Saturday, November 8, 2014

Meet the Neighbours—Urban Sprawl

Pen and Ink, technical pens, sharpie, miniature art, “Neighbours: Be Kind to Our Four-Legged Friends, Stop Urban Sprawl”
The suburbs are moving in, displacing the residents. Many of those residents have four legs and not all of them cute, but they need space too.
Pen and Ink, technical pens, sharpie, miniature art, “Meet the Neighbours: Eastern Coyote x Wolf, Part of Your Rural Landscape”
I’m sure these coyotes see me far more often than I see them. They are very good at lurking at of sight, keeping themselves safe from harm, but as I am, they are powerless against habitat destruction.
Pen and Ink, technical pens, sharpie, miniature art, “Buck: Eldred King Forest York Region, Meet the Neighbours: White-tailed Deer”
Yes, I did see this deer, drawn from memory. He stood in the forest a good long time, just silently watching, waiting  to move, ready to spring away should our leashed dog catch wind of him. My dog is old, and the deer was upwind, so she remained clueless to the enticement.
I’m glad I live very close to the York Regional Forest Tracts, as they probably won’t be bull-dozed anytime soon.
That’s my rant, in words, but mostly in pictures.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

First Snow


Here it is. The first snow of the season, and it sure is beautiful.

This was on Saturday morning, and it sure made sitting by the fire a cozy experience. It wasn’t quite enough snow to ski on (close, though) but it looked so beautiful, it inspired a few drawings.


Looking northwards as drove across Bloomington Road, it was like a winter wonderland postcard.


Inside Walker Woods in Uxbridge, the trees were all sparkly, but there were still some gold leaves on the trees, and on the ground. The leaves on the paths melted the snow.

The drawings are technical pens and sharpies. I messed with them a bit in GIMP, more for image protection then enhancements.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Life Drawing Tuesday

Life drawing, session with live model, 9x12 sketchbook paper, coloured pencil.
The poses are getting longer, this was a one hour pose, which for me is long, especially when things are not going well. I was, artisticly, a little stiff and cautious, which is not good for my style.  The black and gold (top) drawing, is my favourite of the night. Basically, it was almost time to go, so I had to hurry. The rush to get things in brought in the spark I like to see. Maybe next time all will come together.  But it’s all good practice now matter what ends up on the page.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Open Your Eyes, Meet the freshwater Bryozoan

Cristatella Mucedo
Cristatella Mucedo, Bryozoan (and selfie!!!)

No this is not ‘the worst selfie ever’ although I do have to confess that the medusa head is mine.

It's not everyday that you see something new, especially if you are 'past your 'best before' date' which I am.  After a while, been there done that sets in, well, not quite. I do seem to maintain a good deal of curiosity about the life forms around me, but pictured above is a critter I have not ever encountered (or even heard of until a few weeks ago) in my life. Wow, a brand new life form!!!

So 'what is it?' you ask.  Those green fuzzy caterpillar things (not the wild woman hair silhouette) are underwater critters that creep along on submerged rocks and plants.  They are Bryozoans, and frankly, I still can't explain them properly, so here's the wiki Bryozoans and after much sleuthing, I even narrowed things down to Cristatella Mucedo, a species that inhabits cool northern freshwater lakes and rivers.
Beautiful pics of the critter here:
And info here:
Because while I am fascinated by science, it is NOT my area of aptitude.
But the cool thing, the really cool thing is, they can MOVE!!! Which may explain why the configuration seemed a wee bit different from one day to the next.
But not mentioned in the links, but experienced by me, they react to touch. Because of course, I could not resist touching a new thing, like reaching out and saying 'hi' to a new species.  The feeling was not mutual. More like 'EEEEEEEK!!! RUN!!!' but they can't run. What happened, when I gently touched a strand, is that it seemed to flatten/collapse at the touch point, that continued in a chain reaction like dominoes down the length of the strand.  15 minutes later it looked just as fluffy as it's original form and it's untouched comrades. Interestingly, the next morning when I repeated the experiment, the reaction was more like 'OH BOY, HERE WE GO AGAIN, SIGH' in that it flattened briefly only at the touch point. Sort of like it realized I wasn’t worth going into flat out panic.  I guess I’m just not that scary afterall.

