February 06th, 2023
I can't belive it's been a year sinceI posted here. I've been concentrating on working in watercolor and pastel for most of that time. I've done some portraits and the autumn found me doing ornaments again. My favorite work has been painting birds and wildlife, as well as continuing my nature journal.
During the spring summer I fall I still spend time working on my nature journal. I love recording all the visitors to my backyard. I use pen and ink with watercolor washes to capture all the interesting happenings. I love going through my older journals to halp me remember the antics of my backyard vistors.
Every fall brings lots of portrait commissions. Portraits and ornaments are popular holiday gifts. This year I have done painted portrait commissions, as well as commissioned ornaments - both pet portraits and special request subjects like hiking ornaments and landscape scenes. I even did a boat portrait. Now that the holidays are over, I can add some of these portaits to my website.
Here's a sample of some of this year's commissioned oraments. I'm still working on a backlog of orders from last fall. Although I no longer offer glass ornaments in my Etsy shop, I get so many requests for them that I end up doing them anyway. I still have about 9 to go to finish up my 2021 books. If anyone here is interested in commissioning an ornament or a portrait as a Christmas gift, order early - August or September - so I can guarantee delivery before Christmas.
This winter I was lucky enough to have a group of bluebirds visit my feeders. I've had the occasional bluebird stop by in past winters, but this year, I had as many as eight at a time here. I bought a little bluebird dish feeder and lots of mealworms and set about keeping them around. I kept my camera by the back door, and I would quietly sneak out onto the porch for a photo shoot. I got quite a few photos, but always want more! I think this little watercolor of a snowy bluebird is my favorite.
As the winter continued, I got more photos to work from. It was a little too cold to sit outside and work from life so I was happy to get photos through the window even if they weren't great. I just needed enough information to get me started on a piece. I did a couple of journal pages about the birds in watercolor and ink, and I realized that watercolor studies and paintings would be a great way to capture the colors and poses I was seeing in a spontaneous way. I did a series of loosely painted watercolor bluebirds using spatters and splashes and pen work. So much fun!
As the weather got warmer and the snow melted, the bluebirds moved on, although I still see one on occasion. I've put up a bluebird house, but I think I've missed them nesting this year. If the bluebirds don't use the house, I hope another kind of bird moves in. I'd love to have a family of chickadees in the yard. I think a series of watercolor chickadees would be a fun project. In fact, I've already started!
Watercolor Nature Journal, Part 2
In October, I did a post about the materials I use for my nature journal. Today I'm going to explain how I use those materials by doing a step by step journal entry. I've been seeing so many bluebirds at my feeders that I'm going to do a entry about bluebirds.
In the summer I can sit on my porch watching the birds and noticing the flowers and trees or hearing frogs to get inspired for journaling. In the winter it is a little trickier so I rely on the photographs I take for inspiration. Here are a few that I have taken this winter. I've already done a pastel painting and a watercolor of these beautiful birds.
DESIGN AND SKETCH - drawing and text
PEN AND INK
FINAL DETAILS AND EMBELLISHMENTS
Once my watercolor washes are dry, I check my work and add any touch ups that are needed whether with paint or pens. Then I add my final touches. I always include a little bit of gold paint on every page. I like to add a touch to every bird or animals and maybe some swirls or decorations if I need to fill in an empty area.
I try to keep my sketched and ink drawing as accurate as possible, but I don’t stress if something isn’t quite right. I’m capturing a feeling, a day, an experience, not doing a finished detailed drawing. Go with the flow and have fun!