Sunday, October 31, 2010

Getting Started

Some days it's just so hard to get started. Once I'm into it, I'm fine.

Here's a chestnut leaf, one of my early graphites, for a study prior to vellum. I want to slowly get into this, trying to work the form. This new gesso board is wonderful, so smooth and not a pinhole in sight.

Besides starting with too rough a grit, there was a good deal of gesso loading with the sandpaper that was nearly impossible to free. Changing to sanding pads this afternoon provided better results. The pads do load up but a few slaps clear them right up. I'm using fine and extra fine grades that work nicely although I still will need to use 600 grit sandpaper for that truly smooth finish.

This is the time of year when the feeders stay filled. Hours after the first fill, the trees were abuzz with titmice, chickadees, and nuthatches. Sparrows, doves, and squirrels were positioned in place, ready to catch any dropped seeds. A pile of seed on the steps was quickly stored away by the resident chipmunks.


  1. I was away over the weekend and enjoyed catching up with your progress. Everything to do with the tempera is new to me, so I am looking forward to the next post.
    The little birds are gathering here too and I feed them. I love watching their behaviour.

  2. What I find most unique to this medium is the principle of many thin layers. One must gain trust that all these layers will get the job done. That is, compared with trying to mimic form with just a few well-placed layers. Perhaps more akin to graphite or silverpoint (I can only imagine at this point).

  3. Threadspider, do you have anything to do with BWARS -- the bees, wasps and ants recording society? I see your posts here about the local wildlife and it echoes a 'Threadspider' there too ...

    The chestnut leaf is so structurally, texturally different from the oak. Already getting the thin crispness between the ribs.

    The 'tiny birds' in the garden here have emptied one of three feeders almost overnight. John, your chickadees look remarkably like our long-tailed tits, who descend in a flurry of cute but stylish pink and black, with much animated twittering, and almost immediately take off to the next point of interest -- like a crowd of Japanese schoolgirls touring London.

  4. Similar behavior here. Chickadees, tufted titmice, and occasionally the nuthatches, form a tight social and protective group. They'll all come flying in from who knows where, swooping down for seed to be pried open on the branches of the crabapples. So entertaining!

  5. Hi John-in reply to Katahrine's comment about BWARS-I am a member of BWARs-and am one and the same Threadspider. Small world, isn't it?

  6. How lovely! -- that has really put a smile on my face. Nicely small world!