Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A couple of buckeyes for a couple of Buckeyes

I pretty much hate Facebook these days. It just seems like every day is another dose of outrage and unhappiness. While I do believe there is much about which we should feel outrage right now, I don't think it is healthy to have a diet that consists solely of anger. So, I am spending less and less time there. Who knows, maybe I'll stop going to that particular coffee shop altogether one of these days.

Anyway, back in the day, FB was a great place to meet people with like interests whom one might never otherwise have met. Such is the case with a nurseryman from Oregon and his high school chemistry-teaching wife.  As I said, I've never met Mike in person, but over the past few years he has graciously answered my questions about all things garden-y, ranging in subject matter from the proper way to espalier apple trees (about which he was a LOT more helpful than the fella in this story) to identifying leaves for paintings. And a couple of times, all the way from Oregon came a package chock full of homemade jams and salsas--once as a kitchen-warming gift after our remodel, and the second time, last year, as payment for a commission of a leaf painting.

Unfortunately, it proved difficult to paint the particular leaves Mike requested, since they didn't travel well through the mail. And since I find it very difficult to paint something I don't know from a photograph, it left us scratching our heads about subject matter. It seems that Oregon's trees are different from Texas's trees.

But then Mike and Luann moved back home to Ohio, and lo and behold, what is in the backyard of the new house but a Yellow Buckeye? So we waited until the buckeyes were starting to open, and then at just the right time, Mike packed up some specimens and sent them in the mail.

Unfortunately, the buckeyes became separated from the branches in transit, and all but two of them fell out of their husks. So I spent a lot of time scratching my head again, this time trying to imagine how they all went together (I have never seen this tree...AT ALL). But in the meantime, I took the best buckeyes--the ones still in the husk, and did a sketchbook study of them. (I also asked Mike to take some photos from every possible angle and send them to me, which he did. Sadly, I still had trouble making sense of the details.)

Then life intervened and I had to take a break from that project to work on something else. When I came back to the sketchbook, though, I was tickled at the little buckeyes staring out at me from the study page. I thought, as I often do, that it is a shame that the preliminary work that goes into a painting is seldom seen. And that gave me an idea on how to paint the piece...

So there you have it, a study of two buckeyes, for Mike and Luann, and all those jams and salsas.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Hello out there.

It's been a while, I know. Maybe I'll explain my absence someday, maybe I won't. It's mostly boring, and a story of disenchantment with all things computer. Suffice it to say that I am fed up with Facebook and so have decided to return to the calmer waters of my blog. Farewell, Land of Discord! Farewell! (Or, at any rate, I hope see a lot less of You, Fount of all Irritability.) In the meantime, I thought I'd post a couple of images of what I've been up to, which is, namely, trying my damnedest to learn to paint botanicals. Maybe I'll talk more about the process someday. Maybe I won't. Depends on how I am feeling about computers that day, I suppose. 

Anyway, here you go:

Osage Orange

Buffalo Gourd

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Chocolate Daisy

I recently started a project documenting some local flora as part of a long-term project, and naturally I started with my favorite wildflower, Berlanderia lyrata, or "Chocolate Daisy." The painting is the most difficult I've done yet, in part because I was worried about making this particular flower look cartoonish. Because the daisy is the first flower any of us ever draw,  and because we also think of daisies as rather happy-go-lucky, I think it is hard to take illustrations of it seriously. In fact, I searched quite a bit for other examples from which I could learn, and while there are legions of tulips, exotic fruits, and irises galore, I found very few daisies that were not caricatures. So I was quite nervous about doing justice to this particular beautiful, sturdy, surprisingly elegant flower. I think, to a degree, I succeeded. I should probably take a better photo of it, but it is a rainy Saturday and I am feeling lazy.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Picking up where I left off

I haven't done any serious drawing for over thirty years, and, for reasons to complex to go into, I recently decided to pick it up again. Here are a few of the drawings I did over the holiday break: