Hi friends! I hope you had a lovely holiday season and a happy start to 2023! Have you taken down your decorations yet? We put up two Christmas trees and finally packed up the second one today, but already I miss the warm, cozy glow of the lights and twinkle of the ornaments. The nativity set is still up and might stay around for a little while. It is adorned with white lights and greenery, and it makes me happy to see it.
Being gifted some new-to-me types of professional watercolor paper for Christmas, it was exciting to have had a little time to play with them and learn their different characteristics. What a difference the paper makes!
The first was handmade Shizen cold-pressed, 140-lb. watercolor paper. To me, this very absorbent paper seemed more like a rough-pressed paper rather than cold pressed, but WOW, the paint settled into all the nooks and crannies and made such impressive effects. Because of the bumpy textures, indentations, tooth, and the way the light refracts on this paper, the final colors were more muted and definitely could handle a few more layers; however, this paper certainly accentuates granulating paints. That said, this paper would be perfect for landscapes, furry animals, and paintings with looser effects.
The second was a smooth handmade, 140-lb. hot pressed paper by Paul Rubens, and it contains a subtle glitter effect; if you know me, you’ll understand how happy glitter makes me! The glitter is embedded in the paper and does not rub off at all. I don’t use hot-pressed paper too often as I find it less forgiving and more suited for highly detailed paintings, but again the effects of this ultra-smooth paper were stunning and the colors more vibrant while using fewer layers of paint. This would be a great paper for ink, pen, illustrations, abstracts, and colored pencil.
I think the flamingo looks better on the hot-pressed paper but am looking forward to working with both papers in the upcoming months. Did you discover any fun artsy supplies recently? Thanks for stopping by!
We just returned from an adventurous trip to Alaska and are blessed to have visited there twice. This trip was planned for August 2020, but “you-know-what” happened and the trip was cancelled. Things seemed pretty much back to normal, but some restaurants had closed and some places were short-staffed, but that seems to be the current situation all over the U.S.
Previously I made scrapbooks of our travel adventures but stopped doing so a few years ago. When we moved last year, I realized just how many trip scrapbooks I’ve made, how much work I put into them, and how little we look at them. However, after each trip that I did not scrap, there was a feeling of disappointment and let-down because nothing was documented and because we had just a smattering of photos on our cell phones. However, I think I’ve found a happy medium.
Because it is Draw A Bird day (unofficially), here are two of the many species of birds we saw. I have always wanted to see a Puffin in its own environment, and boy were there puffins (horned and tufted)! The ravens are bold and huge and likely could feed a family of four, but that’s probably not recommended 😉
It’s joyful to remember where these quick-ish sketches (definitely not masterpieces) were created, and the plan is to feature some favorites over the next couple of weeks. Do you document your trips? What methods do you use? Take care ❤
This portrait of a bossy blue jay was a pleasure to paint: so calming and meditative, which is the exact opposite of a blue jay’s personality!
While they are known to be bullies at the feeders, they also “jeer” a loud call in order to track their mates and to warn of impending threats. When that happens, all the birds fly off and take cover.
Hearing their urgent, incessant caws gets our attention, too, and we try to figure out what all the squawking is about. Usually it is a cat or large raptor getting too close for comfort. Blue jays truly are the town criers of the avian species!
This fancy frog is a red-eyed tree frog, native to the tropics. As with most things in nature, this frog’s festive colors serve certain purposes. Its bright colors are defense mechanisms, and being green helps this amphibian blend in with leaves. If a predator spots a sleeping frog, it swoops in for a tasty meal, at which point the frog’s eyes pop open, revealing their vivid red color.
As the frog scrambles to get away, it untucks its brightly colored legs. The predator is so surprised by these sudden flashes of color that it is momentarily confused and hesitates, which gives the frog a split second to make its escape! How fascinating!
This up-close-and-personal kangaroo was photographed by my brother-in-law Don. I’m not sure I’d want to get so close to one, but hopefully he was using a zoom lens!
Kangaroos live in social groups called mobs. Males, called boomers, are twice the size of females, called flyers. Kangaroos cover more than 20 feet in a single bound and reach speeds up to 30 miles per hour. Newborn joeys are just one inch long at birth, or about the size of a grape. Isn’t that fascinating?
Nuthatches are interesting little birds to observe and easily recognized amongst all the others, especially if you see them walking/hopping DOWN the trunk of a tree. Nuthatches are the only birds to exhibit this peculiar behavior, but it is thought that they do so to search for insects and hide nuts and seeds away from other animals. Most other birds climb UP a tree, but climbing down provides a viewpoint to only a nuthatch, thereby keeping their treasured seeds safe for their next meal.
I don’t consider myself a true “birder” but surely do enjoy our local backyard birds. What is the most amusing bird you’ve ever seen? Are you are enjoying the changing of the seasons? I am, but because of Daylight Saving time, it is now dark by 6:00 PM, of which I am not a fan; at least we were able to enjoy an extra hour of time this weekend. Be well!