I drive by the front of this farm everyday. One day, I decided to turn off my normal route and check it out from the back. I was not disappointed with my decision.
I was out walking one morning and spotted beautiful red-tailed hawk circling in the sky above me. We walked together for a while and then suddenly, he swooped down, chasing something in the field. He was pure energy…and like that, he was back in the sky, far above me, searching again.
My latest watercolor painting was inspired by an arctic wolf whom I photographed at Lakota Wolf Sanctuary many years ago. While the arctic wolf is not “on the brink,” as are many wolves in the US, they are still threatened by humans. Climate change and industrialization both affect their habitat, and hunters pursue them for their beautiful coats…which personally, I think look much better on the wolf!
Remember, wolves are essential to the environment. They help maintain the balance by keeping grazing herd populations under control, which in turn allows vegetation to grow, helping to minimize erosion, and on and on.
And, they are spectacular!
I grew up reading stories about the big bad wolf terrorizing sweet little pigs and eating grandma, and yet, I never developed a fear of them. The fact is, I also grew up with large, fuzzy dogs who gave me a love for all things canine…includng the big bad wolf. I wonder, though, where the hatred so many people have for wolves comes from. Why is the bad wolf a central figure in so many tales? Why do we hunt them to near extinction? We love our dogs, but hate their closest relative…why? I am always inspired by their grace, their love, their beauty. They need to be cherished…they need to be saved!
Every year in May, the Blue Bells at Lockridge Park bloom. The park literally becomes a field of purple. All of us “locals” visit the park during this time of year to photograph our children among the blooms. My daughter and I go every year. I have taken quite a few amazing (not to be too humble) photos of my daughter over the years. Last year, I shot some of my all time favorites. She was wearing a dress that matched the flowers exactly and she borrowed my big straw hat and sunglasses. I already painted a few portraits of her from that shoot. One, that I named “Dress Up,” is on my list to repaint, as it sold last month. While looking through the shoot photos for the original photo that inspired that painting, I came across another one that I love, so decided to paint that one first. Here it is:
I took a break from my “Personal Best” series painting today to work on a new watercolor. I had taken a great photo of a cow at one of our local farms last year and had been meaning to use for inspiration one of these days. Well, that day was today!
I started this watercolor over a year ago. It went somewhere that just didn’t work, so I set it aside. The other day I decided it was time to get back to painting and to see if I couldn’t get this one on the right path.
When I last worked on this one, I tried some techniques that work really well with my acrylic paintings, but watercolor just doesn’t handle the same way! I went back in with a lot of wet brushes and paper towels to quiet down some of the textures (read: scribbles) that I had previously added and softened up the overall feeling, while keeping same of the interesting texture just below the surface.
I kind of love the now subdued scribbles. Hopefully, I can replicate them in future work. The absence of my “signature” crazy line-work was something that always seemed to be missing from my watercolor work.