Friday, March 30, 2012

More Rose Work

This first image is yesterday's transfer, now with light glazing. Prior to glazing, I rubbed the panel with a thin coat of linseed oil.

Here's my first rose with two glazing layers. The colors are feeling richer!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A New Transfer Method

Here I used a printout from an earlier scanned image (from the Cornell class).

I flipped over the paper and dry brushed Burnt Umber Reddish over the area to be transferred.

I taped the template to a panel and drew over prominent lines and shading using a 4H pencil. The transfer was smooth and reliable and I found I even had some control of the density.

Next I added a bit of background using the same paint, just to get the white out. That 1" brush was used for both the back side of the transfer and the background.

At this point I'm softening transitions and pushing in some nice deep darks, still using that same umber.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Rose in Oil

Here I used the background from the previous post and the design from one of my class exercises. I may try some glazing once this dries.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Using Studio Oil

Last night I played with Umber and Lead White, mixing a tonal string to grade out a background. It was an on the fly decision so it's a bit rough here. After dropping in some initial values, I mixed the paints with a bit of my studio oil. My paints became smoother and with grab. Colors are more saturated. Dries in less than a day. I like it a lot.

Here is that same smooth finish and same lighting reflecting overhead fluorescents. (I changed my viewing angle to find the glare axis.) Is this a problem? I don't know. What would the glare would look like with multiple light sources?

Notice the lower left border in both photos, that patchiness. It's an area I'd gone over with pure umber paint, no studio oil. The first patch loses saturation and transparency; the second reduces glare.

No real judgements here, just observations.

Friday, March 23, 2012

All Is Well

The oil was back on the stove today without incident. The remaining water left with just a few small crackles. Now I know--easy does it. Along with driving out the water, any remaining fatty acids will fry and sink. I filtered the oil with a screen from a Bodum french press. Now I'm working a bit of clearing between the freezer and the sun.

Thanks for all the concern. Your comments and emails were very kind. I'm just fine. Not a scratch! :-)

Finally I'm back to my oils, and it's perfect timing as I begin to read "Oil Painting Secrets From a Master" by Linda Cateura. It's based in David Leffel's work. He has a few Youtube videos that I really enjoyed; that got me to this book.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Driving out the water

Here is my first batch with salt rinsing complete, ready for an application of heat to drive out the water.

As the oil warmed, some separation seemed to be taking place.

Now the water is beginning to boil out from the oil.

There were a couple of disturbing pops when larger pockets of steam released. The oil was beginning to noticeably clear and I became more aggressive with the heat. Bad move. All of a sudden, the volcano exploded. Hot oil everywhere. Lucky for me most of it went straight up. Burned my hand a bit and a few spots on my head but I was very lucky.

What a freaking mess! Oil everywhere! From the floor to the ceiling. My clothes are in the wash. The kitchen is cleaned up. Only about 4 ounces of oil remains. And, my pride is reasonably intact.

It's right there in Tad's email to me from a couple of days ago:
"When you're heating it at the end to remove the water, go easy on the heat. If it starts to spit or erupt from trapped water escaping, lower the heat."
Duh. There it is. I am reminded of sound advice from my programming days: RTFM.

I have a double batch moving into the rinse cycle. Soon I'll be back to the stove, this time with new found respect. But for tonight, let me celebrate my luck and education with a bit of scotch, and some aloe.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

It's Cat Weather!

What a perfect day! Temps in the 70's, sunny and a light breeze. Just perfect for preparing a few panels for oils. Two layers of GAC 100 and four of acrylic "gesso".

My neighbor's cat looked on.

And, of course, so did the master himself.

My Cornell certificate arrived today!

Oil work continues in the background. Final rinses are still underway although I'd expected the first batch complete by now.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Washing Linseed Oil Continues

Daily oil work continues. This photo was taken prior to yesterday's work.

3rd wash settled, 2nd wash settled.

The first batch has moved from wash to rinse. Basically the same process but leaving out the sand and marble dust. The idea here is to wash the salt from the oil.

After first round washing the final oil skim that contains break and water goes into my reclamation jar. This stuff can be used in the next first round wash for no waste.

The jar on the right is less than an hour after shaking. The oil and break is still separating and the break is still hours from settling to the bottom.

2nd rinse, reclamation, 3rd wash settling.

