Folk art rooster linocut

Rooster linocut

Rooster linocut

Well, he’s not Foghorn Leghorn (who is old enough to remember his cartoon?), but he turned out okay. I had sketched out the transfer for this linocut a while back and found it when I was looking for a small project in my sketchbook.  I worked on him over the course of several days and then put it away for the primitive horse painting.  When I came back to it, prepared for a lot more work, I decided it didn’t really need much.  I cut out his wattle, cleaned up the background, and decided to stop.  I inked up 4 prints and they all turned out pretty well.

 

Red rooster

Red rooster

I had always planned to watercolor his tail, wattle, and comb red but after I painted it, the print seemed a bit off balance. Too much red just at the top so I counterbalanced it with more to the wings and a small spot above his legs.  Much better.  What do you think?

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A mixed bag post – the primitive horse painting and more coyote puppies

Redone background

Redone background

I worked some on the background of the primitive horse this week.  It just was floating too much so I added a complementary lilac to the background.  It still didn’t seem quite enough.  I decided to add more of the mossy green I had originally placed around the base. Then more and more.  When it finally felt like I was on the verge of overdoing it I stopped.  I think I like it better now.

I caught something!

I caught something!

I thought I’d add an update on the puppies today, too. We have seen them several more times in the last few days – once for almost an hour as they wandered about the back yard, hunting and playing.

On top of the wood pile

On top of the wood pile

It turns out that there are actually 5 of them.  Once when they were out and wandered farther away from the woods, a doe ran top speed across the lawn past them.  Soon afterwards mom and dad came out from just where we thought they might be watching and moved them back closer to the woods.  That’s when we saw the fifth one.  It must not be quite so bold as the others.  I was glad to see the parents.  As we suspected, the pups are not unsupervised and the parents are keeping a close watch from just inside the woods where we can’t see them.

OOOHHHHH Coyote pups !!!

I had planned to show what further work I had done on the primitive horse painting today, but circumstances dictate a different direction. I think you’ll agree.

4 coyote pups!

4 coyote pups!

Last Thursday as we were shutting the shades for the evening we saw 4 coyote pups playing and hunting in the backyard.  John had just cut the grass in the afternoon and often after that there are a lot of insects moving around, displaced by the mowing.  They had a grand time finding and eating all kinds of bugs.  They wandered back and forth for about 15 minutes stirring up the insects and then munching down what they found. Two eventually disappeared back into the woods on the left and two went over the dirt ledge at the lakeside.  We never saw mom and dad but I am sure they were not far away – probably just inside the woods where we could not see them.  I’ll be looking out there often now that we know that they are around. A little bit later, two returned.  I think it was probably the pair from the lake’s edge.  I noticed one of them had a very distinctive white tipped tail.  I should be able to identify him in the future.

A pup

A pup close-up

It wasn’t as intimate an encounter as when pups came up onto the porch, but I’ll take it any day.  Here is a link to a description of that encounter that I posted in March 2011.  I believe that these pups are about the same age.  If I recall correctly that happened in June 2009.  They seem to be about the same size and another month would make quite a difference in size.

https://ruthsartwork.wordpress.com/2011/03/02/a-coyote-on-frozen-pond/

Another pup

Another pup

And to top it off, Mr. Turtle showed up earlier the same day. I was glancing out the window to the lake and saw him walking through the cut grass.  I snapped a few new photos of him.  Who knows – he might make a nice small drawing with his brown shell and yellow markings.  I was sure glad to see him for myself.

Primitive horse painting

In keeping with “small art” in June, I decided to use a primitive horse chatchke as a model.  I got him as a gift many years ago and he now lives on a dresser in my studio framed from behind by a 26″ flat rice basket.

Primitive horse watercolor

Primitive horse watercolor

I had the worst time sketching him out.  I am using a rectangular piece of watercolor board and initially had it in landscape layout.  He has over long legs and I kept running out of room for them.  Finally, it occurred to me to just turn it to portrait and that worked out much better.  I can be slow sometimes.  I outlined sketchily in ink and then put down a base layer of watercolors.  His legs and head are metal, but the base and body are wood.  I used a dark sepia on the metal parts and yellow ocher for the wood.  I left it alone over night and today added more of both.  I put down some green to ground the figure and decided to highlight with purple.  At the last, I went back and added more ink.

