Big cat time

I have been a little slow finishing the architectural commission waiting on some more pictures to come in.  I have been itching to get the inks out, but I know that I shouldn’t until I am satisfied with the reference photos.  I decided to go ahead with some smaller watercolor animals in the meantime. It took about 2 days to complete these, mostly because I wanted to let the paper settle back down. Some years ago I bought a watercolor stretcher board set up and I wanted to try it with the animals.  It allows me to thoroughly wet the paper to stretch it and then clips it with screws and metal framing to hold it tightly.  It really worked well with these as there is no buckling after it totally dried.  I did these two on the bottom half and there is room for more if I flip the board around .  All I have to do is cut them apart.

CougarCheetahI swear my brain must be turning to jelly because, once again, I forgot the frisket.  Still, I rather like the way these big cats turned out.  I did spritz the paper as I lay down the ink to soften the edges a little bit.  I took the reference photos many years ago when my kids were small.  I think it might have been at the Cincinnati zoo because way back in the recesses of my memory I think I am remembering a cheetah breeding program.  I am planning to go and visit the Indianapolis zoo in May or June and take many more new photos.  It will be so different now using my digital camera.  Before, I had to take rolls upon rolls of film in hopes that I would get a few good shots.  Now I will be able to take a zillion, edit accordingly, and not be concerned with the cost of printing up so many photos.

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Spring has sprung

Spring break is over at last. Not that we went anywhere but we did take a little time off to spend with family.  The first tinge of green has appeared on the trees and my daffodils have begun to bloom almost a month to early.  It has reached the 80’s for the last week so they won’t last very long.  The vinca is also blooming profusely and I saw this morning that my rhubarb has indeed survived the winter and its wild temperature swings.  I probably will let it go another year before cutting any since it has only been in a year.  I saw the does playing in the shallow end of the pond and unfortunately for the mallards, the snapping turtles have started to rise.   I don’t know how long the ducks will stay if they start getting attacked by the snappers.

Pencil streetscape

I did end up getting a pen and ink commission during that time and I have started the pencil sketch.   It will be a little bit different from most of my work, as she wants it to be on the minimal side – almost closer to an architectural elevation drawing.  I won’t be putting in the brickwork and siding but concentrating on signage mostly.  Apparently it is a rather famous street.   She is starting a dog walking business and wants to use it on her website as well as frame it, so I may add a dog walker to it.  A figure will be rather small because it is the whole block of seven buildings so I may suggest that we color the figure to make sure it pops into view and doesn’t get lost in the black and white lines.  I don’t know yet.  I think I’ll wait until the inking is done to decide.  It will be long and thin at 16″x5″ because it is of so many buildings.  I kind of wish that she wanted the facade features and the trees because I have never strung this many together from straight on and perspective photos combined.  I had to stop yesterday because my brain was getting fried trying to account for the different relative sizes.  Anyway, it is good to stretch my skills.  At least that is what I keep telling myself.

Wedding bookmarks II

It was a lovely day here today. The temperatures got up close to 70 and I went out briefly to do some yard work in the flower beds that I probably should have done last fall. I pruned the shrubs and pulled some of the old flower stalks so it looks a little bit neater now. I will go back later in the week to continue cleaning out the old vegetation in preparation for the spring renewal. I have picked a few daffodils already. They are as aromatic and colorful as ever but the stems seem quite short this year.

More wedding bookmarksWhen I came back in I went down to the studio and tried a few more bookmarks.  I was fairly happy with these four that I based on Cindy’s suggestions from the last post.  I think I like the mailbox the best of these.   I may try a few more this week but I will probably hunt up another architectural to start or maybe another animal.  As before, I am open to suggestions.

Wedding bookmarks

The last few days I have been spending a little bit of time on some new bookmarks. My son and his fiance have asked me to make up some bookmarks to put on the reception tables and I have been wracking my brain to think of some themes besides the obvious.

Bookmarks for the wedding

Since it will be an outdoor wedding here at our home, I have tried to incorporate some nature themes.  They are both serious runners so I found a clip art that I modified a little since I don’t do figures often.  I had a few colored blanks left from before so I used them first.  Then I cut up some watercolor paper up into bookmark size to play with.  There are about half a dozen white blanks left so I have plenty left to experiment with.  I’d like to have at least a dozen for them to choose from.  I will probably scan the selected ones in and then print them up on card stock and use a 3 mil lamination for sturdiness.

Suggestions anyone?

Lions, and tigers, and…..I mean does, and ducks and….

This week has been lost as far as the studio is concerned. Unavoidable travel ruled the day and the studio came in a distant second.  Everything should be back to normal now.  I just have to decide what to do next.  I hear some bookmarks calling so that might be the next project.

Mallards on the pond

We have been seeing a lot of wildlife though as the weather has improved.  Off and on there have been two pairs of mallard ducks out on the pond as well as a loner.  As you can see, the drakes’ heads are a gorgeous shade of green, while the hens are a mousey brown.  Grebes have also put in appearances.  It is quite fun to see them totally disappear from the surface and reappear yards away.  We have had them both off and on for several years, but I have not seen babies.  We have a rather bad snapping turtle problem so I wonder if they depart after a few weeks with nibbled toes.  The birds seem to really want to stay but I bet when the weather warms the turtles rise and start causing trouble.  No sightings of the herons yet but soon the fish will be rising too and I know they will return.

A doe in the yard

The does have been traipsing across the yard lately an hour before dusk and fairly close to the house.  I managed to take some pictures that I though I could paint from because they were only about 20 feet from the window.  Here is one to enjoy.