Nature in The Round 2020

As the months go by and seasons slide from one to the next, nature cycles through an array of delights. I chose items that I saw each month to create a bit of nature in the round.

  • Slides of each painting

Each element had to be something that caught my attention. In January I started out thinking I would collect pieces and create the arrangement on the ground, take a photo and then paint. Life got in the way and I only had time to look and paint. Sometimes I looked at reference photos on my phone.

The first designs were made with Copic markers. I love to blend with them. These designs were all done on 11 x 14 Bristol board which absorbs more than marker paper or photo paper. When the markers started to dry out I couldn’t find refills online. I suspect the pandemic had something to do with that. So I continued with colored pencils, ink, and watercolor.

I included the following natural material:

Januarytwigs, frozen berries and pinecones
Februaryfrozen berries and branches with a cardinal
Marchforsythia, daffodils and hyacinths
Apriltulips, phlox and dandelion
Mayirises, poppies and hydrangea
Junepeonies and petunias
Julylavender, echinacea, snap dragons, beebalm and lily
Augustcatalpa leaves, Queen Ann’s lace and chicory
Septembersunflower, ironweed, thistle, and unidentified wild flowers
Octoberacorns, locust leaves, oak leaves and maple leaves
Novemberdried grasses, leaves and bittersweet
Decemberholly and birch berries

I’m glad I kept going with this project each month. In a year when so much went wrong, it was a constant reminder that there is still a beautiful world around us.

I have a different plan for a monthly series in 2021. Stay tuned!

Garden Art with Copic Markers

A happy little thank-you card for some hard-working nurses!

I’m back after a hiatus triggered by a family health situation. Now that we’re back to a more normal schedule, I plan to post more regularly.

Have you ever tried alcohol markers? Curious about how they’re different than your average marker? When you look at the price you’ve got to wonder. I was interested but I’m also frugal so it took me a while to decide that I really need to own some. I did some online research and settled on a set of Copic Ciao markers. Buying them by the set doesn’t save much money and some experts recommend getting a few colors to try but this was my Christmas treat, so I went for a full set.

I watched a You Tube demo by Jazza from Australia which was very helpful. The trick is to start with the lightest value of a color you plan to use in an area and then move to the next darker value, then back to the lighter one for blending. You repeat this step-by-step until you get to your darkest value. You’ve got to do this rather quickly while the ink stays wet.

The blending on the bear’s face starts with the lightest color.

You also need to work on a substrate that won’t absorb the color. I’ve worked on photo paper to make cards and on Bristol board. You get different effects with each.

This circle of flowers was done on Bristol board. It absorbs more of the color than slicker papers.

The markers were loads of fun to play with. After using them several times a week for four or five months the lightest shades of each color are drying out. One of the selling points for Copic is that you can refill the markers so I tried to order the refill ink. Unfortunately, that became impossible. The manufacturer’s web site in Japan showed a new style of refilling cartridge to be available in spring 2020 after supplies of the old ones were gone. Most major online retailers seem to have a few odd colors of the old ones, but not the new style. So… my love affair with Copic markers is on hold as are so many other things in this pandemic.