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.

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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.

Bark

This crab apple tree is located between 2 large pine trees in my front yard in Ottawa. This year it was visited by a Pileated Woodpecker who worked on a couple of the branches. One of the branches came down in the last wind storm. Every year I expect it to die but it’s still surviving. I have painted it in bloom and in the fall and decided this time to concentrate on the bark.

Watercolour of crab apple tree

A Forest of Rhubarb

I was raking leaves that didn’t get cleaned up last fall and noticed that the rhubarb was up.

I took a break to take a photo of the rhubarb which I used the next day to do a quick watercolour sketch.

This second watercolour is the result of playing with colour.

I did a wet in wet under painting and then played with what was there to make it look like flowers. I don’t know of any flowers that look like the blue ones I painted. They may only exist in my imagination.

Spring

Spring has finally arrived. There are buds on the trees and the grass is green. The change in the weather inspired me to paint the following watercolours.

I decided to play with paint and chose for the first painting a limited palette of turquoise, yellow, and green.

After the first layer dried I painted in the grasses and added some purple for contrast.

For the second painting I used more colours.

watercolor wet in wet

I wasn’t very imaginative with what I added after the first layer dried. Maybe it isn’t finished yet.

Anyway, I did have fun and that’s the main thing.

Going With The Flow

Another watercolour from a photograph taken several years ago in Mexico.  We cycled for about a week in Michoacan then drove to the coast for a few days of relaxation.

watercolor of a smal river emtying into the Pacific Ocean

Deer Sketches

I’ve had quite a lot of deer visiting the cottage lately.  They come between 6 and 7  in the morning so I have to get up early to see them.  I used to I grab my camera when I saw them.  However  it’s still too dark for photos when they visit so I started leaving  my sketching kit by the window ready to go.

Deer sketches iin ink and watersoluble pencil

I have a deer block (food)  that is a few feet from the walkout of my cottage. I have to be very still as sometimes they can see me through the window. When they are at the block they are relatively still for a few minutes.

Ink sketches and watercolor sketches of deer Some will share the block, some won’t. They kick the others away with their front legs.

My bedroom window is right above the walkout. I moved my sketching kit up there. There’s not much light in the room that early in the morning and I didn’t want to take the time to turn on the light so some of the colours got a bit mixed up.

Sketches of Deer done in pen and watercolourI tried some of the sketches with just watercolour.  I can get get the basic shapes down a lot faster that way but I can make a mess a lot faster too.

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