The pen and ink is one I did in-studio from memory. It is a scene that I have tried very hard to photograph, and never been satisfied, which made it perfect for a drawing. It is from The Crack Hiking Trail, and it is the place that gives the hike it’s name. You enter The Crack, and it is like a dark grotto between huge pale slabs of white rock (shaded in pastel pinks and purples when wet), and then you get to scabble and haul your way up and through The Crack.
So I didn’t want to stuff every photo into one blog post, so here are more. The Crack, as seen from the top Dynamo at the top of The Crack (yay, let’s celebrate, I don’t think we’ll make her do this one again, though) Yes, that’s me! , me and Dynamo resting at Wagon Road Lake, La Cloche Silhouette Trail Wagon Road Lake, very scenic, but I wouldn’t want to swim there (unless you like leeches and weeds) That’s my man. (thanks for being brave enough to hold the camera and press that button)
Here's Dynamo, she's twelve years old and I must admit I'm getting maudlin about her. Like cars, and people, elderly dogs "just don't go" like they used to. She spent most of the days sleeping on chairs and cushions in the van, except when we took her on walks, which she only kinda sorta enjoyed. She did like getting to look around and smell the sights (especial the scatter of unidentifiable fur found on one trail) but she looked like she sure wished we were not quite so ambitious about height and distance.
We put a harness on her, so that we could hoist her (and I do mean that literally) up some difficult stretches, and we broke the rules and let her drag her leash through the rough stretches, because it is much more strenuous for a dog to haul themselves up a rock on step at a time versus leaps and bounds.
The bent pine at the top of The Crack
One of the most scenic dayhikes is called "the Crack", an unfortunate name if ever there was one (or I'm just juvenile, the planetary Uranus still makes me laugh). It starts out easy and flat, and then climbs relentlessy upwards, but the vistas are spectacular and not to be missed. I didn't do much photography, as I have so many pictures already (they do seem to repeat themselves), but Dynamo devoured lunch at the top, and peanuts in there shells, and didn't do to badly getting down again on her own. After that, she just wanted to sleep.
car camp site, and our Eureka A-frame tent
Acid Lake, a good hike through the woods, and a nice place for a lunch break. 2 1/2 hours return. Acid Lake is pretty, in spite of it's noxious name. The terrain is mostly easy, but the mosquitoes where murderous until the sun came out.
9x12inch acrylic painting, Wolf and Stag
I think it's finished, I really do. I'm just unsure, as acrylic painting is still a whole new medium for me, and if this is finished, then, as usual, I'm wandering through my own stylistic thicket; this does not look like anything I learned about in art school. And I'm still in discovery mode: I could take this further, more layers, opaque paint, fixing small details, but I'm still getting over Burnt Toast, so I won't be touching it again anytime soon, if ever. I might add some white highlights, warm tints and the odd line touch-ups, but not today. detail, wolf
I am very happy with this. I was unsure how I would transition a black and white line drawing into a colour painting, and it can go in so many different directions but I do think this one brings across the thoughts and feelings scraped from the back of the brain that drives this image. detail of leaf
As for technique, fun, fun, fun. I collected leaf duff and earth from my favourite forest walk, and added it into the last layer of gesso, for an indulgent romp with texture. Then I transferred an enlargement of my original drawing to the masonite board using graphite paper (paper coated with pencil) and began painting in the lines. I embedded some silk-thin leaves in the next transparent gel layer, and then did successive washes and rubs of paint, more line work, etc.. Somewhere along the way, the fun dissappeared and the fear took over and the "picking away at it stage" began. Uck. But then I went camping for a few days, and when I got home, realize, Yay! I think it's done. Posted. Thanks for looking.
Hollidge Tract, pen & ink on 4.5 x 5 110lb paper
I've been wanting to try out "plein air" sketching, but I've only managed the one time. Plein-air is like life drawing (drawing from life) without the naked people. Actually, naked people lounging in the forest could make an awesome image, but I digress. The point is that drawing what you see in front of you is quite a different experience from drawing from a photo. Drawing without a reference is another thing altogether--a skill I'm glad I'm moving forward with.
What I found during my first and only foray out this year (sans the naked people) is that I'm decidedly a victim of "can't see the forest for the trees". I could not see through the tangle of lines and textures to find the composition. Of course, a simple solution is to find one of those picture perfect scenes, you know, the ones that make snap shots look like postcards, where the composition "as is" is perfect, but in those cases, I usually just save myself a lot of time and heartache and take a snapshot instead.
Sitting in the woods, an artist should be able to distill all that bounty of visual clutter into a coherent whole. This is the thing I found far more difficult than I thought.I keep wanting to draw in every detail, which equals a big mess.
Drawing from memory is another thing. Memory is a selective thing, and drawing hours or days after the act of seeing (as these two pen and ink drawings were done) filters out all but the most compelling elements.
Hollidge Tract, pen & ink on 4.5 x 5 110lb paper
This is one of several attempts to capture the tangled landscapes of the creek that runs through Hollidge Tract. There are many scenic spots, but photographs, or a literal interpretation always disappoints. This is another "from memory" drawing and I feel it gets a little closer to the truth.
I'm still hoping to do some work "plein air", but my last outing (that inspired these two sketches) turned into a lovely walk instead (ie. I just kept moving and never got around to sitting down).
Seriously, I've gone swimming, and hiking, and getting nibbled to death by tiny biting insects. Okay, the latter is not part of the plan, but inevitable.
See you all when I get back.
Image is yet another pen and ink drawing from my sketchbook.
Rose Medallion, digital art using Android App Picasso Kaleidoscop
June 6th, 2014
It's been a while since I've journalled, but only if I don't include letters and blogging, or drawing for that matter, all means of expression, although drawing is different.
It's June now, and the warm weather has begun. The leaves on trees are lush and full, I see them, walking under the canopy of the forest, and see winter side by side as if it was yesterday, as if winter would never end, it was a long winter and the bare trees went on longer and now everything is jungle green and rich, as if spring and it's pastel colours never happened.
The husband now has all the fence posts down, except for the one that is buried inches away from my favourite clematis. That one will wait till the fall, when the clematis has settled in for the winter. He rented a jackhammer from Schell Lumber in Stouffville, and from Saturday through Sunday, and most of Monday (today) has pulverized a quarter of what needs to be done, or one hundred percent if we only want enough ground to have an apple tree planted. The russian olive looks like a haunted thing, crooked, hacked and sparse. There is no escape from the sun in the afternoons. I hope this fictional apple becomes fact soon, maybe by September. I hope it spreads a dark and leafy canopy, tall enough to block the late afternoon sun.
I've managed to get some weeding done in the garden, so that now when the lemon daylilies bloom they won't be dwarfed by a tall fringe of hardy grass. I'm trying not to count the fat white strawberries mixed in with the perennials as most will be eaten by snails and birds long before they are ripe enough to be tasty. But I do hope that they will leave me some.
I made a tiny garden spot at the back of our house. We only have a few feet of property there, but it has the only shade from 2pm to 6pm, and we've always used it for storage, which is a nice way of saying we stack things that ought to be thrown out there. Well, some decluttering happened, and now, between the shed, the rain barrel and a seldom used compost bin, I have two lime green plastic Muskoka chairs, a kelly green over-turned milk-crate for a foot rest, and large wood bin for a table. This is now my Hillbilly Garden; I also have potted up some impatients, coleus, and begonias that hopefully will enjoy this shady nook and lend some colour. The mosquitoes like it too. But this year, they seem to be happy everywhere. They are very fast.