Big bucks

Big bucks

Big bucks

No, not that kind.  The deery kind.  I was looking out the front garden window at the kitchen sink and saw some does go past the driveway in the upper field.  I hadn’t taken any wildlife photos to post recently, so I thought, what the heck and headed down to the studio to get the camera and put on the telephoto lens.  When I glanced out the rear windows, I saw SIX bucks down by the lake, at least three of which had very large antler racks.

Plans changed in a hurry as I decided to photograph them instead.  I haven’t seen any large bucks at all over the last few years and here was a large herd right before my eyes.  This is the best of the 15 photos I took.  Late afternoon light, a telephoto lens and a bunch of moving animals conspired against me, but this one is not too bad.  I think you can see how big these guys are and how huge their racks look.  I sure would like to find some of those antlers when they are shed in the spring.  Wouldn’t you?

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Me – two

Pencil drawing

Pencil drawing

After I finished the last self portrait, I thought maybe another one of an older me was in order.  I had to look through quite a few albums and photos (yes, I do have actual albums and printed photos in this day and age) to find something remotely usable.  I decided this one wasn’t totally embarrassing.

I decided to use a little bit of an underglaze this time around to soften the white gesso of the canvas.  In the series of acrylic paintings I have done, it has often been hard to get rid of the last traces of the white underlayment when I am almost finished without marring some of what I have already done.  The trick was to get enough color down without covering up the drawing too much.  I don’t know if it is better to glaze over the pencil drawing or draw over the glaze, but I drew first and then glazed prior to the actual painting.

Start of the acrylics

Start of the acrylics

I consider this to be my initial underglaze as I tried to cover all of the canvas with some color.  So far, I have found the mouth and teeth to be the hardest part.  I have a a wide mouth and it is not easy to make it big enough, but not turn it into a clown smile.  Surprisingly, the eyes haven’t posed nearly as much of a problem.

Oh, deer!

New fawn

New fawn

I went to my kitchen sink this evening with supper dishes in hand and in a sweet surprise, I saw a very young fawn walking through the front flower beds. It was dwarfed by the cone flowers, black eyed Susan’s, and even the bird bath as it meandered through the flowers, checking everything carefully before skittering out.

Mom and baby

Mom and baby

Fortunately, I had heard this morning that a doe was wandering around with a new baby and I had brought up my camera with the telephoto lens already attached. I ran to the living room to get it and when I got back, the fawn had rejoined its mother.  It skipped about the yard, more I think from the gnats and flies circling it than from playfulness or fear.  I could see quite the swarm flying around both of them.  Mom finally edged her baby back into the woods and I went back to the dishes.

Coyotes and French Bulldogs

Today, shortly before I was going to sit down and write this post, I was on the phone. As I was talking, I glanced out of the window at the pond and I saw a Nat Geo Wild tableau unfolding right before my eyes. We have had bufflehead and Mallard ducks and Canadian geese on the pond all this week, I think hoping for spring just as much as we are. In addition I saw two great blue herons, and then turkeys flew down from some tree branch perches. Lots of activity to see on the shallow end of the pond.  Then, unexpectedly, I saw a coyote wade into the water and head toward one of the herons.  The heron leapt up into the air and flew over to the shoreline in a deeper area of the pond.  The coyote slipped out of the shallow water and raced along the shore to chase after the heron.  It flapped back to the shallow end and the coyote retraced his steps, wading back into the water. He stalked the herons again as the ducks and geese looked on in amusement.  He dashed about in the water, stirring up both of the herons.  One again rose up into the air.  And again the coyote chased it along the shoreline.  Then both were back in the shallow end.   Finally, the coyote tired of the game and just raced himself around in small circles through the grass at the waters edge before heading off into the woods.  I think everyone knew there was no real danger and that the coyote wasn’t really intent on hunting them.  I think he was just having a bit of spring fever fun.

