Yellow

This piece was started by needle felting wool roving on cotton. I then sewed various free motion shapes on water soluble stabilizer and once the stabilizer was dissolved out I sewed them on over the felt.

The subject was inspired by a tree I saw while driving to my cottage.

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Watercolour

I walked my usual route but in the opposite direction and it looked very different.

Great Blue Heron

Last weekend I took a course given by Megan Cleland on needle felting animals. The course was given at Fibrefest in Almonte. It was a small class and Megan gave excellent instruction and demos. I chose to do a Great Blue Heron from one of the photographs taken on a morning walk. I thought I was finished when I left the class but since then I’ve done the back ground 3 times. I then removed a lot of it because it was too busy.

Needle felted Great Blue Heron.

I’ve painted the heron in watercolours several times and that helped me in doing this picture. The felting is easier but takes longer to do even if you don’t remove what you’ve needle felted in place several times.

It is now pinned up on a wall so I can look at it and decide if there is anything else I need to add or change before I mount it.

Butterflies

There were a lot of Monarch Butterflies around this summer. There is a field nearby full of milkweed and whenever I passed I paused and spent some time watching the Monarchs flutter from plant to plant.

Closer to home, I found this butterfly on a milkweed beside my driveway. I had to look it up to discover that it is a Pearly Eye Butterfly. I took a photograph of it and used that to sketch it using pen and ink and watercolour pencils.

Sketch of a Pearly Eye Butterfly done with watercolour pencils

I had taken lots of photographs of the Monarchs and milkweed on my walks but hadn’t yet tried to paint them when I found a dead butterfly on the road. I picked it up and took it home to sketch.

Watercolor sketch of Monarch Butterfly

Next I tackled a Monarch from one of my photos. I did the background wet in wet first and added the butterfly afterwards.

Watercolour sketch of a Monarch Butterfly.

Skies, Water, and Trees

I carry my fountain pen filled with waterproof ink and my homemade sketchbook with me on my morning walks. When I do an ink sketch I also take a photograph, usually with my cell phone and use watercolours later when I’m home to finish them. I also take photos with my camera to paint later.


The two watercolour sketches above were done from photographs taken about 30 minutes apart. One facing east, the other west.

The next two were sketched in ink on location and coloured in later with watercolours
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Grassy Bay

These are some recent watercolour sketches I did from photographs taken on my early morning walks.

Watercolour of osprey in nest back lit by early morning lightThe ospreys are not always at their nest. If they are, as soon as  I appear around the corner, they usually take flight and cry alerting me to the fact that they are there. They fly out over the road and then circle back and away from view.

watercolor of great blue heronThere is usually a Great Blue Heron fishing in Grassy Bay. It is shy and will fly away as soon as it sees me. If it feels safe enough to stay I usually have to use my binoculars to find it.

The picture I based this painting on was taken on a sunny morning. The light made the reeds glow.

Sketching San Francisco Architecture

Here are some very loose ink sketches done during my recent trip to San Francisco. My idea was to sketch these buildings using pen and ink on location and then paint them later with watercolours.

ink sketch of building in San francisco's ChinatownThis one was done in Chinatown. I don’t have much patience with buildings and so I only did the interesting parts and left out a lot of repetitions.

ink sketch of building in San Francisco
I liked the balconies and the fire escapes on this one but they make it harder to sketch. This building was around the corner from where we stayed.

sketch done with ink and watercolour pencils of one of the painted ladies in San Francisco

One of the Painted Ladies. The trees have grown up so you can only see the upper parts of the building. This was the only brightly coloured one. I sketched it in pen on location and coloured it later with watercolour pencils.

 

ink sketch of San Francisco buildingThis one was easier to do as I was able to sit down and so it is more complete.

Rocks and Waves

Here are some watercolour sketches I did on my recent trip to California.  I was there for the NIADA doll conference. We stayed at the Asilomar Hotel and Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, California.

Early each morning during the conference I went down to the beach with my watercolours to sketch.

For the first 2 efforts, I did an under painting the first day and went back on the second day to (mostly) finish it. I added the final touches later in my room.

I had just started this sketch when I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. There were seals on the rocks to my left. I didn’t sketch them as they were difficult to see in the shadows on the rocks. I do have other sketches of seals and sea lions in my sketchbook form other locations.

For my third sketch, I did most of it on location on one morning and finished it in my room later.
I was in the middle of the sketch when I looked up and saw off to the side a deer and her fawn just a feet feet away. The mother was waking away but the fawn had its back to me and I was able to grab my camera and get a few shots of it before it went off to join its mother.

All of the watercolour sketches were done with no preliminary drawing.

Earth Goddess

My latest fabric sculpture is an Earth Goddess. She is inspired by the colours and shapes of the ochre quarries of Rousillon, France which I visited several years ago. There is no mining of the ochre now but you can visit an old quarry.

Fabric sculpture of an Earth Goddess

Poly: Earth Goddess – Fabric Sculpture by Nancy Leigh-Smith

I took this doll to the NIADA Conference in Asilomar, Pacific Grove, California, where I had a great time and met some wonderful doll artists.

In order to facilitate packing and transportation I used magnets to join the legs to the torso.

Cloth sculpture

Back view of Poly: Earth Goddess – Fabric Sculpture by Nancy Leigh-Smith

 

 

 

 

 

I painted her with watercolours before adding the face features with  pastel pencils. I painted absorbant ground on the base before painting it with the same watercolours.

 

Face detail of Art Doll

Face Detail of Poly: Earth Goddess – Fabric Sculpture by Nancy Leigh-Smith

 

 

 

 

I spun the yarn for the hair on a drop spindle before sewing it to the head.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I randomly beaded the light parts of her torso, arms and legs.

Beading detail on Cloth Art Doll

Beading Detail on Poly: Earth Goddess – Fabric Sculpture by Nancy Leigh-Smith

She is named Poly because she has 6 fingers on each of her hands.

#30x30DirectWatercolor2018

I signed up to do the #30x30DirectWatercolor2018 challenge issued by Marc Taro Holmes. I was inspired by all those who posted their practice/preparatory pieces to do one of my own in May.

This is a direct watercolour done from a photo of myself and three friends. I wasn’t going for a likeness; my aim was to have them look like people.

Once June started I was in the midst of another art project with a deadline coming soon so I haven’t been doing much of anything else. However, I did another direct watercolour of one of my friends from the same photograph trying to get a likeness this time.  I hope to get time to do the other and maybe myself as well.

This one looks more like Marla but the shape of the face is wrong.

This is a great exercise and I hope I get time to do some more before the month is up. In any case I am really enjoying the challenge of not drawing with a pencil first and I plan to do more of this.

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