Spring Garden Views

It’s been a relatively cool and damp year so far which has been lovely for the flower beds but not so nice for the vegetable garden (which went in very late this year). I live in an old house and I inherited a very large amount of what grows in my flower beds (though I have made some significant changes). We’re located in a Carolinian region and I’m happy to see native species stake their claim in among the heritage varieties and garden center additions. We have a small pond that we stock with shubunkins to keep down the mosquito population. Unfortunately the damp spring has created other opportunities for mosquito populations to thrive.  Our home is located a 5 minute drive from the Lake Erie shoreline which means lake flies often swarm the yard in late spring. This year’s lake flies and mosquitoes have really discouraged weeding so the garden has run a bit amok but it is beautiful in its untamed state. I do have to admit I’m a bit concerned about the weight of some of the untrimmed hedges in regards to the trellises that hold them up. Hopefully they will hang on until the conditions are a little more amendable to yard work. I’ve attached an album of garden photos (a small selections of shots taken over the past couple of months) . We’ve not had a lot of sunny days. I suppose I could shoot RAW format and edit them afterwards but it’s not my preference. It might just be me but I find that RAW images tend to have so much “noise” that it’s distracting. I did edit the levels in 2 of the pictures. One was the Lily of the Valley photo as it was just too dark every time I went out to take a picture of them. The other was the picture of our cat Charlie (same reason). I included him because, though it might not seem that way, he is involved in pretty much any picture I take outside. If he’s not rubbing up against my legs, he’s butting me in the bottom with his head or actually walking into my shots. I usually end up with at least 4 or 5 pictures of his tail or his head whenever I’m shooting out in the yard. I thought he deserved his own photo.

The song for this post is Gillian Welch’s Acony Bell  for the spring flowers that brave a new season.

Drawing Tales

I don’t have photo studio equipment or even a light box so when I want to shoot my art work I wait for a day when the daylight is conducive to getting the best shots possible. I usually shoot in the backyard with my Canon Rebel XTi on a tripod and my work on an easel.  It’s not a fancy setup as you can see in this picture.

I set my easel up on the back patio to take advantage of the daylight.
My easel is set up on the back patio to take advantage of the afternoon light.

I’m getting to the end of an old sketch book and last week I decided to commemorate its place in my journey by posting some photos of the contents on my art blog ( you can check that out here if you’d like http://milosivanskistudio.wordpress.com/2013/06/13/sketch-book-selections/ ). As I had already set up my easel I decided to take a couple of pictures of two of my larger sketchbooks. I use different sketchbooks for different reasons. The one I’ll soon be retiring is small enough for me to carry around with me and I use it as the occasion arises. When I’m in studio I have a tendency to work in a larger format.

This drawing was inspired by a Shel Silverstein illustration
This drawing was inspired by a Shel Silverstein illustration
You may have notice by now, dear viewer, that I enjoy drawing flowers.
You may have notice by now, dear viewer, that I enjoy drawing flowers.

I often use drawings to explore ideas for projects such as these props that were used at a variety show put on by a local theater group I volunteer for. A limited budget required ingenuity so the final props were made out of used boxes I picked up for free at the local liquor store.

These were the original drawings I presented to the board for a variety show skit.
These were the original drawings I presented to the board for a variety show skit.
This was the realization of the drawings as props. They decided to only use 4 of the designs. In these photos you can see the lines from the boxes I used but they weren't noticeable when the props were used during the production.
This was the realization of the drawings as props. The director decided to include 4 of the designs. In these photos you can see the lines from the boxes I used but they weren’t that noticeable when the props were on stage during the production.

Sometimes the drawing process is a little less straight forward. I found a photograph I liked in a gardening magazine and used it as resource for a painting.  I then used that painting as inspiration for a drawing.

I took the details from a photo I admired and interpreted them in acrylic
I took the details from a photo I admired and interpreted them in acrylic.
I took the image one step further from the original inspiration and interpreted it as a sketch
I took the image even one step further from the source and realized it as a sketch.

I’ve often heard people lament their drawing skills by saying they can’t draw a straight line. To me that seems like the strangest thing to say. I draw all the time. If I’m not using a sketchbook I’m doodling in the margins of the newspaper or on the lined piece of paper I’m supposed to be taking notes on. I’d be hard pressed to think of a single time that I have ever required a straight line for anything I’ve rendered.

The link for this post is to an old television show about drawing I would watch when I was very young. The quality is not good but perhaps some of you might remember it. Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings