Today I completed Drawing Nature, Science and Culture: Natural History Illustration 101 edX course, offered by Newcastle University, Australia. And, I must say, this course has been a deeply enriching experience!
Here is my final drawing assignment:
For anyone interested in drawing, I highly recommend this free course. Using the simplest of artistic tools, graphite pencils and your own choices of paper, the creators ease you in gently with a bit of NHI (Natural History Illustration) history and basic drawing exercises. With video and text, they strike a nice balance in their presentation of material. The tone is friendly and the instruction is clear and concise, yet thorough. They offer lots of extra internet resources as well.
Through the discussion forum there is abundant opportunity to learn from peers through visual posts and dialogue. I particularly liked the peer assessment, as it allowed me to use my newly acquired NHI language as I evaluated my own and other student's work. It taught me how to evaluate art in a useful way and helped me to more fully integrate the material. In the words of fellow student, Danielle During, "... learning how to give useful feedback is great. It also teaches one to look at your own work in a useful, critical manner (I find as artists we tend to be critical but not always in a useful fashion)."
The course is truly designed for all learning levels, as material is forever relevant. Novice students benefit from the insight and practices of more experienced students, while the more experienced can share what they have learned along the way and encourage others along. All levels of artistic development can lend their sight and mental acuity to help one another 'see'. There is sufficient challenge for all levels, as subject matter in each area of study is for you to decide.
Momentum is encouraged by due dates, so if you are thinking of taking this 6 week course do plan to invest a minimum of 6 hrs per week. Follow: NewcastleX: NHI101x
Botanical Art Worldwide is an international exhibition featuring botanical works of art from 25 participating countries. Designated as Worldwide Day of Botanical Art, all exhibitions will be open for this day, May 18, 2018. The 40 original pieces of indigenous plants presented in each venue will also be shown as digital projections in all venues around the world. What a wonderful way to celebrate the diverse flora of our shared planet!
"linking people with plants through botanical art"
'Art of the Plant' - indigenous plants of Canada
'Art of the Plant' is Canada's contribution to this vast exhibition. Along with 18 other Canadian juried artist works and the works of 12 invitational artists, the original "Woodland Jack-in-the-pulpit Arisaema atrorubens" will be on display from May 10 - Oct 14, 2018 at the Canadian Museum of Nature, Stonewall Gallery, Ottawa.
Below are my object studies for week 2 of the edX course, 2018 Drawing Nature, Science and Culture: Natural History Illustration 101, offered by the University of Newcastle, Australia. The instruction for this illustration couse is excellent!
edX.org was founded by Harvard University and MIT in 2012, offering access to free, high-quality online courses from the world's best educational institutions. As a non-profit organization, the mission of edX is to "Increase access to high-quality education for everyone, everywhere ... Enhance teaching and learning on campus and online ... Advance teaching and learning through research."
This early morning scene represents one of my favourite neighbourhood walks, a path in the Laurel Creek Conservation Area that passes by a meadow, below a pine plantation, through a wetland preserve with pioneer forest beyond, and into a mature Beech-Maple forest. In late summer / early autumn, I often see the Monarch Danaus plexippus alight on slender leaves of the tall wetland grasses.
Wetland Resting Place - Danaus plexippus
Begun in early autumn, 2017, this experimental mixed-media study
was completed in March 2018.
I am now offering realistic portraiture. Portraits are digitally painted using a Wacom tablet and stylus, in concert with software that offers tools to simulate traditional watercolour and coloured pencil, along with others to create the finer details.
The Delight that is "Bowie" the Pug
Here's "Bowie" to kickstart the venture: In the words of his human bff, "Bowie is really sweet and couldn't hurt a fly if he tried. He is pretty cheeky and will get into stuff he knows he shouldn't, like grabbing a shoe and walking really slow across the room with it as if walking slowly means we won't see him. : )
He likes to stop and smell the flowers on walks and his favourite activities include eating freezies, rolling in the grass, and snoozing. He is most excitable in the morning and gets lazier as the day goes on.
We always say he's a romantic or sentimental because he really likes music. He will sit by my husband when he practices (and will howl along with the harmonica), and will typically have a favourite toy that he takes to bed every night."
Here's a question for you: Which version of Bowie do you like best?
Please leave your thoughts in the comments.
How does it work?
Clients provide me with photographs as reference and a brief written description that will give me insight into their loved one's character. I ask them to indicate the photo that reveals their preferred pose, with other photos allowing for clarification in areas of shadow, as well as further insight.