I’m up in the air how I feel about this one.  I don’t dislike it, but I’ not overwhelmed with it either.  I’ll let it sit for a few days and decide whether to list it or not.

And, I have been keeping an eye out for Mr. Turtle this spring. The last few years I have seen him plodding down the gravel driveway when I was out weeding, but I missed him this year.  I was concerned about his survival given the months of drought, but fortunately, John saw him last week under the deck so he has already made it around the house.  I’m glad to know he is back even if I wasn’t the one to see him.  Maybe he’ll decide to head into the hillside flower bed and I’ll get to say hello.

Flowers and felines

A huge cone flower

A huge cone flower

My first cone flower started to bloom last week and it is in its full glory now. I originally had thoughts of picking it to put into a vase on the island countertop, but it just seemed to get bigger and bigger as the blossoming proceeded. It has turned out to be one of the largest cone flowers I have ever seen in the beds – and the shortest stemmed.  As you can see, it is at least 5″ across. Maybe I am just used to the smaller, drought sized ones from the last few years, but it just seems huge.  I have a few others coming on, but they will only top out at 4″ or so.  I decided I could not pick such a magnificent specimen and I certainly want it to go to seed.  They have been slowly spreading throughout the front beds and I love their magenta color.

The preferred world view - upside down

The preferred world view – upside down

And, I have had a little house guest for the last few days.  My “grandcat” is spending some vacation time here while his mom is traveling.  He likes to wile away the daytime hours, when she would normally be at work, sleeping under the loft sofa, but in the late afternoons, he comes down to visit with us and take possession of one of the comfy upholstered chairs. He is quite the talker when he wants to be and will carry on a conversation for some time when he is in the mood.  He yowls when he is mad over some perceived insult such as being put into his cat travel box. When let out, he walks away, loudly proclaiming his much injured status for several minutes. You’ll never have to guess what his mood is.  Fortunately, most of the time he is a happy little guy.

Daisies and Irises

Daisies and irises

Daisies and irises

I spent the the last few days working a little bit at a time on this one. I worked the longest session on the first day, laying in the most color, especially the purples.  I am rather pleased with the the way the irises turned out.    While the irises were totally purple, I made the artistic decision to shade them more subtly and leave a bit of white highlight.  I had a hard time deciding how much to do with the daisies.  They are so white that I needed to distinguish them from the background, but not too much to make them not look like daisies.  I think the compromises I made are pretty good, except for the one right in the middle.  I may decide to put a little white back in at some point.  I also went back and used more ink.  I only had the flowers sketched in and after the watercolor was added I thought they needed more definition.

It’s a good thing I decided to paint this now.  These irises don’t last long when cut and when I went out yesterday to get one last one to help me add a few details, they were all beyond use.  Daisies seem to last forever, which is a good thing.  I have a single huge cone flower blooming right now.  Maybe I will pick it and do a daisy/cone flower picture.  The flowers are so much prettier this year with all of the rain we’ve had.  The day lilies are next on the landscaping agenda so look for them in the near future.

A few spring flowers

It was a busy week outside. I dodged 2″ of welcome rain over 3 days, getting several hours of weeding in and most of a day planting 150 vinca plugs on a hillside. In trying to avoid getting a farmer’s tan from all of the work in the sun, I managed to get sunburned. Not too bad, but not what I really wanted. Anyway, the vinca got planted and more weeds got pulled.  I hope I can get caught up with the yard work sometime in June, but who knows.  Spring has raced by already and July will be upon us before we know it.  (And berry season as well.  Yum.)

Daisy inked

Daisy inked

For some studio time, I decided to pick a few of the spring/summer flowers to paint.  The Chinese irises are out and the wildflowers have started to bloom in profusion.  The daisies in the yard and the fields tend to get mowed down, but the ones at the edge of the woods flourish nicely. They make wonderful bouquets and are a long lasting subject for a still life.  I drew this up yesterday and inked it up today.  I liked the combination of the white flowers and the deep purple irises.  I am in the middle of painting it now.  It is in keeping with smaller projects I want to stick to until July.  I like it, except for the daisy farthest to the right.  That one should probably be facing more to the side.  We’ll see what the painting part does with it.  I will probably end up defining the the daisies with more ink, but I didn’t want to overdo the initial phase.