So, there is my close encounter with (for me) a new life form.
It’s probably no surprise that this sketch came out of my head shortly after.
From my sketchbook, miniature art with sharpie, “Invisible World”

Also seen
up close and personal. Common enough, but amazing when seen through a digital enlargement. It looked plain dull green to my eye.

And below, from the same weekend, Thanksgiving, spent with friends at their woodland home on the Magnetawan River, and yes, the bryozoan was found in the North Magnetawan Branch, for those who like to know these things.
Train crossing, on the way to Three Snyes, Magnetawan River
High water, Three Snyes, Magnetawan River

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Autumn Here and Gone

Photo of the future Lake Simcoe Conservation Lands, Coultice Property
The peak season of autumn, is always tinged with anxiety. The colours bloom and fade and fall so fast, I am in a perpetual state of hurry. 
This year, I had second reason to hurry. Coultice Park, discovered, but not yet here.  Everything is still in flux, I still don’t know where and when I’m trespassing, and what the final boundaries will be.  The newest map I could unearth was dated 2012, which showed some clear boundaries between public and private lands, township park land (community park to be) and future conservation land (the part I am excited about and photographing), so it all feels ephemeral and too good to be true. For all I know, those maps were re-written and I never got the memo.
So I walked there often these past days, anxious to make the most of opportunity before all is whisked away, because if it seems to be too good to be true, I get suspicious. 
As for the fall colours, wind and rain has already begun to strip the world of colour.
But hopefully by next autumn, this will all still be here, protected, and walkable by me, and others who care for the living world around them.  Here’s to hoping it what feels like a passing dream will become a fantastic reality.
And an impression of the forest edge from my sketchbook. Fun getting in those autumn colours with black and white only.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Life’s a Beach, Lake Superior Provincial Park

Compare and contrast, this sunset brings rain. Lake Superior almost always announces storms in advance going from stillness to booming surf within half an hour. 
The stars will shine tonight, and the waves will slosh slow and sinuous.
Lake Superior, in a rare moment of glassy mirror stillness. Frost will come.
From the sketchbook, pen and ink, 1/4 sheet A4 paper, this one done on the evening pictured above, and we did have frost in the morning.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Life Drawing Tuesday: and beyond

Both of these oil pastels were created ‘in studio’.  We had a one hour pose; I have a ridiculously short attention span and a fear of wrecking expensive paper (should be a named phobia for that), so instead, I did quick sketches of the same pose over and over again. Some of them were atrocious (and funny, but now recycled), and one of them, just when it was time to finish up, worked out. It was all done in blue coloured pencil, but I really liked the line, so I decided to re-do it at home in pastel on some 'good’ paper.  Because I liked the freshness of the line drawing, I decided to do an exact transfer (using tracing paper and stylus), and go from there.  For the one below, the entire sheet of paper is coated in white pastel, with other colours and graphite in the mix. White pastel has some interesting and surprising qualities. One of my favourites is the way it grabs and highlights pigments from coloured pencil and graphite.
8x10 Canson Mi-tientes, Oil Pastel, Coloured Pencil and Graphite, Figure Drawing, Female Nude, Available on Etsy
And to compare, contrast, and experiment, I transferred the same drawing to my brown stonehenge paper, and did this one in oil pastel.
9x12 Stonehenge Paper, Oil Pastel & Coloured Pencil, Figure Drawing, Female Nude, Available on Etsy
Sometimes I think Life Drawing is just a very good excuse to get lost in a world of line and colour.
Some close-ups,
I LOVE close-ups, you can see the grain of the paper:


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