Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Life around the bird feeder

I think this is a mourning dove 
First of all a big thank you for all your comments on my latest drawings for class, both here on the blog and on Facebook. It is all so much more fun because I get to show you and get your feedback! 
I am sitting on the back porch with the laptop writing this. We got a fan for out here to give us a little breeze and keep the mosquitoes away. It seems to be working, which means I'll get to spend much more time outside this summer (at least in the mornings) than in previous years!
One of the four cardinal babies frequenting our backyard
Our backyard is relatively small, and with eight big and healthy trees it is very shady. Throughout the last few years, Daniel has created a beautiful woodsy garden with oak leaf hydrangeas, many types of ferns, cast iron plants, bamboo, Japanese arelia and other plants that love shade and very sandy soil.
And - over the years, our garden has become filled with wildlife - toads, glass lizards, many kinds of birds, opossums and even raccoons on some nights.
A house finch
Right now, the chickadees and cardinals are showing up with their entire families. The babies will sit in the trees or on the fence and wait for mom or dad to feed them - so much fun to watch!
A very frequent visitor - the red-bellied woodpecker (female)
The red-bellied woodpeckers have a nest in our neighbor's tree and are busy, busy, busy with providing food for their young.
Aren't they beautiful birds?!
And here's the male red-bellied woodpecker

And then there are the squirrels. We feed them corn in a separate feeder, but they also love the bird seed. We don't mind and really like that "our" squirrels looks incredibly healthy with a shiny coat and bushy tail!
Coexisting with the many squirrels...
That's the news from our backyard this morning. I hope you are all having a great Tuesday!

I'm off to visit a few of your blogs now, something I have sorely neglected and missed in recent weeks...

Monday, May 30, 2011

What I learned in drawing class...

1. You are never too old to learn something new!

2. You may be too old to sit on the ground drawing for longer than two hours...
3. A cheap cardboard portfolio comes in handy as a "cushion" when you do have to sit on the ground drawing for longer than two hours. 

4. Everyone has their own style.
5. Pencil drawings can be quite exquisite!

6. A good pencil sharpener is a MUST.
7. As is a fantastic eraser ... or two!

8. Never be attached to your artwork if you are planning to learn all you can learn.
9. Be willing to start over completely even the day before the assignment is due if it's just not working.

10. Taking a class out of your comfort zone is much less scary and more fun than you might think.
14 x 20 inches (24 by 30 inches matted)
pencil drawing on drawing paper
11. I will never look at buttons the same way again...

12. Drawing definitely takes patience ... lots of patience ... 

13. (because 13 is my favorite number)  and it is definitely addictive! Next class coming up in a month from now... 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Cross-Contour Drawing Finished!

Cross-Contour Drawing
Pencil on 18 x 24 inch Drawing Paper
I have to admit that this was one of the stranger projects we had to do for Drawing I. It really took all the patience I had to draw all those many lines. I tried to have a more open pattern, but my professor urged me to fill in some of the spaces - and she was right. It looks much better this way!

One of the reasons I found this particular project so tedious is that we were drawing this at the same time as our button still life. I simply loved drawing the buttons, which is why this cross-contour drawing felt like it was interfering somewhat. Oh well, I still gave it my all and I think it turned out quite well.

Tomorrow after class I'll show you the button drawing. Cannot wait!! :)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Two Things this Morning...

I quickly got the camera when I saw the clouds this morning - so dramatic and beautiful!
And then I decided to wait for a bit because we've been seeing action at the bluebird house again. The chickadees have moved out with two chicks that are now visiting us in the backyard. A few days ago, we saw that a bluebird couple was back.
While I was waiting for one of them to show up, I snapped a photo of a blue jay,
some more pomegranates,
and the hydrangeas. It was only after I downloaded the photos onto the computer that I saw the bluebird behind the hydrangeas on the railing. I did not even know they came that close to the house!!
And then one of them posed for me...

Now it's back to drawing buttons for me...

Happy Saturday to you all!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Drawing Class - Work in Progress

Ok, here's one of the projects I am working on right now - a still life we have to draw entirely in cross contour - showing how we see volume. The great part again is that everyone's drawings look completely different and all of them convincingly three-dimensional.I still have a good bit of work to do, but it's coming together quite nicely...
The other project is a button still life, which I am starting on today. I have created my still life, glued it down and figured out the lighting. I expect the drawing of the still life to be very meditative and actually relaxing. I'm developing a whole new appreciating for these long-lasting projects.

Yesterday, I spent the day being shut out of my own blog. That was odd - I could neither post anything nor leave comments on any other blog. I'm glad that has been fixed!!

I am wishing us all a very calm and creative day and hope that the severe storms are done for now...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Garden Update

Seeing my dad's garden photos made me realize that it had been a while since I'd taken some pictures of our garden where things happen so quickly this time of year!
Our beautiful pomegranate bush is still blooming and now carrying quite a bit of fruit - for the first time since we put it in. I'm going to have to collect some recipes to use all of them. If you have any ideas, let me know!
Our fig tree is loaded with small figs and I can't wait for them to get ripe and see several fig tarts in our future...
The blueberry bushes are still small, but already filled with blueberries. Maybe we'll get enough for one pie this year...
Our peppers are growing beautifully,
as are our tomatoes. Some of the little ones are already getting ripe (and are oh so sweet!),
and the bigger ones are still growing.
In the herb department, we have lots of lemon balm (which makes excellent iced tea),
and basil. More than enough, although that is almost not possible!
One of our wild leeks is blooming - such a gorgeous flower.
And our kumquat tree is about to flower prolifically. When it does, the scent of the flowers is intoxicating!
Speaking of flowers, our vitex is in full bloom,
as is the yarrow and the yellow lantana.
Our oleander really suffered in the freezing weather this last winter, but is finally getting going. One flower has already opened.
Our lilies are doing well,
as are the balloon flowers,
our hydrangeas,
and our creeping gardenia.
After I took the above photos and while I was watering, I had two delightful surprises. First I found this little white mushroom in the yarrow,
and a few minutes later, a plump toad kept me company.
It's the little things that make our day, isn't it?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Potpourri from Germany

My dad and his sister recently took a trip down memory lane to the Black Forest and Alsace regions. It is the part of Germany my mother was from and where I was born.
Because we moved north when I was just two years old, I only know this gorgeous area from family visits and vacations.
But every time I visit or see photos, I am just stunned by the beauty...
and the cultural diversity,
being so close to France!
Oh, that makes me hungry!!

And yesterday, my dad sent a few photos of their garden with some familiar plants in bloom right now - stunning rhododendrons (our azaleas bloomed two months ago!!),
and beautiful peonies - we tried growing these here, but no luck!
When I visit I love sitting by the pond - it so soothing! Water always has that effect on me...
We are expecting another hot, hot day here in Savannah! Suddenly summer is here...

But luckily we have been spared the awful storms that have caused so much destruction. My heart goes out to everyone who was affected by them.

I wish everyone a calm and beautiful day! And I thank you for all your visits and comments! That means more to me than I can tell you!! Truly!