A moment in the shade
After a hectic week in which I did no artwork, it was a pleasure to pick up my pen and paints and sit under two old maple trees to sketch wild columbine growing in the shade. The nodding delicate flowers, like tiny silent bells, are a welcome sight in spring woodlands and gardens. The flowers attract hummingbirds, bees, butterflies and hawkmoths to feed on their nectar, while the leaves serve as a host plant and food source for the eggs and caterpillars of the duskywing butterfly. A child could well imagine fairies dancing among this spring beauty in the May woods.
Tips and Techniques– I’m often asked whether I use a water brush (a plastic brush that holds water in its handle) for field sketching. These brushes can be especially handy when space is tight or when you don’t want to carry extra supplies, but I find it hard to control the water to paint ratio and get the precise results I’m looking for. I used a water brush to paint this columbine but yearned for my regular brushes to capture some of the details. Once I had 90-percent of the painting done, I returned home to finish, using my regular brushes for a few additional details on the flowers and for the duskywing and hummingbird.
Keep in mind that you have many tools in your toolbox—use what you have on hand and what’s right for your working conditions, paper, time, and subject. Don’t be afraid to refine at home if needed to complete a field sketch.
After seven years and nearly 400 posts, I decided it was time to give my website a refresh. I hope you like the new look and I welcome your comments or suggestions. Check your calendar– I also have a few new workshops coming up.