Tad warns that the mason jars are heat sensitive. I held that in mind last night while putting up my first rinse. The water was a bit hotter than usual but I didn't detect any problems. Alas, today there was a small puddle around the jar. I will need to be more careful. I was certainly lucky this jar didn't break while shaking. I usually shake with the jar toweled up but it still could have been messy if not dangerous.

Cracked mason jar.

Oil work will continue here, even if this post topic fades. I think I've covered most of the processing steps.  I have concern over finding break in the 2nd rinse oil. I just shook it up again and hope for better results. If not, I'll ask Tad what he thinks.

Once the oil is fully washed we'll be looking at methods to remove residual water. And after that, we'll begin building oils with various rheological behaviors. More to come!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Around the Lake

My first lake outing of the year! Signs of Spring are here, albeit few and far between. The mullein is really sporting first year basals but I couldn't resist the colors.

Swamp Maple
Not sure yet...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Washing Linseed Oil Continued

This second wash settled out nearly as nicely as the first. Notice the bit of break hanging down below the oil.

Second wash settled.
Now that I'm getting the swing of things, I figured why not start up a double batch. It's really just as easy to handle a few batches at once.
Two new batches and third wash, just after shaking.
Tomorrow my first oil will be ready for water and sand only washes to flush out the salt.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Washing Linseed Oil

For some time I have been following the work Tad Spurgeon. His work is so deep, so comprehensive, that I ask that if you're at all interested as an oil painter, to do check out his site. I can't begin to describe his extensive research. There is also lots of wonderful and interestingly narrated paintings.

Over the past few months I've been assembling the ingredients and containers to try my hand at washing linseed oil. Swimming pool filter sand is hard to come by when the snow flies! Not shown is the linseed oil but you can check it out here. For information on Tad's thoughts on oil and its washing, see this.

Marble dust, half gallon mason canning jar, pool filter sand, salt.

I mixed these ingredients:
  • 2 cups linseed oil
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 3/4 cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon marble dust (150-300ยต)
and shook them up. This is what it looks like right after shaking. Within a minute the sand begins falling. Next the oil begins to rise, the salt water to clear.

Right after being shaken.
Upon resting overnight, the separation is complete. After taking this photo, I removed the oil and restarted the process with the very same oil. After three washings with the above ingredients, there will be water and sand only washings to flush out the salt.

Overnight rest.
I am so excited to finally be at this point! Watch over the next few days as this cloudy orange oil becomes transparent, brighter and yellower. Well, that's the plan any way. :-)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Course Wrap-up and Changing Gears

I've completed my weekly course summaries and now heading off into new, and some familiar, projects. But first, a bit of news. Check out this recent post from Cornell's Garden Based Learning blog. Additionally, plans are in development for Cornell to show student work sometime in the fall. More later as this develops.

With all the demands of my coursework, I never got around to a piece for the flower show but my mountain laurel drawing will probably make a good entry for NESBA's The Fells May through July exhibition. Last year I exhibited for the flower show and not The Fells so it's a wash, I suppose. Ah, for the day when I have work ahead of me...

Behind the scenes I have  been casually experimenting with "washing" linseed oil. That work is now picking up and should have some preliminary results for posting tomorrow.

In general, it's time to get back to copying Old Masters paintings in oils and doing up a few egg temperas based in part on my coursework exercises. Oh, and there's more coming as well. Stay tuned! :-)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cornell Week 6 Review

Here is the capsulized version on my 6th and final week in Cornell's online course:

Throughout the course we have learned a range of techniques with different types of art media. We have also learned about illustrating different types of plants and their parts.

For the final illustration you will create a finalized botanical illustration. You can select the type of art medium and plant subject.

For this warm up I would like you to submit your ideas for your final project. What type of plants are you considering illustrating? Which medium would you like to use? Please give this thought -- and remember that more is not always more.


John, you've mastered this medium, you truly have. Everything about it says mountain laurel, not graphite -- that is, you don't see lines and shading and such, you see the plant. Your use in the leaves is soft, muted and beautifully blended, and your work in the unopened blossoms is crisp, calling your attention to the detail.
Honestly, my hat is off to you.

I wish that I had your first drawing ever -- from the first assignment in the first course. Do you still have it? If you do, could we use it for a before and after....?


. . .

Exercise 1.4: Portfolio Development

You will prepare an electronic or hard copy portfolio of six completed and mounted plant studies in a range of media studied during the course.

Please consider the following guidelines when building your portfolio: the degree of botanical detail, accurate color-matching, use of the medium, placement of the specimen on the page, and overall design.

