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“Shooting Star” 1-3-09

Last night as I walked out to the barn, I paused to admire the stars, it being a clear night with a small crescent moon. My dog Ginger was bouncing around me waiting for me to continue to the barn for feeding time, I had to watch awhile. I watched them twinkling and thought again about how people all over the world are connected when they look up at the stars and moon. I noticed too how the light cast from the barn made the trees glow against the dark sky, the lighting from below was haunting. It was just then I saw a bright shooting star fly over the trees…with bright sparkling colors behind it; it didn’t have a long tail, but a very brilliant short one.
This is the painting taped to the table (it’s 5″x7″), I used a liquid friskit with the pen tip to quickly sketch the trees on. They are a little clumsy but I meant to do it as a quick sketch, and have some liveliness to it. The stars came out a bit too big so later I had to paint them in a bit.

After the liquid friskit is dry and only then, is it ok to do liberal washes over it. The friskit keeps the paper white, I should have taken a photo to show you how bright and ‘garish’ it looked when I rubbed it off. My son Paul loved the look, kind of modern but a bit too stark for me. I brushed over the trees liberally with browns and then used a damp brush to lift color around the tree tops…a softening effect to suggest the finer branches and glow.

This is my tiny kit with the Altoids tin of watercolors, I mixed my paints on the metal pencil case. The last thing I did was put a little color in behind the shooting star, I took note of this right when I saw it and that’s what I found fascinating about it.
So that’s it, a little sketch of a shooting star…and oh yes…I DID WISH UPON IT!! (but I’m not telling! 😉

“Moon Meanderings” 12-15-08

It was a full moon a few nights before, so tonight as I saw the glow of the moon trying to come to fruition behind the clouds…I was hopeful of some good moon gazing. Hmmm….no such luck. It started to show promise as I saw a curious yellow glow in the clouds, so I grabbed my tiny Altoids watercolor kit, my reading light and very small watercolor field kit.

I set up in my bathroom where it’s extra dark when the door is closed and tried to paint quickly in the dark. I didn’t have anything to put my piece of paper on, so I held the little thing in my hand and the watercolor kit also; it was not a great set up but I was in a hurry!

Yes, it was quite dark, I could hardly see the colors I was using but I wanted to really see the moon and didn’t want the distraction of the light. So as it slipped quickly away behind a dark veil of clouds, I just painted from memory and it was ok. It’s only after when you turn on the lights and let the colors and wetness finish their ‘melding’ that you’ll see what you’ve got. It’s kind of fun! This one is only 3.5″x2.5″ on watercolor paper.

My England Adventure 2008 – “The Flight There” 9-5-08

Well, I’m finally home from my big adventure in England and Ireland! I have so much to share about my hikes, the people I met and of course my sketches and photos. It’s taken me awhile to get back on track with the time changes and catching up on things around the house, paying bills etc. That’ll never change!

This is a sketch done while waiting at Gate 6, Buffalo Airport, it’s watersoluble color pencil. Oh it was so cold, the air conditioning was on too high. I wrote a note on my sketch, “I’m glad for my wool hoodie I made”. For my trip I designed a nice pull over wool hoodie, lined with cotton, it came in handy on the flight. I could pull the hood up to help block out the noise, light and keep warm. My flight leaves at 5:40pm.Backing away from the gate at Philadelphia airport, on the way to Gatwick airport in London. It should take 6 hours or so. I sleep a little, it was nice and dark. At 1:33 am (my time) I woke and saw the sun coming up. It was almost surreal because we floated above the clouds and the sun colors were below…while the stars were still up in the dark sky. I could see the Big Dipper, it was odd because we were above it more than I’m used to. (I learned in England they call it the Great Plow, I would point to it and say…”oh, look at the big dipper!…I’d be corrected and told that it’s the Great Plow.) I pulled out my sketchkit, my pad, watersoluble colorpencils, waterbrush and my little reading light. I hung the reading light on the collar of my hoodie and did my sketch by it’s light only. The whole plane was very dark and quiet, everyone was sleeping. I felt like a kid awake in bed at night with the little light on, trying not to wake anyone else!Oh what a trip it turned into, I had to wait so long in line at Gatwick that my plane for Newcastle upon Tyne left without me! After waiting a few hours while they looked for my misplaced luggage, I had to catch a train, then a subway, then another train all the way up to Newcastle. Needless to say I was exhausted when I hit the other end. There was extensive flooding in Morpeth nearby and the trains weren’t running, lucky I made it! Below is a picture from the plane, as we come over England…Oh gosh I was excited!Well, I’ll try to get more about my trip up soon. I’ll start with my adventure at Muncaster Castle in Ravenglass. Keep checking back to read about it all…better yet, leave your name in the box at the right and you’ll get an automatic email when I do.

“Watercolor Moon in the Middle of the Night” 7-21-08

Sometimes it’s hard to be an artist. Let me explain, I have been thinking about how much I want to try to paint the moon at night, in the dark using a tiny light. I’ve never done it before so the other night when the moon was streaming through my window, I had to get back out of bed and go to the studio to get my paints!! Yes…it’s difficult to be an artist, but fun!! For the above painting I used liquid mask to block the moon, which I don’t use much but wanted to play with. Then I worked wet into wet with the colors. Now keep in mind I said before I wanted to work in the dark so I could see the moon still, so I took a tiny reading light and clipped it onto my neck collar of my t-shirt. (Um…did anyone ever tell you artists were kind of nuts? haha) I pointed the light down at my painting, it was a neat experiment.
Above you can see my tiny watercolor kit I put together. On the left is a pack of assorted brushes that I cut the handles down on so they are smaller and fit in my field bag, above that is the reading light. In the center is my field kit of watercolors that I have tucked into a tiny Altoids tin, I use the lid for mixing my colors. Above the kit is a plastic vitamin bottle that I use for water; I like this container because I can get my brushes down into it for swishing around, but it also fits in my waterbottle holder that I can put around my waist for field work. And next to all that, on the far right is a new little invention of mine, it’s a tiny cigar case my friend Mark gave me. I told him I like little containers to play around with for field stuff….I know, I sound like a little kid! Well….if you don’t think creatively and play, you don’t think of great ideas!
I cut up little squares of watercolor paper to fit inside the cigar case, it holds about 14 sheets of paper, I also put in some bristol board to play with. The sheets measure only 3 1/2″ x 3″….kind of fun to work on if you keep it simple. I then took two paper clips and bent them so they go over the edge and hold down the paper while you work. You can see how tiny the kit is as it fits right into my hand! Below is the tiny moon painting I did, I like it!! For this one I didn’t use liquid mask and it show the moon for how it really was, it wasn’t full like I showed above.I hope you enjoyed my post about my experimental moon painting! Remember I did it in the dark, it was fun! I will bring this kit with me when I travel to England and Ireland and play around with it. Please let me know what you think and leave me a comment!