New sketches from my watercolor table

I’m in the midst of a 5 week road-trip madness adventure extravaganza, only the road trip part of it is complete. I’ve been staying with dear friend and using my travel watercolor set on a little 2 x 3 foot desk that has become my workspace. My mind is on birds; their immense migrations, their delicate frames and the subtle hues of their plumage.

travel watercolors
travel watercolors
Sweet, watercolor and ink/paper, 3.5 x 4.75″
Speckled, watercolor and ink/paper, 3.5 x 4.75″
Striped, watercolor and ink/paper, 3.5 x 4.75″

Day 13 of the Drawing Challenge

Day 13 of the drawing challenge calls for a comic. This drawing challenge has held me up for a few days. I adore comics but am never quite sure how to cram the stories I want to tell into a small comic panel. I get caught in one depiction of a human and end up – much later – with one nice drawing of a character, unable (or unwilling?) to reproduce them the seven more times I’d need to.

So… here is the kind of comic I can produce. You should be able to click on the image to see it a bit larger.

pen and ink comic strip about birds and ikea
the Burds


Yesterday my husband and I went for a bike ride in the morning and came across a meter-long snake a little thicker than my wrist coiled up on the road. Fortunately a truck was driving down the road at the same time and pulled over to inspect the reptile. The driver, clearly knowing what he was doing and what species he was looking at, picked it up by its tail and flung it gently to safety in the ditch. His twelve year old son was right next to him wide-eyed. “It’s a bullsnake!” he yelled cheerfully after us.

Later that day we made a picnic to eat in a state park. We pulled into a site and I made my way towards the picnic table. Then I spotted a note scrawled on legal paper held down by rocks. It read, “Black widow nesting under table comes out at night. Consider moving away rather than killing? Thanks”… It was night. Perfect time for a dinner picnic… and letting black widows crawl on your knees. We ate in the car and enjoyed the brilliance of colour through the windshield.

In this land of tough, rough, wild creatures it’s nice once in a while to focus on the gentle, non-poisonous kinds. Here are some ducks I sketched at Oasis State Park the day I spotted “Snakey“.

watercolour drawing of ducks by lake
Ducks, watercolour on paper, 5 x 7"

A morning painting adventure…

I had a wonderful morning adventure in my car which involved nearly running over a meter-long snake (phew, I didn’t) and watching cows, birds, rabbits and stray cats roaming the plains.

Here is one of two sketches I did from the passenger seat, trying not to get oil paint all over the dashboard and armrests! I had to work both canvases quickly before the day got too hot and unbearable. I packed a cooler-bag of ice water but still got a little dizzy in the open. I drove home after two hours and completed the paintings at home in the comfortable air-conditioned studio. I’ll post the other canvas tomorrow…

oil painting of a bird on a fence post in the desert
Bird on a Post, oil on canvas, 8 x 10"

Walking Nelson

I visited Nelson, British Columbia last fall and must say I could really use an annual visit to such a vibrant, unique place. The autumn was an especially nice time to visit as I got to experience the colour and the warmth of the town as it transformed into the crispy white of ski season.

Nelson they say, is a place that either sucks you in or spits you out. I was sucked in for a decent chunk of time and imagine I will always feel it tugging me back. What I miss most are the walks I took up and down the steep streets. They provided endless views of eclectic houses lined above the lake with a backdrop of bulbous clouds caught on the mountain tops.

watercolour and drawing of houses in nelson, bc
Walking Nelson's Streets, watercolour and ink on paper, 7 x 9"