I became fascinated by the Burren Green Moth (Calamia tridens), a unique little moth restricted to a small area in Co. Clare, the Burren, where it was discovered in 1949. It is found nowhere else in the British Isles. It is active mainly at night so little is really known about it’s habits. It is believed to feed on purple moor grass (Molina caerulea). So I didn’t have much to go on when I started this plate, just some research and my imagination.
This piece will be part of the Invisible Links exhibit at the Denver Botanic Gardens, August 15 – Oct. 14, 2018, in the Gates Court Gallery, exploring the complex and often hidden symbiotic relationships between plants and other organisms. There will be a reception Sunday, August 19, 1–3 p.m. This annual exhibition is always very good, I’ll be there.
So here is what this summer has amounted to. Starting in late May I worked through my collection of “things” picked up at various locations around Ireland. I’ve created five variations on the theme “of Ireland”. Wasn’t entirely sure where I was going with this at the beginning but this is what I’ve discovered. 1) I like drawing things! Some are rather easy (beach rocks, feathers), some are really hard (shells, crabs, turf!), but it has been good for me to figure these things out. While not perfect by any means I’ve sharpened my graphite skills, and I’ve become more disciplined in how I approach the act of drawing.
2) More than anything, this has been a way for me to record my thoughts and feelings visually about the many new and fascinating places I visited. I guess it may only make sense to me because it’s sort of a pictorial code, but that’s ok. If you want to know just ask. Thinking now about how I might evolve this theme into something more . . .
Anyway, the working titles are Fanore; Wildberry; Inis mor; and Glendalough with possibly a couple more yet to go. Enjoy.
Here’s the second in the series of things and places in Ireland in May of 2018. Inis Mor is the largest, and most popular, of the Aran Islands. Quite crowded, with ferries arriving all day long. Still, once you leave the village behind you are left with a landscape that has changed little since my forefathers emigrated in the 1890s. The centerpiece here is the Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis), generally considered a weed but lovely nonetheless. I saw it nestled up against one of the hundreds of limestone walls that are the signature image of these islands. Other objects I picked up along the way, mostly on the beaches: limestone (of course), crab shells, Knotted Wrack, (Ascophyllum nodosum), and Blue Mussel, (Mytilus edulis). Apologies for the image quality, my iphone is not quite up to the task. I’m in the market for a scanner! This is still a work in progress, much yet to do before I call this one done.
This is the first in what I hope will be a series based on native wildflowers and found objects from the Burren (of course). Fanore beach is where I always begin my Burren trips, so these objects represent what I saw and picked up while walking along the coastal edge of that magical place. Shells, rocks, driftwood and old pieces of rope are typical of what you find on Irish beaches, but I must say, each beach does have its own personality and the ocean seemingly gives up unique objects depending on where you are.
Anyway, much more to do here—sharpening, more darks—but I am still liking the idea . . . colored pencil and graphite.
I’ts been about three weeks since I returned from Ireland. The jet lag has finally worn off and I’m getting back into work mode. No teaching until fall so I really have no excuses. I’m including two pieces that are still in progress. The first is my attempt to capture the glorious spring gentians and early purple orchids that were intermingling all throughout the Burren. It was a truly amazing sight that I won’t ever be able to do justice. But I’ll try! It still needs something, currently trying to figure out what that is.
The second is a piece in graphite. I have started collecting objects from different locations, I brought back quite a lot from my recent trip. I would eventually like to create pieces that say something about the places I’ve traveled to through the objects I’ve found. Not an original concept by any stretch but one that really interests me now. Anyway, this one is a collection of things from Doug and Dana’s backyard. Again, still refining it. And a lot more to come I hope . . .
Today was the opening of Eireannach, the Irish Society of Botanical Artists exhibition as part of the Worldwide Botanical Art Day, to be held on May 18th. Thrilled to see my Bloody Cranesbill (Geranium Sangeium) painting hanging on the wall at the National Botanic Gardens in Dublin, alongside the very best Irish artists. One week from today I’ll be standing in front of all this wonderful work celebrating Botanical Art Worldwide. More to come . . .
VERY honored to be part of the 2017 Art faculty exhibit in the lovely O’Sullivan Gallery at Regis University in Denver. What a show! Let’s forget for a minute I’m even there, the work in this show is fabulous! Most of my Burren series is on display, which I’m most grateful for. Led as usual by renowned painter Tony Ortega, the creative energy here is off the charts. I really had no idea the talent level was this high. Hats off to Robert St. John, gallery director, for putting together such a beautiful exhibit. This is a must see if you’re in the area. Up until December 8. I, and other faculty will be giving artist talks on November 9, 7 pm.
Teaching dilemma number 542 . . . student X misses classes, gets behind the schedule, grade plummeting. Then shows up and gives me this. Two weeks past deadline. I am speechless. Definitely need the backstory here. Remember, this is a beginning, foundational drawing class. I tried my best to not let my amazement and shock show. But, wow . . .
This image is the very beginning of my Caribou Ranch plate, conceived while I was an Artist in Residence there in July. This time I’ve started with watercolor pencils, which is new for me. But it does help to get the core colors down quickly, and I do kinda like using the small brush. Taking baby steps into watercolor! Anyway, this is due to Boulder County January 1 so I really need to get going. Just finished and shipped my Botanical Art Worldwide submission, so the docket is clear for now. Many, many hours to go . . . and yes, I know the composition needs some work!
Just a few examples of student work from my recently concluded foundational drawing class. The assignment was to create a self portrait using everything they learned during the semester, and, to insert something about themselves personally into the drawing.
These were beginning college art students, slightly intimidated at the beginning. VERY impressed by their commitment, creativity and willingness to share parts of themselves. Not bad, not bad at all!!