Showing posts from September, 2012

Rose Hip Tangles - Lin Frye

Rose Hip Tangles - Happy Birthday to Me!, a photo by linfrye on Flickr. 9" x 12" Watercolor
Arches 140#CP

Fall begins a season of celebrations - harvests, brlliant colors, Halloween, All Saints Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas.

I painted some bright red rose hips - a reminder of the season and the colors I love, the hips-- the fruit of a season's work and the promise of more to come!

I kept this rather splashy - simply for the joy of the season ...

birds nest project : Alissa Duke

This is a small (8cm x 4 cm x 6cm) nest that I was given. I am not sure what bird it belonged to. It is from SouthEast Queensland, Australia. I have looked online today and not found an answer. I will go the the library and look into it and also maybe send a photo to the museum.
My project now is to explore methods of drawing this little birds nest. The ink version is ok. It is when I attempt to draw nests in watercolour pencil that I have problems.The problems are with the colour and shadow and line . and trying to find a method that suits my own style of drawing. I have three other birds nests at home to draw, and so I am keen to learn.. I  Thankfully Nature Artists group members (below) have provided me with some suggestions and guidance.

Karen Engelbretson: Book - America's Other Audubon" by Joy M. Kiser. Also, artist Wendy Brockman paints nests.
Mindy Lighthipe: Drawing Birds Tutorial
John Muir Laws
Antshrike Artist: Bo…

The Playful Crow - Maree

“Even the blackest of them all, the crow, Renders good service as your man-at-arms, Crushing the beetle in his coat of mail, And crying havoc on the slug and snail.
 - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Pilot Fineliner Black Ink sketch and watercolour in Moleskine 200gsm Watercolour Sketchbook Black Crow – Corvus capensis. Found: Africa
Ample press is given to charismatic animals such as dolphins, chimps and the like, but few, when talking of intelligent beings, think to mention the crow or raven. It is, however, easy to understand the natural aversions some people have towards these birds: They’re lacking in any type of floral-like beauty; they have a cacophonous and sometimes incessant caw, and are cunning thieves to boot. 
But if you look closer, and get to know these beautiful birds on a more intimate level, you will see not just see ‘plain black’ feathers, but beautiful iridescent colours of purple, blue, green and brown. And discover a great intelligence, and even a sense of humour, not no…

Saucy Little Chippy

Saucy Little Chippy, a photo by Teri DC on Flickr.
I was totally entertained with this little chipmunk. My daughter's two Golden Retrievers are in the kitchen avidly watching this chippy perform all kinds of antics: running, eating and sleeping as though she knows perfectly well that she is safe on the other side. Drives the dogs nuts and if she could smirk she would be doing it. Small things like this are so delightful and entertaining!
Painted on Stillman and Birns Beta sketchbook.  I so love that paper!

Pansies in the lawn

A few years ago a good friend gave me a pot of pansies when she came for lunch one day.  When they were over flowering I popped the plants in the garden to carryon growing.  Since then every summer I'm reminded of her when new little plants appear all over the lawn.  I usually rescue a clump now and then before the grass gets mown, even today at the end of September I have another little pot on the windowsill.  Thanks Julie for such a lovely lasting gift!

Rain Coming - Lin Frye

Rain Coming, a photo by linfrye on Flickr. 9" x 12" Watercolor
Arches 140#CP

For our 20th anniversary, my husband and I went to Topsail beach on the North Carolina coast and spent a few days at a marvelous bed and breakfast overlooking the marsh. I LOVE the quiet of the marsh, that peaceful green, the lapping of water, the sound of sea birds .... and our breakfasts were absolutely out of this world gourmet!!!!

During the first couple of days there, the weather wasn't very cooperative, and we had rain ... but we found plenty to do. I sat on our private balcony and painted the view just as the rainclouds gathered over the marshes .....

It was a restful vacation - apparently both of us needed our batteries recharged ... and love our walks along the beach and marsh, visits to museums, and a few small towns that were utterly charming.

We've rain in the forecast for the weekend, and we could use some - but oh how the days have been simply beautiful with Carolina blue skies, su…

Eagle Owl video

Kate, if you think this is inappropriate feel free to delete it but I was so interested in Maree's info about her owls that I thought everyone might enjoy this little video. It's the eagle owl she was referring to. the video is one of the most amazing I've ever seen--be sure to watch it all the way to the end. I'll bet you'll watch it again!

