Sunday, October 29, 2017

Inktober 2017

Most of you will never have heard of #intober.  It’s a simple idea started by Jake Parker, a Utah artist,  nearly ten years ago – a challenge to make an ink drawing every day during the month of October.  Then you are supposed to post it on the internet and label it #inktober and #intober 2017.

Usually inktober is well along before I realize the challenge has started again. This year I happened to notice at the correct time.  I decided to give it a try.  I knew right away I wouldn’t take the time to scan and post all 31 drawings, but I’d at least try to ink a drawing every day. 

Now I’m nearly at the end of the month.  I think I missed two days, but there were other days when I did more than one.  

Trying to keep up with inktober was easy for me, but not totally satisfying.  I hardly did any painting all month because there was always another drawing that needed inking.  It is acceptable to include color with the ink.  I did a couple of those, but mostly I just inked.    

I did make a point of different types of ink drawings … and will give a brief comment about a few of them.  The little deer mouse at the top of the blog was my first sketch.  The day inktober started was an especially busy one for me, but late in the day I flipped open my laptop and drew him. 

Day 2 I had lots of time.  Dale and I parked next to these egrets and cormorants and I had time to sketch all but the last inch of crosshatching right on location.  I quit at that point and finished later because by the time I reached that the end of the sketch I really needed a table to work on. I had been balancing my sketchbook on my lap, scrunched in the front seat of the car.
This is another field sketch, but I did peek at the back of my camera, and I sketched it lightly in pencil before inking.  I wanted it to look spontaneous, but still be fairly well proportioned.    

I photographed this great horned owl peering out from some willow branches early in the month.  This one I tried to draw carefully from the computer after I got home.
 Great  Blue Heron -- another really quick field sketch.  My goal was to emphasize the beautiful light

Washington lily -- drawn from a photo I took several years ago.  I wanted to work with a wide range of values so I used the water soluble ink again. 

Today’s drawing is the pair of double crested cormorants.  Sketched in the field nearly three weeks ago, but today I inked it.  Again I used water soluble ink.  I love how I can wet this ink with a ‘water brush’ – (a plastic brush that holds water in its handle). 

In case you are interested, these are all done with one of my two fountain pens.  One is filled with Platinum Carbon black ink and is permanent.  I can paint right over it without the ink smearing.  In my second pen I keep water soluble ink. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Watching a Great Blue Heron

Field notes from September 9, 2017

I’m sitting on a boulder at the edge of the Umpqua River, sitting quietly watching two lizards.  The day is still a little hot, but shadows grow long.  A great blue heron flies to the rocky shelf that reaches out into the river.  He pants and droops his wings.  It is their typical ‘I’m drying out pose.’

The heron stays put long enough for me to sketch him.  After about fifteen minutes of sunning himself he moves down between boulders.  I can’t see his body, but the angle of his head tell me he is hunting. 

When watching a great blue heron hunting ‘…you might imagine you are watching a statue of this bird.”
                                    John James Audubon

He finally moves to where we can really see him, but not for long.  All too soon he flies. 
The heron flies across the river and up onto an exposed limb on a tall alder.  He carefully limb-walks, getting himself tucked under the canopy of the tree.  The river valley will soon be in total shade.  Dusk is coming.  I suspect the heron is settling in for the night.