Thursday, June 23, 2016

Garden Sketches - Roses, Lavender, Peonies; all the favorites!


My favorite time of year here in New England - summer, glorious summer! This climbing rose is the most fragrant thing, right by our front door! The little nest had been abandoned, and built within the canes of the rose, mid-way up the pillar! Isn't that a romantic little home? Except for it being in a rather busy spot...and later being blown out by a storm! Now, as for the sketchbook itself, it's made by Nujabi, from India, and is a very soft beautiful handmade paper with a deckled edge. It used to be my favorite paper. But I've found one that I like much, much more! (which I'll talk about in a later post). I've been enjoying using a Lamy Joy fountain pen to draw with, and use a variety of watercolors (Winsor Newton, Daniel Smith, M. Graham). In some areas with finer detail I use a Pitt permanent pen.

The front garden is so inviting! I love being in this area! The fragrances are wonderful, and when one plant goes out of bloom, another is just coming into bloom! The peonies have just gone by, the roses are still hanging in there, and the lavender is just bursting open! Oh the color and fragrance!
We have 2 different varieties of peonies, one is pink and the other white (but do I remember the names?, no, that's what I depend on my garden guru hubby to do for me!...I remember the fragrance and color!).  The white variety in the front garden is heavenly! 
 Just a nice spot to sit for a short while...not to linger very long. But it certainly is inviting to come home to!

The pale pink rose is along the fence, it took a hit from a winter thaw followed by a snow storm. During the thaw, it was just long enough for things to start budding. Froze back most of my hydrangeas, too. The darker pink rose is wonderfully fragrant, and a lovely climber. We've trained it up the pillar on the front porch. 
 One of my lavender varieties, the darker purple Hidcoate is beautiful! I just love the color! It's shorter in height than the lavender grosso variety we are also growing, but the fabulous color certainly makes up for that! What are your favorite garden plants? I have to admit - our gardens have turned out to be so satisfying! The work never ends, but the results are so delightful!


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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Nature Sketchbook Journaling Class at the CT Audubon Center

Are you ready to start your own Nature Journal? There's so many ways to go about it. This Saturday is the second session for my Nature Sketchbook Journaling class at the Grassland Bird Conservation Center/Connecticut Audubon Society in Pomfret, CT.  

Whether you're new to the whole thing of working in a sketchbook, or you've been at it for years, and are looking for some new ideas, or just a beautiful way to connect with nature, then this class is for you. 

You'll spend time outdoors sketching and painting from nature, using pencil, pen, and watercolor. Learn new skills or develop ones you already have. 

I'll show you how to simplify what you see and teach basic drawing and quick intuitive watercolor techniques. Enhance your creativity, observe nature, record the day, and enjoy the meditative qualities of sketching outdoors.  

DATES ARE AS FOLLOWS (you may choose one or all, as your schedule permits this summer):
June 25th, July 23rd, and/or August 20, 9:am-noon

Cost per day: $5CAS members, $10non-members. All fees go to CT Audubon. 

Materials you'll need to bring:
-pencil, eraser
-permanent, waterproof, black drawing pen
-watercolors (a travel size or kid's set)
-watercolor brush
-watercolor sketchbook/journal (regular paper will buckle)
-water bottle
-a small plastic container for rinsing
-Camp chair, or stool to sit on outside.  


I went out on Monday to scout out the area again, and see what wildflowers are currently in bloom (that would be milk weed, just opening up). I went from the fields, to the woods, and back; sketching in each place as I went. There is a beautiful spot along the wooded trail that overlooks a ravine (above). I was experimenting with a bit of layering. 

 I even went to look for places I wanted to avoid! (those with poison ivy....and deer flies!!). That place was hard to stick around for very long, the deer flies ran me off in this one wooded area! 

I'm glad there's lots of great places to sketch here on the grounds of the preserve! Here's their address and phone number:
CT Audubon Society
Grassland Bird Conservation Center
218 Day Road
Pomfret Center, CT 06259
860-928-4948

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Using Sketches as the Basis of Your Oil Paintings - CT River Paintings

"Hey, but you're an oil painter; what are you doing spending so much time making watercolor sketches"? 

http://roxannesteed.com/works/2091863/winter-reflections
 Lately, I'm really enjoying my sketchbooks in a much more meaningful way.  I had kept several sketchbooks going at a time over the last many years. One was for the garden only, going season to season. A different one was for travel and some miscellaneous things, as well as stuffing travels bits & bobs in there (tickets, ephemera, etc). Yet another was to work up larger oil paintings, though only in pencil or marker.  Last of all, I had started a nature journal of sorts...though on larger, nicer paper....and something "clicked".  
It began last autumn as the weather got colder and winter winds kicked in.  We had a relatively "mild winter" last year in CT, meaning - we still had cold spells, but not much snow fall.  So rather than hauling out all my oil painting gear and dealing with cold hands and wind, I found it easier to bring along my sketchbook and small watercolor kit to record these places (as I'm working on a show of CT River paintings).  Set up time and painting time was quicker - after all - it was like I was out there gathering visual notes for a studio painting rather than completing a finished painting in the raw New England winter air. And when it was truly nor'easter type winds, I'd paint in my car. Working in a watercolor sketchbook in my car was so much simpler than the winter I tried oil painting in the front seat of my mini-Cooper! (never again!!). 

http://roxannesteed.com/works/2091874/spring-shadows

http://roxannesteed.com/works/2091904/blueberry-underbrush
http://roxannesteed.com/works/2091912/cove-in-winter
http://roxannesteed.com/works/1970661/december-gold-aka-december-afternoon-watch-rock-preserve-ct-river-old-lyme-ct


So, now you've got a good idea of what I've been up to lately! And you're getting a small preview of my upcoming show at the Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library in July!

