Bird Journal continued… Page 5, more welcome birds!

I believe that the goal of a journal is to do daily pieces – at that, I’m failing badly! This is obviously the time of year to do a “bird journal”, but it’s also the time of year when many hours each day are spent working in the very yard that welcomes these beautiful flying creatures! In fact, much of what I’m doing in the yard is planting things that help to draw in those birds… That being reality, I make notes of new/different birds in a notebook and work on the actual artwork mostly at night when the house is quiet-when I have the energy left to do so! It seems that my list of new visitors has far exceeded the time that I have available. And now, in less than 2 weeks, I’m beginning another 30 in 30 challenge-a different one this time. Check out this Marc Holmes June challenge on Facebook: #30x30DirectWatercolor2018! I’m not very experienced at “direct watercolor”, but will try… Thank heavens he’s very lose about rules and if you pre-draw and/or use some pen&ink, it’s acceptable. I know the idea is to get better at direct watercolor, but it’s also simply to get 30 pieces done in 30 days-one may have to preclude the other for me!

Now for my 5th journal piece, I’ve done “Cassin’s Finch”, both male and female since they look so different (and yes, I see that my lettering is not improving…). They are here some years and others they are not. This year, there seem to be more of them and, although the information says they “live in evergreen forests in the mountains up to about 10,000 feet elevation” they seem to be here, at least for the spring. That’s fine; they’re enjoyable to watch, whether gleaning seeds from the ground, eating insects in the trees and bushes or at the feeders. They are such an interesting pair, with the female so “bland” that she doesn’t much resemble her much showier partner!

     The Cassin’s Finch are here this year!

#challenge #journal #birds #finch #finches #cassinsfinch #artistic #journaling #experimental #artisticjournaling #lettering #drawing #art #watercolor #inspiration #gardening #practice #sketch #spring #landscape #cityscape

There’s a first time for everything…? Bird journal, page 4

Even though I knew-for years-that wild turkeys were rampant in our entire area, I had never seen any anywhere near our neighborhood. Then one day, while I was in my studio working, my dog started barking. Since she’s not much of a barker, I came upstairs to see what was going on. To my utter shock (and dismay) there were 4 wild hen turkeys in the backyard. I immediately ran outside, collected pine cone “ammunition” and used it by throwing them at the turkeys while chasing them, finally hitting one on the tail feathers. They moved faster then and, even more surprising than seeing them in my yard, was seeing them fly onto the house roof rather than just going over the fence. They then flew off from there. Yes, I probably looked and sounded crazy – I don’t care, because I don’t want them in my yard!

The rest of the story is that about a 1 1/2-2 weeks later they were back, but in my neighbor’s back yard. I did the same routine to chase them away, from within my own yard. It worked, with them going over her fence to the front yard and then away down the street. I’ve not seen them come back, but it could certainly happen at any time. I hope not-they’re not welcome birds in my yard, nor in this neighborhood, being loud, damaging, dirty and stupid!

That all being said, I have to add that they’re very huge and impressive creatures up close! Since they were, hopefully one-time, visitors to my yard, I’ve included this sketch in my journal along with the story…

     A very unwelcome group of birds in March!

 

#challenge #journal #birds #turkey #wildturkey #artistic #journaling #experimental #artisticjournaling #lettering #drawing #art #watercolor #inspiration #gardening #practice #sketch #spring #landscape

There’s a first time for everything…? Bird journal, page 3

The American Robin – a constant, and welcome, visitor most of the year. This year, they showed up here – lots of them – during the second week of March, as the weather started to warm again. Our ground is healthy with numerous earthworms and the Robins seems to be very happy in our yard. Last year there was a pair who pretty much owned the front yard; they would dive-bomb most squirrels and other birds out there, often even trying to drive me away when I was mowing, weeding, etc.! We had a bad wind storm last fall and a HUGE limb came down from our front yard shade tree (that clean-up is a whole other story)! Perhaps that was where those robins had nested, as they seem to be avoiding that tree this year. That’s fine, because it makes it a more welcome spot for other, more colorful and rare visitors this year.

     March brought the return of Robins!

#challenge #journal #birds #AmericanRobins #artistic #journaling #experimental #artisticjournaling #lettering #drawing #art #watercolor #inspiration #gardening #practice #sketch #spring #landscape

Bird Journal – something a bit different!

While this isn’t really a part of my bird journal, this February photo capture seems appropriate to this string of postings. The squirrels are always here, but this particular February photo-op capture was amazing to me. Since there is a February gap in returning birds (once winter really hit again), this little visitor fits right in. He/she was on the deck looking in the door and “hid” so cutely when I approached with my phone; this is the picture I was able to catch – and then paint for my day 1 in the 30 Paintings in 30 Days February Challenge.

