Saturday, October 07, 2006


A few months ago an additional 8.5 acres of land was purchased which brings the total land now owned at 15.5 acres. Most of this land is wooded and a path is being cleared through one section. This newly cleared section seems to have become a moose highway. They, like everyone else, like the ease of walking in a clear space.

The woods are dense and slightly eerie even with sunlight filtering through. It is full of potential for drawings and paintings and photographs. I will be back there many times in many seasons to see what I undercover. Today, my find was a dead tree, the space where a branch had grown had hollowed and amidst the leaf litter in the hollow grow two tiny tree seedlings. Life is everywhere.

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Friday, October 06, 2006

Grey and red tomatoes

Here it is: Grey Tomatoes on recycled computer paper, with mechanical pencil 2B and HB .05 and .07 respectively. You think Michaelangelo had access to art stores???

I've been doing a drawing of some tomatoes from the greenhouse as a demo for shading for a class I'm facilitating. I started it at work on some computer paper with a mechanical pencil and now I'm at the point of making the decision of whether to continue on or take the image onto better paper and complete it.

Then again, a piece of scrap computer paper might make a statement in itself. I read recently about someone who uses 'found' pieces of paper to create drawings on. Usually very old documents - antiques in their own right I would think. And he's done some interest work on these pieces. Maybe my drawing will be the 'found' piece of paper and I can incorporate the scrappy nature of the paper into the image.

The tomatoes that I first tackled in Cindy Brunk's CP class are rather different, but each has their appeal.

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Equine blondes

I've made some progress with my coloured pencil drawing of Lady, the quarter horse that I owned til this past summer. Lady did go to a new home where she seems very content in the company of other horses and gaggles of adolescent girls who worship everything equine.

Lady is a sorrel quarter horse with that lovely glowing red coat and creamy blonde mane and tail. She's the pin-up queen of horses. Capturing her on paper has been more challenging than I anticipated, as well as including the background of the meadow where the reference image was taken.

I've made progress and the image is going past the ugly stage and coming together. Its on Stonehenge paper - about 14 x 16 and I'm using Prismacolor pencils - lots of layers. I haven't had huge blocks of time to work on it so have been grabbing a few minutes here and there to build it up. Early mornings, a few spare minutes on my way past the drafting table or before I go to bed at night seem to allow me enough time to work on it. Just as well its not a commission isn't it?

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Birds of prey

Its inevitable that if you have chickens and ducks and geese wandering around your yard, you attract things that want to eat them. Coyotes, foxes, mink and hawks have all tried their hand at catching a bird and many have been successful unfortunately.

This newest visitor was perched in the tree watching from his vantage point, waiting for a chance to swoop down. It is a goshawk and they are large hawks with a wingspan of about 3 feet. He, or a relative, caught a chicken previously and obviously knows where the good meal deals are.

I don't like losing a bird to a hawk or any other prey animal, but these are beautiful birds to watch and to see them fly is amazing they are so large. Today he wasn't lucky, lets hope that luck doesn't change.

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Monday, October 02, 2006

The Road to Hawkchurch

My art skills were honed on the edge of the tiny village of Hawkchurch in Devon under the guidance of Tom Greenshields. The Westhay farm was rural, as most are, surrounded by earthen roads edged with dense growth of elder trees, prickly sloes and aged oak and chestnut trees where cows were driven from barn to pasture and back in a tradition that has lasted hundreds of years.

Along one of those roads early one morning Tom captured the moment forever in conte pencil. It was an image that always brought me back to Hawkchurch and one Christmas Tom surprised me and a number of others by presenting us with limited editions of the very image that I loved. Twenty-two of 200 prints, it is signed by Tom and in his spidery writing on the reverse is written 'A Happy Christmas from Tom'. I had almost forgotten that I had this piece as time has take its toll on the matboard as I hadn't had it framed. I will do so now to preserve it. I won't change the mats as even in their state of disrepair they still hold the edition number and Tom's signature and message.

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Sunday, October 01, 2006


I caught sight of some movement out of the corner of my eye today in the garden. It was a young grouse foraging in the grass - ok more like weeds - that needs cutting. They blend in so well with the trees and fence surrounding the enclosure and they freeze if they sense trouble, so its usually difficult to spot them. This one was braver than that and let me come fairly close to get some photos before hopping out to the other side of fence and wandering off.

I sketched a small 8 x 10 canvas and will start the underpainting in oil tomorrow if I can. Its a great image of a border collie acting coy - as if such a thing could be. However, having owned a border collie, I know they do have their own minds.

Tonight I am turkey sitting. The turkeys who are nearly 6 weeks old and destined for Christmas have a runt among them who keeps keeting picked on and they are relentless with the poor little mite. So tonight he/she was rescued from the pen. This poult is about 1/3 the size of the other turkeys in the pen and may well be destined to become another of my 'babies'. It sat on me, ensuring that I watched a whole hour of CSI while it snoozed. I think it is worn out from being chased by the others in the pen. Now it is sleeping in its own little crate next to me as I type. Another waif and stray has found its way to me.

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