Friday, July 29, 2016

Low Water

It seems a bit early in the year to have such low water in the river. I'm not concerned and I presume that this is simply the variability of the seasons. In my limited experience, August and September are usually months of low water …then tropical storms and hurricanes come and fill things up again.

What I am concerned about is the rapid rise and fall of the river's water level whenever we have a significant rain. It's probably due to increases in all manner of human development in the watershed. Also of concern is an increase in algae growth. This, once again is due almost exclusively to landowners relentlessly fertilizing grassy lawns and old septic systems.

Nevertheless, the low water always comes at a time when mallards are fully fledged and feeding on mats of algae and other slimy plant growths on the now-exposed face of the South Natick dam. It's fun to watch their antics as they clamor up and down like nimble feathered alpinists.

ink, charcoal
ink, charcoal
ink, charcoal, conté

Friday, July 8, 2016

Full of Life

It's July and the river is full of life. Birds are everywhere and I try to draw a few of them from time to time. I hope you like them.

Canada Goose
chalk, ink
Great Blue Heron
ink, charcoal
Great Blue Heron
ink, charcoal
Three Goslings
chalk, ink
Young Geese
ink, charcoal
The view downriver: ducks, heron
ink, colored pencil

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Vegetation & Ink

These are from the latter pages of my June 2016 sketchbook. I bought this sketchbook in Liege, Belgium: unsized, cream colored Lana spiral bound. It took some getting used to the absorbent paper. If you're curious about the ink used here, I'll do my best to describe it: It's a combination of a bunch of things. Really pretty bad things: dark gray fabric paint that contains mica or glitter, some sort of deep purple iridescent craft ink, dregs of some FW Hookers Green acrylic ink, dregs of whatever was in the jar before it started to run low. I diluted it more because the paper was so thirsty. Now it's nice. Kind of silvery and it never gets too dark too fast. That's where the charcoal or litho crayon comes in. Shop talk. :)

The Utility Pole
ink, charcoal
Christina's Garden
ink, charcoal
The Island
ink, charcoal
Reid State Park, Maine
ink, charcoal, colored pencil
Reid State Park, Maine
ink, charcoal

Friday, June 10, 2016


I was up and out early this morning (I'm sure I'll pay later…or even now because I'm blogging instead of working on an illustration commission). As the birds awoke, I was working in the studio. Later, I set out for a walk around Lake Waban at Wellesley College.

The question is always the same: to bring drawing supplies and camera or not? The accessories make the walk a bit longer. I think about my outing and how I might share it. Is that nuts or what?! Can't I just go for a walk because I am a living creature and not be concerned with sharing or broadcasting on social media and adding to my teetering stack of drawings? Why this need to share my experiences or thoughts?

It would be nice to simply walk and feel and think and not have the burden of the artistic impulse or worry that something of artistic merit might pass me by. Be off the grid for a while… it's a pervasive sickness where the dog and it's tail both wag and both get a bit mixed-up.

Well, I did bring my sketchbook, ink, brushes and pencils and camera. It was so beautiful, I had to share a few photos. It was so beautiful, I had to do a few very quick ink drawings. And I shared them as I'm doing here. Dog and tail both happy.

Ladies and gentlemen, these are "first world problems" as most of the artist's problems are. It's a dilemma. Believe me though, I have many other problems and, yes, they are mostly of the self-inflicted and first world variety. Such is the artist's life: a dilettante in Life yet generous and courageous in battle! Onward and upward!

ink, charcoal

Monday, May 30, 2016

Wet Work

It's raining today in Natick. It's a good day to curl up, read books and drink hot tea. Of course, I went outside at 7:00 A.M. to see if anything was happening at the dam. I brought my sketchbook and some charcoal pencils and a jar of mixed inks. I like the chance effects of rain, snow and even ice in my drawings. Once in awhile, something great happens. However, more often the drawing gets washed away. There's a metaphor for life in here somewhere. Below are today's efforts and a few from years past using an assortment of media.
A Great Blue Heron in front of the dam (in the rain)
charcoal, ink
Looking over the top of the dam
charcoal, ink, colored pencil
the same drawing above, in the wild
When I sketch in the rain, I try to take a photo of the work because the rain often washes everything away by the time I get back to my studio.

The island in the rain
geese in the rain
heron under the bridge
various ducks
Using a hard charcoal
I think this is a slightly water soluble litho crayon

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