Friday, October 2, 2015

Using the Right Tool

Canson Art Book, 9" x 12"
Watercolor with a flat brush

Calligraphers use broad edge pens to produce wonderful "thicks and thins" in writing, taking advantage of the fact that the pen makes a broad stroke when moving down, and a thin stroke when moving up.   (Joanne Sharpe, for example, says "let the pen tool do the work for you", in her course "Letter Love".)  Not surprisingly, calligraphers also use flat wash brushes in ingenious ways with watercolor, not only to write in the same way, but also to draw.  

In the meeting last week at the Westcoast Calligraphy Society, a talented artist taught us how to use a flat brush and watercolor to make Christmas cards.  It wasn't the first time that I have learned some of these strokes, but the application to a pine cone struck me as particularly ingenious.  Not too long ago, I spent 1/2 an hour meticulously drawing a pine cone in pen.  These took 5 minutes! 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Learning 100 Plant Families?

Fabriano Sketchbook
8.5" x 11"
Pencil Crayon

You will see on this journal page that I am wrestling with the challenge of learning all 100 Plant Families.  Doubting my ability to stick with it.  Now that I've documented (still not quite internalized) the 7 that account for 45,000 species, do I want to do the rest?  Am I that interested?  If so, how might I proceed?

Those are the questions I've been wrestling with.  I think I'm homing in on an answer.  Stay tuned....

Field Work

Yesterday I was out learning about ash trees.  The photos I took are so much better than any art I could make LOL.  Nature is the ultimate artist!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Card from a Drawing

Elegant Writer and Tombows

This started as a hasty experiment with the Elegant Writer and Tombow markers.  I didn't really think that it was successful, but my sister liked it so I turned it into a card for her.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Playing With Fun Foam Stamps

Fun Foam Stamp

The Vancouver Artist Trading Card met on Sunday to swap cards.  As is often the case, I came away inspired to try something new.  The organizer of the group is one of the most creative people I know.  Something she made reminded me of an article I had seen in an old Cloth, Paper, Scissors article called "Faux Silkscreen".  I came home, located the article and couldn't wait to start!

I drew this design on a piece of fun foam and then cut it apart.  I mounted each piece on a piece of acetate and then used each to stamp the scene on an ATC.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

From Native Trees to Plant Families - Here I Begin

Fabriano Sketchbook
8.5" x 11"

While researching the native trees of Vancouver, I realized how little I know about botany.  (This is pretty sad, considering how much I enjoy being in nature.)  There are so many terms that I don't really understand, and at the top of the list is "families".   So, I decided that my next project would be to learn about Plant Families.

One of the great web sites I discovered was E-Flora BC, which is an electronic atlas of the plants of British Columbia.  They have a page on plant identification, and one of their recommendations is Thomas J. Elpel's Botany in a Day.  He explains that there are about 100 plant families across the "frost belt" of North America, and about another 30 families south of the frost line. He begins with seven of the largest and easiest to learn families which are found world-wide.

And so here I begin also.  Will I learn all 100?  I'm not sure I can manage that, but who knows.  I am pretty persistent, as evidenced by this blog. LOL

On this journal page I document my first three families.  I also connect the dots to the Tree Project by noting the eleven families to which the native trees of Vancouver belong.  So, I already have some familiarity with fourteen families!