Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Monarch Update

Between the outside caterpillars and the ones that I brought into the house, I have found 20!  Someone mentioned that they were probably hiding and now that they are growing and getting bigger, they are easier to spot.  I put grocery netted bags with a drawstring over a few of the plants that have caterpillars to keep spiders, birds and other harmful prey away.  So far they are working!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Instars Update

There is good news and bad news with my little Monarch caterpillars.  I had many of the eggs hatch over the last week.  Unfortunately, many of the tiny caterpillars have disappeared.  I am not sure why.  I did bring two potted milkweed plants into the house.  There were three instars (that is what they are called between the molting stages that they are now going through) on one plant and two on the other.

 One died the first day but the others continue to eat and grow.
Yesterday I found one crawling around on my stove top!  I was just about to turn on the gas flame when I notice the tiny guy.  He must have been very hungry because the plant was sitting on my stove the day before until I moved it into the window.  So I now know that some just fall off of the plant.  I am happy to report that he is back on a milkweed and eating happily.  

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Third Annual Smith Rock Paint Out

The Smith Rock Paint Out is this weekend, June 20, 2015.  It is our third annual.  I am happy to have helped start this event in collaboration with Smith Rock State Park.  The paintings that are created plein air on this day are amazing!  This is a juried show and the best of the best will be on display at Robert's Field Airport in Redmond, Oregon.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tiny New Life

Monarch update!  As of today, I have seen four newborn Monarch caterpillars.  They are about as big as a piece of dirt.  They are very vulnerable to some predators such as ants and spiders.  I removed all little critters that I could find and then wrapped a mesh bag around each of these newly hatched caterpillars.  I took a few photos to share with you but since they are so small they are hard to see!  I learned why the female Monarch only deposits one caterpillar per plant - it is because these little guys are cannibalistic and will eat other eggs that are on their leaf.
I am working to get Bend, Oregon on the map!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Exciting News! Monarch Butterflies in Bend, Oregon!

Today was the very first time I have ever seen a Monarch Butterfly in my garden.  They have been here before because I had a couple caterpillars two years ago.  This is the first time I have actually seen an adult fluttering around checking out the scenery and various plants here in Bend, Oregon!  For almost ten years I have been working on making my garden attractive to these golden tiny creatures.  After a few moments, she found my butterfly plants and started laying eggs!

Laying eggs on my new butterfly weed starts

Taking a break just long enough for me to get a good photo!

Amazingly beautiful eggs.  They look like little space pods.
 These amazing creatures travel up from Mexico flying several thousands of miles each year!  Their host plant is milk weed.  Unfortunately the milkweed has been disappearing.  The problem is so bad that the Monarch is being considered for the endangered list.

My butterfly weed in bloom.  Gorgeous!
Asclepias Speciosa - Showy Milkweed
Closeup of an egg - just laid!
What can you do to help?  Plant butterfly weed in your garden!
Bend, Oregon does have a small population of Monarch flying through on their way north.  

Saturday, June 6, 2015

So Much Fun

We had so much fun last year in the Watercolor Fun online workshop that it is being offered again.  Today is the first day of 6 weeks of full access to the painting videos and online classroom with the Artful Gathering Online Workshop.  I have often been asked to offer online classes so this is it!   It is not too late to sign up.
I take you from start to finish for three different paintings.  I also have a warm-up exercise with each painting.  As a bonus, I show you how to fix problem areas in your paintings.  Here are some photos of the paintings we will do as well as a couple of examples from what the students did:

Monday, June 1, 2015

Helpful Drawing Tips

Hi everyone! Artful Gathering starts June 6th! In my Watercolor Toolbox 2 workshop you will learn how to do a contour drawing, make a color-mixing chart, and how to get volume and depth in your paintings.
 I go into detail on how to use your pencil as a drawing tool to get the proportions correct.

Here is my list of DRAWING TIPS:

1.  Start drawing and keep drawing - you will get better! 

2.  Observe instead of imagine, at least in the beginning.  Buy a sketchbook that you can devote to drawing.  No one has to ever see it but you.  

3.  Use your pencil as a measuring tool.  You can use it to compare, multiply, divide and create angles.

4.  The closer objects are to you, the lower they will be on your paper.

5.  For a watercolor painting, draw just the contour or outline of the objects.  Don't put in a lot of detail.  It just gets more lead on your paper that can muddy your painting.

6.  Try to break up complicated objects into simple shapes: squares, circles, rectangles... A pear can be made by drawing a triangle for the top and a circle on the bottom.

7.  Overlap shapes to create the illusion of distance.