Wednesday, May 21, 2014

And Some Brand New Goslings

Our pond is approximately 1/2 acre and although we have seen up to seven or eight geese on it at a time, there is a breeding pair who try their very best to keep the pond to themselves by honking, attacking and generally being territorial. In the six years we've been here, they've learned to nest more discreetly and managed to produce offspring in 2012. Last night while we were taking pictures of the birdfeeders, Ken got out the bigger lenses and was getting the shots from the last post when he noticed that the geese had brought out five little goslings. We walked out to the pond and got these shots - the best we've ever gotten.

We don't know what relation the extra goose is, only that it seems to want to be part of the family. Papa goose was busy trying to chase it away, but it seems to be fairly thick-skinned and stayed around keeping its distance.

It's For The Birds

Last week we set up the arbor we had gotten to hang some birdfeeders on. In addition to the ones hanging on the arbor, there is another multipurpose feeder and a thistle sock in nearby trees and a birdhouse we've had for years, also in a tree. Most of these are quite visible from the deck but the sock feeder will probably get moved as it hides some of the others from several viewing spots.

The top shot shows a goldfinch on the long feeder and what we think is a white breasted nuthatch on the house-like one. That's the same bird as in the third shot, just below here. The goldfinches showed up as soon as the first feeder was out and only moved when we got too close. The other bird has been flitting by for two days but only stopped long enough to be photographed last night.

In the leaves of the maple which is right beside the deck is a house wren singing away to his partner who found the bird house right away and gave us quite a show stuffing it full of twigs. She could only sit on the edge of the hole but managed to twist the twigs that were longer than the hole so that they went in one end at a time. If we're wrong in assuming that the female builds the nest, I'm sure we'll hear about it.

Although male and female downy woodpeckers have been showing up regularly, last night was the first time we saw this red-bellied woodpecker at our feeders. It is a fairly frequent visitor at our neighbor's feeders.

We have been on several bird walks and seen birds we never knew existed, but these feeders are just plain fun and we're so inexperienced that they are teaching us lots about the birds who visit them.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Coloring Vintage Images, pt 2 and Some Digital Collage

A while ago I posted a little boy dressed as a clown from a vintage image. I had a link in that post to the tutorial I used to color him. And I discovered today that link doesn't work - could not find that tutorial again. It's OK - I managed to  figure out how it worked as well as learning an entirely new method from a different tutorial. I will be using the best features of two entirely different methods until I come across a better way.

In this digital collage, I've colored the main figure and put the rest of it together using three purchased digital sets, Variete and Variete Papers from Itkupilli at Deviant Scrap and Turning Leaf Apothecary from Lorie Davison at Scrapbook Graphics. I'm pleased that I finally quite griping about digital sets and gave them a try. I adore the imagination and skill of these two designers and I'm very happy to be learning how to participate in the process as well.

It took me several days to color Lillian and unfortunately I managed to flatten her without a backward glance. So I probably won't be doing it again in order to be able to change her various colors. I have quite a few circus-y type images I'm anxious to try out my new skills on - onward and upward - hopefully!

Thanks for visiting!!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Using Pastels and Gesso to create Art Journal Backgrounds

I think I first used this technique in the House and Home book I made for my sister, Kate. I don't remember where I first read about the technique. For this post I did two journal spreads, one using cool tones and one using warm tones. The main image in both is an image I snagged off the internet to help me in my attempts to learn to use Painter X, a program I've had for a number of years but never learned to use. I also made "learning" the theme of both pages.

 Scribbling heavily with warm tones of the pastels in a 5" x 8" Moleskine journal, with a few added accents of blues and greens.
 After painting the gesso on, I thought it was a little too pink. The streaks of green are from small chunks of pastel chalk I forgot to brush off that got caught in my brush. I just brush back and forth a while and then up and down. If desired, you can paint the gesso onto all the yellow, then orange, etc which give a different look. I was going for smeared and smudged. Too much gesso will turn the whole thing white.
 More yellow and orange pastel over the dried gesso. I forget to photograph the pages before I started journaling.
 Since this was more about the backgrounds than the journaling I used a technique described in "Journal Spilling" of quickly choosing magazine images and words and arranging them on the pages in a pleasing manner. I had printed the Painter file in warm and cool shades to use on the two spreads but this nude definitely looks a little chilly.
My pastels - one rather pricey set I dropped and broke and one inexpensive set. They all work!

 The second spread was in my junk journal on a GelliArt page gone very wrong.
 The cool colors of pastels applied heavily, together with some warm tones.
This is pretty messy because I was using too much gesso and paying no attention to where the colors stopped and started.

 I applied more chalks (above) and used a less heavy hand with the gesso (below).
 The last photo is the finished journaling page, same magazine, same general technique, with some stamping on the pages and some shadowing of the images with Caran d' Ache and Portfolio crayons. I got the quotes by Googling "quirky learning quotes" and loved both of these and quite a few others as well.
Personally, I really like the less than perfect backgrounds with interesting color blends that this technique produces. Very serendipitous. I hope you find this useful!!