Monday, October 31, 2011

Dancing in the Light

Dancing in the Light  digital photography

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
 -Albert Einstein

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Making Waves

Making Waves watercolor 4"x4"

Unruffled watercolor 4x4"

Splash of color watercolor 4x4"

These ducks were entertaining a toddler who was shrieking with joy as the birds swam gracefully in circles in a small fountain early last spring.  I watched the birds and the child for a long time and took many photographs. Later, it was pure joy for me to paint the colorful ducks and the water using watercolors. The challenge in the paintings was to capture the different textures of the birds, the fluidity of the water and a hint of reflection. My aim was to make the ducks sparkle with color. Each painting was a unique discovery of beauty of nature, of colors and patterns.  

These are miniature paintings and the top two - "Unruffled" & "Making Waves" were selected for "Small Works" exhibit at the Charles Taylor Art Center in Hampton, VA along with my other miniature "Slow Sunny Day. The show opened today and will run through December 4.  

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bobbing colors and Shadows

A Day in the Life - Sketchbook Project page 19 color pencils 5x7"

I see this little shed with these colorful buoys behind a high fence everyday as I drive or walk by it near the end of our street.  The arrangement and number  of buoys keeps changing - yesterday there were only a few but this past winter when I was on my walk, the sun was at just the right angle on the full display of vivid objects.  Through the seasons, I observed how the number of buoys, angle of light, the time of day changes the shadows making for exciting shapes and colors. All this helped me change the arrangement the way I felt comfortable with as I sketched. 

I had an 'ah-ha' moment when I realized that I 'draw' outlines of the objects  but I have to 'paint' shapes and values! Shapes in right color & value with lost and found edges essentially complete a painting save for a few accents! So now I know to focus my efforts in future paintings on the refinement of interlocking shapes in my composition, making highlights blend, anchoring the shadows so objects pop out.  Most of writing and painting is observing and thinking and seeing the relationships :) 

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Surreptitious Scion of Summer

Mushrooms Digital Photography

These gorgeous mushrooms are some of the specimens I photographed a few days ago on my walk.  I was trying to ID them and was sidetracked when I came across two wonderful TED talk videos on mushrooms, their usefulness and their new role in the modern technological developments.  Paul Stamet holds numerous patents and in his TED talk, outlines six ways mushrooms can save the world. He has fine tuned cleaning polluted soil, making insecticides, treating smallpox, ridding carpenter ants and termites etc. using mushrooms.  His 'Life Boxes' are a surprising way to renew the soil! He 'seeks to rescue the study of mushrooms from forest gourmets and psychedelic warlords.'  It is a treat to watch his talk . I am amazed by the potential that is hidden in these life forms! I also found out that 400 million years ago they were giant three feet tall mushrooms called Prototaxitis  and their fossil can be found in Saudi Arabia!

"Are the mushrooms the new plastic?" is the title of the TED Talk by Eben Bayer. ' Eben Bayer is a product designer and he 'reveals his recipe for a new, fungus-based packaging material that protects fragile stuff like furniture, plasma screens — and the environment.'  I have new respect for these nature's wonders and recycling system.  

And if you can name these mushrooms, please leave a comment and let me know  :) 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Bursting Colors

Bursting colors watercolor on Yupo  5x7"

For the past few days,  after  the relentless rains finally stopped, my walks on the trail have been especially  delightful with mushrooms of all sizes, colors and variety popping up just about everywhere! These colorful ones were peeking out through a mess of twigs, grass blades and rotting leaves. I put my small camera below the mushrooms close to the ground to capture the colorful specimens!  I am grateful that I slip my little camera with me whenever I get out.  I did not want to disturb them or pluck them out even though I would have liked to sketch them from life. Upon a bit of research I think they are a variety of Hygrocybe punicea  and probably not poisonous. 

I was not planning on filling up the paper with color but somehow got carried away! I loaded my brush with transparent colors, and used, brushstrokes, crushed paper tissue, and misting for texture. 
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