205. In the Garden: Hummingbird Sage

Hummingbird sage – salvia spathacea – is a member of the salvia famnily, and is found throughout the woodland environment of California.  It’s smallish – about a foot tall – and has dark green leaves and the most complex little flowers with the strangest shapes.  Spring is always around the corner when they appear,  In a drought-ridden environment, such as ours, salvia plants add a lot to your garden.  This particular sage may or may not appeal to the gardener on a practical level – propagation is not only by seeds, but underground rhizomes, which could become a bit overwhelming.

204. In the Garden: Daffodils

With clear blue skies and temperatures in the 70s, spring has arrived!  I packed up a watercolor book, pens, a couple of cameras, and myself – off to the local botanical garden to finally get a look after weeks of rains and closure.  I was not disappointed.  Flowers in bloom, hordes of butterflies as I haven’t seen in years (lots of flowers = lots of butterflies), people.  The air was fragrant from the new growth everywhere, but in particular was a clump of daffodils beneath an old olive tree.

I sat down on a rock, and did this sketch, saving the colors until I got home.  I also took a lot of pictures – digital and film – for reference.  People stopped by and made conversation, a dog or two came to sniff.  Nature, while beautiful, is also capable of irritation – the baby flies were a bit annoying and I wonder if I should put on some DEET to keep them away.

For months I have been thinking about drawing in the garden.  It changes daily, and with the seasons.  This is the first drawing of this project, which will be ongoing.  I’ll be adding it to the page My Other Lives page above.  (For now – WordPress seems to be having issues adding pages!)

Happy Spring everyone!

201. Spring in the California Foothills

We have had a lot of rain this year in California, and throughout both ends of the state.  North and south.  As a result, the hills are a brilliant lime green, and when the sun hits just right, it’s hard to believe our once beige state has blossomed into such beauty.  The wildflower bloom is beginning, from the desert to the high Sierra.  Cacti, poppies, lupines, and so many other flowers await our eager eyes.

200. Dirty Snow

Well, it is winter, so snow shows up for some reason.  New snow is so nice – but old snow is dreary, especially as winter begins to lose the charm it had at Christmas!  Slushy, mushy, grey, dirty, muddy.

I decided to make up a scene – with buildings both wooden and brick, with telephone poles, and the grey mist of a city beyond.  As a painting by itself, it’s a failure, but adding a few lines helped it out a bit.  People will appear when the weather clears . . .

187. Sketch of a Rose

Yesterday was another run-around-and-get-things-done day.  Whew!  Taxes, appointments, scheduling, ya-da-ya-da.  It’s boring stuff, believe me.

Anyway, today was drawing day.  Eating lunch between all the craziness, I clicked on Alphonso Dunn (my hero!) on YouTube, and his tutorial of a rose popped up.  Very simple way to look at a rather complicated subject.  Essentially, a rose is a cylinder with layers peeling back.  Voila, there it is.

I did use a pencil to create the shape, and erased it multiple times.  If you enlarge the picture, you will see the paper is pretty dirty after 3 and 4 erasures.  However, the paper held up (Bee), the ink went down (Micron 0.3), and so did the paint.  I’ve never really done a rose well before, so Dunn’s tutorial has, yet again, explained things I never thought about.  Go watch him!

 

185. Cypress

Pen, ink, watercolor.  I used Bee 8×10 cotton watercolor paper.  It’s not expensive, but price does not always indicate “good” or “bad” paper.  It is a nice paper to work on whether wet, damp, or dry.  Because it is small, color is easier to control than on a large sheet.  I like it a lot.

184. Midwest Farmhouse in Early Spring

I haven’t had time to do any artwork for the past four or five days, and I can feel it.  Colors, ink, brushes all feel like aliens.  To counter this, I watched a Peter Sheeler video – his pen work is phenomenal – delicate, spare, assured.  The same may be said with his usage of color.  With this in mind, I went ahead and did this.  The inking is okay; I didn’t do any drawing in pencil, but went straight ahead with a Micron pen.  From there, I applied color and tried to keep it simple, but my usual messy style took over.