Inktober

Inktober is an international challenge to artists to pick up a pen and practice ink drawing daily and share it online. I use the time as a yearly exercise to improve my observational skills with 10 second sketches, but this year I am also doing a few finished pages in my new nature journal. 

Above is my ink of a blue heron. Below I added light watercolors. Later I added notes and observations in the whitespace.

Nature Journaling

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I have been wanting to take my love of birding, hiking the state parks, and nature photography to the next creative level – nature journaling seemed to be an obvious extension. To break through the paralysis that inevitably happens when it comes to my drawing, I signed up for a class by Jan Blencowe and it has been fabulous. I highly recommend it for beginners, as well as “stuck” veteran artists.

One of the new tools I am learning to use, and quite enjoying, is the extra fine fountain pen that uses platinum carbon ink.

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Sketching Birds

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This has been the year for sketching the birds I am photographing and spending time watching all the youngsters figure out their big new world. I started last fall doing the above types of 5 second sketches.

I like to use ink for the initial sketches because it forces me to capture their essence without overworking and overthinking it. Perfection is not the aim and ink is always full of lines that can not be erased, so that forces my letting go of the OCD side of my personality.

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This month I started spending a little more energy on the initial sketch then adding various views of the same bird in pencil.  We have had so many Downy Woodpecker babies this year that I decided to catalog them to see who sticks around. Did you know that you can tell them apart by their head stripes? It has been fun and very illuminating to learn about these individuals visiting my feeder.

Note: I have been naming them only because it is easier to talk about them with a name versus – “you know, that one with the squiggly stripe…”

Capturing Moments

A gift for a friend was a book that captured the building of her new house and the move day activities in 2016. This book was created through Shutterfly because of the price break on a 20 page hardcover. It seemed a safe way to create my first photo book and I am pleased. And it makes a very special gift.

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