Hopalong Hollow....

Hopalong Hollow, where the Blueberries grow sweet, and the moss feels soft beneath your feet.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Summers last breath

 Do you welcome September as much as I do?
Spring and Autumn are the best times of the year to me.
Everyone in the Hollow seems a little cooler and  more content as summer breathes her last and Autumn takes command with a crispness we all recognize and delight in.
As the perennials in the cottage gardens fade, turn to skeleton and go to seed, it is the fabulous Zinnias that continue to burst forth with more and more bloom, even as the gourds and pumpkins grow ever larger on the vines.
  September gets me in the mood to put paint to paper this week on the Rooster piece I drew many months ago.
  A chance to paint the colors of Autumn.
I'm excited to paint the gourds, squashes and pumpkins next.
Vegetables are so darn comical,
 but not as cute as baby chicks.
 This illustration is a joy to paint!  I expect it will be complete by Monday.

Please enjoy the last of summer color as I take a walk through my Zinnia Cutting garden.
 I got pretty excited over these simple plant, and you will see why.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Happiness is a new paintbrush

   Tell me fellow artists, does a trip to the art store thrill you as much as it does me? Even if it's a trip to an online art store like Dick Blick?
 I enjoy shopping for art supplies online even more than entering a physical store. It gives one time to reflect, really study paint colors, brush sizes, read reviews on products and do research at the same time. In the physical art store, I am more likely to purchase on impulse and end up with things I don't really need.
Such as this nice little travel set of Sennelier paints, really cute, purchased on impulse and only used once in 5 years.
 I have dozens of plastic watercolor palettes from the store, most of them sitting in a drawer, of course. All I really needed were these  porcelain palettes purchased online. What a  delightful difference in how the porcelain surface keeps the watercolor from separating and spreading around., it just feels nice to use it.. and it is pretty too.

 For mixing larger amounts of color, these wonderful porcelain paint pots are excellent, stack-able AND have a lid.

An exception to my rule of favoring online or catalog art-supply, is
 PAINT-BRUSHES. I just realized this when I decided to try a new brand of brush.
I purchased 7 DaVinci Kolinski sable Rounds, ONLINE, after reading some very positive reviews about the brand.

 I was excited to receive them in the post and couldn't wait to try them out...BUT I am not pleased. They were priced reasonably, the brushes held a lot of paint but they DO not keep a sharp point. I was happier with the two brushes I bought last week, in person, at Hobby Lobby from "Masters Touch".
Davinci's on the left,  Master's Touch on the right, Look at the difference in the tip!
At least, in the art store, you can examine the brush, feel the bristles and if you are really serious, wet the brush with your fingers to test the point.
The right tools really Do make a difference.
When it comes to purchasing the BEST supplies you can afford, I have to say that I'm picky with  paint-brands-(Windsor Newton, Senneilier, and Schmincke) paintbrushes- (Windsor Newton) and paper- (Fabrianna)

 My question to you is this: is there a tool or implement you use in your art, needlework or craft that you are particularly adamant about it being exactly the correct brand or even of the highest price because it WORKS BEST FOR YOU? Are there other products that you are happy to use of a lesser price or quality?
And lastly, what ARE your favorite products for creating YOUR  masterpieces?

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Weclome Baby Peachicks!


 Moving on to the next.
The exciting news is this:
Our peahen had babies!

Her first set of eggs lain in the old tree stump was a fail, but her second nest, made in the garden, was a wonderful success! It seems things work out best when you're in the garden.
We have 4 Baby Pea-chicks here in the Hollow.

Thank you Hettie Pepper, You are a wonderful mother!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

For the love of a Duck

Ducks are the dearest of creatures and one of my favorite animals here in 
Hopalong Hollow.
Who can resist those smiling bills?
  We have 20 ducks here in the Hollow, and they have split into 5 separate families. 
 Ducks do that.
We have the Osterhout family, Fionna's family, the Swedish pond duck family, A lovely couple named Mia and Jangles (who only have eyes for each other) and last but not least, the Tiny Tinks,(2 little orphaned ducklings)

 Duck families are very particular about NOT allowing OTHER ducks to enter their "space". Nor do they leave their family for more than a short time.
The exception to this rule is during mating season, when all the males go around like marauding Vikings chasing WHICHEVER female they wish to mate.
 Naturally, this produces many little offspring, 
this year we had 11 babies.
The Little Osterhout ducklings, from last Autumn, grew into big white Pekins and produced 5 wee babes.

Females can be distinguished from males by their quack, ( which is quite loud and boisterous) and the lack of a curl in their tail. Females are also very deferential to the males, it is observed by a cute little bobbing up and down motion of the head at a sideways turn.  They begin this behavior at a very young age and it is often my first clue as to the sex of a duckling.  Often, female Pekins have a more pale, yellowish bill than the males.
 Males have a little curl in their tail called a Drake feather. Their quack is more of a raspy, muffled "Queek" and they are a bit larger than the ladies. Drakes are very protective of their hens, will sit near them as they lay eggs or nest, and will fight any outsider attempting to defrock them.
You can imagine the countless "duck fights" we have during the Mating season.
 Duck fights are not very serious, as they really have no weapons other than the rounded bill, which does no damage at all. It is more of a tussle than a fight, sometime involving 4 ducks at once! It can be very humorous to watch.

Other than the occasional spats, ducks are happy, busy, sociable, charming, silly, cute and faithful mates
I think that  Hopalong Hollow ducks would be perfect for the book cover of the garden book.
Here is Trudy's new family of five.

 P.S.  finished the "Seed Collectors"

Friday, July 29, 2016

Too hot to weed

Even though I can't be out in the garden without the danger of melting in  the heat, I can still enjoy the blooms from my vantage point on the porch. This  is where I paint in the summer. This shady oasis is surrounded by gardens from which I can pluck my "models".
The illustration in progress is called
"The Seed Collectors"

My flower colors are more subdued than the actual blooms because I want the birds to be the focal point in this painting.

There is a much more work to do in the background and details..
I'm not sure what kind of bird is up top in pencil, it all depends on what colors I want to use for contrast against the pale sky.


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Fashionable Garden Frocks for stylish ladies

Remember poor dilapidated Peggy?

  She's napping in front of a fan on the porch..it is terribly hot here.
Her lovely cotton saddle arrived but was much too small for her.
Nevertheless, her back has been healing due to the untimely demise of the her chief tormentor, the large red rooster  (But that is another story)
 It's rather disappointing that she won't be stylishly dressed to join these lovely ladies in the garden.

  Demelza was my main model, and got to wear all the clothes!
(just kidding)
 I can't decide who has the sweetest dress, but I am leaning
towards the flowery blue frock.
 How about you?
Illustration in watercolor and ink. I will enjoy seeing this as a greeting card as well as an illustration in the book.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Fresh and crunchy, from the garden...

I've finished painting my vegetable gardeners and am moving on to those little "Scratchin in the dirt" hens.
A partial drawing above
is coming to life.
 Not much of a post today; my computer "DIED" a week ago and I'm a squatter on James's computer, so I must be brief .
Being computer-less at this time, is why I have not been visiting.
OH well, must paint anyway!