Inkwash: Chickadee

I’ve tried watercolor before with frustration (I’m still too impatient) but I hadn’t tried using an ink wash so that’s what I set out to do this week! This bird wasn’t featured in the ABC newsletter (mentioned last time) but I had already sketched it out from before; it is a black-capped chickadee chosen for a friend (original image found here).

My first take was with pen only but I wasn’t as thrilled about the result as with my barn owl.

I re-sketched the little bird and pulled out my old calligraphy ink. I only have black, blue, green, and red, so I was unable to get the yellowish hues. But for my first attempt, I give myself a passing grade!

Lady Pole’s Tapestry

I’ve been watching Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell and just have to point out that in episode 3, there is a lovely stumpwork tapestry piece. It isn’t often that embroidery makes its way into a storyline more than a background activity! I paused the show and studied each portion as the camera surveyed the entire work up-close. It isn’t meant to be a masterpiece work of art, as it was crafted hurriedly by Lady Pole, a “madwoman”, but it is still really inspiring. I could not find nice photos online, so hopefully I am forgiven for posting some here (and I did my best at photographing a television…). Enjoy!

Update: Here is the tapestry from the BBCs website!

As for the show, it is very well done in production quality. Apaprently it did not get renewed for season 2, but it is based on a book by the same name penned by Susanna Clarke. I just might have to pick it up.

Sketch: Barn Owl

I haven’t been very diligent about exercising my pen and ink skills, but that doesn’t mean that I’ve given up. I recently signed up for the newsletter from the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) and got my second issue today. I began what will hopefully be a regular* practice of drawing the bird they highlight. [*”Regular” is defined in two ways: 1. wishful thinking of weekly engagement 2. practical reality of whenever the mood strikes; Note: definition 2 is more likely.] Today, ABC showcased the barn owl (the one seen in Labyrinth!). I do not see this around my home, but I have heard it in the not so far distance at least twice. 


I originally wanted to just spend 30 minutes on a pencil sketch, but I didn’t even look at the time. When I decided to bring out the pens, I decided only 15 more minutes, but it took a total of thirty or so. I am guessing this took me around one hour total, but honestly I have no idea. I don’t want to spend a lot of time working sketches because I know that if I force that, I will burn out or not make the time and it will fade out. But, if I don’t notice the time passing, that is celebration in itself! Therefore, the agreement I made to myself is a minimum of 15 minutes – a small chunk of time to hopefully keep the definition of “regular” closer to number 1. With the ABC newsletter delivered every week as a reminder, I think I can make this work (which will also mean I will be sketching things not local to my home, but every practice will get me better at live sketching!).

I wonder if this will turn into watercolor practice also. Or, maybe I will look into colored pens… I have pencils… Hmm… …