Monday, February 28, 2011

Aloe Silverpoint 3

I'm adding bits of detail here and there as I slowly target in on the light center. Next up is a bit of filling in on the left to balance things out.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Out in the Swamp

A few shots across the road at the very edge of the Hockomock Swamp Preserve.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Aloe Silverpoint 2

I'm now doing most of the work with a 2mm rod of sterling silver. This much larger wire than my 0.3mm in Pentel lends a smoother gradation.

Easy does it with silverpoint. That is, apply layers lightly with the confidence that darker values are achievable. Heavy handedness leads to dark spots that then need smoothing. Also, it's most important to leave the highlights open as there is no eraser with metalpoint, short of sanding it out.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Aloe Silverpoint 1

I've restarted this drawing. I felt it was too big--it's now 5". Besides, I hadn't sanded the board and the irregularities would have been noticeable. I think there will be two versions--silverpoint and egg tempera.

Today I registered for Koo Schadler's workshops in June. Also picked up a subscription to for Adobe and Wordpress software training. I've been experimenting with migrating this blog to Wordpress and now can quite easily migrate posts, comments, and images. Next up is to design my theme.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Aloe Initial Silverpoint

I'm starting this out with silverpoint--not sure where it's going next! :-)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Artist Statement Starter

Hanging a painting with NESBA for the Boston show is one new experience after the other. I had to seriously complete a watercolor. Then I had to learn the particulars of framing for the exhibit.

Next up is my artist statement. My what? Ya, this is a real head scratcher. What's a beginner doing making an artist statement anyway? Hmm?

Okay, no worries. I could look to examples but this is supposed to be a unique perspective. I'll refer to I'd rather be in the studio! by Alyson B. Stanfield for guidelines:

  • Write in the first person.
  • Speak to the future, not the past or present.
  • My statement will empower me and enthuse the reader to view my work.
  • Keep it short--a couple of paragraphs.

I'm off now to try out a few exercises and begin journaling. More on the guidelines and the process as my work develops.

Those of you with experience in this matter, your thoughts are most welcome!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Aloe Starter

Here are a couple of shots of my new aloe plant that I'll use for reference. I'm building a tracing up right now. Not sure yet on the media but it's been a while since I've cracked an egg...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Squirrel and Peanut

I'm on my second five pound bag of peanuts!

Squirrel and Peanut from John Perry on Vimeo.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Garlic Sprout

A while back I picked up a color range of Stonehenge paper. I find this to be a particularly attractive color. I recently planted a sprouting clove of garlic and it's taking very well to its pot. I experimented with gray to bring in shadows. Also am learning to apply pigment in a gradual fashion--I'd been rather heavy handed, it seems.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Aloe in Colored Pencil

For something different I tried colored pencil on black Stonehenge paper. I picked up a new aloe plant while stocking up on sunflower seed. I had difficulty with the prickly tips--the points on my Polychromos pencils kept crumbling.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Bridgewater Art and Custom Framing

This morning I cleaned up the rosemary painting--erasing pencil and scraping out little spots of paint, and probably cat food. I drew in a guide line and signed my work. Packaged it up as best I could.

I couldn't help but sport a huge smile all the way to Bridgewater Art and Custom Framing. I walked in to jazz in the background and a fine welcome from proprietor Candance Cotterman. She walked me through the selection process, limited by botanical presentation standards. I selected a rather plain gold frame with a slightly off white mat. I'll be getting a call for pickup sometime next week.

It's hard to describe my over the top feeling. My first professional framing for my first show participation. Wow! :-)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Katharine Scarfe Beckett

Those of you who have been around this blog for some time might remember my foray into Gothic calligraphy using Katharine's instructional website, as well as her wonderfully descriptive comments. She's been quite busy of late and not frequenting the blog but we occasionally stay in touch.

After wrapping up a copywriting gig for the Mathaf museum opening, she was off to Geneva to prepare for her exhibition. See these links for information on the upcoming show:

Obscure Histories

Galerie Marianne Brand

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ginger Root

A quick little ginger root sketch of a ripped off node, about thirty minutes. I start with a 4H and then take it all the way out to a 4B. Oh, I forgot to turn it upside down! I will remember one of these times!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I've been on a special project for the last month or so implementing a blog solution for the New England Society of Botanical Artists (NESBA), of which I am a second-year member. You can view the blog here. I worked with a couple of members to migrate content from the existing website and design new features.

NESBA is a wonderful bunch of incredibly talented artists and I am so honored to be a member. Want to join? Let me know! :-)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Italian Pepper

Another quick sketch from the refrigerator. These fast moving pieces fit in well at this time but it will soon be time to try something with more detail, and color.

I have line on a local framer and hope to talk with her tomorrow about framing the rosemary painting. This weekend I was shown what works and what doesn't when exhibiting in the botanical scene.

Something interesting that I have been meaning to mention... Whenever I post one of these pencil sketches, I immediately see form and shadow I missed when behind the pencil. It's like as soon as it hits the screen it becomes obvious.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Technology Update

Lately one thing leads to another, especially when it's technology related.

With the arrival of the Macs, wireless connections became unreliable. The new Airport Extreme has completely eliminated any connection issues. This router has a USB port that accepts external drive and printers--multiple devices with a USB hub.

The 2TB external drive hanging off the iMac seemed a good candidate for network sharing. Only thing is that once on the router, it disappeared. Turns out it needed reformatting from NTFS to Mac. Now all is well.