The final product is provided as 300 dpi digital files in two formats:
Exchange of funds/images is accomplished via etransfer, followed by an email containing a Dropbox link.
As a new member of the Botanical Artists of Canada, I entered two sketchbook pieces in the BAC 2017 Online Exhibition. New to the world of botanical art, this is a very exciting first step into aesthetically pleasing, while scientifically accurate nature art!
I invite you to peruse the various lovely works at BAC Exhibition.
Would you like to vote for your favourite painting? Click on the entries to enlarge them. Once you have discovered your favourite, make note of the artist's name & the title of their piece. Click on the "Vote here your favorite painting" button to enter your selection.
Note: Voting is open until January 6, 2018.
A corm, composed of dense stem tissue and wrapped in papery leaf bases, is the underground storage structure of some plants. This is the corm of Arisaema atrorubens (Woodland Jack-in-the-pulpit) as it appeared to me after the fruit had ripened.
All parts of Jack-in-the-pulpit contain calcium oxalate crystals. If ingested raw, these crystals are capable of mechanically injuring your mouth, throat and kidneys. To safely eat the corm, as flour or like chips, it must be dried thoroughly or sufficiently cooked.
As a medicinal herb, the raw corm can be pounded into a poultice. This irritating, yet healing poultice can then be applied to rheumatic joints.
I have enjoyed the process of working with Faber-Castell polychromos colored pencils on Stillman & Birn Zeta paper. This strong paper is great for saturation and fine detail. It cleans up well, withstanding erasure with no visible compromise. Offering series of papers within sketchbooks, along with matching sheet papers, Stillman & Birn gives artists a consistency throughout the process of working toward a finished piece. Given my experience so far with this paper, it is a definite consideration for my "Art of the Plant" Exhibition entry!
Below is a scanned digital copy of the finished fruit, mature Jack-in-the-pulpit, species Arisaema atrorubens. Unfortunately, my scanner doesn't pick up the orange reds, nor the deeper colours I used in the shadow areas, so this image does lack the innate depth of the original. Note: variations of the floral parts can be found here.
The "Art of the Plant" Exhibition will be Canada's contribution to the larger exhibition, "Botanical Art Worldwide". "Art of the Plant" will open in Ottawa May 10, 2018, followed by the official "Worldwide Day of Botanical Art" on May 18, 2018. Exhibitions will remain open for several months. Follow the links to discover the details.
Recently, my husband & I spent a weekend touring Georgian Bay. Our goal was to visit the numerous waterfalls in and around Owen Sound. Due to the plan being somewhat spontaneous, we were limited in our choice of accommodation. Through Priceline we found accommodation in Southampton.
With so few options, my husband assumed that this hotel must be a dive -- it didn't even seem to have a name, but was simply referred to as "173 High Street". He was regretful for not having looked sooner.
Having driven along High Street, Southampton, eyes fruitless in their search for signs of a hotel, we parked at the beach and walked the street to find #173. And we found it! At least the number -- on a locked door leading up a steep flight of stairs, with no indication of the existence of a hotel, motel, guest house, or anything else suggesting temporary accommodation. Befuddled & bemused, we called the number on the door.
As it turned out, the phone calls we had been receiving & ignoring during our drive up were those of the owner, Paul Schendel. He was prompt to answer our call, prompt to meet us with keys in hand, and amicably engaging as he presented the features of his elegant 2-room guest house. It turned out to be a most lovely private space for the "fortunate few"!
In a town rich with Saugeen history, this best kept secret of Georgian Bay is the place to stay!
With coloured pencil, I created this rose as a thank you to Paul Schendel, owner of
173 High Street Guest House, Southampton, Ontario.
While the colours of these two Jack-in-the-pulpit flowers are quite different, they are of the same species, Arisaema atrorubens, otherwise known as Woodland Jack-in-the-pulpit. Under the umbrella of A. triphyllum, it is up for debate whether or not to consider Woodland Jack as simply a variety or a separate species. Two 3-part leaves as opposed to one is its main distinguishing characteristic.
Woodland Jack grows throughout Southwestern Ontario in woods and swamps. The flowers grow at the base of the boy part, called a spadix, which stands hidden beneath a leaf-like bract, called a spathe. The fruit of Jack grows in a club-like or egg-shaped bunch, deep green through the summer, then bright orange-red as the nights turn cool.
The only edible part of Jack-in-the-pulpit is the corm, an underground storage structure from which the roots sprout. Dangerous to eat raw, due to the presence of calcium oxalate crystals, once thoroughly dried it can be ground into flour or thinly sliced like potato chips.
Inspired by the tales nature tells ...