Just a brief note here to describe my portfolio thoughts. I have the resources—Bluehost web hosting and Adobe tools—to put together an online portfolio. I've been through various tests and failed starts and figure that this exercise is the perfect push I need to get started. I will journal the progress.

Rather excited to finally get something out there.

If you hadn't written this very thing, I would have wondered about it! Of course, with your comfort level, I think this is an excellent approach to follow. Glad it's giving you the impetus.

Exercise 4.5: Portfolio Development

We are already half way through the course and this exercise is to simply remind you to be working on your portfolio. How is it going?

This is the perfect chance to post to others in the forum or post a message to the instructor with any questions or concerns you may have with your portfolio. By now you should have decided what type of portfolio, either hand or electronic (or both). Your portfolio presentation should be a reflection of your work and style! Be creative with this process. Again, feel free to share your ideas with me or ask me any questions.

I have a simple test site that illustrates how I could set up an online gallery.
This is an HTML-based gallery created with Lightroom 3. You'll notice that I have my own domain name and host my online presence using BlueHost. (I mentioned some of this in a forum post.) This setup is really just simply about viewing. Not sure where I'd go for online sales or perhaps try to wire my own in.

And regarding sales, at this time I'm really more interested in honing my skills and finding my voice. I am very lucky to have a couple of mentors—professional artists who offer serious advice on my work and future. I've planted my stake in the sand, that I am committed to becoming a good painter, probably in oils and perhaps in egg tempera. My mentors remind me that at this point that that commitment is more about working hard than trying to sell. So, I will have online galleries but not sales oriented. But what is important to me at this time is to spin the display of finished pieces away from my blog only. The blog can present all the details and explorations that lead to my work and that will be freely available to all but need that clean place for those who only want to experience the final work.

First, thank you for sharing your resources with others! I appreciate the support and camaraderie that has developed among the 3rd level participants.

Yes, you're on the right track, and I appreciate the perspective you offer here. Sounds as if you're on a great path.

And again -- I can't say enough simply about the value of documentation. I have long sold, or given pieces that I am grateful for having captured in a high quality image -- and a bit sad for never having done so with some of them. It's an important habit to get into, one that you seem to have natural leanings toward, given your dedication to the process.

Portfolio Review

You should have prepared a finalized electronic or hand portfolio of six completed and mounted plant studies in a range of media examined and rendered during the course.

Your portfolio should provide viewers with a clear idea as to what your vision is. It should be organized by subjects or different styles. Horizontal and vertical images, as well as different size prints should be organized and grouped separately. Keep in mind, portfolios are never actually complete. There are always new samples to add, new skills to highlight, and less effective samples to remove or replace.

Here is the link to my draft portfolio. It's a Flash gallery created with Lightroom 3 and uploaded to my web host. The images are merely a display for easily selecting final images.

I fear this is all rather simple, missing goals on creativity? In an online presentation, what would you expect to see?

My own thoughts, kind of my wish list...

Artist statement: Where I am and where I'm going.

Individual text for each image: How and why was this piece created?

Entry page: A main menu with links to blog, artist info, contact info, links to galleries. I realize my web look might be a bit spartan. I'd like to background with the slightest hint of bare canvas but I opt for a simple look that keeps my work foreground. Curiously, I see that clean look much more with photography than with fine art. Wonder why...

All this is familiar territory. Building a better web presence can been on my mind. The above ideas aren't really new, just never developed properly.

I'm feeling a bit on spongy ground here. Hence an early start, giving me time to reshape as needed.

I read through your pdf and looked at your slideshow. Much of this is so personal, in terms of taste, don't you think? So, personally -- I find something nearly akin to relief in seeing something more spare, simple. It completely calls attention to your work. Sometimes extensive artist statements are just so over the top.

Yes, I think a simple statement, along with titles and media, spare main menu would be lovely. But don't lose the lovely, simply quality that calls attention to the work, not how cleverly worded it all is.

Take this, or leave it, John: I don't know that I would include the pastel -- it seems evident that you're newly learning that medium, and in this venue, I believe you want to highlight your mastery.

Does this help?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

NESBA at the Boston Flower Show

It's once again that time of year! NESBA at the Boston Flower and Garden Show!

The show starts Wednesday and I'll be there from 1 - 5 pm Friday. Why don't you drop in? :-)

Cornell Week 5 Review

Here is the capsulized version on my 5th week in Cornell's online course:

Pencil Illustration: Pleurotus ostreatus. For this lesson we will focus on illustrating this specific type of fungus.