More Autumn Treasures - Teri Casper

More Autumn Treasures, a photo by Teri DC on Flickr. I found all these things while walking the Golden Girls: leaves, hickory nut shells and dried hydrangea blooms, then sketched and painted each one and the page just grew. I tried to artistically add the words. This is really a fun way to create a journal page. I plan to do more.
It was done in the Stillman&Birns Beta sketchbook which I have fallen in love with.

Queen Anne's Lace - Lin Frye

Queen Anne's Lace, a photo by linfrye on Flickr. 140 Arches CP

BRRR ..... the mornings these days are downright nippy and both mornings and evenings require a light jacket. Yet by noon, temps have risen to the mid 70s and low 80s - but somehow the sun is not quite as hot as it was a month ago - even at these temperatures.

In drives around the countryside, more and more fields have turned to bright yellow - golden rod and tickseeds have taken over. Dogwoods are almost entirely crimson and tulip tree and sycamore leaves dot the ground. These longer, cooler nights have certain been working their magic on bringing color to the landscape!

I spot a few remaining Queen Anne's Lace - but most of these are now brown and heavy with seed. I've been seed-collecting these past weeks, and it's time now to begin my annual 'seed-strewing. Blanket flower, purple cone flower, Queen Anne's Lace, poppy seeds - all will be randomly mixed and scattered over bare and new g…

A visit to the beach in Adelaide, Australia: Alissa Duke

I spent the weekend in Adelaide, South Australia for a seminar . I had some free time before 9am and walked  a few blocks to the beach. I did a small sketch at the beach, before it started to rain lightly. That is not so great with watercolour pencils and paper.
So I stopped drawing and walked down onto the beach and collected some shells. It is amazing that different beaches can produce new and exciting shells. I only had  about half an hour to spare, but could have spent all morning there. I put the shells in my sunglasses case, as it as the only place I could think to store them !

I think the bit and pieces of shells and stones are more interesting as the perfect shells that I used to look for on the beach when I was little. I have been drawing these shells back home in Sydney this week and there are a few more to sketch.


Fall Physallis - HAPPY FIRST DAY OF FALL!, a photo by linfrye on Flickr. 9" x 12"
Arches 140#CP

The leaves are turning, the skies clearing and the temperatures are moving back to reasonable temperatures. Pumpkins and gourds are appearing everywhere I look ... and now, more than ever, is the season for berries.

I find berries on the hollies, on the dogwood, on the winterberry shrub, viburnum, elderberry, and wrapped in casings like this physallis ... and I love to see each of them.

Somehow apples taste better in the fall than any other time, and I look forward to their sweet crunch. And now, with cooler evenings, a hot cup of tea really makes everything cozy.

Here's to fall and harvests and apple and pumpkin pies! To oranges and golds and crimson! Let the color kaleidescope begin!

Lin Frye
North Carolina

On the Oregon Coast

When I started drawing the sky was blue and the air filled with the barking of hundreds of California sea lions and a few low rumbles coming from Stellar's sea lions.  It hasn't rained for two months so the rocks are frosted with a summer's worth of bird droppings.  Most of the sea lions were hauled out on a beach in front of a larger rock .... but I really didn't want to try drawing that many critters, so I picked  a small rock with two Stellars and six cormorants.

I had my drawing inked and ready to add watercolor when suddenly the fog rolled in.  All too soon my little island was totally erased.  I could still hear all the birds and sea lions, but couldn't see even a suggestion of any rocks..... so I added the paint at home.

First Wid Mushroom

First Wid Mushroom, a photo by Teri DC on Flickr. A little bit of rain produced the first mushroom of the season in our woods and DH found it! I put it in an omelet for lunch. So good.

He knows which wild mushrooms are safe to eat but please don't try it if you don't know. Some wild mushrooms are very poisonous!  But they sure are fun to paint.

