Cloud Study 1

Passing Clouds
Acrylic on bristol board, 6″ x 8.75″

Like these clouds, time keeps passing by and the year is nearly at its end. In the time left, lets all put in dedicated effort to reach important goals. As Psalm 126:5 says, “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.” The work described there isn’t easy and doesn’t show immediate signs of success, but it’s only if we make the effort now that good may later come of it.

Of course this doesn’t just apply to farming or other business. In a spiritual sense, the Bible also compares the Word of God to seed that is sown in the ground, representing people. Not only do the laborers share in the joy of the harvest that comes from that, but Jesus is described as taking part in that harvest. He sowed in tears but will reap in joy. The psalm ends with the next verse, saying “He that goes forth weeping, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”

The reference was a couple of photos I took in the nearby field, but with the few houses by the trees and the highway and airport beyond that left out.

Included in the photos are each paint and the two brushes I used at the time that I started using it. The final photo doesn’t really look as good as in person, but the sun sets early now and in poor lighting a good photo is hard to get. The labels are hard to read, but the paints in order are Australian blue gum (a blue grey mix), ivory black, titanium white, cobalt blue, gel medium, cadmium orange hue (warming the cloud highlights and used in mountains), naples yellow, and cadmium yellow light.

Book Cliffs

Book Cliffs at Evening
Acrylic on printmaking paper, 9.5″ x 4″

From the field near me there’s a good view of the Book Cliffs a few miles to the north. Oftentimes big rainclouds will roll over them like this.

Book Cliffs

This panorama was made from a series of many photos that Photoshop was able to automatically stitch together.

Draw a Bird Day – Young Robin

Juvenile Robin
Mixed media on sketch paper, 8″ x 9.25″

This is one of three baby American robins that came from a nest on the side of my house. For a couple of days it was hanging out around my front door, being fed by the parents.

Water soluble graphite was used for most of this, along with some red ochre conte crayon, yellow ochre dry pastel, and white casein paint. These were painted over with a mix of clear acrylic gel medium and clear acrylic gesso after they were applied to the paper, but the paint was mixed before use.

Juvenile Robin

Black Chinned Hummingbird

Hummingbird on Branch
Acrylic on 60lb sketch paper, 9.5″ x 13″

This little hummingbird has posed for photos many times as I go for walks through a nearby field. Most of the final painting is made with ivory black, zinc white, and titanium white, but some carbon black and a little water soluble graphite were also used.

Black Chinned Hummingbird ref

I don’t have a very long range lens, and he’s very small, so to get a closeup photo for a reference I combined an old manual focus Minolta 200mm f4 lens with an old Vivitar 2x teleconverter. The teleconverter really reduces image quality, but for the purpose of a reference photo it worked out.

1833 Leonid Meteor Storm

Leonid meteor shower in 1833
Mixed media on bristol board, 6″ x 10.5″

The scene of 1833 shown here is a copy of an engraving by Adolf Vollmy. Estimates ranged from a few tens of thousands of meteors per hour over a hundred thousand per hour. One of the quotes I read from eyewitnesses said “never did rain fall much thicker than the meteors fell toward the earth.”

My own church (Seventh-day Adventist) believes that event to have been the fulfillment of what Jesus said in Matthew 24:29, “and the stars shall fall from heaven,” (excerpt) as one of the signs that His second coming is drawing near. The symbolism here becomes apparent when considering that the point of origin for the Leonids is the constellation Leo, the lion, and specifically from the asterism called the Sickle, which is a group of stars that forms a part of Leo. Jesus is referred to in the Bible as the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” and is said to return with a sickle in His hand to reap the harvest of the Earth. The sky that night was so thick with meteors that it was obvious to everyone they were radiating out from the sickle, even if seen from different geographic locations, and thus astronomy learned that meteors are indeed in space and not just an atmospheric phenomenon as people thought before.

Before that, in the same verse, it’s stated that “immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light…” which we believe was fulfilled in the dark day of 1780 (Wikipedia link). The tribulation referred to would be the persecution of Protestants, which was greatly declining from 1724 onward.

I first started this by shading some general shapes with a stick of water-soluble graphite. Then I painted over that with a transparent mix of clear acrylic gesso and an acrylic medium, which wetted the graphite and gave a silvery dark grey base to build on top of. The acrylic mediums also sealed the graphite from smudging further and provided a textured surface to draw on top of. I started working a little with black and white charcoal, but eventually settled on just using various mixes of zinc or titanium white with acrylic mediums to build up transparent layers of white. For areas that needed to be darkened again I either repeated the first step with the graphite or shaved off pieces of graphite to be mixed with acrylic medium to make a dark paint.

If you have any questions on any of this, feel free to ask.

Draw a Bird Day – Killdeer

Killdeer acting injured
Acrylic on sketch paper, 9.5″ x 6.5″

It’s late now, but earlier this morning I saw this killdeer pretending to be injured. They do that to lure potential predators away from their nest or chicks. Maybe after deciding I wasn’t a threat, she scurried off, stopping every few feet, but I didn’t see any nest.

It looks like the draw a bird day hub is over here on Create Art Everyday now.

Killdeer acting injured

Morning Song

Morning Song
Acrylic on sketch paper, 9.25″ x 7.25″

Yesterday morning I went for a walk on the dirt road that goes around and through nearby agricultural fields and saw this savannah sparrow. It’s hard to get close enough for a good photo, even with a 250mm lens, so this is just a small crop of the original. The paints used are ivory black, burnt umber, transparent yellow oxide, and titanium white.

Morning Song