I have two suet feeders because a few years ago one disappeared a week after I put it out. I bought another one and the next spring I found the original one at the edge of the lawn. So I put both out. One at the front of the house and the other hangs just outside the dining room window at the back. The front one is more popular. The back gets most of its activity when the Hairy Woodpecker is occupying the one out front.
This Downy Woodpecker is a frequent visitor to both.
I walked my usual route but in the opposite direction and it looked very different.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Next I tackled a Monarch from one of my photos. I did the background wet in wet first and added the butterfly afterwards.
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.
These are some recent watercolour sketches I did from photographs taken on my early morning walks.
The 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.
The picture I based this painting on was taken on a sunny morning. The light made the reeds glow.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.