(please click pictures to see larger)
Oak leaves and tracks in the snow, January 9, 2013
The sketches above are from my walk on January 9, 2013. I didn’t need to wear my snowshoes this time and I walked further than before, making it to “Oak Lane” today. It was there in my favorite lane, that I leaned against a tree to sketch the oak leaves on the ground. I also saw interesting little tracks that I can only guess are squirrel? I have grey and red squirrels here, these look a little big for red squirrel but I’m just guessing. The top track is life size at 1″ x 1″.
The Octagon House in Akron, NY
I went to Akron NY this weekend to go sketching a bit with my friend Nancy. I want to practice drawing buildings and houses more and Akron has some interesting old ones. This Octagon House was built in the 1840’s by Charles B. Rich for his fourth wife. It’s a museum too and someday I want to go through to see all the Victorian era furniture and decorations. It was a challenge to sketch standing there on the sidewalk opposite, leaning against a stop sign! I sketched it in pencil then put a little watercolor on; at home I used my ink pen to draw over and then painted from the picture I took. It was such a grey dull day but can’t complain about how warm it was.
A building on Main Street in Akron, NY.
This is a business on Main St. in Akron I started to sketch from a cold bench across the street. I’ll try to work on it this week to finish it up. I guess it looks like many old businesses do on any Main St. in America. It was popular to have a facade that is really taller than the building itself, kind of like an old western town movie set!
I also worked on a little watercolor landscape study from a photograph I took while in Northumberland, England, but want to put a few finishing touches on it.
St. Paul's Church
Just a quick little post to share a sketch I did the other morning while in Alnwick, (Northumberland England). While I was waiting for Gary I had about 30 minutes to walk to St. Paul’s Church to see if I could find something interesting to sketch. I was first drawn to the architectural feature that is over the door, like a large chimney pot with a crown. (Not sure what it is)
I walked around the church, pea gravel crunching beneath my feet on this cold October morning, and I met the grounds-woman Dorothy. She talked to me about the church and the plants, then I found a spot at the very entrance where I first entered and caught sight of the view I liked. I only had a short bit of time left to sketch and my hands were freezing and stiff, but I held my sketchbook with one hand while I stood there. I used a permanent ink pen so any lines I made were there to stay.
As I drew the biulding, I realized my eyes were fooling me and after reviewing the horizontal alignments I saw the roof was pitched much more dramatically than I thought. This is what I love about drawing buildings, you must draw what you see and take real measurements and alignments to check it.
When I got home I just touched up a tiny bit by adding more lines to indicate stones and darkened in the areas of the windows a bit. I hope you enjoyed this sketch, more coming soon!
Green Batt House Gate
This is an old gate in Alnwick, Northumberland, that I drew while waiting for Gary one morning. I don’t know how old it is or what the history of the name is but I liked the gate, green trees inside, golden sandstone blocks all worn away and the tread worn threshold stone below the gate. It’s just on a side street above the main shopping area of Bondgate Within in Alnwick. I leaned against a wall and many cars and passers by gave me a glance wondering what I was doing there.
Green Batt Gate + moths
Though it doesn’t show you much, I included the sketch in it’s early stages because I started it on one day and went back to finish on another. I wasn’t happy with the first sketch outline as I knew I had my comparative measurements off. So when I returned I decided to just draw over what was there with the pen and oh well! So it came out well, I bet you can’t really tell too much of where I drew over it? I like to show you my mistakes because they’re not really mistakes; every artist starts a drawing and needs to alter it to ‘make it right’. Drawing in permanent pen can make this difficult but also spontaneous, “wysiwyg” or “what you see is what you get”. You learn little things to cover up the mislaid lines or how to work with them. I was in a hurry when I laid down the initial lines but glad I was able to return to finish it!
I’ll save the information about the moth sketches for another post, just thought I’d show you how my pages get all kinds of things drawn next to each other!
