Tuesday, August 4, 2020

More Poldark Country.

C1178
“Evening Light Carnewas Cove …
Bedruthan Steps on Mid-Summer’s Day”
(Bedruthan Steps, Cornwall, England)

A Watercolour
on Saunders Waterford, 140#,
cold pressed Watercolour Paper

3⅛” x 7⅜”


Carnewas Cove is the next cove to the south of Pendarves Cove, the cove you descend into down the narrow stairway in the crack in the cliffs. It is accessible only at extreme low tides, or through a cave to the left of the bottom of the stairway. This cave would be just to the left of the view in the painting of Pendarves Cove in the last post. Much of the time you would have to wade through pools to get through the cave, but occasionally the sand washed into the cave, at certain times of the year, is just the right amount to allow a dry-shod perambulation through. This Mid-summer's Day was just such an occasion. Once through, the view is better, with the Sea filling the cove, rather than the expanse of sand that would be there when low tide might allow you to proceed around the sea-stack in the Pendarves Cove painting.

The distant coastline, with the white houses and ending with the headland and island, I cannot recall now exactly where and how far down the, coast towards St. Ives, we are looking. I would need to refer to my maps of Cornwall, which are not to hand. It could be that we are looking at Godrevey Island, forty miles or more, as the raven flies, in which case St. Ives, and the heights behind it, would be off the right of the painting. They were all in view during the 1999 Summer eclipse of the Sun; sadly, what was not in view was the Sun itself!. A first class day, it had started out to be, and I had chosen my observation spot on top of a broze age tumulus, a half mile north of Bedruthan Steps. Then a couple of hours before totality, a band of cloud appeared down the middle of the sky, obscuring the Sun during the eclipse. Both St. Ives, way to the southwest, and Boscastle area, to the north-northeast, were out of the cloud shadow, but both were just out of the line of totality as well; and this was proved as when totality occurred, and we were in darkness, they were both in wan sunlight. The eclipse was still interesting, but not what it should have been, had we been able to see the Sun. It was not until 2017 when I was able to see an eclipse from the Wind River Range in Wyoming. But I digress. Up on the clifftops hereabouts, St. Ives may be easily seen on a clear enough day, but down here at the water's edge, not so much. So that distant headland and Island may not be as far as Godrevey Island ... wish I had my maps.

This Watercolour of Carnewas Cove falls within the strictures of “the Miniature,” being under 25 square inches. But it was not intended as such, and it was never framed within those strictures, being originally placed within an 8” x 12” frame.

*****

Time only for a couple of observations:

After a couple weeks of temperatures in the 90s, the grasses here have lost most of their green blades even within the clumps, except for those that are mostly in the shade. Their seed heads are being nibbled at by the ground squirrels and chipmunks. The transition from green to yellow ochre was interrupted by a couple of good heavy showers, one day last week. Thunder and lightning and an hour long shower from 1:30 - 2:30 PM, and another shower in the evening. They kept the dust, and the flies, down for a couple of days afterwards. The afternoon thunderstorm was a slow moving affair. You could hear a rumbling in the distance for a couple of hours before it arrived. It also did not look like it would actually come over my camp, as the clouds did not look at all threatening, and there was still a lot of blue sky around, even after the rain began. It kept that day from getting into the 90s, but the next two were mid-90s. My SUV is in the shade most of the day, and even on the hottest days there have been breezes, so generally it has been bearable. One or two days has had humidity enough to sap your energy. The past two days have benn in the mid-80s, and it is amazing what a few degrees can make ... 85° can feel absolutely cool, after 95° days!

Obviously I'm talking Fahrenheit degrees here, Folks. I reserve Centigrade and Kelvin degrees for scientific discourse, and rightly so. Fahrenheit degrees, I feel, are much more human. You older British will remember Fahrenheit degrees. But the rest of the World, really has no experience with the human scale of the Fahrenheit degree. There is 1.8 Fahrenheit degrees to 1 Centigrade degree, so there is a subtlety to the Fahrenheit scale lost in the Centigrade scale; temperatures jump too fast in Centigrade. For example: 10°C is 50°F, and when you jump 10°C to 20°C it is already 68°F, whereas if you jump 10°F to 60 °F, it is a less jarring increase in temperature ... a more subtle temperature rise ... and psychologically (dare I say it? Why, yes I do!), a more human increase ... 35 degrees does not sound hot at all, but 95 degrees ... well, that sounds like a sweltering day ... and, of course, it is. “It's below zero outside.” is damn cold, if your Fahrenheit degrees man as I am, but if you go by Centigrade degrees, below zero is not particularly cold, especially if it's a dry cold. Give me Fahrenheit degrees for everyday living, all day every day, but for Scientific Discussion I'll take Centigrade or Kelvin degrees. Perhaps now that the British have ruined their lives with Brexit (and mine, since my pension is British, and the £ fell like a stone, with Brexit ... most ex-pats), perhaps they'll go back to Fahrenheit degrees ... hell, I would.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Poldark Country.

