Day 10: Nature Journal Series

Old Oak Tree

 

Day 10 from my nature journal series.

About this journal entry

I’m not sure this tree is a Post Oak, but she is old and her name is Gloria. Gloria graces our front yard and she has been there for probably 200 years. Drawing her was a challenge because I’ve never learned how to draw a tree so that the leaves are distinguishable. I’m not sure that’s possible, but I think the result captured the gist of what she looks like, at least. Her trunk is massive and the limbs are even more outstretched now. Each year she probably grows a couple more feet in diameter of the crown. The trunk grows more slowly but has still significantly increased in the thirteen years I’ve lived here.

About the Wild Ozark Nature Journal

Get the index to the other journal entries and read about my project at Wild Ozark Nature Journal.

If you keep a nature journal online, share the link to yours in the comments.

Day 9: Nature Journal Series

Grapevine & Insect Observation

Wild Ozark Nature Journal Entry Day 9: Grape Leaf and Insect Observation

Nature Journal entry from Day 9.

About this journal entry

On Day 9 of my daily journaling stint, I didn’t feel like getting off of the porch and I wondered if I could find something nearby to draw and journal about.

Well, I found a good topic, but it was hard to draw the subject. At least it’s an interesting observation worth capturing in a journal entry 🙂

About the Wild Ozark Nature Journal

Get the index to the other journal entries and read about my project at Wild Ozark Nature Journal.

If you keep a nature journal online, share the link to yours in the comments.

Day 8: Nature Journal Series

Acorn on Weathered Stick

Wild Ozark Nature Journal Entry: Day 8, Acorn on Weathered Stick

 

 

Nature Journal entry from Day 8.

About this journal entry

On Day 8 of my daily journaling stint, I couldn’t help reflecting on the sounds of trees dying in the distance. Chainsaws and crashing punctuated the otherwise peaceful land.

I really dislike the amount of logging that happens around here. We have no old-growth forests left anymore. I know of only one spot where very old trees grow and it’s in a very hard to access place. You can only reach it by climbing bluffs, and the old trees at the top of that bluff are probably more than fifty years old.

Maybe they’re really old, because logging trucks can’t access it. Maybe that forest escaped even the days of dragging logs by mule.

The Ozarks once had a lot more pine trees mixed in with the deciduous oak and hickory, and in that hard to reach place there are large pine trees. This is why I think it might be one of the last original stands of our area.

In our front yard we have two very old oak trees. Both of them are likely more than a hundred years old. One of them are featured in a later Nature Journal entry.

About the Wild Ozark Nature Journal

 

Get the index to the other journal entries and read about my project at Wild Ozark Nature Journal.

If you keep a nature journal online, share the link to yours in the comments.

Day 7: Nature Journal Series

Christmas Fern

Nature journal entry Day 7 Christmas Fern

 

About this journal entry

On Day 7 of my daily journaling stint, I decided to draw the Christmas fern. These ferns are often present in good ginseng habitat. So it’s known as a companion plant, or indicator plant, but I like it just because it stays green and pretty even through the winter.

I love ferns in general and continue trying to draw them more beautifully.

The thing about doing nature journaling on location is that sometimes there are circumstances going on around you that are distracting. I’m often sitting on cold, possibly fairly moist, ground. The seating is almost always marked with stones or pebbles that make it uncomfortable.

Body discomfort is something I can overcome fairly easily though. I started carrying a kitchen chair cushion with me when I knew the seating would be bad. A change of position often helps.

This time it was the sound of insects I couldn’t see or identify.

Learning to overcome distractions is a useful skill. So I try to appreciate the opportunity to get better at it whenever the opportunity presents itself.

About the Wild Ozark Nature Journal

 

Get the index to the other journal entries and read about my project at Wild Ozark Nature Journal.

If you keep a nature journal online, share the link to yours in the comments.

Day 6: Nature Journal Series

Lobelia inflata in Late Summer

Nature Journal entry, Day 6 - Lobelia inflata

 

About this journal entry

Lobelia inflata is one of my most treasured wild-crafted herbs. It grows around us here like a “weed”, and most would never think it to be a useful plant. It’s not very decorative or interesting to the average person.

