Friday, January 29, 2016

Punch Up the Color.

This week, when I've had the time, I've been attempting to get away from using local color in my sketches. Local color being a direct interpretation of what I see. This week I abandoned it somewhat for more vibrant color use.

Here, a lobster I sketched from a pic I found online. It's in color pencil on textured paper.

Lobster in color pencil

I've been mildly fascinated and obsessed with folk traditions around Europe, but mostly the British Isles. Part of my mother's family came from Wales and Cornwall. This color pencil sketch is of the Mari Lwyd, a folk tradition in parts of Wales that happens around Christmas time. It involves poetry or song, a good amount of alcohol and the parading of a decorated horse skull on a stick.

Mari Lwyd, a Welsh Christmas folk custom, involving song or poetry, alcohol and a decorated horse skull on a stick.

And lastly, a watercolor and ink sketch of Arches National Park. It's to be a gift for a family member of my wife, sometime next weekend.

Arches National Park - sketched for my wife's aunt and uncle.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A couple of rustic sketches and some self portraits.

Last week I sketched the two top images. One from a pic of the writing hut of Cornish Poet and the Vicar of Morwenstow, Robert Stephen Hawker. He was an Anglican priest that I found interesting when reading about Cornish history and culture some time back. I did another sketch of his hut about 7-8 years ago. The second sketch is from a black and white pic of an old White River/Ozarks Johnboat.

Old doors

Ozarks Johnboat

I'm working on drawing more portraits. I've never been happy with my portrait work and as a result, I've dodged the bullet pretty much since college. I'm making myself do them now, as of mid-December. What better way to get over your grievances with a form of art than by drawing yourself repeatedly? Before there were selfies, there were self portraits.

These are all about 15-20 minute sketches before work, after the wife and kiddo have left for school and work and before I have to dash madly off, myself. The top one done December 15, the second January 5 and the bottom one, today. I'm trying to chart a progression to see how far away from sucking at it I can get.

A Quick Self Portrait

15 minute self portrait before work this morning.

15 minute self portrait before work today. Not real happy with it. The mouth is pretty off. Only posting to chart a progression on these. Also, I took the beard and five years off Sunday evening.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Camping at Erbie, Arkansas and Parker-Hickman Homestead

Friday evening, with four inches of snow on the ground here in Springfield, we set out for the slightly slippery and icy hills of Arkansas and the Buffalo River. My friend Brian and I were headed for the Erbie area to meet our friend Darren. Our intention was to Hike from Kyles Landing to Erbie on the Buffalo River Trail, a section we hadn't done in about ten years. Fate was not on board, she threw us an iceskating rink for a road and we were pretty much stuck in the river valley until things thawed enough on Sunday to safely drive out. No worries, we just explored the Erbie area and the Parker-Hickman Homestead and filled our bellies with good food and BS stories around the campfire.

Temps got pretty cold at night, the lower twenties on Friday night and down to 12 degrees on Saturday night. I was a little underprepared for that, so I froze my butt off. We did, however, hear a lot of coyotes in the night. No owls this time, which is odd. We woke to crows murdering aplenty and saw three bald eagles, a couple of armadillos, signs of beavers working the trees along the stream and the tracks of both elk and what appears to be a mountain lion. The other guys also saw a shooting star that traveled the length of the sky. I'd already turned in for the night. I never last as long as the them around the fire. It lulls me too sleep to easily.

Friday night, steak, 'taters and beans around the fire.

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas Up Saturday morning to breakfast and frost flowers all around camp. I don't think I've seen so many as on this trip.

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

I found some bluejay feathers down the hill around the canebrake from us. Our camp was situated in the middle of a stand of cedars and a canebrake of river cane (arundinaria gigantea). One of a couple of indigenous bamboos.

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

After breakfast, we headed out to check out the Parker-Hickman Homestead, a homestead occupied from the 1840s to the 1970s, when the National Park Service bought them out.

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

I'm looking forward to sketching some from the next bit of pics, so look for those in future posts. I could have sat down there all weekend with a pencil and paper.

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Eventually, we made our way up to the Cherry Grove Cemetery. We passed through a lot of river cane and out through some open fields riddled with elk hoof prints and along a ridge overlooking the river before we came to it.

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

A honey locust tree is not a friendly tree.

Erbie, Arkansas

Back to camp for the evening.

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Up Sunday morning for breakfast and a walk towards Ozark Campground. We didn't go too far, but had some nice views and found some big cat tracks on the riverbanks.

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Erbie, Arkansas

Another great trip in the books. I've been heading to the outdoors with these guys for 16-17 years. It's hard to find friends that will suffer a bit for fun, evident in how we had the entire campground to ourselves yet again. Winter camping is the best - no noisy people, no vampirous bugs, no poisonous reptiles, just miles of open trail and scenery. Thanks again to Brian D. and Darren G.

Erbie, Arkansas