C1242
“Evening Light in Pendarves Cove”
(Bedruthan Steps, Cornwall, England)

A Watercolour
on Saunders Waterford, 140#,
cold pressed Watercolour Paper

4”  x  9-1/4”


I lived in Cornwall, England for 23 years ... Poldark country. Sadly I have only seen a couple of episodes of that story. The first series, back in the 70s, I had no television, and this latest series ... I have no television. But many of the scenes I have painted over the years, you might say most of them whilst living in Cornwall, were of Poldark country, since all of Cornwall is really Poldark country.

Four years ago, I stopped for the night in Moscow, Idaho, at an old friend from Cornwall's house. Tim (and his first wife), was my downstairs neighbor, when I lived at Treyarnon Bay. Not having arrived until after eight in the evening, after eleven hours of driving and crossing seven Oregon mountain ranges, we repaired straight to the kitchen, ate and drank and laughed for the next seven hours. The television in the sitting room had been on low, in that room, the whole time we were regalling each other with stories in the kitchen. When at 3:30 or so, we entered the sitting room and found it still on, we both stopped and stared at the screen, for it seemed familiar ... and it was, for we both realized we were looking at the end of show credits of a Poldark episode, scrolling down over a view of Bedruthan Steps, not a mile and a half from our former residence ... Surreal!

[Note: After that, I slept in a chair for a couple of hours, then hit the road, going over the Lolo Pass to Missoula, Montana,  and subsequently driving 634 miles, spending the next night at the first rest stop past the junction of the Little Bighorn with the Yellowstone River. I was headed for Minneapolis and then the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for a class reunion.]

For sixteen years, I had lived a mile and a half from Bedruthan Steps. The first several years I rarely got down there, as the bottom of the stairway down to the beach had washed away in a storm, and, subsequently, the National Trust had blocked off the top of the stairs for safety purposes. The only other way to the coves below, was from the north end of the beach at extreme low tide, and with the water's edge then so far out, it was not so interesting. Once the stairs had been repaired,  Bedruthan Steps became one of my favorite bits of coast to go to and to paint. For four months during the Winters, the top of the stairs were also blocked, but by this time I had discovered how to scramble over the blockade, and so have the place all to myself, rarely seeing anyone else who might also know how to get down there.

Pendarves Cove, in the painting above is the first cove you descend to, down the narrow stairway in a crack in the cliffs. That would be to the left off the painting. Another of my paintings with the shadows of early morning, from this viewpoint, was in the “Artist's and Illustrator’s Magazine,” back in the early 2000s ... Issue #19 rings a bell. On a Summer morning, with an ebbing tide, from this point you can scramble around into the next cove, Redcove, and if you watch the waves and are quick enough, you can get into it twenty minutes or so before any of the Summer visitors find their way into that cove. Then skirting around to the other side, there is a cave that you can scramble through, and be in the third cove (which name escapes me at present), and be there for an hour and a half, before any one else makes it around the headland ... few people were aware that the cave went all the way through, I discovered, and besides, it was a bit of a scramble as well. Bedruthan Steps became one of my favorite painting subjects, during my final years in Cornwall.

Incidentally, Bedruthan was a Cornish giant who fled across the coves here, using the sea stacks as stepping stones, when fleeing the devil one night ... at least according to local folklore; and who would dispute such a venerable source?!!
*****

More  campsite observations:

During the last half of June and the first ten days or so of July, whenever I walked up into the Ponderosas, there were big caterpillars marching along every few yards. These were not of the hairy kind. They were about four inches long and about half an inch thick, dark grey-green in colour with some brown and black in the design. They reminded me of the white ones I have found under the bark of some sort of dead pines, in the past, and which I roasted and added to a rice dish (I followed the directions found on a survival site). I did not try these, as I am yet unsure as to whether all un-hairy caterpillars are edible or not. Hopefully I will find information on these, at some point, as they could be a survival food source at some future time. Incidentally, the white ones depended on the condiments added to the meal for palatability; I understand that Witchity grubs, down in Australia, are flavourful in their own right.

