Thursday, November 19, 2015

November's Backyard Birds and Crafting Seed Packets

Just When We Make Our Plans...

Here in the latter part of November, Thanksgiving holiday plans are being made in many homes.  The days pass by before we can blink.  I've had a hitch in my giddy-up as some say...a hiccup in the routine.  

A week ago, I was working on a craft project to make hostess gifts for the annual Christmas Tea event at my church.  I've been cutting off sunflower heads to save the seeds.  They've been drying in my storage room for weeks.  Checking them often, I've been careful that mold does not form or they'll be useless.  A quick search on Pinterest and I found a tutorial shared on Damask Love.  Seed Packet Envelopes gave me the idea and I made my own template in Publisher.  A friend helped me fold and glue the packets.  

A view of the grand mess at the work table shows how crazy this project became while I was on a roll.  With rubber stamps, I pulled out gardening stamps to add a little color to the columbine packets.  I have a plastic bin where I keep all the seed packets, both those I've purchased and those I've saved from the garden.  

Roller glue dots and decorative washi tape help seal the outside envelope.  The front of the seed packet has a place to list the type of seed and the date they were collected.  Parchment paper envelopes hold the seeds.  I just cut and folded and taped to make the little inner packets.  Waxed paper might have been a better choice.  A small slip of paper describes planting instructions.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Montana's Big Sky Farmland: Watercolor Painting No. 2

Watercolor Landscape of Big Sky Farmlands No. 2

Dramatic clouds across a blue sky are the inspiration for the watercolor landscape I'm sharing today.  Last week, I shared the first painting Big Sky Farmlands No. 1 where I showed the progression of that painting.  The fantastic effects of sky play against the wide spreading fields.  This is the photo that I sketch from to begin this process.

 I sketch on tracing paper so that the watercolor paper is not marred up with multiple pencil lines and eraser marks.  The mistakes are corrected on tracing paper.  I use a piece of acetate with a white 4 x 4 grid; it's taped to the front of the tablet screen.  A grid of 4 x 4 squares is drawn onto a sheet of tracing paper.  The grid on tracing paper is laid as the second layer below my sketch.  The bottom layer is a piece of white card stock which makes it all bright white in appearance.

As I sketch, I use more shading than will appear on the watercolor paper.  This sketch is my guide, giving direction in values for the final work.  I'm able to work out my design for the main parts of the composition here.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Montana Big Sky Farmlands Watercolor Painting Part 1

Big Sky Farmlands  No. 1 Watercolor Landscape

This artwork began as a view from the car, on a road traveled often.  There's something about the dramatic clouds that had me in awe.  Living in the rural areas of Montana...well, it's pretty much all rural...there's a lot of driving to and from as a part of everyday life.  If you've never been here, it will be hard to comprehend.  We spend a lot of time in the car on a regular basis.  The views of land and sky go on forever.  Each day holds a new striking view of the surroundings.  My favorite sight is the many strips of green crops against gold stubble fields against bare dirt becoming a great mosaic.

The first photo is the original that I began with and the second shows an HDR filter added.  With the filter applied, I have a greater contrast for values.  I see the light and dark areas clearly.

My sketch is drawn with consideration of the details I want to keep for the final artwork.  The sketch (on tracing paper) is layered over graphite paper and watercolor paper.  A binder clip holds it all firmly in place on a masonite board.  A harder 2H pencil makes the transferring of the sketch more effective.

The pigments are mixed up and sampled on a scrap of  watercolor paper.  The first soft washes are placed into the sky.  Direction and motion are very important.  A barely damp brush lifts color back out to create the light beams breaking through clouds.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

First Snowfall Moments Captured

A taste of winter arrives...

The snowflakes began falling yesterday in the mid morning.  I had mixed feelings about them.  I'm sure my daughter was giddy with joy...she was at school.  She'd been wishing for snow for quite a while.  She loves winter most of all.  I do enjoy winter usually.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Photographing Artwork In The Studio

A Beginner's Set Up...

Another week has come and gone.  It seems to slip by so quickly and I'm not sure how I'm unaware as it happens.  I do know there was a lot squeezed into the five weekdays because on Friday I felt beyond tired.  Can you relate?  Well, working here at home alone, I seem to get so few tasks done.  It could be I am more than ambitious in my goal planning.  That is a strong possibility.

There were three new watercolor landscapes to photograph.  All of my best efforts to photograph them fell flat.  I was just fit to be tied (frustrated beyond comprehension) at this challenge.  With plans to frame the paintings this week, I was determined to get excellent photos for having prints made in the future.  I have plans to hang these framed paintings locally this week.  I am avoiding bringing them back home in the near future unless they've sold.  I have interest in hanging framed prints locally as well.  I believe I'll have better sales online with prints.  There is no time to waste with the holidays approaching quickly.  I've found a company which makes art prints and the only thing standing in my way is an accurate photograph to upload.