Thursday, July 16, 2020

Painted Lady & Buddleia.

“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:

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Thank You for your comments. If you have read "the Journey" Tab you will know that my time online is usually limited; I trust you will understand that I may not be able to reply to comments or specific questions, but that perhaps they might be addressed in future posts.