I’m finally finished with this piece. It’s taken a minute due to dealing with some health issues but I’m feeling much better now. I have to say this drawing was initially an experiment for me. What interested me in doing this was a curiosity sparked by looking at images of the egret’s white form against the background of a blue sky. I became curious to know if I could make a drawing much in the same way as an silhouette illustration but instead of doing the subject matter in all black like a silhouette, I wondered if I could do the background in all black and leave the subject white. I guess that would be a reverse silhouette, if there’s such a thing. And for the most part that is what I ended up creating. I’m pleased with the end result. There’s some shading to the beak, legs and eye area of the egret along with the tops of the cattails but everything else is just white. I really like the simplicity of this drawing and how I did try to add much detail to it. A former art instructor once told me that I have a habit of trying to add in too many details and that it’s okay to leave things out. It’s like how when you first get into drawing and you try to draw every strand of hair on a person’s head. It’s exhausting and unnecessary. Doing this piece took me back to my early art instruction and reminded me that a drawing doesn’t need to be overly complex in order to be appealing and interesting. You just have to figure out what to leave in and what the drawing can do without. 🙂
After a few days of rain, the sun broke through the gray and I was able to get out and spend some time in my backyard this weekend. Most of the time was spent cleaning up debris from some strong winds that broke off weak tree limbs and getting my herb bed ready for some new herbs. I plan on keeping things simple and small this year. I’ve been itching to try my hand at making some hot pepper jelly, so jalapenos are the only thing on my short list that isn’t an herb that I plan on planting. Other than that, I’ll be sticking with my three favorites; peppermint, lemon verbena (or lemon balm if I can’t get any starters for the verbena) and thyme.
After cleaning out my herb bed I took a rest on the grass. What started off as a simple moment of relaxation turned into a mini adventure. I found myself paying way too much attention to the grass as I begun to notice all the tiny plants that I had been trampling and sitting upon. I’ve had a few botany courses, so I can identify flowers, trees and a few plants, but nothing I discovered among this sea of grass was familiar to me except for some clover and dandelions. I’m sure my neighbor, who was out raking her yard, found it a bit peculiar that I was on my hands and knees with small pruners clipping at the grass but I was fascinated. It occurred to me that the plant life in our yards are so common that we never give much thought to what’s going on with it, other than having to cut it and getting rid of pesky weeds so that we can have that manicured look. But as I watch all kinds of tiny insects move and flutter about, I realized that there’s a whole other world going on beneath my feet.
I took a few clippings and made some references photos from them for future sketchs. You can see them below. Other than the clover, if you know the names of any of these plants feel free to comment below. 🙂
I’ve been feeling a bit quiet as of late. Under the current global situation there hasn’t been much else on my mind yet I feel as thought I’ve said all that I could say, so I’ve been just quietly inking away in an effort to focus some of my energy towards putting something peaceful out into the world. In this latest drawing I discovered that I didn’t have to get too detailed in drawing trees, just the use of light and shadow was enough. That little tidbit made drawing trees less intimidating as well as the best part of doing this piece next to the nice contrast between the mountains and the crane.
I hope that everyone is finding a positive way to manage in these difficult times. May we all get through this safe and in better spirits.
There’s something about cranes and mountains that just appeals to me. When I first set out to work on this drawing I wanted to do just a mountainous landscape but as I was sketching it out I threw in a flying crane and now all seems right, although I’ve been tempted to add in another one off in the distance but that might be overkill and take away from the drawings tranquil feel making it a bit busy, so I’ll just keep it to one.
I hope all of you lovely followers are doing well and staying safe under the current global situation. It’s been interesting seeing how people have been adjusting. To these stay at home orders. Personally I thought I would spend far more time on social media and face timing friends and family but actually it’s been the complete opposite. Instead I’ve been cooking more, taking naps and feeling as though I can actually relax without feeling guilty about it. The whole world has slowed down and I don’t feel that constant pressure to be highly productive and in the know on everything, it’s just sad that it had to take a pandemic to feel it’s okay to not be busy or at least appear as though you’re busy all the time. I know that the economy is really taking a beating from this but on the bright side maybe more of us will gain a different perspective on our lifestyles and whether all the busyness is worth it.
I hope all of you are doing well and staying safe in the midst of all that is going on in the world right now. I have to admit that I’ve been distracted as of late. Unfortunately a few people in my husband’s immediate family have been hospitalized with the virus and are currently being treated and doing what they can to get well. Luckily their situation isn’t as bad as it could be but it’s apparent it may be a week or so before they are back to good health. As for myself, I’m doing well and staying in my home. As someone who doesn’t have children and works from home, I already live a lifestyle that doesn’t involve a great deal of social interacting so I can’t say that current events has caused a drastic change in my everyday life but I feel for those for whom it has. I pray for those who have been lost and that for those of us who are still here, that we all are able to make it through these trying times safely.
In the meantime, I’ve managed to work a little more on my bookbinding skills. I had this old 11×14 Robert Bateman Cover Series sketchbook full of blank paper, that’s been just sitting around since…wait for it, 1995. Yeah, 1995. That’s a long time to have a empty sketchbook. I have a tendency to hold on to stuff beyond forever. I still have and use my high school art box, which is really just a cute toolbox for art supplies. Anyhoo, I decided to take my Bateman sketchbook and turn it into a 5×7 sketchbook with my own cover art. Cutting the paper was a pain. No matter whether I was using my cutting board or a ruler and an exacto knife, my paper kept coming out at slightly different sizes. I ended up spending a great deal of time trimming up edges. And then there was the gluing for making a perfect bind. First off I don’t have a book press so I made a makeshift one from two old linocut carvings and a C-clamp I stole from my hubby’s pile of tools. This did a fairly decent job but I realized that I really need to get a book press or at least make one if I plan on making more books using this method. This was my second go at using the perfect bind method and this time was a little trickier since I was using thicker paper at a larger size. After five coats of glue a few of the sheets of paper didn’t bind together too well but that was remedied once I put the cover on. But then I learned 110lb card stock seems to work best for smaller sized books that require less glue. The spine of my 5×7 sketchbook has some minor warping where the glue was placed. Maybe I put too much glue on or next time I should use a heavier material for the cover. In all it turned out pretty decent for my second try at perfect binding. I now have a much more manageable sketchbook that I’m eager to fill with drawings. What started off with me wanting to just put a few quick drawings in my new handmade sketchbook has now turned into a cute little project of me doing a mini series of Nature’s little creatures that hatch from eggs. I really don’t know how this project came to mind, it pretty much just manifested on its own, like most of my projects do. But if you look at that adorable thing in the drawing above, you’ll see my first creature and there will be more to come.