Alnwick Doors + Windows
Some more sketches of architectural elements from about Alnwick (pronounced Annick). The page above is my entire sketchbook page, I drew the boarded window, then much later added the doorway. I kept the page just for windows and doors or things like that. Then even later than that I played around with decorating the page with scrolly bits and made up lettering for the word “Alnwick”
Window in Alnwick
I did this sketch using an inktense watercolor pencil and my waterbrush while standing looking over a stone wall into an abandoned yard.
This “Number 8” was done with a permanent ink pen when I was sitting in the car waiting. People might think that I’m secret police studying their houses! I drew some of the leaves at top (vines) and bottom in the hedge then left it to finish later by repeating mostly. This was a little cottage with a white door, dark stone walls and pink roses and greenery all around, very sweet!
Playing around with the name “Alnwick” using my watercolor pencils. I like to make up my own lettering, it’s fun to do this on your pages. Check out some note cards and prints I made using my photos and drawings of architectural elements here.
Here’s a quick little post about a building sketch I did in Alnwick, Northumberland England. Alnwick is an old town, perhaps 800 years or so, and therefor filled with interesting architectural elements. It has it’s very own castle on the edge of town and a huge stone gate that once was part of a wall around the town, now gone for building stones.
Baily's Cafe sketch
I sat on a cold, hard, stone wall on the busy “Bondgate Within” street, a street with shops, small hotels and the upper part still filled with bumpy cobbles. They do have new benches but none gave this straight-on view of the shop I wanted to sketch. I only had enough time to start my sketch when Gary showed up and we were off and running again; this was on June 17.
Bailey's Cafe sketch finished
Click here to see sketches of buildings in my shop as note cards, more coming!
We returned on July 20 and I, with sketchbook in hand, said I’d be drawing while he ran errands. I had about 35-45 minutes to finish this sketch, so I found the same hard, cold rock on the stone wall to sit on and got busy. This is with a permanent ink pen so whatever marks I made were not erasable. I first tried to put the rest of the lines in for the main building row and the dome. Then I added windows, lamps, people and cars. I didn’t bother to add the distant buildings and cars till the end, but glad I got them in, they really add some depth and interest to the drawing. What I loved about this building was it’s green patina dome, I would really like to do another sketch of it using my colors.
Though I went for this walk a month ago, I need to catch up on posting my sketches from all my walks so you can see where I’ve been. This walk started at the Edlingham Church from the 11thC and Edlingham Castle.
Edlingham church and castle quick sketch
As I noted on my page, it was a gorgeous, sunny day. I started by walking past the old church and as I stood in the parking lot near it, I sketched using my Derwent Inktense “Ink Black” watercolor pencil. I then used my waterbrush to make washes using the pencil lines. You can add more color or value by touching the tip of your pencil with the waterbrush and adding it to the already damp paper. If you re-draw on the damp paper the pencil will make a very strong line and be harder to blend. Since I don’t have use of a scanner here, I photographed my pages and then brightened them, the picture here looks a bit more contrasty than the real one.
The sketch of the castle at the bottom of the page (shown above) is started with the same Inktense pencil then later colored with watercolors and watercolor pencils. I was way up in a sheep field looking back when I did this, just a quick impression.
Edlingham Church and Castle
After my walk I added color to the top sketch of the church, with watercolor pencils. I’m going through a phase with them right now, as I so often do…then I switch back to my loved watercolors. I’m having fun layering colors to find nice greens and browns. I don’t like a drawing or painting to look ‘mushy’, that is be too soft, and I’m tempted to go back and draw with my ink pens into these little studies. But they are studies and sometimes the soft look of them is nice.
As I walked up through another farmers field I saw Lapwings on the ground. They are such a neat bird with two long feathers on their crest that looks like a fancy plumed hat! When they fly their wings are wide, rounded and a sharp looking black and white. They have a very nice call too. This picture is a bit blurry as I shot it from far away, but you get the idea of what they look like.
Dog Rose + Lapwing
I’ll type out the notes from this page down below.
I had fun and created a old fashioned looking greeting card with this Dog Rose watercolor I did. Click to see it in the shop, it has pink inside and you can add your own text. Click your back button to return.
