Wednesday, November 26, 2014

thinking about trees

The Walk To The Pond
6 x 6 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

I have been thinking about trees lately. And when considering trees and their many forms while I sifted through my references, I found this view from a nearby Christmas tree farm. It is our family's tradition to visit a local Christmas tree farm the day after Thanksgiving where we "choose and cut" our tree for the holiday season. The November light and color of this scene seemed a perfect place to start when thinking about trees.

Wishing to all who celebrate a Happy Thanksgiving holiday!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

sketchbook :: squash and other thoughts

This is the first sketch in my new Stillman & Birn Beta sketchbook. I used up the Strathmore watercolor sketchbook and was curious to try something else. Compared to the Strathmore sketchbook, the Stillman & Birn paper in the Beta is a little smoother in texture and a bit brighter white. Although I liked the paper's texture in the Strathmore watercolor sketchbook I am thinking that the smoother paper in the Beta will better lend itself to a greater variety of media. (Something I keep saying I am going to do in my sketchbooks but rarely happens) They both take watercolor well, however is is a bit easier to lift the pigment from the Beta paper. Actually somewhat too easy at times. I do use very soupy washes of color and enjoy dropping pure color into very wet areas and letting the paint mix on the paper. I like a paper that will hold onto that initial puddle of color and continue to accept additional color dropped into it while still wet. Nothing really does that like a good cold pressed paper but both of these sketchbooks, the Strathmore watercolor and the Stillman & Birn Beta, are the closest to having that quality that I have found in a commercially made bound sketchbook.

The Strathmore watercolor sketchbook that I was using was the soft bound cover in the 7.5 by 9.5 inch size. This Stillman & Birn Beta is a hard bound cover 5.5 x 8.5 inch sketchbook. They both lay flat when opened, which is important to me. Now the soft cover of the Strathmore was a treasure to hold and the 7.5 x 9.5 inch was a very comfortable format for me to work in, even if it didn't fit my scanner bed. The 5.5 x 8.5 inch size of the Beta does fit my scanner (yay!) and you get a nice 8.5 x 11 inch format when working across the page spread. Yet I do wish Stillman & Birn had more size options in the hardcover Beta sketchbook. Something a little less rectangular, more of a square sized format, but that's just my personal preference. I know they have a square format in the spiral bound but I can never warm up to a spiral bound sketchbook the way I do with a hard (or soft) bound book.

Now I know I can always return to making my own sketchbooks. And by doing so I can choose a paper I like and make a format that I prefer. And I just may do that again at some point. But my book binding skills are not so great and there always remains a gap where the signatures come together. Plus I tend to treat my hand made sketchbooks as being a little too precious, approaching every sketch as I would a finished painting. I needed a break from that mindset. For some reason, when using a commercially made sketchbook I feel more free to have messy unresolved pages right along with a few nice sketches. So I will see where this Stillman & Birn Beta sketchbook takes me.

The squash pictured above were sketched with watercolor only and are on the menu for tonight's dinner.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Scott Creek Marsh

Scott Creek Marsh at Low Tide
8 x 10 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

Scott Creek meanders behind the park and shops along Jungle Road on Edisto Island, South Carolina. The creek runs from Big Bay Creek and St. Helena Sound to the Atlantic Ocean at the north end of Edisto Beach State Park. The salt marshes change appearance with the rise and fall of the tide. At low tide what remains are the muddy etchings of the water's flow, crabs scurrying about and the sucking sound of the mussels now exposed to the air. I was drawn to the curvilinear shape of that shallow ribbon of water in this low tide salt marsh view.

Monday, November 3, 2014

sketchbook :: season's change

We had stunning Autumn days last week. Tuesday afternoon while Kiddo worked on her science project recording native plants in our yard, I took the opportunity to sketch one of our forsythia that lives beside our drive. The deep reds and purples of its autumn leaves create quite a show against the backdrop of deep blues and greens of the rhododendrons.

Postcard From Autumn V
3.5 x 5 inches
©Ann Thompson Nemcosky

And here is the last in my Postcards From Autumn series, one that I previously neglected to post. It does seem that winter has arrived, now that we had our first snow over the weekend. The colder temps have me thinking about winter time projects in the studio, as well as lots of cooking and crocheting. How does your creative activity change with the seasons?


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