This exercise we will be illustrating the oyster mushroom. Pleurotus ostreatus, is a common edible mushroom. Depending on your location, you may locate it at your local food market, so you can have a live study for this exercise. If it is unavailable, you may reference the images below, or locate a similar mushroom at the grocer.

Beautifully done, John! Very well rendered -- I appreciate the composition and angle of the work, the overall contour, and the exceptional thought you've put into the shading. You've managed to evoke texture so well here -- that odd, somewhat peeling papery feel at the top, the rough, darker area at the base, the gills. 

Nicely done! You have come a long way in your black and white work from the root/radish submitted at the beginning of the course. May I share this with a colleague who teaches a popular course entitled Magical Mushrooms and Mischievous Molds?

. . .

This exercise we are using pen and ink to illustrate one of the species from the Quercus genus. Since there are many oaks available, you have the option to choose which type to illustrate. Depending on your location and time of year, you may find a subject in your area.

Nicely done, John. What paper are you using here?

I especially appreciate the composition, and the detail in the two acorn 'caps.' You have wisely positioned this so that the main event -- the darkest portion of the drawing, in which we are looking into the interior of the lower of the two acorn caps -- is off center, which lends a nice sense of assymmetry and is pleasing. I appreciate, too, the light shadow under the leaf petiole to the far left. It anchors it well.

The only thing I might suggest is a bit more detail in the stem -- a wee bit of stippling -- all the little lenticels and such that make this more detailed, and make it come to life. Would you agree? I certainly feel as if I'm seeing that level of attention in the caps.

. . .

Now that we are getting toward the end of the class, we will focus on creating more finalized works of art. This assignment will be one of the most difficult, as we are working with detail and color. Similar to the last two assignments, we will create a finalized botanical illustration for Rosa spp. See below for the photos and description.

For this assignment please choose a specific rose to study and illustrate, which may vary greatly depending on your location in the world. Spend as much time as you need to complete this assignment. Remember your colored pencil techniques, along with all the details in the study.

Good work here, John. Your use of color pencil is soft, and you're working it a bit more to get rid of the lines, get some good blending. Roses can, in my view, offer a lot of complication with the tremendous number of petals. You have hung in there, paying close attention to the highlights in particular, so that you don't get lost in the sameness of the color.

Of the two color pencil pieces I've just seen, I strongly prefer the interesting quality of the iris. Even with the light scan, I could see much more attention to detail, and I think that's partly because the detail is there for viewing. I enjoy roses, particularly their intoxicating scent, but as a subject, in this case, they can be...well, a little pedestrian. They don't offer as much to work with in terms of color, texture, veination and such, and are therefore a uniquely challenging subject, in my view. Do you agree? So different from, for example, the iris, or the artichoke!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Cornell Week 4 Review

Here is the capsulized version on my 4th week in Cornell's online course:

For this exercise explore your outside environment to find an interesting landscape to draw. It may be a row of trees, a perennial bed or a pond. You may find that a view without too much detail -- a simple field or hedgerow against the sky, for example, is easier to work with.

In order for your landscape to come to life, you need to discover where your light source is. This is very important when creating pastel art. Working from dark to light is standard procedure with pastel colors.

Oh, how interesting!

Let's talk about what is working well here. I like the way that the orange bleeds into light in the sky. Somehow that line of blue serves as an anchor on the horizon. This has a high contrast quality. I see a lot of potential in it!

I really, really love this medium. I recall when I first started using it, that it took awhile to get the hang of your fingers as instruments. It's ideal for plein air, and I've even pulled off the road, and painted on brown grocery bags, to capture the 'just right' quality of a field in summer.

So two things I might offer: first, my favorite medium is a bristol vellum -- the vellums will offer a smoother surface, so that you don't get the white pebbling.

Second, you might mess with really using your fingers -- pressing, smudging, blending, working. Not that you have to do that throughout the piece, but it does help a LOT, and integrates color smoothly. I wanted to reach right up and rub the screen, blending more deep color into the hedgerow at the horizon with my fingertips, to eliminate some of the 'whiteness...'

See how that works for you.

. . .

Colored pencil can be used on a variety of papers. Textured papers such as watercolor and pastel papers work very well. For more detailed and fine work, especially drawing technical illustrations, smooth papers will offer you the most successful outcome.

For this exercise we are going to illustrate autumn leaves. This is a great exercise for color blending and shading. This is one of my favorite exercises - seeing all the beautiful color combinations from your illustrations is a great joy.

