating in the air. Water color with ink added.
Robin in the snow. All ink.

The first reference photo came from a painting tutorial by Lindsey Weirich, the Frugal Crafter. The second came from a Christmas card. Each took me about an hour to finish.

Today I will be volunteering with my husband at the downtown park. We and several other able-bodied folks will be putting the lighted Christmas displays back into the warehouse until next season. Like most small towns, ours relies on many willing volunteers to make the holiday magic happen.

I don’t expect to work on any fiber objects or sketches until tomorrow.

Posted in drawing, quilting

Welcome to Winter

Here in the central time zone we are mere hours away from the winter solstice – the official start of winter. With all the busyness of Christmas preparations, I didn’t make a special fiber object to celebrate the change of season. Instead today I am recycling one of my Inktober drawings made on the prompt of Snow. The reference photo I used for this charming scene was taken in front of my brother’s home in Ohio. While I did use artistic liberties with the content of the background across the pond, the scene is essentially like reality. There is an air of nostalgia about it, not unlike the way I feel at this time of year.

Work on the Arches quilt continues. I have solved some of the technical issues facing me in piecing the blocks together. The blocks on the right edge of the quilt have been pieced and pressed. Here are two.

As I finished stitching the lower right block, I started to feel a real sense of accomplishment. My idea is actually coming together, just the way I envisioned it.

Posted in drawing

Inspiration from the Little Free Library

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How many of you are familiar with this movement?  I first became aware of it almost ten years ago.  It’s a way to encourage reading while recycling books that you have finished reading. Anyone can erect a little library on their property by becoming a steward, building the library and registering it at the organization’s site. There are little free libraries all over the place. Check out the organization’s website, which has a map showing the locations of these tiny structures.

https://littlefreelibrary.org/

On a recent walk through my neighborhood I discovered that a neighbor had installed a little free library in her yard.  What a surprise and delight!  Inside I found a beautiful book of photographs that looked very promising as a source of inspiration.

http://maxwellmackenzie.com/americanruins.php

Maxwell MacKenzie is an American photographer born in Fergus Falls, MN. who  specializes in architectural photography.  This book includes some wonderful images of abandoned structures on the Northern Great Plains which he captured between 1996 and 1999.  They were built by settlers, farmers and pioneers who abandoned them, generally due to experiencing some kind of hardship.  I found the images to be haunting.  I began to imagine the people of the past who had lived and died there. And so I began sketching from the photographs, with an idea about recreating some of these ghosts.  Here is my first sketch, of an old one-room schoolhouse.  It is almost finished.

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This exercise is a good way to take a break from fiber arts, while continuing to develop my skills with pen and ink.

 

Posted in drawing, knitting, painting

Life in the Studio

As much as I enjoyed our little trip to visit family, it’s nice to be back into my routine. Just as an aside, the faux suede baby booties, while slightly too big, were well accepted by little L. In the meantime, she had also acquired two other items of footwear – a pair of sneakers and a pair of snow boots. She did a brief baby runway show, modeling all of the above. It was so funny to watch her toddle around the house awkwardly, although looking quite pleased with herself and her ability to work the crowd.

Back at home, I have picked up where I left off on various fiber projects.

First of all, I’m knitting a birthday surprise for my daughter. (A big clue to the surprise is found in the sketch above.)

Secondly, I’ve resumed efforts toward making the Arches quilt. It’s amazing how just writing down the next steps motivated me to work. I have finished drawing the full-size patterns for each block. And by completing this step, I have been able to determine exactly how may squares of each color will be required. Over the past two days I have been painting the background fabric. I chose to paint the background squares on a gray fabric, in order to keep the background looking like the night sky.

Next up will be the fabric for the quilt subject.

 

Posted in drawing

Inktober2019 Wrap up

#inktober2019 challenge ended yesterday. I made it to the end! In the waning days I tried out a few other techniques and subjects, including sports figures. Enjoy!

Who doesn’t love lemurs?
The photograph of this Chinese high jumper really inspired me.
What can I say? It was the World Series baseball playoff week.
Inspired by French Impressionism.

Now I am pondering ways to incorporate some of my favorite drawings into new projects. At the least, I hope to print a few greeting cards for friends and family.

Posted in drawing

#inktober 2019 Week 4

Here are my drawings from the Inktober prompts for Days 21 through 26. This week I wanted to work on improving my technique.

The prompt was Treasure. I thought about the great treasures of our material culture, specifically art and the artists that created it. My portrait comes from Georgia O’Keeffe’s autobiography. In this scene she is blind and over 90 years old. The techniques I worked on here were ink washes, shadows and stippling. Also, this image allowed me to practice drawing faces and hands – both are considered challenging subjects for artists of all kinds.

After working on the O’Keeffe, my mind was lingering on Santa Fe. For the next prompt, I drew a ghost in the Loretto Chapel. Lots of line work here, as I focus on rendering architectural detail and dim lighting.

More artwork: sculptures from ancient times. I practiced stippling and the night sky.

The prompt was dizzy. As one who suffers occasional episodes of acrophobia, I chose to face my fear and draw from the dizzying perspective of a high overlook. It was a challenge to get the perspectives right on the suspension bridges.

I was keen to draw some more birds. So I took advantage of the prompt Tasty and drew a momma bird feeding her chicks.

That’s all for now. Only a few days left in Inktober. I am looking forward to getting back to fiber arts, especially sewing. I have many ideas for quilted gifts.

Posted in drawing

More Inktober: More Experiments

Since I am basically a beginner at this, I consider all of my drawing experiments. But this week, I decided to adopt a more playful approach.

Overgrown: Playing around with ink wash.

Legend: Nessie show herself.

The paper is seriously rippled. I learned that I must use a stronger paper for ink wash.

Wild: Drawing the young jaguar that I appliqued earlier this year.

Colored paper as a background.

Ornament: Comic book style.

Misfit: Who invited that bird into our flock?

Sling: The challenge of drawing a fishing net.

More fun next week.