The OC Robin - Maree

My Obsessive Compulsive Cape Robin on my kitchen table – W&N watercolour on DalerRowney 300gsm 
I have this Obsessive Compulsive Cape Robin that has decided that my kitchen is the best place! He also wanders through the house as if he’s been doing it his whole life. And no, he’s not a pet!
A couple of months ago I sat and watched as the Cape Robin, a total new-comer to my garden, was testing out one of the bird baths. He sat on the edge, dipping his beak and shaking his head, testing the temperature and getting a good splattering at the same time. This carried on for about 3 or 4 minutes before he summoned up the courage to hop in and actually bath. Then he flew up onto a nearby rock, preening and cleaning his feathers from head to toe before flying up into the trees and disappearing from sight.
Little did I know that he’s a totally peculiar character – he actually seems to prefer the indoors to the out-doors. Entering through the front door which is always open, he’ll spend hours…

Fall Trio by Linda C. Miller

Here is a work of three fallen leaves.  The top leaf is from a Tulip Tree and the other two are from the Sweet Gum Tree.   Both trees are native to Virginia.  If you have them in your yard, both have very interesting seed pods.  But watch out for the round Sweet Gum pods as they can easily trip you up as you mow the lawn.

Graphite on Bristol Vellum Smooth Paper
Size 8 x 10 inches

Linda C. Miller
Naturalist ~ Artist~ Instructor
Williamsburg, Virginia

The Flight

Exciting meeting with Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) on the island of Texel in 2004, watercolor and pencil can meet.... with other "Lunatics" at the Festival of Owls 22-23 September 2012 Grazzano
Maria Elena Ferrari from Italy

Milkweed In Bloom

Milkweed In Bloom, a photo by Teri DC on Flickr. I walked down by the lake with sketchbook in hand and these 'blooming' milkweeds greeted me.
Small, fast and fun.

A Garden Sketch

Yesterday, at lunch, the Spring Island Landscape Ecologist, whom I share office space with, asked me if I'd like to see one of our resident's garden.... I grabbed my sketch bag before he even finished his sentence :) 

We were only there for 30 minutes,  20 of which I painted like a mad woman :)  Once back at the office, I added the lettering and little Otto.

I hope to return back to this garden in a few weeks.  Autumn is a splendid time for blooming wildflowers and Ann's garden is loaded with native wildflowers.  She has one small butterfly garden area that contains some non-natives... thus the Mexican Cosmos.. but otherwise it's filled with wonderful grasses and every type of wildflower you can imagine.

This is one of the gardens that Spring Island's Native Plant Project features for garden club tours. 

Our next Native Plant Sale is October 20th.  If you are in the lowcountry area of South Carolina, do stop by.  The island is open to the public that day!

Tobacco by Paula

At George Washington's Boyhood Home (where I'm the marketing director), we grow tobacco like the Washingtons would have done. I was in the garden Monday checking to see if the cotton bolls were open yet and saw this tobacco leaf. I confiscated it and a few seed pods and painted them later. A couple of the seed pods had holes in them and the seeds that kept falling out were as fine as ground black pepper. It is apparently difficult to get tobacco started from seed and the transplant failure rate it high, too, but it must have been worth it to the colonists since it became a huge cash crop. Our "field" is measured in feet rather than acres but visitors are always interested in seeing it grow. Watch this space for cotton when it's ready...

Signs of the Season

Every year, spring and fall, my trees are full of migrating blackbirds.  Usually red-wings, but this time most seemed to be grackles.  They were feeding on the basswood berries high overhead, chattering, flitting from here to there, and then--flew off in a great flurry of black wings.

oleander seed pods by Concetta

Somewhat metaphysical... the preliminary sketches and a few more thoughts can be found on my blog. Enjoy Fall  all of you who happen to be in our hemisphere!

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane, a photo by Teri DC on Flickr. Early one morning when I went out for a walk, the first thing I heard was Sandhill cranes croaking off in the distance.
I immediately wrote the Haiku in my mind:

That unearthly croak
Floats across the autumn sky
Sandhill cranes on wing

And then painted the crane on pre-painted paper.
Never know when inspiration will hit you.

Autumn Leaves and Haiku

Autumn Leaves and Haiku, a photo by Teri DC on Flickr.
Autumn leaves are so beautiful I just cannot help painting a bunch each fall. This year, haiku gets into the act: Just hanging around Slowly turning beautiful Before the fast fall
I just love these beauties of nature.
Happy day to you

Parking Lot Vines

The only nature sketching I've been privileged to do lately is sketching some overgrown brush and vines at the edge of a parking lot. I've sketched it a number of times already and these are my two favorite sketches. At first, I thought it would be a very mundane subject, but I've come to see now that there is more life there than meets the eye. Just the other day I saw a female cardinal hopping around.
©2012 Carolyn A Pappas, 8-17-12 Nature Sketch. Pen and ink in 6 x 7.5 inch sketchbook.
©2012 Carolyn A Pappas, 9-5-12 Nature Sketch. Pen and ink in 6 x 7.5 inch sketchbook.

