Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Frogs In The Swim Pool

I was at my daughter's sitting by the pool when I saw a dead frog floating so I netted it out and sketched it.  What long toes it had. 

Made a good specimen to study. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Cicada Killer - Laura Gillis

I have noticed several of these BIG wasps flying around here (North Central Texas) lately and I finally got one to draw! After I caught this one, I saw another one flying around with a big cicada in it’s grasp. She (or he) landed in a tree and proceeded to stun or kill the cicada before flying off again. (Or, maybe she was just getting a better grip on her cargo, I don’t know.)

The Cicada Killer is a big, heavy bodied wasp (the body is 1.125” long or 2.9 cm) and she makes quite an impression when she is flying around your head. I assume that she packs one heck of a sting but thankfully, I don’t have any first-hand information about that to share. (Not yet anyway.)

This wasp excavates her nest in the ground. You will see a mound of soil left by an entrance hole which is about .375” or 1 cm wide.

This was just a quick little sketch for now... a tighter sketch is planned for the “bug journal” soon. She really is a beautiful insect.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Downtown Nest!

A friend called last week to let us know green herons are nesting right downtown!  The nest is in a maple planted in a little square in the sidewalk!  The river is about three blocks away.  I wish the heron had picked a location along the river, now right in town.  Hopefully the four babies will navigate the journey safely.

Already the babies are jumping about from one branch two another.  We watched for about two hours and got to watch a couple of feedings.  Bedlam breaks loose when an adult comes in with food.  All scramble for the biggest share.

Friday, July 18, 2014

our resident Berwick's Wren

When we moved in to this log cabin, there were two ornamental log houses left on the bookshelf by the former owners. I needed the space for books, so I moved these outside to a plant shelf in our covered patio. It sits in the corner, up against the place where corner logs meet and overlap.

Recently I was messing about with a plant on the middle shelf when I was surprised by a wee bird flying out from the larger of the two houses. (OK, Bill said I jumped and shrieked.) Apparently a Bewick's Wren has moved in! I haven't seen a wren since I was around 6 years old in Illinois.

I've now seen a pair of wrens sitting on the back of a porch swing, the female having a bit of food in her beak. So I'm wondering if there is a baby inside?

Wild Mushroom

When my husband kicked over this wild mushroom that I was going to sketch later he gave me a new perspective.  

Always a way to enjoy nature and all it has to offer.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Dove Flew In

As I was sitting near the fire pit watching the burn I decided to sketch this sunflower bud.....


And then decided to sketch the stones around the pit when suddenly a Mourning Dove flew in and sat on one of the stones.  Of course I included him in the sketch.  I love these little gifts of nature.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Series of Goofs

Can you see it? There is a spider in there, sitting on her egg mass that is 'pancaked' to a blueberry leaf.  Spiders have different ways of laying eggs, some in round sacks, some in a flat pancake attached to a surface, and some ????  I ran into this one while picking blueberries at a local farm and knew right away that I wanted to sketch it.

You are going to laugh at me because I'm even posting it.... but anyone who sketches on location can sympathsize at little.  Not all went well!!!  I'm standing in the narrow path between two rows of blueberries; it is hot; I've got my water in one pocket and am trying to hold both the sketchbook and paints.

I'd started painting when I dropped the sketchbook face down .... thus the splotches to the right and a little dirt.

A little later on I dropped a paint brush and bent over to pick it up.  Not a good idea.  The water  in my pocket spilled right onto part of my wet painting, leaving that lovely blur that droops down.  Someday I'll try to do that intentionally on a painting.

The worst goof is I drew the spider's legs coming off its abdomen, not the thorax.  I know better.  Things just weren't going well.  I tried to fix it, but made a bit of a mess.  ... and wasn't about to start over.

At least there are no squished bugs on it.  Once I was painting on location and knew darn well that a bug was walking across my paper.  I was just waiting form the bug to wander off on its own, but a friendly bystander reached over and squashed it!  Big, ugly splat on my paper!