     February-no new birds, but this amusing visitor…

#challenge #journal #squirrel #animal #birds #artistic #journaling #experimental #artisticjournaling #lettering #drawing #art #watercolor #inspiration #gardening #practice #sketch #spring #landscape

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a first time for everything…? Page 2

Continuing with my first bird journaling attempt, here is my other early January backyard visitor. Perhaps neither the Nuthatches nor the Chickadees ever left, but not a lot of time is spent bird-watching in the winter around here. The days are cold, short, dark and dreary…and the birds are few. This year though, January and early February were real exceptions to our usual weather, with temperature highs in the 40s and sometimes even into the lower 50s! That being the case, it was quite a treat to look out and see these two types of birds in residence – which is largely what prompted this journal experiment! 🐥😍🐿

(Unfortunately, you can clearly see the ugly crinkling of this cheap paper in my journal scans…)

     Welcome January visitors continued…

#challenge #journal #birds #artistic #journaling #experimental #artisticjournaling #lettering #drawing #art #watercolor #inspiration #gardening #practice #sketch #spring #landscape

How Time Flies…

Once the weather started improving, outside clean-up seems to have been my narrow focus. It’s not that I haven’t been doing anything artistic; it’s more that I have spent my limited time on small daily projects. For the month of April, I took on the Sea Lemon Eye Doodle Challenge (#sealemon – thank you for this unique challenge). It started with a printable file with the number, the name of animal and a small circle guide. I divided it into two sheets, which prints it a bit larger (1/2″ circles) giving more room to work. Watercolor on regular printer paper is an interesting challenge in itself! In addition to watercolor, I used whatever I needed to achieve my goal – including waterproof ink, white gouache and occasionally a white charcoal pencil. For the references, I simply searched for images since this is strictly a practice exercise, except for images 1, 2, 8 and 13 (my life “models”). If “the eyes are the windows to the soul”, then this practice is invaluable! It was also fun and interesting-and a real challenge in every sense of the word (artistically)! I mean, how often have you looked at the eye of a llama or a chameleon-I mean really looked at?! But, even if just in photos, that’s necessary to attempt to replicate an authentic-looking eye!

(One more thing-if you notice that “one of these things is not like the others” (day 8), it’s because I simply cannot look at a snake-not even in a picture-long enough to try to replicate any part of it!) 😝


Sealemon Eye Doodle April Challenge-collage, my completed eyes

 

#art #challenge #eyes #animals #birds #people #insects #sketch #drawing #experimental #watercolor #painting #pen and ink #cat #dog #practice #sealemon

What fun the 30 Paintings in 30 Days challenge was!

I already said that I’m pleased and proud-and I really am. This is the first time in quite a long time that I’ve managed to do 30 pieces. There’s nothing wrong with doing fewer-it’s all good practice and a wonderful learning experience. But, as I’ve also stated earlier, I was determined this time to do all of them – mostly because I spent so much of last year painting far too little and it’s time I work at being the artist that I can be, that I want to be! If it’s in you, it’s something you need to do; it’s something I NEED to do!!!

Collage, all of my February 2018 30 in 30 challenge paintings!

 

My Day 15 finished-one of my favorite foods…

Since I wanted a bit of practice, I drew that lobster magnet, which as I said, was not intended to be a part of my 30 in 30, even though it ended up to be… This is what I ended up with and it takes me back to last month’s 20-30 minute painting challenge, since I finished this in less than 30 minutes. I guess that was good practice after all! This is also another one on the Moulin Du Roy rough watercolor paper, which I quite enjoy using! I love all the things I’m learning and all of my experimentation this month; hopefully it will stick with me and make me a better artist in the long run!

     Lobster on rough paper

(Reference photo from which I drew this lobster, Phil Wingate’s pile of lobsters photo on the Facebook group, Photos For Artists.)

#challenge #painting #watercolor #art #food #lobster #ocean #drawing #experimental #practice #shore #experimental

The best laid plans…Or, my Day 13 piece

The best laid plans…rarely work out! I thought I would have plenty of time to sketch and paint yesterday, but that wasn’t the case. Between housework, shoveling the 7-8″ of new snow that fell and making Valentine’s Day dinner for us, including a lemon cheesecake with lemon curd on top (must sketch that)-and being on the phone with my son for his birthday-there was no time. After dinner, I could hardly keep my eyes open, so rather than working on art late last night, I slept! Two or three days ago, I did a sketchbook sketch of a lobster magnet I have on my fridge. It was not intended to be completed and posted as part of the 30 in 30 challenge; it was just sketch practice. I painted and inked it this morning, making it my late Day 13 painting. You do what you have to do…

     Lobster magnet sketch, watercolor with pen & Ink