For a brief period in spring, the lilacs bloom and fill the surrounding area with their delightful fragrance. Blooming in either pink, white or lilac(!) the cone-shaped bunches of flowers drape elegantly from the ends of the new growth.
Today was one of those rare days when everything came together nicely.
The Doodlewash theme for the month of June is “Outdoor Fun” and today’s prompt is “Sunshine.” As I thought about how to depict the sunshine (which we didn’t have much of today) I thought of a photo that my husband had taken on our walk through the bog a couple of days ago. The sun was shining through the trees and creating dappled shadows on the boardwalk.
My two favorite online watercolor instructors each recently posted videos showing how they paint sunlit paths, Angela Fehr in “Spring Landscape” and Steve Mitchell in his kickoff of a “30×30 Direct Watercolor Challenge.” So, after watching these, here’s my sunlit path:
As we go on this Doodlewash Nature Hike together (and thank you for journeying along with me!), we have explored many different terrains. Yesterday we were in the Pacific Ocean and today we are on the surface of a leaf, looking at ladybugs.
I was wondering if this were one of Charlie’s trick prompts, as these insects are not really bugs, but are properly called Lady Beetles. (Beetles have one set of hardened wings which form a “shell” over their abdomens and another set of membranous wings with which they fly. True bugs have only half of their first set of wings hardened, with the other half membranous like the other pair of wings.)
Here I have painted Lady Beetles in all four of their life stages: eggs, usually laid under a leaf in an area where the larvae can find aphids after they hatch; the tiny larvae which look like brightly spotted little alligators, the pupae in which the lady beetle undergoes metamorphosis, and the familiar adult form.
May your garden have many lady beetles and few aphids this year!
My daughter and her family have just gotten back from a vacation on Guam. She sent me beautiful pictures of my grandchildren playing in the waves, playing tag on the beach, and enjoying amazing sunsets. The children also got to try out their new fins, masks and snorkels. I didn’t get any underwater shots, but here is a fish they might have seen in the coral reefs.
One of the exercises my watercolor teacher had us do in her introductory class was to paint eggs, white eggs on a white sheet of paper. It was a good technique for teaching students to see colors in the shadows, both cast shadows and form shadows. It was during the week when we were supposed to practice this at home that my husband and I went to spend the weekend at my parents’ beach cottage, where there were brown eggs! So, I looked for colors in their shadows. That picture now hangs on the kitchen wall in my folks’ house.
The Doodlewash prompt for our February Nature Walk today is eggs, and what we have in our kitchen today are brown eggs.
Charlie O’Shields has had us taking a watercolor “Nature Walk” with prompts on Doodlewash this month. He suggested snails, which I don’t know where to find in the winter because I don’t spend much time on the beach when it’s cold. However, on the windowsill in my studio I have several snail shells that I picked up on a trip to Maine a couple of years ago. Here they are, imagined back on a beach with snails still living inside:
A couple of years ago we were visiting my brother and his family in Utah. One of our outings was to a desert nature center where we saw, among many other fascinating plants, this bunny-ear cactus. It was easy to see how it got its name!
Primroses remind me of my stepmother, since they are one of her favorite flowers. I think the first picture I gave her was of primroses. We were living overseas at the time and I drew and drew with colored pencils on the airplane and had them ready (6 hours later) when I arrived at her house.
I bought several plants this year and they sit on the kitchen windowsill and are a bright spot of sunshine on gloomy rainy days like today.
The World Watercolor Group prompt for today is fruits. My first thought was “apples and bananas?” but we have the monthly theme of “Let’s Go on a Nature Hike” and I don’t usually see these fruits on nature hikes, unless I have brought them with me. So, what kinds of fruits would I see? And what could I get so that I would have an example of what to paint?
Rose Hips! So I went out to the rose bush and found these, dried out and frost bitten, but still recognizable as fruits I might find on a hike.
The World Watercolor Group prompt for today’s painting is “Butterfly” so here is a yellow swallowtail from a couple of summers ago when I couldn’t keep parsley growing but we had hundreds of beautiful butterflies!