Of course, since I don’t leave the telephoto lens on the camera, it was all over by the time I got ready.  No photos available.  Still, I have to laugh at the poor stately herons.  It seems as if they are the butt of wildlife jokes and amusement.  This reminded me of the deer stalker incident a few years ago, where the doe harassed another heron around the shallow end of the pond for almost half an hour.  Then I did have time to put on the telephoto and got a few pictures.  Here’s a link to that post.  If it doesn’t work, just go to the July 2011 posts and you’ll find it.

https://ruthsartwork.wordpress.com/2011/07/13/the-deer-stalker-when-the-deer-is-the-stalker/

Travelling Trip

Travelling Trip

Now back to Trip, the travelling Frenchie.  I watercolored him over the course of two days.  I had to be careful with the fawn color and not overdo it, over powering the white.  Today pretty much all I did was add to the shadows.  I am pleased with the way it turned out.

And finally, whoo-hoo, tomorrow is opening day for MLB.  I know where I’ll be at 4:00 tomorrow afternoon. Rooting for a White Sox winner. Spring has finally, officially, started for me.

Lookin’ Out my back door!

Oh No, More Snow

Oh No, More Snow

It’s National Weatherman’s Day today.  I sure wish they’d get their act together and figure out this snow thing. We got 6+” overnight from at least the 4th big snowstorm of the season. More is predicted for the weekend, although not quite this much as this one.    As you can see, the deer got to the pristine snowfall before I could get photos.  They were out very early today, pawing up the snow and nibbling the grass.  I guess the food supply is getting a bit thin this time of year.  I am so ready for spring.  January alone had more than the normal snowfall for a whole season.  And February has just started.

New Paper Ornaments

New Paper Ornaments

I have spent my studio time the past few days working on some more cookie mold paper ornaments.  I am remaking the two that sold and a few more for Easter and Valentine’s Day. The hearts and the bunny are new, but the angel is a redo. I have two others, but they are not ready to show quite yet.  I’ll have to wait a little while to take my listing photos.  I hang them from one of the cedar trees in the yard and definitely there should be no snow to risk  getting them wet.

Another cheetah painting

I sold the cheetah watercolor a few weeks ago out of my etsy store so I decided it would be a good time to draw a replacement. Once again, I looked through my photo references and found something suitable.  I also felt it would help as cat portrait practice.

Cheetah

Cheetah

I started the inking with my nib pen and then adding the watercolor overlay.  It is relatively small at 5″ x 4″ but turned out fairly nicely.  Cheetahs are such elegant animals.  I think I took the photos many years ago at the Cincinnati zoo which has a breeding and research population.  Maybe this month or next I can get up to the Indianapolis zoo.  I have pretty well run through my reference photos and would like to get some new ones.  I look forward to using my digital camera this time around.  It will be so much easier to see if I have something appropriate instead of taking rolls and rolls and not knowing what i have until after they are developed and I am miles and miles away.

Mr. Turtle’s Portrait

Mr. Turtle

Mr. Turtle

I am still pretty busy outside of the studio these days so I have been choosing smaller projects that I can pick up or stop easily. I have talked about Mr. Turtle before and decided that a small water color/ink portrait of him would fit the bill.  I also need more animal portrait samples for my etsy shop and the picture I took of him last month was pretty good for that.  He is a lovely shade of dark brown with golden markings.  I think the markings are so distinctive to the individual that each one can be identified by them.  As you can see, he was peering up at me when I took his picture.  I never tried to pick him up so he wasn’t too afraid.  He kept his head out the whole picture taking session, even when I walked around to photograph him from both sides.  I think we have come to an agreement.  I kind of like the look in his eye.

I have been using the nib pen and india ink to sketch out a base for the watercolor in the animal portrait work.  I like the fluidity and variation of the pen stroke for the animal art versus the technical pen for the architecturals.  Also, I am not really using the nib pen for a lot of detail in these.  I want to keep a sketch like quality to the work.

And Mr. Turtle has been living life on the edge lately.  Last week he had to be picked up out of the way a riding lawn mower and relocated to a safer spot.  All I can say is “whew” for him.  He’s fairly good size but seeing him in the tall grass was fortunate.

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