On the way to the top
This photo shows just how gorgeous the views were; I wanted to stop and paint all the time! But if you don’t keep walking you’ll never see as much, so on I went. (click it to see it in my shop larger)
Yup, that's me!
Yes, well, that’s me! I was happy to be out walking alone, stopping as I pleased and discovering interesting things, like the butterflies below.
Painted Lady Butterfly
This is a tattered looking Painted Lady, it looks similar to the Tortoiseshell below, but see how that one is dark in the center around the body?
Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly
This small little Tortoiseshell butterfly looks like it’s been through some weather, maybe even escaped a birds beak? I saw quite a few butterflies along the little dirt lane I walked on, I think they enjoyed the windbreak of the stone wall that followed it.
At the Roman Fort site, wow, buttercups!
(Click to see this picture as a glossy note card) This picture is at the top of the hill where the Roman Fort used to be. There are piles of stones around in a big rectangle shape, all that is left of it now. The Buttercups were so pretty, I crouched down low to get this shot, I liked the angle of it.
Here are the notes I wrote on my page: ” Headed to the Old Roman Fort. Sitting here now- it’s so beautiful the scene. Skylark is singing to my right + sheep are calling down the valley behind me. I don’t have time to paint the landscape, I have too much to do at home. 🙁 oh…I couldn’t resist! Quick watercolor sketch!” (See below!)
Small watercolor view from top of Edlingham
I’m so glad I took some time to do this little watercolor, now I look at it in my field journal and can remember the scene so well. I sat on a huge rock of the fort, with my feet up and set a little container of water besides me. I used regular watercolor brushes for this one. I first laid on washes of blue and quickly lifted areas with a tissue for clouds. Then overlapping (on purpose) the blue near the horizon, I put pale green hills. The blue showed through and it made very nice distant hills, keep it soft and pale for this. Then I put various patches of greens for the fields in front.
View from Top, "Ah, this is the life!"
I used this picture to create a glossy note card for those who love hiking, click on the picture to see my “people in landscapes” but I also created one that says on it: “Ah, this is the life!” I guess that says it all, you’ll find that one in my shop here.
More posts coming as I catch up! Please sign your email in the box at the right if you’d like to be notified. Exciting news coming soon about Creative Journaling and Sketching tours!
This evening we went for a drive up towards Beanly Moor which looks over a gorgeous valley with the Cheviot mountains in the background.
Road by Beanly Moor
You can park your car on the side of the road here and just walk up to Beanly Moor, a beautiful and wild area filled with heather and bracken with wonderful views.
Shepherd and his dogs
I love seeing the shepherds with their dogs, they don’t go on foot or by horseback as they used to, nowadays it’s a quad bike or 4 wheeler as transport across fields and the dog seems to LOVE riding on back!
View from hill by Beanly Moor
We walked up the hill and watched the sun set here, I just love this view. I dream of having a house in a setting like this, with a view just as peaceful.
Cheviots from Beanly Moor + Rothbury biuldings
I pulled out my watercolors and used my water-brush to do a little sketch. It was a bit hard because though it’s sunny, it was cold! At the bottom of the page is a pen and ink sketch I did the next day, of buildings in Rothbury, a small town in Northumberland. I was freezing while sketching this, but I liked the windows and stones and though angles are tricky, I like to do them because it’s good practice.
Church in Rothbury, Northumberland, England
You can see the day was cloudy and cold, I sat on a bench looking out across the town square. You can see the hills right in the background, I love walking near Rothbury.
I hope to get a nicer photo of this church on a sunny day then do a painting.
Click here to view my Landscape Paintings of England in my shop.
Click here to view my Landscape Photos of England in my shop.
MAY 3, 2010
Well as the title says, my adventure to England started slowly. I got to the Buffalo airport in plenty of time, even after dropping my favorite polar fleece jacket in the hall and having to retrace my steps all the way back to the check-in point, I still wasn’t late to the gate. Yes, this does happen even to those of us who are SO careful, just pop into every restaurant and shop along the way and ask if anyone’s picked it up. Well there it was at the last one; I really need that for the plane ride!
