Saturday, 18 June 2011

Stork's Bill in pen and ink

Quick specimen sketch tonight, since I have a few more things I have to get to yet...

This week's Illustration Friday prompt is launch. This flower and seed belong to a plant called Stork's Bill or Filaree (Erodium cicutarium), which is native to the Mediterranean, I believe. Here in North America it's considered a weed, and in some places an invasive one. Once you've got it in growing conditions it likes, it can be hard to keep it from spreading.

That's because it has a sneaky way of planting its own seeds.

The coiled awn you see on the seed acts like a spring, and when the seed is ripe it can be launched up to a half-metre away from the parent plant. But that's not the end of things. Humidity acts on the awn, causing it to coil and uncoil, which in turn causes the seed to drill itself into the ground.

Self-planting. Pretty darned cool.

For a pretty darned cool time-lapse photo of the awl's coiling action, scroll down a bit on this page. And for anyone in Canada who hasn't ever listened to Quirks and Quarks, the radio show the report on the page was taken from... Seriously? You've missed some good popular science then, folks.

African Violet in acrylic

Hey, it's almost even a painting.

Ok, so it is a painting.

I still think I have the brush skills of a five-year-old, but I can now officially say that I've completed two canvasses in my lifetime.

What an achievement...

Part of my problem with painting (besides the fact that I don't know how to paint) is that I don't have much patience when it comes to letting layers dry. When a person doodles (or this person, at least) it means no more than an hour's worth of deciding what to do. Paint? Sheesh. That takes comparatively forever.

That's hard on those of us who don't have attention spans, you know.

Sorry. What was I saying?

The flash on my point-and-shoot got rid of a bit of the detail, but this photo is still enough to give the gist, I suppose.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Apple Blossom and Buds in pen and ink

Bit of a line study today. I tried to keep it simple and avoid any hatching or other shading, but I just couldn't avoid adding a few veins to the leaves. Leaf veins are just too much fun. Or at least they are to my branching-obsessed brain.

If you'd told me a few years back that I'd be free-handing anything in pen and ink without pencilling in first (and in a book without tear-out sheets, no less), I would have thought you were insane. I was way too eraser dependent, and way too lacking in confidence to even consider making a line that might possibly not make me happy.

I used to throw out an awful lot of stuff. Nearly finished stuff, too, if I'd mucked it up towards the end. I don't do that so much now, I'm happy to say.

Working in sketchbooks has been good for me, I think. It's making me a little more spontaneous in my lines (although I'd like to get a little more quick and sketchy yet. I'm still too controlled for my liking). More importantly, it's slooowly giving me the ability to look back on doodles that are less than perfect -- sometimes much less than perfect -- without cringing and wanting to toss the entire book in the bin.

Well, mostly. I still have my days. It's a start, anyway.

This was done from a photo I took a couple of weeks ago, partly because I felt like drawing an apple blossom even though they're done for the season, and partly because the mosquitoes are pretty trying at the moment. I may be getting more confident in my lines, but constant swatting certainly wouldn't help them any...

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Swept in oil pastel & inktense wash

This week's Illustration Friday prompt is swept. I didn't really want to go the broom route, so I more or less just let my hand do what it wanted to.

It's... kind of windswept?

I dunno. Maybe I'll have a think on this one and come back to the prompt if I come up with something that doesn't look so much like free time at art therapy class.

Not that there's anything wrong with the occasional free scribble...


Ok (a day later),here's another version:

Just a quickie in the sketchbook while warming up to do something else, but at least it's a bit more "sweepy" than the last one was.

This was done in pen and ink in my small moleskine.
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