A few days ago, the wind blew many little catkin-like objects out of the trees. They are about an inch to an inch and a half long, about a quarter inch wide, and rusty brown in colour. I think that these are what are called male pinecones. These, I believe, are the source of all the pollen, I talked about back in the first couple of weeks in June; the greenish-yellow smoke, that I thought was coming out of my car when driving out of La Pine on the 4th of June; the same colour dust that Kicked up on my trouser bottoms when walking through the woods; the same stuff settling on my car and any horizontal surface, for that matter; and the same stuff left as a scum ring around the puddles in the road after the rain ... that stuff. I have vague memories of reading and/or seeing documentaries about it. Since my connectivity is so sparse out in the various places I camp at, I cannot research this. So I will go with what I just said.

In the evenings, before pitch dark, I have noticed smallish butterfly-like moths working over the old blossoms on the bitterbrush. There are fewer bees working them in the daylight, as they seem to have lost interest in them since the flowers are so long past their prime. I wonder if these moths were working them all along?

The Spring, before I turned nine, was when I began to make discoveries in the woods where we lived in Northern Wisconsin. We lived three miles from the small village of Lake Nebagamon, and our nearest neighbors were a quarter mile away. Everyday, after school, I was out in the woods, and the fields and down at the extremely small and seasonal pond. Before that Spring, it was mostly play, and my observations were incidental. But that Spring, things began to have more meaning, I began to see more relationships, and had more understandings of my observations ... they also built upon the earlier “incidental” observations. It was a time of discovery ... with meaning. These days, out here, I am feeling that same sense of awe and discovery of my childhood.

As adults too many of us have lost that sense of discovery ... of wonder. I pity those poor fools who purport to love the great outdoors, but then come out here and treat it as a shooting gallery, and an ATV race track, and, too often, a trash can. The World would be a better place if these folk would get off their vehicles, lay down their arms for awhile, and stop to smell the roses during their time out here; perhaps then they might gain an actual respect for these Great Outdoors, and take their trash back home.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Twilight at Second Beach, La Push.


C1446
“Evening over Quillayute Needles”
(Second Beach, La Push, Washington Coast)

A Miniature Watercolour
on Saunders Waterford, 140#,
cold pressed Watercolour Paper

1-3/4”  x  4” image size
3-5/8” x 5-3/4” frame size
4-7/8” x 7” outside frame


Another Miniature Watercolour. I think it was 2009 when I first circumnavigated the Olympic Peninsula. After a photo-recon shoot at Cape Flattery, I proceeded down US Hwy 101, from the north, and then turned right off 101 for La Push. At another junction I turned right for a National Forest campground north of the river that flows into the Pacific at La Push. At this last junction I noticed a sign that said, “Peace line ... Vampires do not cross!”. This was my first inkling that I was in “Twilight” country. I had not seen any of the films yet, but was slightly aware of them (I don't know how many had come out by then). When I finally did see the films, one of the scenes purporting to be at LaPush was actually filmed at Indian Beach in Ecola State Park, near Cannon Beach, Oregon. Incidentally, it was also at Indian Beach that part of the final scene of “Point Break” (Patrick Swayze & Keanu Reeves), was filmed, standing in for Australia.

I digress. Other than Rialto Beach, to the north, the other beaches at La Push are all imaginatively named: First, Second and Third Beaches. This is Second Beach, in the above Miniature, where I spent most of a day. I did get to Third Beach, later that day, just before sundown. They are are both approached via walks through old growth forests, and are worth a visit. I can see why the high schoolers in “Twilight” went down there. Upon leaving La Push I soon came to the town of Forks, on Hwy 101, and the epicenter of “Twilight.” While sitting in a small traffic jam, waiting for the light to change, I noticed a few more references to the film, including a local travel bureau offering “Twilight Tours.”  So, there you have it, folks ... two reasons to go to La Push: either if you're a “Twilight” fan, or rugged scenery, with a beach, end old growth forests.