Then I get to the gate and they say the planes are all delayed because of rain in NJ, so the flight before mine hasn’t left yet, “would I like a seat on that one to get my into Newark early?” Um…YES! If they’re running late then better go early. It finally gets in, an hour late, and we board, but first I’m told my bag will be too big to fit overhead in the bins! Darn, just bought this bag because it was extra trim and I carry all my camera and laptop equipment in it, things I’ll never stow out of my sight. SO…..I went to the side and pulled lots of things out and stuffed them in my field bag that I was carrying on my shoulder, camera bag went in my hand. It’s only an hour flight to NJ…I can live with it all by my feet. Well as you can read on my sketchpage below, we were boarded, then sat on the tarmack, then pulled back into the gate and we had to get off for an hour. It was a bit confusing as to what was going on because everyone seemed to get into a huge long line at the counter. Well I just went back into the plane and asked the pilot, he said come back to this same plane in less than an hour, we may leave early.
Well I got to Newark airport finally, went immediately to see the departures board (learned from past experience that they can and do change gates at the last minute), I was SHOCKED when I saw in big red letters, “CANCELED”!! “Yikes! What is going on? What do I do?” It’s not like there are other flights to Scotland that night! I made my way to the gate and they said to go to the Service Counter to get help. Need I tell you there was a line stretching down the hall from about five other international flights that were canceled? We stood in line for 2 1/2 hours waiting our turn to be told simply that the Iceland volcano was erupting again and we had to rebook our flight to tomorrow night if we wanted. Thank goodness a nice Scottish family was in front of me, their daughter had an international cell phone and she let me call Gary so he’d know I wasn’t going to be at the airport in the morning. We all talked and decided that when we got our luggage we’d find a hotel together, it felt nice not to be alone in this!
"View from Terminal C Window, Newark Airport"
May 4, 2010
The sketches from Terminal C are from my second day of trying to leave, I did them while standing in line again waiting to re-check my bag and go again through security. Last night the woman at Continental said I could just leave my bag and it would be transferred to my new flight, but lucky I got it, when we went down to baggage we saw ALL the bags from canceled flights just lined up, no one checking the tags when people picked up baggage! It was really nice to have my sketchbook with me, like an old friend to keep me company; so boring standing in line like that.
Later I sat at a table to eat my soup and I colored the Terminal C with my watercolors. At 4:50pm I sketched the plane below at Gate 134, it wasn’t my gate at all but it had a nice view out the window of all going on. You can see the Air-Tran in the background, that’s what I had to take to get to P4 to get a shuttle for the hotel and then re-arrive at the next day. I think drawing airplanes and the other things around it, is difficult because of the angles. I was using a permanent pen so whatever mark I made was it, no erasing. I like the telescoping hood that meets the doorway of the aircraft where you board.
Well around about 6pm the attendant at our gate (flight to leave at 8pm) said that our flight had been canceled! Oh no!! Not again! Darn this volcano, what was I going to do? It was still cheaper for me to stay the night rather than take a flight back to Buffalo for $350 some dollars which is not covered by the airline. Anyways, usually the ash situation settles within a few days and I REALLY didn’t want to return home!
May 5, 2010
FINALLY~! I’m sitting on board, you can see the tiny sketch I did looking out my window. I was stuck at that airport for three days, two nights at a local hotel, but all day long at the boring airport. The canceled flights were to Scotland, Ireland, England and most of the people who were stuck like me, were from there and SO nice!! We always asked each other when we saw each other at breakfast at the hotel, or around the airport, what news we’d heard. The biggest problem was not hearing what was going on with the volcano on the news. We had to rely on talking to family or friends in the UK to hear what direction the ash was moving. Lucky my hotel had Wi-Fi so I could be online with my laptop.
- “Sunset After Take-Off”
Finally in the air, after so much trouble and waiting. I did this quickly with one water-brush and my pan of watercolors.I find the sunset in the air so unusual, sort of like it’s upside down, the sky is so beautiful blue, the area below is just dark, dark and the glow just above it from the sun.