The seeds are invaluable in my muscle spasm and cramp ointments or unguents. I’ve written about lobelia in other posts at my website and this past summer an article with illustration was published in the North American Native Plant Society’s member journal, The Blazing Star.

This drawing was one that turned out well without a lot of agonizing over it in the field. But, as you can see, the top of the plant and the rock is cut off because I didn’t start far enough down the page.

When I wrote the article for The Blazing Star, almost two years after the original drawing, I redrew it and added the top half of the plant. I just went by what was already there and imagined how the top should look. It turned out well.

Lobelia inflata Revisited
Lobelia inflata Revisited

So, even though the in situ drawing wasn’t perfect, it was enough to go on to later make a finished drawing. In some of my drawings I use a lot more color. For this one, I kept the color sparse and retained the original pencil sketch look.

About the Wild Ozark Nature Journal

 

Get the index to the other journal entries and read about my project at Wild Ozark Nature Journal.

If you keep a nature journal online, share the link to yours in the comments.

Day 5: Nature Journal Series

Little Orange Mushroom

Day---005-Little Orange Mushroom

 

About this journal entry

It’s amazing how quickly an hour flies by when you are trying unsuccessfully to figure out how to do something.

On another note, I’m finding that it is getting harder to focus on the experience rather than the quality of my drawing. This mushroom didn’t meet my expectations because I didn’t know how to make it look the way it looked in real life.

I remind myself each time I prepare to go out and sit in nature that the journaling isn’t about how well I draw the pictures or write the passage. It’s about recording a moment in my day with nature.

So much easier said than done, but so much more rewarding when followed.

About the Wild Ozark Nature Journal

 

Get the index to the other journal entries and read about my project at Wild Ozark Nature Journal.

If you keep a nature journal online, share the link to yours in the comments.

Day 4: Nature Journal Series

Ground Cherry

Ground cherry drawing from my nature journal.

About this Entry

The inklings of trouble is starting to reveal itself already.

“This one will be much easier,” I thought as I settled on a subject for today’s entry. It is all mostly green, with hardly any other colors to try and incorporate. Right.

About the Wild Ozark Nature Journal

 

Get the index to the other journal entries and read about my project at Wild Ozark Nature Journal.

If you keep a nature journal online, share the link to yours in the comments.

Day 3: Nature Journal Series

Sycamore Leaf

Day 3, Sycamore Leaf

 

About the Wild Ozark Nature Journal

I’m slowly scanning my nature journal entries and adding them to this blog.

Some of you may have already seen these, because I started this a few years ago and then let it get lost among the other things I am trying to do. Now I’m reviving the effort. Most of these are compiled in a picture ebook for Kindle.

Now I’m reorganizing and gearing up to get back into the habit of daily journaling. Once I make new drawings enough to fill another ebook, I’ll publish the second volume.

Get the index to the other journal entries and read about my project at Wild Ozark Nature Journal.

If you keep a nature journal online, share the link to yours in the comments.

Day 2: Nature Journal Series

Asters Hanging Down

Day 2, Asters Hanging Down

 

About the Wild Ozark Nature Journal

I’m slowly scanning my nature journal entries and adding them to this blog.

Some of you may have already seen these, because I started this a few years ago and then let it get lost among the other things I am trying to do. Now I’m reviving the effort. Most of these are compiled in a picture ebook for Kindle.

Now I’m reorganizing and gearing up to get back into the habit of daily journaling. Once I make new drawings enough to fill another ebook, I’ll publish the second volume.

Get the index to the other journal entries and read about my project at Wild Ozark Nature Journal.

If you keep a nature journal online, share the link to yours in the comments.

Day 1: Leaf and Rock, Nature Journal Series

Day 1: Leaf and Rock

Day 1: Rock and Sycamore Leaf on Picnic Table
Day 1: Leaf and Rock

 

About the Wild Ozark Nature Journal

I’m slowly scanning my nature journal entries and adding them to this blog.

