Monday, May 31, 2010

Mixed Media Artist Book

I have been making plans for a while now for a mixed media artist book (or journal).
If I complete it like I have planed, or even close to it,
there should be a ton of techniques in it!
I made the first (of several) folders that will be inside of it.
This one is a manila folder that has been cut down to size,
painted, inked, sanded, stenciled, spritzed, grommet-ed, taped,
and waiting for a collage element on the front of it.
I'll use screen fabric, a copy of a bird painting that I did,
along with painted/sanded and torn tuna cardboard and maybe a few circular washers...
or a feather...
Either way -
It's going to be great!

Weekend Art

I've been painting in my studio - not the walls but on canvas and watercolor paper.
I wanted to watch TV with my husband and I had to have something to do -
since I can't seem to sit still and actually watch the television...
So, I pulled out my trusty sketchbook, drawing pencils and compact watercolors.

A funky little tree with odd "plants" underneath it.
Actually, if you look closely (and use your imagination) you can tell that the plants are actually my interpretation of images from a nature book that I was thumbing through.
A fern frond...
A carbohydrate molecule...
and a weed seed head...
It's all in how you look at things.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Swimmin' Hole

The Santee State Park built a great swimming area for the campers. It had an activity building, a floating dock with a diving board and a wooden bridge for hikers and fishermen.
...that is until the gators moved in.
I would imagine that they tried relocating the gators since they had gone to so much work, effort and money to build the swimming area.
The gators liked their new digs so much that they refused to leave.
So the park had to close the area to swimmers and only allow fishermen, gawkers and hikers.
There is a Huge "No Swimming" sign right beside this sign...

Funny stuff, huh?
Here is the first of four alligators that we saw one afternoon while gawking...I mean hiking.
He was only about 8 foot long.

Here was another one that was about 10 foot long. You can see the foliage from the shore in this shot. My husband took this one while I was running with three other women...I mean hiking .

Here is the third one that we saw in that "swimming hole"...another 8 footer.

And here is the Big Daddy Gator. The folks at the rangers office refer to him as "the big one in the pond". He measures in at a whooping 10-12 foot long.

Can I say "holy moly" ?

Look at the beautiful, though kinda scary humps on his back and tail...

If you didn't read the first sign, here is the other one that they post warning you not to feed the gators, notice the (no)swimming dock in the background...

I hope that I haven't scared any of you from going to the state park in Santee SC. If you are a lover of nature and wildlife, this is a fantastic place to go!

Between Santee State Park, the lake itself, and the Santee National Wildlife Refuge, we saw two Bald Eagles, several Opsreys, Indigo Bunting, Goldfinch, more wading birds than you can shake a stick at, Double-crested Cormorant , Anhinga, Great Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, Black Vulture, Turkey Vulture, Wood Duck, American Wigeon, Mallard, Wild Turkey (and friends!), Purple Gallinule, Mourning Dove, Belted Kingfisher, Blue Jays, American Crows, Purple Martins, Tufted Titmouse, Brown Thrasher, European Starling, Northern Cardinals, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird and a Partridge in a Pear, Partridge (but a whole lotta commas in that sentence).

If you love birding, this is a splendid place to take off to! The Visitor Center will even provide you with a small brochure that lists all the birds in the area so you can check off the ones that you see.

How convenient is that?

And unlike my daring husband and I, you can always watch the alligators through a pair of binoculars or not at all.

Well, it would appear that I forgot the cyrpess forest in this post...I'll try to show that tomorrow along with some painting that I've been doing.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

SC Gators

Santee National Wildlife Refuge in Santee SC has 15,095 acres of mixed hardwoods and pines, freshwater marsh, croplands, old fields and open water. It is also hailed as one of the best birding areas in SC.
The refuge is home to 296 birds as well as 45 mammals, 54 reptiles, 35 amphibians and more than 100 fish species.
It touts walking trails, biking trails, canoe/kayak trails and an interpretive wildlife drive.
We spoke with one of the rangers at the Visitors center
who helped us decide which trail to utilize that day, based on the weather and available time.
We decided to tackle the Cuddo East canoe/kayak trail.
This is a photo of the very beginning of the channel.
It's actually a channel from an old rice plantation.
just perfect for kayak travel and...
the American Alligator.
Look at how dark the water is.

The channel was fairly narrow for a few hundred feet and then opened up into a smallish pond area.
Full of water lilies, birds and
Here is one of them.
These pictures were taken from my vantage point in the kayak - no zoom lens here.