I’m looking forward to my summer of lots of sketches, photographs and paintings while visiting England and the rest of the UK.I hope you’ll tune in for more updates to see my adventures, just sign your email in the little box at the top right column, then click accept when you get the email notice.
There’s nothing prettier than a field in springtime. Today I took a walk with Ginger out back…up very wet lanes and through my field with water in all the low spots and ditches. There are dandelions coming up and tiny little specks of pale violet flowers that look like bits of paper in the grass they’re so small. Something people often forget is to stop and take a look back from where they came, for a different view or perspective.
"Looking Back" 4-18-2010
(Go here to see Note Cards of this painting: “Looking Back”)
I tried hard to find a spot I might sit and do some sketching, but the ground was too wet even for my plastic bag. As I turned to look back I thought I’d do I quick sketch of the house and field with my watercolor pan and waterbrush. I used just one brush for this, a large, juicy flat that lets water flow quite easily. A little messy but I was cold and my bag was heavy, I didn’t feel like standing too long, and neither did Ginger.
Blue Bird 4-18-2010
(Link for note cards and gifts with my Bluebird photos)
As we entered the field I noticed a flutter of blue out a ways, it was a male Blue Bird! He and his mate were perching on tops of bushes and flitting down to the ground to hunt or gather grasses. I think he was hunting bugs to impress her, as I never saw her fly down! I think he’s impressive! I shot a lot of pictures of him, though it was difficult with the wind whipping up and I was hand holding a very long lens. So some are a little fuzzy but still great for painting references.
"Two Bluebirds with an Angel"
(Link for note card with this Bluebird photo-Two Bluebirds with Angel I also have mugs in the link above, with this picture on it)
In the photo above, I had a little fun playing with a setting on my photo program under “Effects”, it’s called “mirror”. The cool thing is when I flipped the image, an angel appeared in the centre! I think it could make a good inspiration for a painting!, I’ll have to think about this.
"Long Lane in April"
(Link for note cards and gifts with this photo-New York Landscape Photos)
And last I leave you with a gorgeous photo of Long Lane in springtime. How pretty this is, a simple lane of grass with bushes…blue sky and budding leaves. But there’s something more perhaps, a promise of new beginnings? A full summer of growth? It makes me forget about “Looking Back” at the past..time to look ahead to what’s coming anew!
Hope you enjoyed this walk with me, please leave me comments below.
Don’t forget to visit my Zazzle shop to see lovely note-cards, prints, t-shirts and other gifts with my photographs and art on it.
This is a sketch I did back in September but didn’t have time to post it, thought I’d share it now.
Dunstanburgh castle sketch
Just thought I’d put this little tiny sketch up. Gary and I ended up here pretty late on a windy cold evening, but I still managed to sketch with my ink pen and wearing fingerless gloves. It was more like a shilhouette at this point, but as I started it I could still see the grass in front of it. It was scribbled pretty fast because I was so cold!
Dunstanburgh Castle at sunset
Dunstanburgh Castle is on the East coast of Northumberland, just a short walk along the sea from the harbour Town of Crastor. We walked along with the rocky coast to our right, an area I’d love to explore more in the day time. Quite aways from the castle still is a fence with a gate you enter, there was a bench right there we decided to just sit because it had gone dark. That’s where I did my quicky sketch from, yet though it was quick, because I DID take the time to do it, I remember so much more about being there. Sometimes I prefer a scribbly looking sketch to a perfectly neat and tidy one, it can be much more expressive about the day or the feeling.
Town of Craster
Craster was small and quaint, has a kipper smokehouse, fishermen’s houses and a pub..perhaps a hotel? There is a small bay you can see here (though I know it’s dark!) where the fishing boats come in.
small book-cover sketchbook
This is a picture of the special little sketchbook I made up. Once in awhile I throw this in my bag when I want to carry less and know I’ll be somewhere where quick sketches will be done. It’s an old book my kids didn’t want any more so I pulled the pages out to make this. (ouch, I know book lovers!! It was painless believe me) I cut nice watercolor paper the same height as the book and folded it acordian style to go inside, taping both ends onto the cover. I put a big rubber band around it to keep it shut or open to a certain page while drawing.