This is Notch – I think she may be a first time mother. She has at least 2 babies so she got bold enough to come up to the deck. It seems they get hungry about this time of year. I also see them in the deep winter when the snow is thick. Otherwise, they only visit at night. How do I know? My tomatoes growing on my second story deck keep disappearing.
I watched a Cooper’s Hawk wrestle with a huge stick that had a smaller one hooked to it. When he finally got them untangled, he ended up with the short stick and appeared quite disgruntled about it. He tossed it down and left, at that point, and went up into the tree and started wrestling with another branch. It was very entertaining.
I decided to take an old Inktober image and practice my greens on it. Pine Hills State Nature Preserve seemed a great place to start.
A combination of things (including Christmas commissions) added to the 2nd half of the month not being a daily, but I still did quite a few, as well as some gesture sketching on the busy days.
Inktober was fun, and I quit worrying about the prompts, but did get a couple more in such as #15 Legend – our own local celebrity cat – Pirate Cat.
I hope to keep up the weekly sketching (not daily – way too much happening in the next 2 months, but I do not want to lose that momentum of sketching. It is excellent for studying a subject and getting to know them.)
Above- our local Cooper’s Hawk, stalking out feeders.
A bit of fan art for James and Margaret – a pair of California Ravens I follow on Instagram and Facebook. @thedailyjames
I love the little Black and White Warblers we see each year. And below is a Summit Lake Bald Eagle – reference photo by Patrick D. Conner, one of our local birders on the Facebook page, Indiana Birdography. You will be seeing more of these in various mediums, as I am practicing to do a watercolor for my nephew.
This particular week I did a couple of prompts but mostly simply practiced mostly from my own photos except on the two specified. I have to retrospectively
#7 Enchanted was some quick gestures of a Carolina Wren that enchanted me on my hike at Ritchey Woods over the weekend.
#8 is Frail – I was busy illustrating a comment on Facebook, so skipped this one and drew the hippie chicken above. However, I kept thinking of our frail ecosystem. Maybe I will revisit this word.
# 9 – did not use a prompt – Whitetail Deer Photo reference – John Baughman – https://www.facebook.com/JustJohnsNature/
#10 no prompt – Blackpoll Warbler Photo reference – Jining Han posted on Indiana Birdography
#11 – no prompt – one of our bunnies that live in our wild wood. I called him Notch.
The remaining day was spent sketching with a pencil. I worked on a child’s face and also on Christmas ornaments over the weekend. I did do some quick gestures in ink that are in a random sketchbook somewhere.
Inktober is in full swing and here I am forgetting to blog it! Feel free to look me up on Instagram, where I am quite active. Day 1 was “Ring” (the Nashville Warbler’s eye ring is quite distinct) and “Leaf”. So I hit all 3 lists on this one.
I had no plan going into this year. Come whatever comes. I am watching 3 different lists and am hit and miss with them. This was Mindless and Seedpod. I use to mindlessly whack these down. Now even the seedpod is prescious.
Day 3 was the Killdeer offering herself as Bait to predators to pull them away from her nest. Amazing birds. They nest across the street from me each summer, so I hear them daily.
Day 4 was some practice 60 second sketches.
This momma Robin was sitting near me on the trail. I was unwittingly standing directly under her nest build. I moved back and watched as she industriously went about her business.
It was a great start to Inktober.
A study in my various pencils – this is a common thing to do to get comfortable with the tools for the current project.
The Natural History Illustration course has been fun and a lot of learning is happening. Some of the homework included unfinished sketches demonstrating the learning techniques.
First activity was to work with natural items, breaking them down into geometric shapes, working their curves, etc. and this shell really showed me how rusty I am.
We then did field sketches of birds. Some people really finished them out. I need to spend time doing more of that, but part of my problem in the field is thinking things have to be perfect. I am working to let go of that and just get it down on paper first. Also, this was sketch paper and I knew better than to try watercolors, but did it anyway. It is a learning and reminding process.
I learned about studying flowers and how to turn them into geometric shapes (not pictured), measure, and make notations. This lesson was interesting, but I found it a bit too detailed for me. I love seeing these types of illustrations. I hate doing them.
This was about learning how to quickly capture form and essence of mammals. Now we are getting into my “love”.
We studied skeletal structure, which I actually found quite fascinating. I used one of our raccoons who was trying to get to our bird feeder as my model and tried 3 different gesture drawings for each pose. This lesson was real helpful and I enjoyed it immensely. I may be studying skeletal structures a bit more!
The preliminary blocking activities were very helpful. I normally jump right to this type of gesture drawing above, but doing the 2 preliminary gestures made doing this one so much easier and correct. That was an interesting ah-ha for me!
This was a practice on how to block off parts of birds using circles, ovals, and geometric shapes – which is difficult for me to do. We also looked at how their skeletal structure is made.
I am going to have to practice this a lot more and, for once, I am excited about practicing!
This year I did not finish out the month strong – 2 things happened. I began volunteering for Providence Wildlife Rehab and I started getting more Christmas orders than was in my plan, so any creative activities need to go that direction. And I can not show those.
However, I did do some warmup exercises that I thought you might like. The subject was one of our Educational Ambassadors, a Screech Owl named Red.
So goodby, Inktober! You have given me some wonderful projects for the upcoming year. Now if life will just give me the time.