*****

It is mid-July, as I write, and over the past couple of weeks, the grasses have turned to yellow ochre, from the greens they displayed throughout the month of June. During June you could look out across the “Sagebrush Sea” and the predominant colours were various greens. During April and May, the new growth of the grasses were growing green up through the old growth, until, in June, the new green growth took over. The seed heads ripened and on some grasses they were a decided purpley red in colour, so that slashes of soft red were interspersed within the greens, when looking across the landscape. Now the mature grasses have gone ochre, especially with this ‘in the nineties’ weather we've been having. Oh, there is still green down in the depths of the individual clumps, but the longer stalks are ochre, and the sage clumps lie within this ochre ‘sea’.

You might remember back in April, me wondering if the Antelope Bitterbrush, flowered every year. I was looking for those flowers too early, as they came out during the second half of May. During April the tiny leaves unfurl, and the Bitterbrush turns from a Winter grey to green, and later, when the tiny yellow flowers appear, the effect on the landscape is a lighter yellow-green. Close to, you can see the pale yellow of the myriad flowers on the bush, but from a distance the appearance is of a yellowish green. The flowers, are still out, past their prime, but still out; and the bees are still working them.

Two days ago the chipmunks made out big, on the strawberry remnant  front, by getting to them first. One of them even started on a cheese curl, that I had inadvertently dropped, but had been ignored for a whole day and night; the late coming ground squirrel, no doubt disgruntled on missing the strawberry remnants, chased off the smaller chipmunk and took over the cheese curl; odd how it had become of interest after having been ignored for so long. [Oh, there goes a chipmunk dashing up the big tree to my left ... now he’s sitting on a limb getting an aerial survey of the surrounding territory ... mission accomplished, going down now]. One of the chipmunks has gotten to the strawberries first, yesterday and today, as well, but only managed one bit yesterday, before the ground squirrel saw him off. Today, however, they got all of them, before the big fella showed up. It's only fair, as he's dominated most of the time.

The male  White Headed Woodpecker, that lives in one of the two dead trees four feet immediately to the right of my truck, woke me up this morning by pecking on my window. He's quite used to my presence by now, and  works the trees all around me. He's in the small tree eight feet to my left as I write. It's all go around here, I tell ya!

*****

At the end of the following paragraphs are the links to various Miniature Societies.

Some of you will have read about Miniatures when you clicked on that tab on this blog. I invite you to read that page again. Here I will reiterate some of that information and perhaps add a little bit more. Unless you have been fortunate enough to have attended a Miniature Show, and there are not many of them in the grand scheme of things, you probably have never seen a Miniature.

A Miniature is not just a small painting, although small paintings do appear in many of the Miniature shows. What differentiates the true or ‘Classic Miniature,' (a term I may have coined) from small paintings of similar size, is to be found in the technique and application of the pigments when painting. The Classic Miniature is highly detailed, and built up with transparent and translucent layers of pigments, whether they be Watercolour, Gouache, Acrylic, or Oils. Many thus find added enjoyment by perusing their Miniatures with the aid of a magnifying glass.

Many galleries do not understand Miniatures. For example I have seen galleries’ call to artists for a miniature show that accepts paintings up to 12”x16” in size. These are not Miniatures ... they are small paintings. According to the premier Miniature societies, the maximum size accepted is 25 square inches, and there is a restriction on the maximum outside frame dimensions, as well.

Another thing to consider is the one sixth rule, where the painted image is to be one sixth or less of the size of the subject. For example, a 3” orange in a still life, would be painted at 1/2” or smaller in the Miniature. I don’t always follow this rule, especially when painting butterflies or tiny flowers, and a case in point is the bee in the above painting ... it is about half the size of the actual bee, not one sixth, but it received an award, nevertheless.

Many of my Minatures have received awards, and many have sold in the various Miniature shows. The problem comes when a Miniature has been to all the shows and remains unsold, because most Galleries do not have a way of displaying Miniatures safely, and thus do not accept them. So I will be presenting some of my Miniatures to you, periodically on this site, starting with this little beauty. The prices will be approximately 10-15% below what they were when in the Miniature Shows, but will be back up if I ever find a gallery to display them.

One of the problems in showing them online is that to see them on screen, is to see them already larger than they actually are in reality. I haven't quite decided the best resolution. On my compubter and my phone, they look good, size-wise (although still oversize), but on my tablet they fill the screen and are way oversize. The framed images give you an idea, but the colours are not the best since they were shot through the glass. The colours are best on the unframed images. Just keep in mind the actual dimensions when looking at the images on screen.

