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:



About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods

I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.


We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program; an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Thank you for reading and/or participating in this Wild Ozark community! ~ Madison Woods

Oct. 22, 2015 – Two Sweetgum Leaves for the Goodreads Giveaway

The original sketch and journal entry in the copy of My Nature Journal that will go to the winner of my Goodreads Giveaway.
The original sketch and journal entry in the copy of My Nature Journal that will go to the winner of my Goodreads Giveaway.

Goodreads Giveaway on October 31, 2015

I wrote a fairly long post about this sketch over at my main blog. This is one I won’t get to keep because it was done in the copy of My Nature Journal that is going to the winner of my Goodreads Giveaway on October 31.

More than 600 people have entered the contest and the performance anxiety was mounting about whether or not I’d be able to do a good job of it, so today I decided to just get it over with and do it.

I’m glad I did. The drawing came out nicely and the paper in the journals I designed worked great!



About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods

I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.


We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program; an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Thank you for reading and/or participating in this Wild Ozark community! ~ Madison Woods

Oct 18, 2015 – Old Rock Wall and Dead Leaves

Nature Journal Entry Oct 18, 2015 - Old Rock Wall and Dead Leaves

I made a mistake on this one.  This is an old rock wall and it continues in both directions for some length but in the sketch I didn’t give that appearance. What I should have done was draw some lines to outline the continuing rocks if nothing else.

Instead, what it appears to be is a stack of a few rocks rather than the line of rocks the wall makes.

Getting the color on the single leaf near the center was difficult because I didn’t have a red pencil. But using purple and orange came close to the deep maroon it actually was.



About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods

I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.


We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program; an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Thank you for reading and/or participating in this Wild Ozark community! ~ Madison Woods

Nature Sketching Day 15 – American Ginseng in early October

I went out in search of beech drops for today’s sketch. I didn’t find any. On my way up the path toward the pond, though, I found something exciting.

Today’s nature sketch features American ginseng in early October. The leaves are yellowing now, the fruits have all fallen, and winter is coming.

ginseng in october
Ginseng in October

This American ginseng plant is growing in an unexpected spot. It is not one I planted, and I would have never thought to look for wild ginseng in this location.

This makes it all the more exciting. It’s growing on the downhill side of a cedar deadfall, among poison ivy and one pawpaw tree sprout along with some other scrappy little saplings of unidentified sorts. The trees overhead are dogwood, elm, and cedar. Besides the pawpaw, the only other typical companion plant I saw was a grape fern.

I would have to describe the site as a recovering location. It looks as if it was on the outskirts of dozer damage when the logging road was used last, which had to have been fifteen years ago. We only use it now for the 4-wheeler, but it’s still wide enough for a small pickup to fit through.

Aside from the ginseng I found withering remains of twayblade orchid and a Lady’s Tresses orchid, also on the decline.

If you are interested in more information about American ginseng, we have a lot of articles at our home site.



About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods

I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.


We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program; an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Thank you for reading and/or participating in this Wild Ozark community! ~ Madison Woods

Nature Sketching Day 13 – Green Grass in Fall

I always like to see green grass in fall among the dead leaves.

Yesterday I missed my sketching. I missed the day before that too, but had taken a photo of the leaf so I could draw it later. But if I don’t just let that one from yesterday go, I’ll never catch up again. So I’m taking a hit on that one. No post or entry for Day 12.

Today’s drawing is from my garden. It’s very windy outside today and the pollen blowing everywhere has my sinuses in an uproar. So I didn’t go far from the house to get this one.

Wild Ozark Nature Journal Day 13- Tender Green Grass
Wild Ozark Nature Journal Day 13- Tender Green Grass


About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods

I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.


We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program; an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Thank you for reading and/or participating in this Wild Ozark community! ~ Madison Woods

Nature Sketching Day 11 – Leaf on Water

My son says my nature sketching looks like a turkey feather. It is not. It is a leaf half submerged in the water, haha. Can’t have the world at large making the same mistake.

Wild Ozark Nature Journal Day 11- Leaf on Water
Nature Journal Day 11- Leaf on Water


About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods

I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.


We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program; an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Thank you for reading and/or participating in this Wild Ozark community! ~ Madison Woods