Start by finding a few interesting leaves. Do not be concerned if you are not in an area with fall leaves, you can refer online to interesting color combinations and you can use your imagination, or find an object in nature that challenges you similarly. The purpose of this exercise is to advance your skills in color blending and shading.

Think about an interesting composition. You may include more than one leaf that can overlap.

Terrific interpretation of this exercise -- I really like the way you've selected portions, instead of drawing the whole! Nice use and selection of color, and attention to detail -- especially those little idiosyncrasies that make a leaf an individual. 

Similar to the pastel, I'm wanting to see you press a bit firmer, or perhaps switch to a smoother paper, to eliminate some of the little white portions. I would find this a bit more satisfying to see a little less of that white -- in the background, to have a sense of solid, inky darkness that contrasts more vividly with the leaf in the foreground. Do you agree?

. . .

For this exercise we are creating a portfolio piece: Iris species with colored pencils. Irises are an interesting subject with beautiful flowers, making them ideal to illustrate with colored pencils. Irises can easily be found outside during the spring and early summer, depending on your region or location, or at a floral shop. If you live in an area of the world without this particular flower either available in gardens or at the florist, of course, feel free to identify a suitable substitute.

Plan out your drawing. Start by using your pencil for the overall layout of each part of the plant that will be shown. First, begin with the main focus, the flower and stem...

Before you begin your illustration, consider conducting some research on your iris. This will help you really understand the parts to the plant...

How interesting! This is so soft, so subtle. I can't tell whether this is due in part to the scan -- literally shut off my lights and fiddled with the screen to try to see better -- from what I can see, I think this is a color pencil piece rendered with a tremendous degree of softness. You will want to be cautious that this soft quality doesn't slip into disappearance.
While soft, you have still provided excellent detail, particularly in the petals -- you've captured the veins so well.

Now wait a minute -- I was going to suggest that you consider, in the spirit of botanical illustration, adding in some leaves, perhaps a dissection, but again, in tipping the screen, I think I see some leaf shapes there. This is a funky scan, after all, I believe. Or are they merely hinted at?
. . .

For this exercise, you will expand your opportunities and will create an abstract piece.

This is a great exercise to advance your techniques with the various media we have focused on. It is also a great learning tool to explore the interesting ways in which to mix those media.

We have addressed several different types of media from past assignments - pencil, pen/ink, colored ink, charcoal, chalk, colored pencil and pastels. For this assignment, be creative! Use this opportunity not to focus on technical details, but to explore interesting curves, shapes and mixed combinations. For inspiration, you may go outside in your environment to study certain plants. For example, the inspiration for the illustration below was corn.

Spend at least an hour on this assignment. I look forward to seeing your submissions for this creative exercise! Sign, scan and submit.

This is another interesting piece -- I'm casting about for the word that comes to mind, and I believe it would be evocative. Which media did you mix? Pastel and color pencil...? 

From your recent forays into a diversity of media, you are really gaining a command of working with light. This piece has the feeling of light hitting a forest floor. It has realistic qualities, and yet, you have those more vivid lines drawn evoking blades of grass, and they have an abstract quality (in pastel or pencil? Can't quite tell). 

As I have viewed interpretations of this exercise, I have wondered what I would have done with it -- I haven't worked much with mixed media, though do love ink, color pencil and watercolor together. 

Nicely done! Think you'd go further with this...?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Cornell Week 3 Review

Here is the capsulized version on my 3rd week in Cornell's online course:

After you have completed your observation of geometric forms, find three different types of leaves. Observe and note the variations of form and shapes. Notice the detailed differences such as serration, veins, etc. With your pencil and paper, sketch the outline of the leaves, then work on the details. Spend 10-20 minutes on each leaf.

Excellent work here -- it has an instructive, text book quality, which of course, is important with botanical illustration, to be able to communicate that information. I like in particular the sassafras -- just the right amount of information, and personally, I always feel as if those imperfections -- the little insect nibbles, presence of fungi and such -- breathe a kind of honesty and life into the work. 

Good work here. I like it better than the radish -- feel as if perhaps your heart was more in it here, a little more devotion to the details.

. . .