I suggest that you visit the following websites to learn more about Miniatures, and to put these into perspective:






Tuesday, July 21, 2020


C1216
“Crabshell on the Beach”

A Miniature Watercolour
on Saunders Waterford, 140#,
hot pressed Watercolour Paper

2-5/8”  x  3-3/8” image size
4-1/2” x 5-1/8” frame size
5-3/4” x 6-1/4” outside frame


Another Miniature Watercolour. This was painted long before I thought about painting Miniatures. I had this crabshell, and decided to paint it as an exercise. Then the Miniature shows came along, and I already had one available. It just meant changing frames, as originally it was framed with a large thick matte (mount, to the British), and, oh probably, for fitting an 8” x 10” frame, or thereabouts.

*****

As indicated in the last posting, the birds hereabouts really love their eggshells! The night before last I had eggs for supper and I placed the shells in the usual spot so I could watch them in the morning, over breakfast; by breakfast time they were mostly gone. They stop by the tree, periodically, and inspect the ground beneath to see if any more shells have magically appeared.

The male Western Tanager swooped into the half open passenger door, a couple of days ago, ending up flapping on my cluttered dashboard for a secondor two, before flying back out ... more surprised than hurt. I was having an after lunch doze at the time ... a bit of a shock for both of us, I might add. A Hummingbird is another one that flits into the car, on an inspection tour to check out any red packaging I might have. Usually it just enters a short space, but the other day it came further in and hovered in the center of the front seats above the cup holders, for about  7 seconds.

The other resident denizens are the Golden Mantled Ground Squirrels and Chipmunks; I believe the latter to be Eastern, or possibly Least Chipmunks. The Ground Squirrels are much larger than the Chipmunks, and with a  chunkier build; the nose is also shorter, whereas that of the Chipmunk is a bit longer and more pointed.

The  strawberries have recently been fairly cheap, in the shops, and so when I go to town for supplies, I have been getting a punnet, if I have room in my cooler. [Sorry, but the male Tanager just landed on the maps inserted in the recess on the inside of my driver's side door, and with a bit of the crepe skin of white onion, in his beak; I expect he thought it was an eggshell! We inspected one another for about 15 seconds. Incidentally, with the best will in the world, those crepey bits of onion skin can get away from you whilst preparing one's supper]. Sorry ... where was I? OK ... Strawberries. Yes, when I have 3 or 4 of them after a meal, there is a remnant of the fruit around the leaves. After all are eaten and I have brushed my teeth, and gotten settled-in for painting, or composing my emails or blog, I place the strawberry remnants where I can observe them. The birds ignore, or haven't found them, but the ground squirrels and chipmunks have. Usually it is one particular ground squirrel, and the chipmunk(s) are too late. Occasionally, a baby ground squirrel (the babies have appeared during the last 10 days), will get there first and, instead of eating it there, will run off with it, to a safer place. A couple of days ago everything worked out OK, for all concerned. The baby ground squirrel got there first and ran off with its prize. Then a chipmunk arrived next, began eating and then dashed off with its plunder, when the adult  ground squirrel arrived on the scene, and consumed the remaining two remnants. Everybody got some; and I was able to see the differences in size and build, between all three. The baby ground squirrel and the chipmunk were similar in size, but the former was much bulkier than the latter.

There are Lupines growing here, and the Golden Mantled Ground Squirrels find them delectable eating. At first I noticed the flower heads being eaten. A ground squirrel would reach up and pull down the flower head, bite it off, and hold and eat it like we do corn on the cob; sometimes they would not bite it off, but would eat it while still on the stalk. They also pull down a leaf cluster and nibble away on the leaves as well.

The ground squirrels will climb rocks, stumps and fallen trees, and perch on them, and survey their surroundings, but I have yet to see them climb a tree. Chipmunks, however, can and do. Hmmmm, interesting.

*****

At the end of the following paragraphs are the links to various Miniature Societies.

Some of you will have read about Miniatures when you clicked on that tab on this blog. I invite you to read that page again. Here I will reiterate some of that information and perhaps add a little bit more. Unless you have been fortunate enough to have attended a Miniature Show, and there are not many of them in the grand scheme of things, you probably have never seen a Miniature.

