Sunday, August 26, 2007

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

One of the things that kept me out of the studio this week was an interesting trip to the Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens along the Anacostia River across from downtown DC and the National Arboretum ( It was an overcast morning, but the color and intensity of the lotus and lilies and all else, were not diminished in the least. Here are a few images from the gardens, including a very interesting little creature astride a small blossom, unidentifiable in my vocabulary! The gardens are part of the National Park system and well worth a visit if in the immediate DC area. Check out their site, linked above. I bet a lily or two might just show up in a future drawing.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Ah, how time flies when you are having fun! I have been involved in many things this week that have prevented me from studio time, but I am on the last leg of work on this one and will have it completed before next week. A little feathered friend has finally made his appearance.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Studio time is beginning late today, but here is the work thus far.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The work continues today.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

This next work up on the drawing board, begun yesterday, is as a direct result of a 'situation' that I hinted at in a response to my artist friend, Victoria Wilson-Shultz's comment posted on my blog entry from a couple weeks back after my encounter with the deer on my morning walk of August 3. In that comment, I noted about a walk I had taken several mornings later on which I spotted a wonderful scene of a blue heron standing on a sand bank in the stream just below a wonderfully sunlit bridge along my walk path and how I had intended to make use of that image, even though I did not, again, have camera in hand or note pad in pocket! The image was so perfect in all its compositional elements, and since I had already, previously, documented that particular bridge along the walking trail, it was quite easy for me to insert some eastern shore, Black Water Refuge blue heron reference into the scene. So, here begins this work, image size to be about 13" x 8" when completed.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A couple of shots today, of a back yard visitor. I think this is one of a group of jay hatchlings from earlier this summer that appears pretty regularly each morning, stops to take a drink from the water plant tub and then hangs out for a bit at the feeders and then usually perches on a chair for a bit and then disappears till later in the afternoon. You can bet, pretty confidently, this jay is going to show up quite soon in a bridge work!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The new work, completed. Image size - 11" x 8".

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

With a quack, quack here and a quack, quack there, here a quack, there a . . . . oh, you know the rest. Studio time early today as I have other things to do this afternoon, so posting the work so far.

Monday, August 06, 2007

The new work - continues.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The new work, begins.

Friday, August 03, 2007

One of 'Those' Moments

Woke up thinking 'today is walk day'. I have been out several mornings a week lately, walking along a wonderful stretch of creek less than a quarter mile from my new front door. When I left the 'wilds' of Carroll County four months ago, to take up residence a stone's throw from the northeastern border of Washington DC, I could not imagine that in this short space separating my front door from this idyllic creek, it might almost be like moving back to that less hectic, more laid back style of living that I so cherished about being out in what is still called 'country' around these parts.

There is a very nice paved walk/bike trail that stretches about ten miles along the creek, meandering through some beautiful old trees with their high forest cap sheltering stretches of the trail from sun and heat as well as muffling sound which makes it all seem incredibly removed from the suburban streets, just out of sight in this part of Montgomery County. The trail crosses the creek at various points with wood decked foot bridges, any number of which have already been duly noted, referenced and earmarked for possible inclusion in the great ongoing 'bridge project' of this next year.

I was enjoying the dappled shade and quiet solitude, had gone about a half mile along the trail and was approaching one of these bridges when I noticed, off to my left as I walked up the slight incline to the wood decking and came out of a densely leafed area of undergrowth and bushes, a doe moving slowly along the creek bank, in the water, stopping to browse on the low overhanging branches of the trees that line the creek. Now seeing a whitetail in any part of Montgomery County is really no great occasion, they seem to pop up on every corner, but not expecting to run into anything other than another walker or biker, I was quite overjoyed at the sight. And, of course, being an artist and one interested in the natural world and wildlife in particular, I stopped to watch as she gracefully high stepped through the bubbling water just yards away from the bridge I was standing on. Then, movement beyond the doe caught my eye and a pair of still dotted twin fawns came into view upstream and about twenty feet behind mom.

I was completely transfixed as the twins came up to and passed by mom, continued downstream toward the bridge I was standing on, my feet merely eight feet above the flow of the creek, all the time looking up toward me and watching me as they came ever closer to the bridge. Our eyes were fixed upon each other as the two young deer came within about ten feet of the bridge. Suddenly, the quiet was broken, the moment was interrupted by the thud of hard rubber mountain bike tires as a biker coming from the direction I had just walked from, hit the first few planks of wood on the bridge deck. The fawns froze, looked in the direction of the 'noise', turned and in a flash, with water splashing the rocks that dot along the run of the creek, leap frogged past mom and back upstream. Mom stood her ground, apparently quite accustomed to the 'noise' of the bike as she would be, living in such surroundings, and then went back to casually browsing the branches.

All of this taking place in quite under a minute's time, I really had little time to think about anything other than what I was observing, so it did not start to occur to me until the biker had gone well out of sight up the trail ... what a great moment! And, ironically, oppositional to everything I have been preaching to young artists for years about always making sure you have a small sketch pad with you no matter where you are and what you are doing (you never know when something is going to spark an idea or stir an emotion that might be a viable work idea), I had no sketch book, no camera, no recordable devices of any sort (I was after all, just out for my morning walk!) other than my mind's eye.

So here was a scene, one that I could imagine would make a great drawing, occurring right before my eyes and nothing to make notes with. Even now, as I write this more than two hours since this all took place, I can clearly see the sunlight on the backs of the twins, their white 'baby spots' almost twinkling like sparks, as they moved from the deep shadow of the dense trees out into the bright light! And that is precisely what I have, a wonderful memory of a moment shared in nature that, in the end, is what it was, what it will have been and something that I know I shall see when I close my eyes and remember, for weeks to come. OK, I will not have a 'hard copy' image or images to refer to as possible reference for a work of art, and when the clarity of this event begins to fade, as it will in time, I will not have that 'hard copy' to go back to and smile over. But, I do have the feelings that are, even now, flooding through me about a chance encounter in the, maybe not so, wilds of a place just steps away from my front door.

And who knows ... maybe on another walk yet to come, I will see the three again and maybe this time I will have a small note pad in pocket or my camera slung over my shoulder, just in case.

Moral of the story ... well, I guess it would be 'always be prepared'!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

'Northern Exposure'

The finished work, completed late last night . . . finished image size, 18" x 15".