Monthly Archives: November 2012

Sunday Sundae

I spent most of the weekend at my Mom’s dining table with my sketchbook.  With none of my usual domestic  distractions, I was able to finish the shading on the mini-pumpkin, do a little experiment with a doily, and work up an idea I’ve had since August for a floral piece.

The Dahlia Sundae was inspired by a photo in an article in the Sunday Oregonian Homes and Gardens section last summer called “Bad Kitty Bouquets” by Marsha Westcott Peck.  In a two-vase arrangement, she wedges a smaller vase inside a large vase, then layers odds and ends in the space between the two vases.  Fun idea!  I’d like to do a series with this idea but winter may not be the best time to start floral arranging.  I’ll be putting this idea away for next summer.

Winter is a good time for experiments with technique, though.  The background stripes for the pumpkin were “rubbed” using colored pencil over a plastic mesh.  The background for the orchids was another less successful attempt at rubbing, this time over Mom’s lace doily.  I think a pastel chalk might work better.  Using the barely-visible rubbing marks as guide, I added a few hand-made marks.  Still didn’t do it.  Next up was a white caran d’ache waxy crayon – not waxy enough, apparently, since it didn’t resist the watercolor that came next.  In spite of it not being what I had in mind, it does give a bit of texture and directs the eye around the piece, so this one goes in the “close but no cigar” file.

46 and Rain – That Says It All

"November Camellia", mixed media copyright Kerry McFall

November can be so very, very gray in the Willamette Valley…  but camellias seem to thrive in 46 degrees and rain.  Their patent leather leaves seem to revel in the never-ending cold shower.  And one type even blooms in winter- the sweet scent of it’s white blossoms is very strong, maybe just because the only other scent is Wet: wet pavement, wet leaves, wet cats…  Camellia Sasanqua is what Google tells me is the name of the gracious winter bloomer.

This sketch was done with watercolor and colored pencil in what I thought was a very limited palette until I saw the palette “swatch” when I cropped it.  It’s a small branch from the huge plant outside my studio window on the north side of the house.  If it’s the kind that will bloom this month, I hope it opens in time to provide a feast for the hummingbird that until very recently paid a daily visit to the lone remaining geranium in the window box.

Hazelnut Harvest

watercolor of hazelnut in casing

"Hazelnut Harvest", mixed media by Kerry McFall

Tyee Vineyards is such a lovely spot in the autumn: excellent wine, beautiful scenery, gorgeous grapes, and hazelnut orchards.  We took guests for a Willamette Valley Tour a few weeks ago, including the Corvallis Farmer’s Market for picnic ingredients, Hazelnut Hill where we had dessert first (always a good policy), Tyee, and Finley National Wildlife Refuge.  The only disappointment was Finley – see previous post – but all is again right with the world since the geese are more or less “back” at this writing (November 6, 2012).  Hoping to do a goose painting for my next post.

This piece is primarily watercolor with just a few touches of colored pencil.  I used real watercolor pencil for once, as opposed to my slightly-flimsy sketchbook, and took the time to stretch the paper before painting… it worked!  I have a flat painting!