A Miniature is not just a small painting, although small paintings do appear in many of the Miniature shows. What differentiates the true or ‘Classic Miniature,' (a term I may have coined) from small paintings of similar size, is to be found in the technique and application of the pigments when painting. The Classic Miniature is highly detailed, and built up with transparent and translucent layers of pigments, whether they be Watercolour, Gouache, Acrylic, or Oils. Many thus find added enjoyment by perusing their Miniatures with the aid of a magnifying glass.

Many galleries do not understand Miniatures. For example I have seen galleries’ call to artists for a miniature show that accepts paintings up to 12”x16” in size. These are not Miniatures ... they are small paintings. According to the premier Miniature societies, the maximum size accepted is 25 square inches, and there is a restriction on the maximum outside frame dimensions, as well.

Another thing to consider is the one sixth rule, where the painted image is to be one sixth or less of the size of the subject. For example, a 3” orange in a still life, would be painted at 1/2” or smaller in the Miniature. I don’t always follow this rule, especially when painting butterflies or tiny flowers, and a case in point is the bee in the above painting ... it is about half the size of the actual bee, not one sixth, but it received an award, nevertheless.

Many of my Minatures have received awards, and many have sold in the various Miniature shows. The problem comes when a Miniature has been to all the shows and remains unsold, because most Galleries do not have a way of displaying Miniatures safely, and thus do not accept them. So I will be presenting some of my Miniatures to you, periodically on this site, starting with this little beauty. The prices will be approximately 10-15% below what they were when in the Miniature Shows, but will be back up if I ever find a gallery to display them.

One of the problems in showing them online is that to see them on screen, is to see them already larger than they actually are in reality. I haven't quite decided the best resolution. On my computer and my phone, they look good, size-wise (although still oversize), but on my tablet they fill the screen and are way oversize. The framed images give you an idea, but the colours are not the best since they were shot through the glass. The colours are best on the unframed images. Just keep in mind the actual dimensions when looking at the images on screen.

I suggest that you visit the following websites to learn more about Miniatures, and to put these into perspective:




Thursday, July 16, 2020

Painted Lady & Buddleia.


C1383
“Painted Lady on Buddleia”
(Cynthia cardui; Buddleja)

A Miniature Watercolour
on Saunders Waterford, 140#,
hot pressed Watercolour Paper

2-1/8”  x  3-5/16” image size
4” x 5” frame size
5-1/4” x 6-1/4” outside frame


Another Miniature Watercolour, where I have not observed the 1/6th rule; I was more interested in studying the butterfly. This is a European species of butterfly, as most of my photo references were taken in England, and I even have a few specimens that I found deceased over the years while living there. In England, the Buddleia plant also called “butterfly plant” (or bush, or tree),  for obvious reasons.  See bottom of page for more on Miniatures.

*****

The campsite I am now at is another 25 miles  further out into the Wilds, and is really a most interesting one. There seem to be much more in the way of birdlife, and the Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel & Chipmunk population is very healthy here. I will give you a taste of it all in the form of short observations.

As stated the bird life here is quite varied. Some of those observed are: Boreal Chickadee, Yellow Rumped Warbler, Purple Finch, Nuthatch, American Robin, Western Tanager, White Headed Woodpecker, Northern Flicker (the one with the russet underwing), Mountain Bluebird, and several others that I have not yet taken the time to identify.  The male Western Tanager is a particularly striking bird, with its yellow body, black wings and red-orange face. I was finishing supper while sitting in the driver's seat, with the door halfway open, when with a flurry of wings, a female Western Tanager, perched on the inside doorpull, and the male settled on the handle of the frying pan which was pointed away from me (I eat out of the frying pan), and they both sat there for over a full minute, before flying off ... I mean the frying pan was on my lap, so that means so was the male Tanager.  He was paying most attention to the female, with only a bit of attention to me. Too close for a photo, aside from the fact my camera was not readily to hand. On the 4th of July I was sitting on my folding campchair, reading before preparing supper, when the male Tanager swooped in and sat on my knee  for about 12 seconds! I've had chickadees eating out of my hand when we had a birdfeeding station in the yard, and I've had a Grey Jay, sit on the toes of my boot, when I had my feet up on a stone wall, while lounging in my camp chair at Mount Rainier, but this Tanager was a first. They seem to be quite curious birds, especially the male.