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Giving Back - Nature Sketchbook Journaling at CT Audubon Society in Pomfret, CT

I've just recently completed the Master Naturalist class offered by the Connecticut Audubon Society in Pomfret, CT. All of my classmates agreed that we've barely scratched the surface.  But we've been fascinated, enchanted, and amazed at the things we have learned each week. Life around us is never boring - there is always something new to learn and wonder about! 

As part of our course, we agree to share what we've learned with others - in the form of volunteer hours.  The facility and grounds in Pomfret offers so much! Our summer programs are beginning this month, and I am offering a series of Nature Sketchbook Journaling (yes, as my form of volunteering!). 

I do hope you'll join us at the Pomfret Center, here's the address so you'll find us on these Saturdays (listed below):
Grassland Bird Conservation Center
218 Day Road
Pomfret Center, CT 06259
(860) 928-4948

 The schedule is as follows: 
Saturdays, June 4, June 25, July 23 or August 20, 
9a.m. to Noon

You'll spend time outdoors sketching and painting from nature, using pencil, pen and watercolor. Learn new skills or develop ones you already have.

I'll show you how to simplify what you see and teach you basic drawing and quick intuitive watercolor techniques. Enhance your creativity, observe nature, record the day and enjoy the meditative qualities of sketching outdoors. 
*Cost per day: $5 CAS members, $10 non-members. (all fees go to CT Audubon)

*Materials you'll need to bring:
-Pencil, eraser
-Permanent, waterproof, black drawing pen
-Watercolors (a travel size or kid's set)
-Watercolor brush (or waterbrush)
-Watercolor Sketchbook or 'multi-media sketchbook' (regular paper will buckle)
-Water Bottle
-Small plastic container for holding water/rinsing
-Camp chair or stool to sit on outside

 Please share this post with friends who may be interested!!

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Saturday, May 28, 2016

China Town in Old Tuscon

Old Tuscon is a place out in the desert ....and an old movie set. Some of your favorites were most likely filmed there! Costumed characters strolled the dusty streets, giving life to the imagination. Painted during Plein Air Convention 2016 in Tuscon, AZ. Price is unframed ($400), but framing is available from the artist - contact me from the web-site for framing possibilities and prices.

   

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Friday, May 27, 2016

Saguaro Forest

http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/roxanne-steed/saguaro-forest/480945
Click on painting for more information, and to purchase. 

I've always wanted to paint saguaro cactus...first I had to learn how to spell it!! They look so lively with their expressive "arms". And yes, there are some that look old and tired with droopy arms! I'm looking forward to painting in the desert again one day. April is a beautiful time to visit! Painted during Plein Air Convention 2016, in Tuscon, AZ. Price is unframed, but framing is available from the artist - contact me from the web-site for framing possibilities and prices. 

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Just a Couple Spots Left for the Ireland Sketchbook Tour in September

 "I dreamt I reached the Irish shore
and felt my heart rebound
From wall to wall within my breast,
as I trod that holy ground....
- Thomas D'Arcy McGee (1825-1868)
 This week, through May 31st, Aer Lingus is running air fare specials (at rates I haven't seen since before the recession!). Now is a GREAT time to book your flight, AND - plan to join us on my Ireland Sketchbook Tour class!  
My website has more details about the trip here. Our host's website to register is right here.

 Our host, Barbara Mastaglio, is an Irish American who spends time in each place during the year. Her Irish home is on Valentia Island, where we will stay in a neighboring B&B as our home base. The rolling hills are dotted with Irish cottages, sheep and cattle - idyllic views for painters! With the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Dingle Bay to our north, mainland of Ireland to the East, and the lovely fishing village of Portmagee directly across the channel to the south - we have spectacular views in ALL directions! 
 If you are a fan of beach-combing, we'll have an opportunity for that as well! There are several places to scoop up some interesting finds for sketching.




Nothing says it better than pictures though. I'm hoping you'll click through to the ValentiaArt website to see what our views are like! 

On our trip, you will learn to simplify the VAST Irish landscape to fit onto your sketchbook page. You'll learn the simple practices of sketchbook keeping enriched with watercolor washes - and bring this practice back home to your creative life. 

Create journal pages as unique as your own handwriting. I will show you how to enhance your drawings with creative page layouts and journal entries, as well as a bit of mixed media. If you think 'you can't draw', I will teach you! You'll be inspired and encouraged! 

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