Thursday, February 5, 2015

Nature Journaling ~ Playing With Media

Part of the requirements of my Maine Master Naturalist class--and one of my favorite parts--has been to keep a nature journal. I've kept nature journals off and on for many years, but with the class, my journals have taken on new focus and have become more of a tool for learning than those I've kept in the past. 

Last month's subject of study was winter weeds, which we had to collect, identify, and sketch. Although I am a bright color person in general, I've always loved using brown or sepia for my journals, and was excited by the idea of making monochromatic brown sketches. I decided to try out several different drawing media to see how I like each one. 

For the first two sketches, I used conte crayon, which was absolutely gorgeous--It flowed so smooth and beautifully and practically drew the pictures without any help from me. I has the drawback, however, of being very smudgy and so not a great choice for journaling (I imagine you could use fixative, but I can't bring myself to buy a can of the stuff...I imagine it's pretty nasty).


Next (below, left), I used color sticks, which are like squared-off pieces of the stuff inside colored pencils. I have a limited selection of colors, and stuck pretty much to straight brown. Once the corners get worn down, it's hard to get a sharp enough point for small details, which I kind of needed for the meadowsweet, which has tiny follicles, but this also kept me from getting caught u in detail.

Next (below, right) I used a set of woodless colored pencils which C bought me for Mother's Day a few years ago. You can't really tell in this picture, but I had fun incorporating a lot of other colors--green, purple, blue, red, into the brown while still maintaining an overall brown effect (this drawing is of a mystery weed, which I finally concluded is some kind of gall, since I couldn't find any fruiting bodies or seeds in that fluffy tuft).


Next (below, left) I tried out some watercolor pencils that I bought recently. I pretty much suck at using these (as I do with regular water colors). I think I don't have enough patience to let each color dry, and it all gets mixed together and muddy.

 Finally (below, right), I used my trusty set of colored pencils, again playing a bit with mixing in other colors with the brown.


For the text and the magnified images of the fruiting bodies and/or seeds, I used a brown felt-tipped pen.

It was fun trying out different kinds of media, and drawing similar things in a similar format gave me a chance to compare both how they went on and how they look (as well as how well they stay on the paper after I put them down). Oh, yeah, and it helped me learn about winter weeds and fruiting structures.

11 comments:

  1. I love playing with art supplies! And spray fixitive *is* disgusting (says the art school wife)--even spraying it outside is pretty nasty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've heard hairspray can be used instead, but since I have more of a "shake-and-go" do, I don't even own a bottle of that to try out.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  2. They all look lovely, what a beautiful way to learn ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  3. I just love your nature journals. I think I mentioned in a comment before that my personal goal as a beginner herbalist is to create my own materia medica for my medicinal herbs this summer. I just love how you've married art and function in the most beautiful way. Truly an inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Yanic. I'm looking forward to seeing your materia medica. Sounds like a fun and fascinating project!

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  4. This reminds me of an exhibit I saw recently called Imaging the Arctic. It included the photographs and watercolor work of two artists who were part of a science team that went to Greenland. Fascinating and beautiful, and your post made me think of it.
    http://expeditionaryart.com/blog/2013/03/field-dispatch-niaqornat/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, my goodness, Rachel, those watercolors are beautiful. How amazing it would be to be able to paint like that and to be a part of an expedition like that. Thank you for the link!

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...