When I have eggs for a meal, I leave the eggshells out in case something wants to eat them, but most camps, I have ended up taking them to town to throw away with the rest of my accumulated rubbish. In this place, however, all the birds have taken an interest and pecked away at them, taking small pieces and devouring them; even the small Chickadees. The ground squirrels & Chipmunks also take an interest, but seem to nibble the inside membrane, and not the hard shell itself. It took about five days for the birds to polish off four shells. I think they are replacing their calcium, after the nesting season ... I have seen a few young birds about. I expect this probably would be happening at my other camps at this time of the year, as well ... I wonder.

*****

At the end of the following paragraphs are the links to various Miniature Societies.

Some of you will have read about Miniatures when you clicked on that tab on this blog. I invite you to read that page again. Here I will reiterate some of that information and perhaps add a little bit more. Unless you have been fortunate enough to have attended a Miniature Show, and there are not many of them in the grand scheme of things, you probably have never seen a Miniature.

A Miniature is not just a small painting, although small paintings do appear in many of the Miniature shows. What differentiates the true or ‘Classic Miniature,' (a term I may have coined) from small paintings of similar size, is to be found in the technique and application of the pigments when painting. The Classic Miniature is highly detailed, and built up with transparent and translucent layers of pigments, whether they be Watercolour, Gouache, Acrylic, or Oils. Many thus find added enjoyment by perusing their Miniatures with the aid of a magnifying glass.

Many galleries do not understand Miniatures. For example I have seen galleries’ call to artists for a miniature show that accepts paintings up to 12”x16” in size. These are not Miniatures ... they are small paintings. According to the premier Miniature societies, the maximum size accepted is 25 square inches, and there is a restriction on the maximum outside frame dimensions, as well.

Another thing to consider is the one sixth rule, where the painted image is to be one sixth or less of the size of the subject. For example, a 3” orange in a still life, would be painted at 1/2” or smaller in the Miniature. I don’t always follow this rule, especially when painting butterflies or tiny flowers, and a case in point is the bee in the above painting ... it is about half the size of the actual bee, not one sixth, but it received an award, nevertheless.

Many of my Minatures have received awards, and many have sold in the various Miniature shows. The problem comes when a Miniature has been to all the shows and remains unsold, because most Galleries do not have a way of displaying Miniatures safely, and thus do not accept them. So I will be presenting some of my Miniatures to you, periodically on this site, starting with this little beauty. The prices will be approximately 10-15% below what they were when in the Miniature Shows, but will be back up if I ever find a gallery to display them.

One of the problems in showing them online is that to see them on screen, is to see them already larger than they actually are in reality. I haven't quite decided the best resolution. On my computer and my phone, they look good, size-wise (although still oversize), but on my tablet they fill the screen and are way oversize. The framed images give you an idea, but the colours are not the best since they were shot through the glass. The colours are best on the unframed images. Just keep in mind the actual dimensions when looking at the images on screen.

I suggest that you visit the following websites to learn more about Miniatures, and to put these into perspective:





Sunday, July 12, 2020

C1696
“Green River Reverie”
(Dinosaur National Monument, Utah)
Oil on Pannelli Telati fine cotton Panel
6”  x  8”


Imprimatura & Drawing

Block-in 

The Green River arises in the northern end of the Wind River Range in western Wyoming, first briefly flowing northwest, then loops out of the mountains to flow south along their western edge. It continues through western Wyoming, cutting the Flaming Gorge south of the town of Green River (where those of you familiar with the works of Thomas Moran will recognize the buttes and bluffs in some of his paintings). It enters Utah at the south end of the Flaming Gorge, turning east as it is blocked by the Uinta Mountains, flows into Browns Park, in extreme northwestern Colorado (definitely in Butch Cassidy country here), until it cuts through the eastern extension of the Uintas, at the Gates of Lodore. We are now in the northern section of Dinosaur National Monument. Rafting trips begin here. It now flows through deep canyons in the Monument, past the campground at Echo Park, near its junction with the Yampa River (an interesting descent of 3000” by car to get to), flows westerly from here, back into Utah and the western end of the Monument (Dinosaur National Monument, straddles the Utah/Colorado  border).

It is here where I came up on this quiet scene, not far from its egress at Split Mountain, and less than a mile or so below the Green River Campground. I have thought about painting this ever since my few brief moments here. I passed this spot several times in my explorations of this end of the Monument, and this time the lighting was just perfect. The contrasts of the purples and blues of the shadowed canyon wall (with its dark streaks of desert varnish), with the yellows, oranges and greens of the foliage, and the milky jade greens of the River itself, has stayed in my mind since those days I spent in the area in Autumn of 2017.  I stayed one night in the Green River Campground,  and it is quite pleasant as far as campgrounds go, with the River quietly flowing past. I spent the next 8 nights dispersed camping just outside the Monument on BLM land. The dinosaur bones are what bring most people to this monument, but if you are interested in geology and hiking intersting landscapes, Dinosaur National Monument is an interesting area to explore.

