Sunshine

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:

May the sun shine brightly on your path today!

A Visit to a Bog

A couple of days ago, my husband and I visited a bog.

There are many different plants in a bog due to the moist, sometimes wet, and acidic soil. I was primarily attracted to the ones that were flowering at that time, as you will see by my sketches.

When I haven’t gone out to paint en plain air I usually carry a sketch pad and pencil case with me, just in case there’s something that captures my attention and begs to be captured. My usual procedure is to start with pencil until I have the basic placement of the image on the page. I switch to the pen as soon as I am comfortable. I’m still surprised by how much detail I can get down in a few minutes. Watercolor is added after I get home, after erasing the pencil.

What has captured your attention lately?

Bluebells

When one moves to a new home, it is interesting to find what floral gems spring up from the ground, having been planted by previous residents.  We have had a wonderful flower make its appearance each year in this home, but until this year I haven’t taken the time to paint it before it faded.  It actually took me a couple of years before I looked up the name to find out that we had bluebells planted in a corner of the garden.

Bluebells
Bluebells, watercolor, 6″ x 6″

I had to grab a few painting moments between rainstorms.  Welcome Spring!

Spring Means Violets

We’re getting some warm days interspersed with days of rain, so the plants are all happy and growing.  When I walk outside, I am surrounded by flowers begging me to sit down and paint them.  I don’t mind obliging!

Spring Means Violets
Spring Means Violets, watercolor, 3.5″ x 5″

When my daughter was little, there was nothing she liked better than to go out in the spring and fill her little hands with bunches of violets.  Now that she is grown and has daughters of her own… she still goes out and picks violets!

Ladybugs

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.)

Lady Bugs
Lady Bird Beetles, watercolor, 5″ x 7″

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!

Clown Fish

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.

Clown Fish
Clown Fish, watercolor, 5″ x 7″

Eggs, Again!

Eggs, Again!
Eggs, Again!, watercolor, 5″ x 7″

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.