Monday, January 16, 2012

Illustration Friday: Prepare

 Pencil (HB) on Fabriano Artistico watercolor paper

For this week's topic of prepare, here's a little sketch of a bird's nest that we found in our yard a while back. Nests are fascinating to examine—this one was completely lined with mud, in preparation for its important occupants. 

I'm hoping that the nesting box on my front porch that I showed you here last spring will have a new resident soon. When I wrote about that one, my son was staying with us briefly before heading out to study spotted owls in the Sierra. He's now part of the California condor study program at Pinnacles National Monument. But  our daughter that graduated from college last June will soon be ending her dietetic internship in Houston, and preparations are underway to welcome her back home for a while. You just never know how long an empty nest will stay empty! 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Illustration Friday: Grounded

Prismacolor colored pencils on Strathmore Bristol, vellum finish

When I saw the Illustration Friday topic "grounded", I started thinking about botanical things underground. It's interesting to me that, while many roots and bulbs that grow underground are white or brown or something in-between, a few—like carrots, radishes, and red onions—are richly colored. 

It seems that most still-life artists, or botanical artists, have a number of onion pieces in their portfolios. It's easy to see why: they're great fun to draw—with their papery, translucent skins, and layers of color.

I just bought a new scanner (my techie husband is going to be setting up a different computer system and it's not compatible with my old scanner), so I will be curious to see how it does with colored pencil and pencil drawings. I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A new leaf

Two of my New Year's resolutions at work here: (1) Draw something every day and (2) Post more often. So, even though this is a rather humble drawing, I'm sharing it.

I adore cyclamen, with their heart-shaped leaves. The white of the flowers is the whitest, freshest white there is, and the way they bloom sort of upside-down and inside-out makes me smile. In fact, this was just a drawing to sort of "get acquainted" with the shapes and structure; I'm thinking that I could have some fun doing some close-ups of the blooms and/or some detailed color pieces.

 It took about an hour, including the time I had to go outside and calm my chickens down. (The squirrels find it amusing to sit in the trees above them and shower them with leaves. Clearly, squirrels rank a bit higher than chickens on the intelligence chart.)

I'm never quite happy with how pencil sketches scan. I tried taking a shot of it with my camera, but my photography needs work (another resolution). If you scan pencil and colored pencil artwork and feel like sharing what scanner you've had success with, I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Illustration Friday: Highlight

I'll bet none of you got an emu egg for Christmas! This treasure was presented to me on Christmas Eve, as my son arrived home and unpacked his cooler...a gift to me from his girlfriend, who has friends with an emu farm. I didn't know what it was until he told me—it looked like an avocado, only bigger and more blue. Isn't it amazing?

When I cut a small hole in the bottom to drain it out, I noticed that there is a lighter turquoise color under the outer dark teal, and then a white layer beneath that. If you look online, you can see all kinds of beautiful carved emu eggs, taking advantage of this unique layering of colors, but I plan on displaying as it is—it's so beautiful in its natural state. (I may have overdone the highlight a bit, but after all, that is the word of the week for Illustration Friday! It's so nice to be back on IF; I hope to be posting regularly again now that the holiday hubbub has subsided.)

Since you don't really get a sense of its actual size from my drawing, here it is next to an egg from one of my girls:

Now that I'm emu-obsessed, I found this adorable photo of some hatchlings. If I only had a bigger piece of land...!