Thursday, August 13, 2009


Yesterday in the sun we were watching the dragon flies in the yard and they were all lined up on the clothesline. Waiting for mosquitos I guess. They were amazing. And it is pretty cool to be able to stand underneath one and take a photo of it. Kind of shy bugs though. They don't seem to like it when you get too close to them. They were all lines up and then all of a sudden one would go up in the air and go down the entire line and touch down near each one. Don't know if it was giving orders, checking in or just trying to get a better spot on the line. I think I took about a hundred photos of them there and on the corn in the garden and in the front yard. They are the best predators ever because they make the nasty mosquitos go away. Woo hooo.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sheep, Chickens, Geese, Duck and Copper

Had an interesting morning today. I was taking photos for reference at the neighbour's farm. They weren't home but I had permission.

Got my stick to protect myself from the viscious pair of geese and found out that they aren't that sure of themselves with strangers even if they try to attack Mrs. Neighbour. They stayed away from me and actually hid behind the sheep for protection to see what I was going to do.

When I climbed over the fence the geese walked away from me towards the barn and I went about half way over, watched them turn into the barn and I sat down. In a few seconds out comes the heard of sheep one by one, complete with ram and the geese following behind. The sheep were curious and checked me out and stamped their feet and gradually walked closer, then they all flanked me as a group and came quite close to me and then decided I was pretty boring and wandered off for breakfast. And let me tell you they are very loud chewing machines!!! Way louder than cows or horses. I just sat their quietly the whole time and pretended to ignore the lot of them.

I sat on the ground between the lumps of sheep manure (I realised this after I had sat down and taken photos for about 20 minutes) and I'm not sure how I managed to sit between it rather than in it but I did. No stink on me!

Then I watched the chickens. Who were interesting but not as brave. Except for the broodie hen who was actually down right pissed and tried to run me off several times. I just ignored her too and she went back to her nest and sat and fumed at me from a distance. The others were semi-brave, one little guy just kept pecking and pecking the ground and a bigger spotted girl was the obviously bossy one who told everyone else what to do. The rooster was a total chicken though. All he managed was to peek his head around the door of the hen house. He never came out. Talked alot and told me off but stayed inside. I'll have to take another trip and hope he comes out to see me next time. Did get a nice picture of him in the door way trying to decide what he should do though.

They have a muscovi duck and I got an awesome portrait shot of him. And also of bath time for the geese.

At the end of it all I tried to leave to walk home but Copper, the 4 month old beagle puppy, wanted to play and wouldn't let me leave. I got fed up and put him in the garage with the older dog and thought I was very clever until he showed up behind me again at the bottom of their drive. Guess they have a dog door and he knows how to use it. I spent over a half an hour trying to make him stay home , including climbing two fences and trying to get him to down stay and walk away - he's very good at that but after about 100 feet he is out of range of my remote control and he just comes running. At that point I had to go home because I was going to be late so I gave up and decided I would just drive him back to his place once we got to mine but about half way there his little beagle nose took over and he decided he should bugger off. So I caught him and picked him up and stopped at another neighbours and asked for a ride to take me back to his house to leave him there. He was heavy and wiggly enough that I wasn't sure I'd get him all the way to my place.

So we drove him home and dropped him off and they I got a ride back home.

It was actually pretty funny and he's sweet little dog but I'd have never forgiven myself if something had happened to him.

I have photo of him somewhere and I'll find it and put it in here tomorrow.

PS the reason the car ride was needed was because he lives almost a mile from where I do. I'm in the country so neighbour is a relative term I guess!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

First Attempts at En Plein Air

Almost everything you learn is to paint from life if you can. My favourite subjects of animals I often paint from photos because they move too quickly and don't have the patience to sit for a portrait. But landscapes don't run around. The light will move and if you paint from life it will force you to work quickly and more spontaneously or you lose that light.

These two paintings were done on separate days. The bottom one was done first and the second I just finished.

I really like the clothes line. I think I got the light pretty right and I am actually happy with the greens which started as blue and red and purple and yellow underpainitng.

The bottom painting is a section of a tree in the back yard at dusk and I was just playing around with the pastels and trying to get the lights and darks in the proper places with no thought that it would look like the actual tree. What's interesting is how my niece and nephew, Jessie and Robbie, viewed it when I asked them what it was. Jessie immediately said that it looked like a stormy sky and then said it looked like a tree on a stormy evening. Which was what it actually was. Robbie said a tree at night. So that was pretty cool!

The clothes line is a little washed out in the photo, looks better and more the the real thing if I tip my monitor back a bit.

Morning Clothesline (pastel en plein air, 6x8)

Abstract Pine At Dusk (pastel en plein air, 7x9)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Purse and Lunch Box

I spent today with my niece and nephew Jessie and Robbie. We went and saw G-Force and then made boxes using My Timeless Templates for Card Coture and Let's Do Lunch. The lovely purse and flower are made with pretty butterfly paper that Jessie got at the dollar store and Robbie's Lunch Box is in a John Deere theme.

yamaha rhino class action