For this exercise we are working with pen and paper. Pen is very useful in advancing your skills in shadows and overlays. Pen and ink also "forces" you to plan ahead. A few ideas to keep in mind while planning:
  • Where your light source is coming from. 
  • Consideration of the overall layout. This is important because shadow and light can make up how the composition is developed. 
  • How layers will be rendered when working with overlays. 
For this assignment find a challenging, single subject to illustrate,with multiple layers and many details. A good example is a pine cone or a pineapple. A branch with leaves, or even a rose flower can be an interesting subject for the layers of petals, too.

Now THIS is a pen piece, John, more what I'm after! :-) 

This is just what I'm looking for. The composition is excellent, and your stippling is outstanding. Hard to describe, exactly, but I really want to see shading as opposed to stippling, that is, they are there to suggest the shadows, but not shout out as little dots. See what I mean? You've managed that very well here. A great improvement in your pen, I'm really pleased to see the effort here! 

Would be nice to return to this subject, present it as a series of sorts. It's ideal for this work, since it offers enough challenge as to be interesting, and yet, it doesn't seem to be overwhelming.

. . .

Start by finding your subject. When searching, find a plant subject that you have not sketched before. Either a flower, leaf, seed pod or fruit will be great. If you are looking for a challenge, try sketching a group of flower blooms or foliage.

Plan out your drawing. Use your pencil to sketch the layout. For this assignment we will use the first technique as outlined from the previous exercise.

After your layout and composition is finalized, use your charcoal tool lightly to sketch the outline. Work on this illustration for over an hour. This will be part of your portfolio, so spend as much time as necessary! Please post any questions or concerns you may run into.

Once finished, spray your drawing with fixative (make sure to follow instructions). When dry, you can return to your drawing to add a second layer to darken with charcoal and add highlights with your chalk. You can spray again after it is completed.

This is softly and beautifully rendered. You're exercising good command over a medium that can be a little wild and wooly. I appreciate, too, that you selected a rather contained subject -- not too complex, and yet with enough challenge to give you a run for your money.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Studio Oil

Shortly before the Cornell course began, I poured a half inch layer of linseed oil into one of these half pint canning jars. I left it hanging around the kitchen, no special treatment at all.

The sample on the right is my control, regular linseed oil. On the left is my canning jar oil. Amazing the color change, eh? I need to do more work on this as it's not clear if this transparency will last in bottle or painting. But beyond the color, this new oil now has more body. It's supposed to behave like a stand oil in its smoothing and leveling properties, but to be a fast drier, unlike the stand oil that can take days to a week to lose tackiness. (Testing underway!)

I'd like to publish weekly reviews of the online course for weeks 3-6 but, to tell you the truth, I just couldn't resist getting back to my old ways. :-)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

And that's a wrap

Here's the final image. I put in about 3 hours since the previous post, mostly punching up the darks. This is also a better scan, I suspect because the paper was resting right on the scanner bed. Earlier images were scanned while mounted to a board, lifting the paper a bit off the bed.

I didn't keep track that closely but I figure over 20 hours work here. And to think that my original intent was three of these clusters!

And that's not all! I cleaned up the online portfolio and design a simple home page interface.
You can find it at:

And now to write up one last weekly journal...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Closing In

It's a bit light in the scan but I'm closing in on this piece. I'll work on it into the night and if tomorrow it looks okay it'll get sent in for grading. Meanwhile there is web work to be done for the online portfolio. Hard to believe these are already the very last exercises in this course.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Still At It

Still plugging away here. Although it might not look very much progress, all the seed heads are in place and anchored. Just beginning to detail each head. I'm working through small cutout in a sheet of paper to reduce smudging. Just starting to bring in an HB grade pencil.

Final Illustration Starter

I meant to post earlier in the evening and the time just flew away. This piece is still pretty light but needs a bit more layout before I can have fun with shading. Having this exact sprig of laurel by my side has been invaluable. Drawing only from photos hasn't been close to working with this piece.

Unlike all previous assignments, here we are allowed to choose the subject and the medium. I love working in pencil, adding a little bit here, then there, working around and around. Well, mostly that, except for some of the seed pods. Each one is so unique and I've dragged a bit there. More soon...

Saturday, March 3, 2012

It's my last Cornell week

This weeks work entails one botanical illustration as well as portfolio completion.

I've put up a draft portfolio of most of the course work. I expect to be working with Marcia to select a group of images and lots more.

My plan it to work with mountain laurel for my final illustration, mainly in graphite. I'm tempted to enhance with a slight application of colored pencil. Here's a draft composition.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Rose Wrap

And here's my final piece for this week. I spent many hours turning form with these petals. I'm a bit dismayed with the leaves but it is time to move on.