Backyard buck

The pen and ink is not quite ready to show yet. As with the pencil up, the going is slower than I expected and presents its own difficulties. So instead, I will share with you the 7 pointed buck that strolled though the back yard last week. I managed to take quite a few pictures of him in an effort to be able to count his points and I think I see seven.

Seven point buck

I saw him come up from the shallow end of the lake and he nicely stayed around long enough for me to get the camera lens switched out to the telephoto.  I tried to get a lot of head shots and grazing shots so perhaps at some point I can use one to draw.  The unfortunate thing is that he was limping on his right foreleg.  I couldn’t see anything wrong with the leg – no apparent blood or injury, but he was obviously in pain and unable to do anything except walk.  He headed off into the woods next to the house and we haven’t seen him since.  I think I will be able to identify him from the downward tine on the right antler.  Here’s to hoping it wasn’t a serious injury and he recovers soon.

Another Nashville view

I have had the worst time getting this picture started. The pencil up took forever and every time I looked at it after letting it sit, I kept seeing errors in the layout. I don’t know if it was my concentration or my eyes, but I finally decided to just start the inking and quit driving myself crazy.  The building still all in pencil is very complicated, with arch top windows and multiple brick insets and embellishments.  It also has a curved top.  I’m leaving it until last, hoping when the rest is done, it won’t be so intimidating.  When I selected the photo array, I had no idea how hard it was going to be.

Nashville streetscape 2

I’m sorry the pencil up is not very visible here, but the contrast is hard to get when I have the ink and pencil sketch combined.  You can see it a little bit better if you click and enlarge it.

I should be able to finish the inking by mid-week and then start on the color.  I have already decided to use the pastels on this.  Several of the lower storefronts are a nice green to go along with red brick.  The effect of pastels on the final picture will be totally different than the previous watercolor one.  I’ll have to see which one I like better.

All colored up

Nashville streetscape in watercolor

Well, what do you think of this?  I watercolored it over the course of several days, putting on the color slowly and making sure it was completely dry between layers so it wouldn’t smear.  I wasn’t sure how much depth of color I wanted and I think I am fairly satisfied with this.  There are probably half a dozen layers of the brownish red and I am afraid of losing the subtlety of the color variations if I put too much more on.  Perhaps I will do something on a smaller scale and play with that.

I have started the pencil of the next streetscape.  I plan on using the pastels since there is much more color variation in those buildings, so the effect will totally different.

Nashville, in black and white

Nashville street

Whew, this took a lot longer to ink in than I expected. The earlier simplified architecturals only took a couple of hours, but this was more than one of the others totally finished.  I haven’t decided how abstract to go with this.   At 16″ x 12″ I am afraid if I get too far out on the colors, the buildings will get lost. But I don’t want it to be overly literal either.  The simplified lines might work against it.  I think I will just start laying the watercolor down and see where it takes me.

I will start the watercoloring after just a little bit more inking.  Here and there I left out a few detail lines that have become apparent after I let it sit for a day.

The first from Nashville

I sorted out my photos from Nashville earlier this week and, happily, I have over a dozen different streetscapes to choose from.  This doesn’t include if I decide to make some closeups of them.  It’s nice to have a new set started.

Nashville pencil

I braved the ladybugs again today to take this photo. It is hard to take the pencil photos inside under the flourescents and get anything even remotely visible.  The bugs weren’t too bad because it is cloudy and fairly windy. Because of the size, this pencil up is taking more time than usual.  I think I am going to use the watercolors on this one.  Overall, the buildings were not as colorful as some of the other ones, so I feel free to experiment.  These are basically brown brick with beige and yellow trim.  I think I can liven them up with more color.  I am also debating on the greenery.  There are two lampposts with hanging baskets and a planter on the side-walk.  I’ll have to decide if I want to add to it.

I have the next one picked out and since it has more color, I will probably do a more detailed pastel.

Beating the swarm of ladybugs

Taking the picture of the finished pastel yesterday was a bit more of an adventure than I wanted. The annual fall invasion of the Japanese lady bugs has begun. If I can, I take my pictures out my back door in the daylight. Unfortunately, this is where the ladybugs like to congregate when they make their swarming appearance, which can last weeks. And it just started this weekend. For those not familiar with the situation, they like to congregate in the thousands before they find a nice place to overwinter – preferably in your house. For some reason, they like the south face of our house, right where I want to prop my picture up for photos.

So there I am, trying to prop up the picture away from the masses of ladybugs around the door.  An unfortunate feature of theirs, besides a bite, is that they excrete a VERY nasty substance that both smells and stains.  Not what I need on a picture I have put long hours into.  I managed to take the world’s fastest set of photos and avoided any problem.

Stone grist mill

And here is the result.  I am fairly happy with it.  I didn’t add as much of the reds and yellows as I first thought I would, but I rather like it.

It is on the larger side for me at 16″x12″ but there was a method to my madness, so to speak.  A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from an on-line print seller who expressed an interest in selling prints of my work.  The only catch is that they want a specific size ratio and of course I had little that could be just popped in for that.  So now I am on a mission to make up several pieces that will fit their criteria.  This is the first.  Fortunately, I just got back from Nashville, Tennessee, where I was able to take quite a few pictures from the wonderful older area of downtown.  My next set of streetscapes will be based on them.  I can hardly wait.

I chose the pastels

After thinking it over, I decided to use the pastels to color in the mill. I wanted to have the depth of color in the foliage that I knew I could get with the pastels, especially with the size of this piece – 16″ x 12″.  I felt in the mood for going back to my basics after the linocuts.

Preliminary color

I have laid the preliminary browns on the stones and the greens for the foliage.  It lacks depth right now, but I will be adding that with some purples and reds as well as more of the earth tones.  It is still on the dull side since I haven’t sprayed it yet.  I am being cautious since on one of the more recent pastels, I overdid the fixative and it affected my photos.  The pastels themselves looked okay but when I tried to take pictures the light must have refracted between layers and I could never capture the depth of color that was there.  Most likely it will be finished by the weekend.

Finished inking the mill

It has been cool and wet here this week.  While I appreciate the rain, I am not looking forward to the winter cold.  I have seen quite a few does and this year’s fawns but no bucks yet.  And the squirrels have been scampering across the lawn hiding their finds. I think that the wildlife has appreciated the greening of the foliage that has recently occurred due to the increased rains.  The pond hasn’t risen yet, but I am sure it will as time goes on.

Inked stone mill

I have been inking the rest of the stone mill the last few days, avoiding the raindrops and the chill.  There wasn’t much left to do, but the stone and the lawn took a lot of time.  I actually stopped putting in all of  the grass early on, intending to leave parts of it white for a more contrasting effect.  After letting it sit for a bit, I decided that after I added the color, it wouldn’t look right without more inking.  So I spent the next few hours putting more time in on the grass building the positive negative space.

I am in a bit of a dilemma now.  I can’t quite decide whether to use watercolors or the pastels.  The past stone barns have been colored with the watercolors, but the size of the drawing makes me want to use the pastels.  The watercolors will have a softer feel but the pastels will be more vivid.  I will have to decide tomorrow when the coloring begins.  Maybe I should compromise and use crayons.  Now that would be different, wouldn’t it.

Inking the stone grist mill

Stone Mill

A little bit easier to see this time, isn’t it.  I’m not quite done with the inking, but you can get the gist of where it is going now.  It has taken me a while to figure out what I want to do in the lower left landscaping but it is slowly woking itself out.

As you can see, I have started the stone on the mill and should finish it soon.  The lower blank areas will be grassy perhaps with some foliage outcroppings to add depth.  I haven’t decided what to do in terms of the water outflow yet.