Monday, June 27, 2016

THAT Time of the Year!

Yep, the garden has started producing and today I did one of my favorite tasks of the season - I started the Kosher Dill pickle fermentation process.  Well, putting up the harvest can be time consuming and sometimes even hard work but I love fermented pickles so all the work is worth it!

This is a half-gallon jar of slices but I also put up a quart jar of spears.  After that I kinda ran out of steam and the right sized cucumbers!

It's also the time of year for squash, especially zucchini!  Since it's the first of the season, we're really enjoying it though - we haven't had time to get tired of it.  Last night we had
 good old yellow summer squash on the grill - yummy!

This is just a few of the cucumbers that were picked and I probably pickled at least half that many again.  And there's a few zucchini in front of the basket of cucumbers. 

And last but not least, here are a few of the coneflowers that have practically taken over the yard and the small pasture behind the barn.  We had planted wildflowers there as that's where we buried Bonnie, my horse and wanted to plant flowers for a memorial.  The coneflowers and rudbeckia have practically crowded out the other flowers and have spread all up around the house.  It's a cheery site to see all those sunny yellow flowers all around and they keep blooming almost all summer long.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Cherries with Koh-i-Nor Tri-Tone Colored Pencils

Life has started spinning even faster lately and I totally forgot to post the cherries I did with the Koh-i-Nor Tri-Tone colored pencils!

So, without further ado, here it is:

These cherries were painted on DuraLar Matte, a translucent synthetic film which has a matte surface on both sides.  I like to use the DuraLar for colored pencils as you can use both sides of the support which makes for a sort of 3-D effect or, at the very least, gives you more surface to layer colors.

However, I just used one side for these cherries because I couldn't seem to get any color strength and got tired of trying.  This painting does show the different tones/colors you can get with these pencils better than the other supports I've tried.

I think I would really like these if they were a bit heavier on the pigment content.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Koh-i-Nor Tri-Tone Colored Pencils

I'd promised that I'd try the Koh-i-Nor tri-tone colored pencils on various supports and this is the latest.  It's small but I get bored with working with colored pencil easily.  Because of that, I wanted to use my time to the best advantage to fully cover and burnish the painting.  I really dislike the speckles that you get with certain papers like this one.  It's Tizano Drawing Paper and has a definite texture. 

I worked diligently on this to use enough cp to cover the speckles and tried hard to get the smooth, almost oily, finish that artist quality colored pencils give.

All but the background was done in the Tri-Tones.  I worked on the flower and leaves/stem for several days and could not get some areas dark enough even with optically mixing several dark colors.  I also couldn't get the coverage I desired.  It was fortunate that I'd used a yellow paper otherwise, I don't think the petals would look as covered as they do.

The background was done with a cp I already had.  I think it was a Lyra but am not sure as it was sharpened below the name.  Even though I spent way less time on the background, I think the results are much better compared to the flower.  Sure, I got bored and left some speckles, but overall, coverage was much better with the artist quality pencil.

Would I recommend the Koh-i-Nor's?  Probably not.  I didn't see any really advantage to the tri-toned lead and it seemed to be more of a gimmick than a positive enhancement.  I think the pencils must be student quality also as they lacked the coverage of my artist quality pencils.

I have to say that I only bought the tin of 12 pencils and that may not be enough to really judge. All in all, if you have some extra cash laying around, you might want to play with these but they feel like a waste of money for this art supply junkie.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Back From the Beach

My sister, her husband and myself and my DH went to Emerald Isle, NC for a week then spent 2 nights in Wilmington, NC.

We had a really good time, but busy as my sister wanted to see every attraction possible in the area.  We took a ferry tour of the outer islands and saw the wild ponies on Shackleford Banks and the Cape Lookout Lighthouse.  Both islands are pretty much natural with little interference from man, especially Shackleford Banks.  Cape Lookout does have amenities of sorts including a visitor's center and camping is allowed and you can find out more about what's available HERE.

And this is a photo of the lighthouse itself:

I don't recall the lighthouse leaning that much but it probably did as the trees in the photo look straight!  You can see how 'wild' the island is.

I did a quick watercolor pencil sketch of the lighthouse while we were at the beach and added some colored pencil when we got home.

The original was the w/c pencil dampened with a waterbrush and looked kind of insipid.  I had lunch with my granddaughter yesterday then we went to Hobby Lobby where I found some Koh I Nor tri-toned colored pencils and had to buy them (I have said many times that I'm an art supply junkie!)  Anyway, I colored the lighthouse with these pencils but had to use a regular colored pencil for the black of the lighthouse pattern.

I'd like to try these pencils again on a painting that hasn't been pre-colored.  They don't seem to have the pigment load of a lot of artist quality colored pencils and seem to be more like the colored pencils we used in grade school.  But I do want to give them a fair chance.  Here's a link for you to check them out.

Wild Horses on Shackleford Banks

Even if you click on the photo to enlarge it, it's really hard to see the wild ponies in this photo.  It was taken from the ferry and was actually one of the better ones I got.  The ferry was in constant motion, of course, and many of my photos taken from the boat were blurry.  Fortunately, our trip included an hour on Shackleford Banks but we were let off some distance from where the ponies were feeding so there wasn't much time to hike closer to the horses, take photos then hike back to catch the return ferry.  If there's ever a next time, I'd get some extended time on SB and forego the visit to the lighthouse.  But, both experiences were great and if you've never seen the lighthouse, it's worth a visit.  And, no, we didn't climb to the top although it's allowed.  We'd gone to SB first and after all that hiking, we weren't in shape to climp the 200 plus steps to the top of the lighthouse!  As much as I hate to admit it, I'm not a spring chick any more and to tell the truth, would probably even be too old for the stew pot!

We also visited the Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium ( and that was really interesting although I wasn't able to get very good photos.  They have some huge tanks and between the glass, water and moving fish, most of the shots were very blurry.  Oh, and did I mention throngs of rude children on field trips jostling you?  The following is one of the better photos:

Jelly Fish at Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium
I've been looking at new cameras but just haven't found one that I think will meet all my needs.  Actually, one that is exactly what I want probably doesn't even exist and I don't know what I should compromise on.

I have lots more photos and hope to find some that will inspire me to paint something soon.  It's been kinda hectic around here though and I don't really see any let up any time soon.  Maybe it will just be quick sketches with the new colored pencils for the time being!

One last bit of news, I just got notification that I'd sold a print of my calla lilies on Fine Art America.   It's one of my favorite paintings so it was especially gratifying that someone else liked it well enough to purchase it.  Here it is if you don't know what it looks like: