Summer outdoor life

What kind of swallowtail is this?

A tiger swallowtail next to the mystery man

I saw this odd swallowtail a few days ago while watering my outside plants.  There is always a ton of butterflies on the pink phlox in front of the garage, and I knew right away that I had never seen this kind before.

Thank heavens for a handy camera and google. With a few clicks (I knew it was a swallowtail) I discovered that it is called a giant swallowtail.  Not a very creative name, I know, but it is the biggest swallowtail found in the continental US.  Males can get to be 7″, but I don’t think this one was quite that large.  The caterpillar stage looks like a large blob of bird poop!

It is found across the country though mainly in the eastern half and especially in Florida – not surprisingly because the caterpillar likes to feed on citrus leaves.  I really hope to see one again.  I’ll be keeping my eye on the phlox.

Advertisements

Pastels, pastels, pastels

Pastels over the ink

Summer is flying by.  I haven’t done much in the studio except this commission and working to get my Society6 store stocked. This was a nice  piece to work on.

I haven’t done a lot of pastel work in the last few years, but this client for multiple portraits lets me decide what to use. When commissions get to be 14×9 or above I like to use the pastels versus watercolors when possible.  The richness of colors is easier accomplish with pastels on something this large.

I enjoyed doing stonework for the first time in a while on this long, tall two-story. The red door sets off the taupe siding and the brown and cream stonework nicely.  I wish there were more flowers, but you can’t have everything..

A New Commission for July

Two story home commission

Inked in

Just after the 4th of July, I picked up the pictures for my next home portrait commission.  It’s a long two-story home with taupe siding and stone. It is pretty straight forward in layout and facade, so the inking went pretty quickly.  I haven’t done stone in a while, so this is a bit of a treat for me.

Because it is 14″x9″ and my choice of color technique, I am going forward with pastels.  I like how I can lay down the colors easily and more lushly than with watercolors in the larger sizes.

Red impatiens

Red impatiens

After several work sessions, the red impatiens painting is basically done. I am not quite happy with the red hue – I think it needs to be redder – but that is the only red I have in my paint box right now.  Last year I bought a package with 9 colors in it just to get started,  Now that I am painting a bit more and getting a better idea of what I like to use, I probably need to pick a bigger variety of paints.

This looks okay to me.  This has really been an ongoing  process.  It’s only this year that I have felt that the paintings have become something more pleasing and unique, starting with the lily pond ones over the winter.

Lately, I have decided that the gloss varnish has been the way to go.  It definitely added something to the greens and blues in the pond in a very good way.  The reds here will pop more when I varnish it.

 

Red impatiens this time around

Impatiens pencil drawing

First layer of acrylic

From lilies of the valley to impatiens.  I decided to stay with the floral theme and again took inspiration from my own flowers.  The photo reference for this comes from the decorative baskets flanking the doorway and sidelights on my front porch.

Just like the lilies of the valley painting, it was easy to get lost in all of the flowers and foliage. I started out small and spread out just to help me keep track of where I was.  At some point, the grid disappears and you have to go with the color flow.  When I’m finshed, I do think this will go well with some of the products in my new Society6 store.  Check it out.  It’s under ruthsartwork of course.  I’ll be adding more of my images as time goes on, but at least I’ve started.  Our internet is so slow here I have to go over to my mom’s place to upload the larger image files.

The lily of the valley painting is finished

It’s done

After a lot of reworking, the lily of the valley painting is finished. All I have to do is sign it.  This was pretty difficult – more than I thought it would be.  I repainted the leaves several times as well as the little bell shaped flower clusters, but it was hard to get the balance of the yellow vs blue tint to the green.

I think I am going to use a gloss varnish this time around.  It should help the greens pop a bit more.  I finally got around to varnishing the lily pond paintings and I used the glossy type.  I really liked the effect it had on the greens and blues in that set and I hope it will do the same here.

Lily of the valley

Pencil drawing

First layer of acrylics

After that spate of architectural commissions in March and April, I decided an acrylic painting or two might be in oprder.  My lily of the valley had started blooming in the front flower beds and I proceeded to work from a few photos I had taken of them.  Easier said than done.  The foliage and the shadows got quite complicated in a big hurry.  My eyes and brain needed a break so here is where I stopped.

Previous Older Entries