The Barn Nursery

Who doesn’t love a red barn on a green landscape? One drives around the countryside looking for the vantage point, but alas, the barns are most often on private property, and the roadside is an uncomfortable spot to set up a stool or easel. However, right down the road from me is The Barn Nursery, a great venue for satisfying the barn-urge.

direct watercolor sketch in process, in hand.book Travelogue w/c journal

The Plein Air group of the Olympia Art League and the South Sound Urban Sketchers have teamed up for the warm season with weekly paint outs/meetups, so there was a good group of artists enjoying the scene.  If you’re local and interested, follow the links listed here and join us!

Since it was the first day of the #30X30directwatercolor  month long challenge, I dispensed with pencil and pen and did the drawing with the brush. In my spot next to the building I was serenaded by some very noisy sparrow babies whose nests were just out of sight under the eaves.

This spot with a view almost instantly lost its shade in the midday sun! Struggling with sun blindness, I soldiered on. I’m sure there’s a way to adjust to this too-bright sunlight, so if anyone has a suggestion I’m hoping to find it! Dark glasses only go so far. Maybe I’ve just lived in the cloudy Pacific Northwest for too long now?

The art is always finds a most agreeable home inside the context where it was sketched!

Sharing with friends after a morning of art making.

Are you doing the 30X30 Direct Watercolor challenge? You can find out more about it here.

As for me, this will be a month of dabbling in direct watercolor rather than immersion.


Birding and sketching: Scatter Creek Wildlife Rec. Area

watercolor, gouache and gel pen in beige toned sketchbook

Memorial Day didn’t look like it was going to be a good barbeque day with rain forecast as it is every day here in the northwest, but it was great for birding! The choruses of birdsong were particularly symphonic in this open prairie land carpeted with wildflowers, grasses and gorgeous invasive Scotch Broom bushes. While the experienced birders identified the birds by their unique songs and often found them with binoculars, sharing them with us all, I also stumbled along the trail with eyes on the wildflowers and ears enjoying the songs in happy ignorance.

Our leader Kathleen bore the high powered scope and tripod on her back and seemed to know when to set it up. So we got to see Cowbirds copulating in a tree some distance away! The Tanager above was so striking in color that we could follow its movements in and out of the foliage, rarely seeing the whole bird at once. But that much was surprisingly satisfying.

So yesterday I returned with sketchers Jane and Ineke to enjoy the walk, the colors, the rapidly changing skies and to plant ourselves among the grasses, now grown about 2 feet in one week’s time, to sketch.

direct watercolor in Travelogue sketchbook

Plunging right in with watercolor

I’ve discovered that this new sketchbook (hand.book journal co. 90# w/c paper), a lighter version of the last one I was using (also hand.book with 140# w/c paper) This lighter one handles wet watercolor very poorly, probably not the best for direct watercolor painting. So, I’ll be going back to 140# 100% cotton paper when I want to paint skies like these!

Same problem here resulting in sky, tree and puddle muddle. Blame it on the paper, haha! But while I was painting I was thinking, “I should come out here every day to paint in this place!”

So I’ll end on this note. Just get out and do it, and enjoy the process. Don’t you just love the feeling of paint coming off your brush!?