A year ago I posted my sketches of the "Cat in a Window" along with a few of my notes. After getting to know my subject quite well through a series of studies, I moved on to several different projects and put this one on the shelf for a long while.
I jumped back into this project in January and after re-reading my year-old notes I am happy to read that I have followed through with most of hat I had written a year ago. (This doesn't usually happen!)
This is why I agree that it is important to keep sketch journals or just written journals of our observations on topics we are working on. Once its written down and sketched, it seems to become engraved in our memories for quite a while- or at least 12 months! --A
I was feeling the "blues" after returning from a great art show (St. Peters in Lewes Delaware) and family visit two weeks ago, and decided to shake it off by going fishing at a nearby bay which feeds into Lake Ontario.
I found a secluded fishing spot down a narrow path which led to a small area large enough for one person to sit on a rock and fish quietly.
I cast a spinner lure into the water and was enjoying the solitude as I watched a crayfish and minnow interact with each other on a submerged rock near my feet.
A few minutes went by and I heard an unusually close HONK coming down the narrow trail which led to where I was sitting. As I turned to look over my right shoulder, I saw an entire Canadian Goose family wobbling down the path directly towards me. I don't think they knew I was there!
They got down nearly to the rock next to me, realized I was there and stopped cold as the goslings piled up bumping into each other wondering why Mom and Dad hit the brakes so fast.
We looked at each other for many minutes- I sat motionless- and they eventually took hesitant steps into the water right in front of me, glancing nervously at me as they floated away quickly, single file. I was lucky enough to capture a few great shots with my cell phone- no zoom lens needed!
So... sketches are already underway! Thank you Mother Nature, for re-inspiring me to get back to my art table!
Enjoy the rest of July... it sure is going by fast!
I have been working on this old forgotten barn today- on a Sunday. I try to think of the spiritual aspects of what - and why- I am painting or sketching at the time I am doing it, and what, if any, value could the finished piece hold for someone else?
Why are some of us so taken with nature? And what relationship does my artwork have with that? When I see a beautiful bird or majestic tree, I immediately want to know these things better and interact with them somehow through my artwork.
I recently read a wonderful excerpt written by the great C. S. Lewis and it seemed to sum it all up for me today:
By C. S. Lewis, on Wanting More:
“Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise.
“At present we are on the outside… the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the pleasures we see. But all the pages of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so. Someday, God willing, we shall get “in”… We will put on glory… that greater glory of which Nature is only the first sketch.
We do not want to merely “see” beauty–though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words–to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.
While this isn't exactly a sketch, it took me many sketches to arrive at this point in this painting!
This is a 24" x 18" watercolor painting of a Blue Heron that I had spotted during a walk along the water with my Uncle John near Broadkill Beach.
We were watching a Blue Heron as it hunted for fish, and he kept glancing over at us, almost with a look of annoyance. After a few minutes, he lept up and flew in a wide circle to change his hunting spot- obviously a little disgruntled that we were watching him. This painting is an actual view of this magnificent bird as he flew right past us. Beautiful, prehistoric and effortless flying.
Spring is such a wonderful time of year to catch glimpses of so many migratory birds and other wildlife!
Like people, they are filled with renewed vibrance and life, full of plans for their summertime.
My sketchbook is filled with drawings of reed warblers, herons, swallows, and other ideas- can't wait to get them painted!
Happy Spring everyone... - A
This week I will be completing studies for an exciting new project I have been thinking about for the past few years.
Description: this watercolor will be incorporating contrasting late afternoon light with the details of the stones used to make a classic Pennsylvania farmhouse. A lone yellow cat sits in an old wooden-framed window catching the last rays of the sun before evening sets in, looking out directly at the viewer.
Its going to be a combination of creativity and high detail (which I love to do), along with the beautiful big stones used in the 1700 and 1800's to make farmhouses and barns in Pennsylvania. All of these elements I really enjoy looking at and trying to re-create. Look for more updates soon!
This has been a really fun project so far. This wonderful old building, which is situated along the Lewes Canal in Lewes Delaware is rich with history and could tell a few hair-raising stories of storms and rescues.
It is obviously a beloved landmark, yet still shows a little weathering from the years of wind and water. It certainly represents well the rich history of Lewes and its people.
After completing 8 studies of this building, I have settled on this view, as I thought it was important to show the rowboat tucked safely alongside the building.
I walked around this building at 7:45 am, when the light was diffusing through the clouds yet still lingered along the horizon with the old familiar orange glow reflecting off of everything for a few more minutes. This is such a great time of day to capture images and color, and the coffee always seems to taste the best this time of day too. - A
A. E. West
Fine Artist with interests in Conservation, History and Nature paints subjects from coastal Delaware, Southeastern Pennsylvania and Upstate New York.