This year, winter began in November here, with snow storms and very low temperatures. Then January comes along with nice warm days, and no moisture for 6 weeks! The middle of February comes around and we have snow everywhere, cold days and nights and cranky cows! New calves in the snow, and the feed truck is carrying several hundred pounds more of hay each day.
Mr. Big Stuff
Thankfully I do have time to draw, and work up some things from my own photos. This rooster is a Mexican Fighting chicken, except he doesn't fight! He has a whole harum of hens and is quite happy. These chickens are so colorful, and fun to have around. I took a lot of pic's of them on my son's patio, and have been drawing them and putting them in different arrangements. I plan to do a lot more, both in watercolor and in pastel. This one is large- - - - -I don't know why. The next ones may not be. Its on Canson paper, and is 25 x 19 or so. It took a few days to do, I was trying to use an abstract shadow pattern, more experimetation is needed!
Today is a grand day here in my world. This is the front walk-way to the Dutch Valley house, where I live. The next pic is my horses having their hay on a bed of snow. After about 7 weeks of no weather this January, we have had snow every day now for 4 days, and I guess it may continue until Saturday eve. sometime. Well, there will no shortage of snow scenes to paint! Down at the ranch house on Foothill Road, where I now am, the scene is just beautiful. This ranch is different than the Dutch Valley Ranch, just below the Mt's that Lake Tahoe sits on, at close to 8 Thousand ft. (the lake basin) We are in the Carson Valley, well the edge of it, at about 5100 feet. The Mt. makes it look very rustic, with the sprawling valley below us. This is where Lorenzo Chavez came and painted one day, with his workshop in '09- - - Wow, that was cool!
Anyhow, no painting to show you today, but I do have one on my easel. Its quite large, and I have run into a problem of resolving and connecting the shadows,(darks), and making them go back in space the way I envision it to be. I have done drawings, notes, sketches and I think it will work out- - - - - - - - - just need time to work on it and get it finished. Its a full sheet of Canson, I think it will be OK. If not, my time has not been wasted, as I will have learned from this- - - -and will continue on with this sort of thing, finding the answers as I go. I have found a great new ( to me) blog to follow and learn from - - - http://www.marlabaggettastudio.com/ Take a look at her work. I hope to stay at home in Dutch Valley Saturday, tomorrow and work. For today, I will study about some value patterns, and composition ideas that interest me, and cook, and feed my animals, and pack in wood. Fun, Fun , Fun!
Colder Feburary days have me indoors trying to work out some drawings and plans for an upcoming 3 day watercolor workshop brought to our area by the Markleeville Gallary. The watercolorist is a lady from Auburn Ca, Jeanie Vodden. I need to get some drawings onto the streched watercolor paper and be prepared to paint, according to the flier. Anyhow, this helps me plan for new pastel paintings as well. Using a grid, I have tried to size up a photo of 4 calves from one of our branding days. They are still youngsters, not weaned but marked! It is difficult to do drawings from photo's and get the placing right, and perspective but it can be done and better with practise. This took quite awhile, and the pencil strokes are not like they would be if this was to be a graphite drawing as the end result---rather this is for size and shape , then the finnish work can be in whatever medium you chose- - -or more than one! You could even trace the shaps , and do again in graphite for a finnished work if I chose. I do this for animal paintings, and not so much this way for a landscape---althought sometimes I do----but mostly do notan's and thumbnails for plein-air or landscapes. I also did this way, an old photo of my old cat sitting in a chair in the sunshine. Turned out well, so now I have 2 new ones to consider for this watercolor workshop.
Have also been enjoying browsing websites and blogs latley. Bill Cone's blog is a must for all you artists out there! Also http://www.raybrownart.com/ is one to see. Here is my drawing for today.
I have plans for the background, and I think I will raise them higher on the paper, with a lot of foreground space- - - just thoughts- - but now they are isolated from the photo, I am free to design whatever! That is liberating for me.