So after a few bumps, I have a very cool setup taking shape here.

Also this weekend I contracted with BlueHost for web hosting. I'm experimenting with Wordpress, planning for an eventual conversion from Blogger as well as adding on various online visual galleries and more. Exciting stuff to come!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Darling Clementine

It's that time of year when the Clementines arrive from Spain. These have to be the most delicious little oranges--sweet, seedless, juicy, and easy to peel. I began this sketch by laying in lines to follow the form but that didn't work at all so I went with a broad sweeping sideways pencil and a bit of pickup with my putty eraser. The Stonehenge paper seems to work in helping to bring on the orange's textured surface.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Pearl Onion

Continuing with the simple graphite series., here's a little pearl onion.

On another note, since going Mac I've had all kinds of trouble with my Linksys wireless network. It seems that when either of my machines come out of sleep mode, I never know if I'll be able to reconnect or if the router will need a reset. Tonight I have a new Airport Extreme router by Apple. So far, so good.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Pencil Peanut

Just another little something to sharpen me up. I was all out of seed this morning and felt so bad that I went back out after work for black sunflower and a big bag of peanuts. The squirrels will wake to pounds of peanuts spread all over the yard--a veritable Easter egg hunt! And with all that to keep them busy, it may just keep the feeders free for the birds. :-)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

More Simple Sketching

The plan was for three, and at least more work on this one, but I got distracted. Still, I get a thrill out of seeing a bit of form develop.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Bit of Graphite

It's good to get back to pencil. Practicing line and form is so relaxing. No worries about outcome. Just a simple exercise that if I could get to everyday would return so very much, I'm sure.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Chickadee Revisited

From Birds of Village and Field: A Bird Book for Beginners by Florence Merriam Bailey:

"But though the birds are glad of the dainties we may offer them, they are quite capable of finding food for themselves, even in the bleakest winter weather, for they live on grubs, and on the eggs of moths hidden under the bark of trees. They are particularly fond of the eggs of the canker worm moth. Mr. Forbush of the Massachusetts State Board of Agriculture calculated that one Chickadee in one day would destroy 5,550 eggs, and in the twenty-five days in which the cankerworm moths run or crawl up the trees, 138,750 eggs. He was so impressed with the value of the birds' services that he attracted them to an infested orchard by feeding them there during the winter; and the following summer "it was noticed that while trees in neighboring orchards were seriously infested with cankerworms and to a less degree with tent-caterpillars, those in the orchard which had been frequented by the Chickadees during the winter and spring were not seriously infested, and that comparatively few of the worms and caterpillars were to be found there." Mr. Forbush concludes that birds that eat insect eggs are most valuable to the farmer, as they feed almost entirely on injurious insects and their eggs, and are present all winter when other birds are absent."

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Bunny's Okay

Late yesterday afternoon while wrapping up an extended day of shoveling the roof and deck, I noticed a Cottontail nestled under the Flowering Quince. It's a rather high traffic area and it wouldn't give up its post, leading me to think the poor thing was ill. I worried about it last night and upon checking this morning I found evidence of nesting behavior. Loads of pellets all around the quince! Home is where you make it! :-)

I'm staggering around in Lightroom, sorely in need of tutorials, but I do learn best with a combination of experimentation followed by hitting the books. These shots were out in the yard with no window to soften clarity and contrast as it often does.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Rosemary - It's A Wrap

This evening I brought in some cleanup with this painting. Bits of color here and lifting there. I used one of my new acrylic brushes for scrubbing out Payne's Gray. Wow... extremely effective--that is compared to using a regular sable watercolor brush. That stiffness does the trick.

Next up is to find a frame. I'm thinking I'd like to go with a gold color. It has to be a wooden frame. No sawtooth hangers.

I cropped the painting to 7.5 x 10.5", then canvased out to 10 x 13", and finally dropped in a .5" frame. I suspect the real frame will have more width but this might be a close look.

Next up is to find a frame and get this all together. So far, I've only worked with Nielsen Bainbridge photo frames. I'll be needing help framing this painting.

Friday, February 4, 2011


Yesterday I spent a good deal of time viewing Photoshop tutorials on the Adobe site. All too often Lightroom became part of the workflow. Lightroom uses the same Adobe Camera Raw engine as Bridge but wraps a useful interface around it--to me, much more appealing than Bridge. Additionally, Lightroom has a very cool database engine for cataloging and speedy sorting.

So... this evening I downloaded a 30-day evaluation and I'll try to learn enough to decide whether or not to bring it on board here. Actually, I'll probably simply be trying to find reasons why not to go with it. I already like it.

The videos of Julieanne Kost are leading me to think differently about direction while processing. For instance, it had never occurred to me to use less than the full available tonal range.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Red Squirrel

It's very difficult to photograph the American Red Squirrel, Tamiasciurus hudsonicus. Movement is so quick that there appears to be no in between. I found the easiest way to get a shot is when the little one is busy at work.

And after all that digging, the reward.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Yard Gang

Here's some of my regular cast of characters, hanging out at the feeders on my doorstep.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

In Between Storms

Five inches from the first storm have been thrown with varying levels of success over my mountains of snow. Next storm comes in early morning.

I'm nursing a nasty cold so between shoveling and snoozing, I'm sitting up in bed with the Mac Air just cruisin' the web. I tripped over the Google Art Project. This Smithsonian article provides interesting background. Google and Adobe, my heroes in the computing world.