From here the Green winds south through eastern Utah, until its meeting with the Colorado River in Canyonlands National Park. I did not see the source of the River, but I could see the Canyon of the source south from where I camped at Mosquito Lake up on Union Pass, after I witnessed the  2017 eclipse of the Sun. I travelled the length of the Green through western Wyoming; saw it in Browns Park; saw it enter the Gates of Lodore; enjoyed the cooling shade of the cottonwoods for awhile at Echo Park; witnessed its emergence at Split Mountain; and enjoyed this little scene near the Green River Campground. I am not familiar with the River between here and Canyonlands NP, but I did see it from high places in Canyonlands, and just like not seeing the actual souces, I did not see its endgame, but I did see the canyon junctions where it joins its waters to the Colorado, from a distance. There are rivers that stay in the mind, and this is one ... I would see it again, should I ever go that way.

Pigments used in the painting were:
Imprimatura & Drawing: Rublev French Red Ochre;
Pigments: W&N Cadmiums Orange & Yellow Pale, Ultramarine Deep Blue, Titanium White;
Rublev:  Blue Ridge Yellow Ochre, French Red Ochre, Lead White #1;
Schmincke: Caput Mortuum;

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Miniatures Landscape.


C1423
“Summer Morning ... Mt. Rainier from Bench Lake”
(Mount Rainier National Park, Washington Cascades)
A Miniature Watercolour
on Saunders Waterford, 140#, hot pressed Watercolour Paper

2-1/8”  x  4-5/16” image size
4” x 6” frame size
4-7/8” x 6-7/8” outside frame

To be sold already Framed


As I warned you at the end of the last post, the following is a repeat of that information.

Some of you will have read about Miniatures when you clicked on that tab on this blog. I invite you to read that page again. Here I will reiterate some of that information and perhaps add a little bit more. Unless you have been fortunate enough to have attended a Miniature Show, and there are not many of them in the grand scheme of things, you probably have never seen a Miniature.

A Miniature is not just a small painting, although small paintings do appear in many of the Miniature shows. What differentiates the true or ‘Classic Miniature,' (a term I may have coined) from small paintings of similar size, is to be found in the technique and application of the pigments when painting. The Classic Miniature is highly detailed, and built up with transparent and translucent layers of pigments, whether they be Watercolour, Gouache, Acrylic, or Oils. Many thus find added enjoyment by perusing their Miniatures with the aid of a magnifying glass.

Many galleries do not understand Miniatures. For example I have seen galleries’ call to artists for a miniature show that accepts paintings up to 12”x16” in size. These are not Miniatures ... they are small paintings. According to the premier Miniature societies, the maximum size accepted is 25 square inches, and there is a restriction on the maximum outside frame dimensions, as well.

Another thing to consider is the one sixth rule, where the painted image is to be one sixth or less of the size of the subject. For example, a 3” orange in a still life, would be painted at 1/2” or smaller in the Miniature. I don’t always follow this rule, especially when painting butterflies or tiny flowers, and a case in point is the bee in the above painting ... it is about half the size of the actual bee, not one sixth, but it received an award, nevertheless.

Many of my Minatures have received awards, and many have sold in the various Miniature shows. The problem comes when a Miniature has been to all the shows and remains unsold, because most Galleries do not have a way of displaying Miniatures safely, and thus do not accept them. So I will be presenting some of my Miniatures to you, periodically on this site, starting with this little beauty. The prices will be approximately 10-15% below what they were when in the Miniature Shows, but will be back up if I ever find a gallery to display them.

One of the problems in showing them online is that to see them on screen, is to see them already larger than they actually are in reality. I haven't quite decided the best resolution. On my computer and my phone, they look good, size-wise (although still oversize), but on my tablet they fill the screen and are way oversize. The framed images give you an idea, but the colours are not the best since they were shot through the glass. The colours are best on the unframed images. Just keep in mind the actual dimensions when looking at the images on screen.

I suggest that you visit the following websites to learn more about Miniatures, and to put these into perspective:








I may repeat this page every time I post a Miniature, so be forewarned.