Watercolor painting, Ozark pigments by Madison Woods

Goshawk no. 2 – The Creation of “Rhapsody”

For weeks before I finally started, I’d been wanting to get started on the second northern goshawk in my series. It’s amazing how many things suddenly just absolutely have to get done when I decide to get started on a project.

Procrastination?

We have some frigid air moving in for the weekend, so I needed to put extra bedding out for the dog.

Warmth for me too

Also wanted to bring in some extra firewood so at least tomorrow’s wood is sort-of dry when I wake up. The rick of wood is fairly green and the older wood in the pile is fairly wet. LOL, I can’t win either way with that. But, at least what’s inside the house will be a little drier by morning than it was this morning when I brought it in.

Put up the water

So after taking care of the cold weather outdoor stuff, I thought I’d better fill some containers in case the water freezes. I don’t want to have to move the horses to the other field if their water bucket line freezes. Because that would mean I also will have to move hay in the frigid temperatures. I’d rather just haul the water to their bucket if that happens.

Market display

Then I remembered I’d bought some peg board to make a vertical display space for my market booth. Before I could work on that it would need to be painted. So I painted the board and left it outside to dry. Except it didn’t. It was too cold for it to dry well and even after several hours had passed it was still tacky. So I brought it in to put in a warmer spot.

Check the mail

Just before noon I remembered a letter I needed to bring down to the mailbox, so took care of that, And when I got back up to the house, figured I’d better put the car in the shop in case we really do get some of that giant hail I heard mentioned in the forecast. Well guess what? Now it’s coffee time. I completely missed lunch and so just let that go. Once I had my coffee I finished the vertical display space. Then, once that was done I did-finally-get started on my goshawk.

Yep. Procrastination.

It was all just procrastination. Though all of those things did need to be done today, I could have started the goshawk and done those things while stepping back from it. I step away from it almost every time I do anything significant to the painting.

Here’s where I stopped on it today:

Northern goshawk. The eye is not finished. It's just 'good enough' to hold the rest of the painting together while I go forward. I can't do the bird until the eye is good enough.
The eye is not finished. It’s just ‘good enough’ to hold the rest of the painting together while I go forward. I can’t do the bird until the eye is good enough.

The northern goshawk (accipiter gentilis) isn’t commonly found in the Ozarks. Sometimes one might get blown off-course during migration, though. It is one of the raptors favored by falconers and I find them to be beautiful birds of prey.

Some Changes

I did a few things differently on this painting. Each new painting is somewhat of an experiment with me, but there were some things I wanted to intentionally do differently this time.

Drawing lines

On the previous goshawk I had a really difficult time getting the angles right. So this time, on the photograph I printed out to work from, I drew lines with my ruler. These lines show me where the various parts of the bird line up in comparison to each other. I think that helped a lot.

Better paper

Another difference is that I’m painting this northern goshawk on a much higher quality paper. This time I have #300 (640 gsm) Arches paper and it is definitely a huge improvement. As it very well should be, because it was a lot more expensive. The pricey paper added to my reluctance to get started, I think. I’m afraid to ruin a sheet on a wasted effort. On the other hand, I couldn’t wait to try it out.

Finer pigments

The last difference is in the pigments I used for the background. I used some of the fine powders I’d processed and it gives a much bolder, color-drenched effect. I like it. But the particular shade I used is much more inclined to stain the paper. So the areas I need to be white later are going to be harder to produce. But that’s one of the sweet things about this paper. I can lift on it a lot more often than I could on the previous paper. Lifting is when you take color off the page with a damp brush by touching the spot and then rinse and wipe the brush-repeated until it’s white. Or in this case, white enough. I’ll never get the stain completely off. To get whiter spots on the bird later I’ll have to use some of my limestone paint.

Photographer

For this painting, I’m using a photograph of a wild northern goshawk by @javiersanzfoto (Javier Sanz at Instagram).

Progression

Here’s the progression from start to current. As I can I’ll update the photo collection to bring it up to date. If you want to see it as I post them, follow me at Instagram (@wildozark).

Let’s hope I don’t ruin the pricey sheet of paper!

Finished:

Watercolor painting, Ozark pigments by Madison Woods
Prints available.

 

Wrapper for the Soul of the Ozarks watercolor paint tin.

Soul of the Ozarks

I’m sure you’ve noticed I’ve been making paint lately, ha. But I thought I’d try out the slideshow-making program that came with my computer. Here’s a short collection to celebrate my first release of colors called Soul of the Ozarks. It’ll hit the shelves at the Kingston Square Arts shop on Sunday, Sept. 16.

Locally Made, Local Business, Local Ingredients

This product is Made in Arkansas from almost entirely local ingredients. I do have to import the media base and essential oil of cloves. But all of the color, labor, and the honey used to preserve and condition the paint, comes from right here close to home. If my tiny little operation grows very much, I’ll be able to hire someone from right here at home to help me with the gathering, sorting, and grinding of rocks and mulling of paints.

The Soul of the Ozarks

If rocks are the soul, then paint captures the essence and embodies the soul of a place.

Since all of these colors were gathered from right here at home, this entire collection is called Soul of the Ozarks. There will be other palettes added as I find other shades and sources. Other collections will be created from other places, and those will be given the title to match their place. This way you will always know the source of your colors.

Sustainable

Never toxic ingredients, and I always harvest the colors with respect and gratitude. The rocks and clay I gather are from sources Nature made available without resorting to digging or mining. I basically gather them off the ground while I’m taking my daily walk.

I’m experimenting with a source of water-soluble resin close to home so I won’t have to import the base media.

Introducing …

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A Study in Sandstone

An entire painting done with a watercolor paint made from our local sandstone.
No photo to go on this time, just imagination.

The whole painting is in my handmade watercolor paint made from one of our local shades of sandstone.

Every Sunday I’ll be at the Kingston Square Arts shop with the colors I’ve made so far. If it’s not too busy I’ll usually be working on a painting and you’re welcome to pick up a brush and try them out, too.

Workshops on cleaning and using native clay and making paints or earth pigments are in the near future. Sign up for my mailing list if you want to get notifications. Or follow me and Kingston Square Arts on FB, because I’ll post it there too.

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.