Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bristly Foxtail

A little bit of Bristly Foxtail became quite the challenge. I looked and looked at it, wondering how I'd ever detail the beast. I guess there is looking and then there is seeing. I began to notice how the bristles changed angle depending on their axes. That helped. But what I think gave me trouble was a just not sharp enough pencil. Straight out of the electric sharpener the graphite tips still had a flat spot so I tried playing off of that edge. Not so good.

Upon the dearest advice, I just pulled out a single-edged razor and tried my hand at sharpening. I think this is the ticket! :-) how will I keep from spilling shavings and graphite dust all over the place?

Oh, and next time on the foxtail, it's more on the seed head and less on the stalk. And, a bit of leaf action too. :-)


  1. I can only imagine the detail you have achieved in this foxtail rendering to have had the need to sharpen your pencil with a razor blade! (exacto knives work too- and if you get the kind with a cap, you can just throw it in your pencil case when out in the field- it's a lot safer for your fingers!)
    Did you know that Thoreau's family business was making pencils and that Henry himself was the innovator of the modern pencil as we know it today? The Thoreau pencil was once renowned with artists and draftsmen. Can you imagine having one of his own handmade pencils to draw or write with now? I'll bet energy would flow from the tip of that point!
    Here's an old advert for his company which was located upstairs in the family home in Concord MA.:
    Google "thoreau pencils" for some fun reading!

  2. I actually didn't get to good sharpening until after this foxtail was completed. But I am looking forward to my next foxtail! :-)

    Thanks for the tip on saving my fingertips. I just found one of my drywall razor knives--it'll be more controllable (and retractable) while I shop for sharpeners.

    And thanks for the Thoreau pointers. He is always a wonderful read, isn't he? Here I am so close to Concord...I must get out that way come Spring.