Friday, September 30, 2016

OCAF Small Works exhibit prep

I've been busy painting a few small watercolors to enter in the OCAF Small Works exhibit.  All entires have to be less then 14" in all directions.  For an 8" x 10" matted painting I mark out a 5" x 6" space on watercolor paper.  This gives me a little extra edge space on the finished painting.  I create several small paintings, then choose two or three to enter.  This year I am submitting two landscapes, and a nature painting for consideration.

The Weidemeyer's Admiral Butterfly Limenitis weidemeyerii, was painted from a photograph I took at Grand Teton National Park, while on a Naturalist led Butterfly walk at the top of Signal Mountain.  The summit provides panoramic views of the Teton Range, Jackson Hole valley and Jackson Lake.  During our walk we saw several butterflies, but none as spectacular as this western species.  This family of butterflies first pair of legs are so small they resemble little brushes, which gives them their common name 'brushfooted'.  Other members of the family Nyphalidae include: the Monarch, Red Admiral, Blue Morpho and Painted Lady.

The first landscape features the amazing Firehole Spring, one of the most colorful pools along Firehole Lake Drive, Yellowstone National Park.  The spring bubbles and steams but is not a geyser.  The clear turquoise blue water is the hottest part of the spring, so hot that even thermophiles can not live in there.  They prefer the run offs where the water is cooler. Yellow or green mats of thermophiles are found closer to the springs in higher temperatures (up to 167ยบ F).  Lower temperature areas have mats of orange, rust and brown.  In addition to temperature, springs and geysers can be acidic, neutral, or alkaline.  The Ph also determines what bacteria can live there.  One part of the painting that is not very visible at this small size are the white siliceous collars where the water touched the nearby standing dead Lodgepole pines.

After the storm, the second landscape, is of a Yellowstone geyser field lit by sun rays bursting through holes in the clouds as the storm is slowly breaking up.  The steam of the geysers are in sharp relief, between the shadowed trees in the foreground and the dark green distant hills.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Fish live in beautiful places 2

I don't carry a watercolor kit on me when fly fishing, but I do have one in the truck.  Often it is a hike from the truck to the stream, but sometimes you can park very close to the stream.  I took advantage of fishing close to where the Truck was parked to painted the below view of a beautiful small headwater stream of the Davidson river, NC.

It was done in my Moleskin water color notebook using my Van Gogh  Watercolor Pocket Box.  The various shades of green were made using a pallet of: Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Deep, Cerulean Blue, Permanent Red, Madder Lake Deep, Permanent Yellow and Azo Yellow Medium.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Fish live in beautiful places

I carry a small moleskin sketch book and pencil in a pocket of my Fish Pond chest pack, just in case I feel the urge to sketch while I am out on the river.  When I take a break to drink some water, change a fly or unravel a knot, I will stop to do a quick sketch of a falls, riffle, river bank or other angler.

After spending the afternoon fishing the Gibbon River where it twists through grassy meadows in Yellowstone NP (photo to the right), I did a quick pencil sketch of the bright purple wild flowers along the trail.  I included some notes to help me identify the plant at a later time.  It matches the description of the Thick Stemmed Aster, Eurybia integrifolia.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Grand Teton's majestic mountains

While touring Grand Teton National Park we had several days when the smoke from burning wildfires obscured the mountains.  Normally you can see the mountains from many miles away, but due to the fires the mountain tops faded into the pale blur gray sky.  Wildfires are common in the dry summers, and the Park Service and local Fire Departments spend a considerable amount of time monitoring and fighting fires.  Each fire that is tracked is named.  One of the fires that contributed to the smoke we encountered was the large Berry Fire.

On one of the clearer days, I went back to an overlook I had previously visited to sketch the mountain view across Jenny Lake.  Thousands of years ago glaciers moved through Cascade Canyon, pushing rocky debris ahead of their progress.  Later, when the glaciers retreated, they left behind a mass of rocky debris which formed a terminal moraine creating Jenny Lake.

I had a lovely time sitting in a shady spot while sketching and talking to several people who were also enjoying the spectacular view.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Vast open spaces in a small sketch book

I was recently out west, where Idaho - Wyoming - Montana meet.  This area has vast open plains, tall craggy mountains, brilliant blue skies and many beautiful rivers.  I spent most of my time fly fishing in Yellowstone National Park, but also was able to tour some of the attractions at Yellowstone National Park and Grand Tetons National Park.

Below is a sketch I did of the distant hills, after spending the day fly fishing the Gallatin River, Yellowstone NP.  Like many rivers, this one begins in the mountains and is formed by rain, snow melt that flows into small creeks.  We were fishing in the valley where the now wider river begins to meander.  The banks of this swift flowing rocky river are lined with dense willows.  I was told that moose like to bed down among the willows, but happily we didn't run into any while we were fishing.  The coolness of the water was a refreshing complement to the sunny warm day.