Some of you may have already seen these, because I started this a few years ago and then let it get lost among the other things I am trying to do. Now I’m reviving the effort. Most of these are compiled in a picture ebook for Kindle.

Now I’m reorganizing and gearing up to get back into the habit of daily journaling. Once I make new drawings enough to fill another ebook, I’ll publish the second volume.

Get the index to the other journal entries and read about my project at Wild Ozark Nature Journal.

If you keep a nature journal online, share the link to yours in the comments.

Nature Drawing in Progress: American ginseng in October

Two years ago I made a nature drawing of American ginseng in October, with yellowing leaves against the dark backdrop of the Wild Ozark forest.

Repeating the Same Nature Drawing

Since that time I’ve learned a little more about certain techniques I can use with my pencils, specifically blending, and so I wanted to re-draw the picture so I can enter it into a contest.

Usually I like to scan each step as I go along with a drawing, but for this one I forgot. This one picks up at the blending of the background stage.

Background First

You can see in the image that most of the drawing hasn’t been blended, only the very bottom part.

Although I have some color on the leaves and plant itself, I have barely begun on that part of it and have a lot more color layers to add before blending for that part begins.

Nature Drawing by Madison Woods. Background stage: Beginning the blending.
Background stage: Beginning the blending.

 

 

 

Needs More Detail

Once I finished blending the ground background, I decided I wanted to add some more form to the surroundings. So I added a christmas fern, one of ginseng’s habitat companions. Now it balances out the empty woods surrounding the main object.

Looking at it from Different Perspectives

When I scan each step, I’m doing more than just recording a step in the process.

When I look at the picture in another format, like on the computer or the small screen of my phone, I can see things I didn’t see in the original.

The first image I posted showed me that the background was too empty.

The next one showed me where I have spaces that are too light or need *something*.

"Ginseng in October", a nature drawing in progress. Ground floor background blended.
Ground floor background blended.

At the base of the fern and on the lower levels of the background above the floor, it needs to be darker and I’d like some vague suggestions of more fern to the left.

Here it is again, with the background blended, after I added darker lower levels and a bent fern frond to the left.

Background finished. "Ginseng in October" nature drawing in progress.
Background finished. “Ginseng in October” nature drawing in progress.

Foreground Next

The next step will be the dried leaves at the bottom. Those two dead leaves are the foreground. Once I get those done, I’ll start working on the ginseng plant.

Halfway There

Here it is again with the dead leaves done, and the background finished. I’ve just begun working on the ginseng now.

Ginseng in October, in progress

I really like drawing autumn and winter leaves. Here’s the dead leaves, closer:

Zoomed in on the dead leaves.

Signing off for today. So far, this has been several days of work. Today was the first day I spent the entire day on it, though.

Tomorrow I should be able to get this wrapped up and I’ll post the finished scan …

And here’s the finished drawing:

Ginseng in October by Madison Woods. Prints available.

The first drawing

I didn’t know about blending at all yet when I drew this first one. But that really didn’t matter at the time to me, because I drew it in situ, and it was only meant to be a journal entry. It was late in the afternoon and dark in the woods, and finding the plant to begin with was unexpected.

ginseng in october
Ginseng in October, the nature journal entry

I’m glad I have it now to go by, since I didn’t get any photos of the plant that year. Now I can’t find the same plant at all.

The Blending Process

The blending takes a long time. It’s tedious and it makes my arm and eyes hurt if I don’t take plenty breaks. So just finishing the background alone could take several days of steady work at blending.

I’m not sure if there’s an easier way to do this step or not. I saw on one tutorial video that the artist used mineral spirits. Well, I tried that and it didn’t blend very well at all. Perhaps we used different brands of pencils.

The Tools

I use Prismacolor. The only set I have right now is the Premier Soft Core and a colorless blending pencil. I need a set of the VeriThin, but that will have to wait until after the taxes get paid for this year.

