In Week 2 I began to feel glimmers of my inner artist really showing up for the party. Above was my interpretation of Star, which was a breakthrough concept piece for me, since I was illustrating a Native American legend.
If you break a cottonwood tree small branch at the circular growth line, and it is not too green or not too dry, you will find a star.
Image from: My Wishing Rock blog
The Arapahoe and Cheyenne tribes believe this is where stars are born and the wind sends them up into the sky. I love this and that is where my concept piece was born.
Another legend says this is where stars hide during the day. The Lakota use the cottonwood in their Sundance ceremony as the tree of life because of this. — reference: Mom off Track blog
The idea of the three trees is taken from three of the cottonwoods I grew up with along the drive to our barn (and I used a reference photo to capture some of the branch placement.) I have a strong affinity for these trees because the sound of their leaves in the wind winds through every childhood memory of outdoor play like a ribbon through my hair. The sound transports me every time, and now I have another reason to love these trees.
Inktober 2018 started out with a bang that has continued to reverberate on the Facebook page for these past weeks – controversy over what words really mean. The very first word was “poisonous”. We saw a lot of drawings of snakes, which are venomous, but not, technically, poisonous – so I commemorated the heated discussions that arose with my own submission. It was quite funny to watch the conversations on a page of with 40k international followers. Hopefully it was instructive for those willing to learn and they took it in good part.
These are poisonous red mushrooms found here in Indiana – it is my desire to watercolor my inked pieces this winter. I want to do a whole series on Indiana mushrooms.
TRANQUIL – I could not make up my mind on on this prompt – so I did a series of tranquil quick drawings as I played with ideas. This is as far as that went, and it was very enjoyable. I love doing these types of sketches. Good warmups.
ROASTED: Another mushroom – this one is good roasted, I am told. Hen (or Chicken) of the Woods. Again – this will work better when painted. I will probably re-do it and make it bigger. These are beautiful variegated orange mushrooms. I am on an Indiana Mushroom page in Facebook and saw where someone harvested 80lbs of these. It has been a big mushroom year with the warm, humid weather.
SPELL – this one is a favorite. I plan to do a series on State Park and Natural Preserves that we visited this year and especially the paths that lure me into those day long treks. This is the one in Pine Hills going up to the Devil’s Backbone.
CHICKEN – this one ended my first week because I was not worth anything for about 2 days. I went to my first colonoscopy and I had put it off for years, like the chicken that I am. Glad it is over. It seemed appropriate to commemorate that since it landed on the same day as this prompt.
The above image was my favorite for this week. I was trying new things – this was my niece having a hard time of it when she found her daddy’s jeans hanging on the line. It is one of my favorite moments. Faces and emotions are not easy to capture. I vow to work this next year to do better with them.
I am pushing myself to try different styles – quick drawings, purposeful drawings, tiny lines, emotion on faces, events.
Following the prompts of Inktober has been great at stretching my creativity and I hope expanding my range (depth and breadth.)
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.
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…”