Sunday, September 25, 2022

INSECT ILLUSTRATIONS

 


These paintings are part of a long-term project that sadly, I haven't had much time to work on lately as been working on other things. I think this is a Spur-throated Grasshopper (Melanoplus ponderosus) which are quite common on the areas around the Eastern Shore. They come in a green form (shown here - which I like the most) and also brown and grey/red forms. Apparently they are responsible for quite a lot of crop damage in the US. I was attracted to it by the interesting and somewhat striking pattern of green, yellow and black. Since it was a bright but cold day when I came across this individual, it sat quietly on my hand while I drew it in my sketch book - the cold made it slow and lethargic. I added the colors and finer details later when I got home.





Wooly caterpillars are often seen in late summer through the autumn and occasionally during spring when they come out after over-wintering. They turn into a somewhat drab Isabella Tiger Moth and although I can't remember seeing the adults that often, the caterpillars were sometimes seen everywhere. They were in our garden too feeding on the Clematis but they also feed on other plants including clover where we would find most of them on our walks around the reserve (being careful not to tread on them). The coloring and the amount of black/brown on these caterpillars (which varies) is supposed to be a portent as to the severity of the coming winter.





I'm not sure of the species of this damselfly but I loved the blue and black markings and the zebra-striping on the thorax! This one was done in gouache on tinted paper. The others done in watercolor, all are around 5 x 8 inches.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

DRAGON PALACE

 



 When I saw this building with its arches, lights and dark windows against the evening sky, I immediately thought of dragons. I'm not quite sure why but the place exuded a certain atmosphere that I haven't felt anywhere else. During the painting, I needed quite a few applications of paint until I got the tone and texture that I wanted as most of the painting is quite dark. Size is 12 x 9 inches, oil on canvas.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

DARK WATER STUDY

 



We didn't get a lot of snow last winter but still, there was enough for me to get out and find some interesting scenes that I wanted to paint. Mostly, this painting related to studies done in my sketchbook and as there wasn't that much subject matter to consider with this one, I started working directly on a smaller canvas panel. I laid in the dark strip of water first building up a few layers of paint then started adding the grasses trying to keep a flowing motion running throughout the painting. I needed quite a few goes before I was happy with how the grasses looked, then the smaller details were added. I'll probably do a larger version when I'm back in my proper studio and have more space in which to work. Size of this one is 8 x 10 inches, acrylic on canvas.

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

THREE BOATS

 


 A recently completed commission of some boats I saw on Lantau Island, Hong Kong. I liked the way these back-lit boats created abstract shapes against the lighter water. The reflections and ripples gave the scene some sense of movement - I dotted a few different colors around the painting hoping to add interest without overdoing it. Size is 7.5 x 11 inches, watercolor on Arches paper.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

YOUNG LAUGHING GULL

 



Laughing Gulls were almost always seen along the shore and also in the harbor where I could usually find about 30 or 40 individuals. The younger birds would congregate along or near the edges of the water where people would often feed them with pigeons and sparrows joining in. This was a great opportunity for me to get references and do plenty of sketches. This study of a young bird moulting into its first winter plumage piqued my interest as most of the brown juvenile plumage on this one was slowly giving way as new white and grey feathers came in. Size is 6 x 9 inches, watercolor on Grumbacher paper.

Monday, August 22, 2022

EDEN STREET TRANSFORMERS

 



I first thought of transformers as a subject for a painting while I was travelling in Japan. Most cities and towns had them in various forms so when returning from our travels, I fully intended on exploring what I had seen of them and doing a painting or two. Well, like so many of my ideas, that didn't happen - instead much later, I focused on these three transformers I found near where we were staying last year. I really liked the way the morning sun created shapes and shadows along with all the wires going in different directions. It certainly was a challenging subject and for some reason, I couldn't seem to stop working on it! Every day I would find something else that I wanted to do until finally I decided to hide it away under a pile of sketchbooks! I think that when I pull it out again, I'll still find one or two areas that I want to work on. Now that the painting is (mostly) finished, I'm not precisely sure what I think of it. Perhaps I could have done a different background or something as this hasn't quite lived up to the initial idea I had in my mind. Well, so often is the case. Size is 15 x 11 inches, acrylic on Strathmore paper.

Monday, August 15, 2022

DAWN, EASTERN HARBOR NOCTURNE

 



I saw this scene in early Jan 2022 when the Christmas decorations were still up. Getting up before dawn had been my habit for some time and when I walked down to the boat dock and looked across the water on a cold and still day, this composition presented itself to me. My small study was done directly in a sketchbook trying to get down as much information as I could before the light changed too dramatically. I used acrylic so that I could more easily overpaint the darks once the base color was dry. For the larger version, I switched to oils and once I had most of the shapes in place, I let the paint dry overnight. It was then a case of subtly adjusting some of the tones then adding the various lights and subtle reflections. I think I'm getting closer to what I want to say with these nocturnes but actually each painting requires a lot of planning and thinking through. This oil is 8 x 10 inches.