Watching Otter

Three out of the past four years a family of otter has come to a little pond near me, Lake in the Woods.  Each time the mother has three kits.  The pond is connected to a river system.  I suspect she dens somewhere along the river and when the youngsters are old enough to travel to come to this pond -- a new litter each year.

I love watching otter!  They do everything together.  For awhile the cattails will weave and sway.  It sounds as though a family of bears is thrashing about.  More often they feed out in the open.  This little pond is full of newts and salamanders.  There are plenty of fish in the pond but, so far, we only see them come up with a newt or salamander.

We were very surprised to see the otter feeding on rough-skinned newts.  The books all say only one animal can eat one and survive, a variety of garter snake that has evolved to cope with the toxins.  We sent our photos to some researchers who came and sampled the newt populations.  They are finding the toxins are far…


It is now a rare bird in Belgium, but woodcocks were common before they were over-hunted.
I was delighted to see one in our garden in Belgium (2011).
It stayed for two days.
Paula Kuitenbrouwer (Belgium, moving to the Netherlands before the end of the year).

Wild flowers down our lane

I took a stroll down the lane at the end of July and came home with a wonderful bunch af wild flowers, ferns and grasses. 
It took me quite a while to draw them all but I really enjoyed my afternoon. Imagine my surprise the next day when the local council came along with their cutting machine and started outside our gate and completely cleared the verges and banks of everything over 6 inches high How lucky I went when I did, there is nothing left now except some very sad looking grass!

Hibiscus by Paula

We had the day off from work yesterday so I spent the day drawing this hibiscus seed pod stem. The photo is a bit blurry so I apologize for that but I had fun with the curled up leaves and the fuzzy seed pod. This is the hardy hibiscus that grows everywhere in our area. The flowers on this particular plant are white and get as big as saucers.


A year later I finished from the same spot the sketch I showedhere

+drawings of the village

Radish Flowers

These are Radish blossoms out of my vegetable garden.  I never realized what lovely little flowers the plant produces.  I think in the future I would like to do a composition of all sorts of vegetable flowers.

A new guest in the garden --- Sandy Williams

It's always fun to be surprised one day by an entirely new, unexpected flower growing in the garden.  I first saw this one last year, poking its tall stalks up in our dog's spacious pen.  I didn't have a chance to sketch it then but I've been keeping my eye on it this summer and I kept it watered during our long drought.  It finally began opening its petals and I was able to look it up in "Wildflowers of the Great Lakes Region."  -- Wild Lettuce.

playing around- Concetta Flore

I'm trying not to be too perfectionist so I decided do go ahead with the shadows, though realizing there were fair chances that the ancient paper I was using (Fabriano 1947) would be too brittle for their softness (I was playing with the composition, mostly) and for tones in general... So it was, I'll start again on better paper.
The lime trees here are giving away their lovely seeds and I'd always wanted to paint them.

Anybody have an idea what's wrong with this guy?

He had almost no feathers on his head...just the one sticking up, dark skin and little white quills sticking out on his neck.  I'm assuming something like lice.

We've had a cardinal in similar condition, and a wren that didn't look too great...

Not sure if this could be drought stress, pests, or what...poor things!

Plein Air in Big Bear- Desiree Habicht

Hi everyone, hope everyone is having a great summer so far. We took my daughter water skiing and jet skiing for a few days in Big Bear, CA, a local mountain resort. It was beautiful for most of the time with weird bouts of thunder storms and lightening and rain. The skiers were pulled out of the water a few times over the two days to wait out the storms that blew through. The last day after lunch we spent a few hours trying to wait out the storm in a restaurant in hopes it would pass over and everyone could resume their skiing. While we waited I passed out paper and intense sticks and everyone had fun sketching the marina or whatever they wanted to help pass the time. As the weather cleared they all resumed but one person slid his picture under the glass cover on the tables of this small town restaurant to leave for others to enjoy. I loved that idea and did the same. If you happen to be in Big Bear at B's Barbecue Restaurant next to the lake I hope you will find our plein air pai…