Notice the trail of bubbles behind this 12-14 foot gator...that is one way to track them.

Here's a different one - another 12-14 footer. I guess we actually saw about 10 different gators.
We saw many more bubble trails than that though.

After the pond area, the channel narrows back down to the previous width.

This shows the trail of two different gators that were hanging out under osprey nests.

Think they were waiting for mom to drop a fish

or a baby to drop out?

Everybody has to eat...

We had a fantastically scary kayaking trip that day.

I used to think of myself as a real scaredy cat...

guess I'll lose that title for a while, huh?

All is well that ends well.

This is what we saw as we drove out of the wildlife refuge that day.

A beautiful rainbow.

Tomorrow I'll try to post photos of the cypress forest that sits out in Lake Marion.

Hope that you all are flexing your creative muscles...

as well as your"I'm a Brave Girl now" muscles.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Santee State Park or Gator Hunting

Well, warmer weather is here and you know
what that means for my husband and I...
Nature Trips and Kayaking.
If that bores you or just doesn't interest you - stop reading here.
But if you enjoy living vicariously through someone else's adventures
or you love nature
or you love kayaking
or you love alligators -
Read On!

Here is one photo for you stitchers out there that always looking for patterns on things.
This is a photo of the under side of the roof on an activity building
at Santee State Park in Santee SC.
It has several nests (Martin's) in the corners of the timbers.
The birds were sitting on side timbers
watching us as we snapped pictures and watched them.

We saw so much wildlife at the park, it was unbelievable!
A lot of deers...
Big deers, tiny deers
deers with big racks (antler, that is...)
Here's a night shot where a "family" was going back to their tent...
mom, dad and three kids.
Look at them...going in through the "Do Not Enter" road!
Some animals just don't follow rules well.

Even the sky was beautiful! This was shot on the way out of the Santee Wildlife Refuge.

What an Awesome place to visit if you love observing wildlife and nature!

We were in the "Cuddo Unit".

They have a "Wildlife Drive" that has an accompanying Interpretive Guide with it.

As you drive along (it is a 7.5 mile road), you will pass numbered signs that you reference in the guide. It gives great information about the area that you're in or about the animals that you will likely see.

The guide did mention we might see Wild Turkeys.

It didn't say that they would jump out on the road in front of us, running 20 miles per hour as we lagged behind.

Nor did it mention that the original three turkeys would be joined by three more of their friends.

And run for about 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile before jumping off the side of the road.

We didn't follow them the entire time. We stopped and just watched them continue to run.

It must have been a neighborhood jog night.

The first day that we were there we went for a short kayak trip in Lake Marion.

We wanted to take a peek at the cypress forest that stands in the middle of the lake.

According to the park brochure "Lake Marion is a 110,00 acre lake that is more shallow, full of stumps and trees (including a deciduous cypress forest gracing the middle of the lake across from the park) and is adjacent to thousands of acres of pristine, secluded wetlands and forest."

I'll post photos of that, along with the up close interaction with several alligators we met...

How close? you ask.

Very close...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sketching on the Road

When my husband and I go places, he usually drives.
I usually draw.
The South Carolina roads can be very bumpy
which is aggravating while driving
but can provide some pretty cool lines while drawing.
I suppose this could be another example of making lemonade from your lemons, huh?
Anyway, here is a two page Moleskine spread that I started when we backed out of the driveway
headed to Charleston.
I drew some of it while watching a Citadel baseball game
and completed it on the drive home.
This one was done completely on the drive home - notice the jiggly (meaning jumpy) lines.

There is a detour on 385 North going towards Greenville right now due to construction.

You have to go through a little town called Laurens and some really bumpy back roads.

They provided the opportunity for the nifty jiggly lines on the drawing that I could not have obtained any other way.

My friend Liz Kettle (over at Textile Evolution) was in Charleston this weekend as well.

So we all (her family and my husband) got together

and went kayaking in the Charleston Harbor on Saturday.

We had a blast!

If you're ever in Charleston and want to kayak (with or without a guide)

go here - Coastal Expeditions.

These folks are great! And reasonably priced also.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Art Revisited

Here is a drawing/painting that I did last year.
Even though she is a product of my imagination,
she really looks like a friend of my son's.
Isn't that funny?
Maybe I had her on my mind when I painted this lovely girl...
So maybe I should call this one