The paper I’m using is a water-color paper for Epson printers. It comes in very large sheets that I have to cut down to size. Our printer does fine work for smaller art prints, like those I use on my note cards. And this is archival quality acid free paper. However, for larger than 5 x 7 prints, and especially those I sell as “art”,  I use Scott’s Frame and Art (Scott Imaging)  in Fayetteville.

Stay Tuned

I’ll post updates to the work as I make progress. Let me know if you have any tips!

ETA is the end of the week because there’s a deadline involved for the contest I want to enter.

If you’d like a print, stop in and see me at the Downtown Rogers Farmer’s Market on Saturdays, now open year-round!

Here’s their FB page and ours:

Nature Sketching – Day 17 “Grape Fern and Fall Leaves”

Wild Ozark Nature Sketching Day 17- "Grape Fern and Fall Leaves"
Wild Ozark Nature Sketching Day 17- “Grape Fern and Fall Leaves”

It gets hard to find a subject to draw that doesn’t include dead leaves at this time of year.

I at first wanted to draw this pretty beech leaf nestled on a darker sycamore leaf, but decided against it in favor of the grape fern instead.

I never did find the creature causing the noise under the leaves. Perhaps it was a sound I could only hear with my back turned, because every time I turned around to try and see it, the noise would stop. As soon as I returned to sketching, the sound returned.

When I was finished with my drawing I did spend some time near the ground trying to find the source of the sound, but it was for naught. I never did see anything, and it never would do whatever it was doing while I was looking.

Perhaps it was only my imagination? I’ve found caterpillars chewing my tomato leaves by sitting nearby and listening until I’d narrowed down the location. I’ve found springs by following drip noises as water made its way down mountainsides.

I don’t think I imagined it. I just didn’t spend enough time investigating.

Nature Sketching Day 14

At this time of year it’s even harder than usual for me to make a quick trip to town and back. If I bring my camera with me, it’s a guaranteed impossibility.

Today I had to stop for photos of the Felkins Creek valley as the sun was setting.

Wild Ozark Nature Sketching Day 14-Evening Light on Hillsides
Nature Sketching Day 14-Evening Light on Hillsides

 

Thank you for visiting and sharing this moment in space and time with me 🙂

Nature Sketching Day 6 – “Lobelia Inflata”

Today I went out on foot, backpack loaded with my towel and cushion to sit on, sketch journal, and pencils to do my daily entry for the Wild Ozark Nature Journal.

Once I found my subject, this aging Lobelia inflata plant, I settled down to tune in with my surroundings. Turned out that the towel and cushion weren’t very effective at masking the fist sized rocks underneath. So after some adjustments I was able to get semi-comfortable.

Unlike the past drawings (except the first one), where I tried to minimize the background, this one I chose almost specifically *because* of the rocks stacked behind the lobelia plant. The first was also chosen because of the rock.

I love rocks. I love collecting them, especially the ones with fossils embedded. I also like sitting on them. When I find a rock to sit on, I like to just listen. When you sit alone in nature you’ll hear a lot of sounds. At first you’ll hear the loudest, closest, or most prevalent sounds. But then you’ll start to notice the other more subtle ones that are usually overlooked by people in a hurry on on a mission to get from point a to point b.

A creek trickling in the distance, maybe just a drip-drip-drip from a slight elevation drop before the water goes back beneath the sands and rocks during a dry spell.

Insects drone and buzz, sometimes annoyingly close to ears and eyes. Sometimes it is even more annoying when the buzz suddenly stops, because usually that means it has landed…on me.

Squirrels overcome their irritation and alarm chirps and resume normal chatter and chirrs. I know that’s not a real word – WordPress has informed me of that with the red underline. However, I don’t know how else to describe that particular utterance they make.

Anyway, I liked the rocks stacked behind the lobelia plant and so today I decided to make them more real and less just shadows behind the subject.

It takes more time to do it that way, but today I had more than the allotted hour to make my entry. As the light faded and the details of the leaves became harder to differentiate, I had to speed up and get it finished.

Wild Ozark Journal Day 6- Lobelia inflata
Wild Ozark Journal Day 6- Lobelia inflata