Painting a Cottage Card

Last summer I was into drawing fairies. The mushrooms in my forest were transformed into moonlight bathtubs.

fairyprocess-finish:web

But this year I returned to ‘realism’ and featured the diminutive red eft. This brightly colored, juvenile phase of the Eastern Newt is on the move to winter quarters They are scuttling speedily along the mossy forest trails, looking for their new pond. 

RE_1 I paint a lot of Cottage Cards each summer and send them to my special friends. To make it a little faster I do them in batches. Each one is different, but they all use the same basic elements and colors.

After I’ve drawn the image in pencil, I completely saturate the paper with clean water. Using gouache, I paint the orange eft-wet into wet.RE_2 When the 1st wet layer has dried, I use a bright, mossy green to paint the background. reserving white areas as I go.RE_3 I add various colors to the mushroom caps.RE_4 The deep greens of the forest are added as an indigo layer in the far background.RE_5Purple-blue shadows under the mushroom caps and the eft’s body come next.RE_6 A winding Partridge Berry vine is added to three of the four cards, along with some mossy texture. I use a gold ink pen to outline the eft’s eye and the red spots along her body.RE_7 The final layer is a diluted wash of cobalt blue to focus attention on the red eft.

RE_8Now I remove the tape and, voila!

finish_2

 

 

Tracking the Red Eft

The Eastern Newt has a juvenile phase where these small amphibians are land dwelling and a striking shade of orange.

redeft_1web

These creatures are tiny–I am always afraid I’m going to step on them as they cross the mossy forest trail. As the summer wanes I see more and more of these on the move. They travel long distances using magnetic orientation. After 2 or 3 years on land they’ll find a permanent pond and become green aquatic newts.

redEftweb

Their gold rimmed eyes and delicate spots are such fun to draw and paint.

RedEft_1web

A Red Eft, painted in gouache, is the star of my 2014 Cottage Card.

If you enjoyed this post, please like Ashley Wolff Art on Facebook, visit my webpage here, my Etsy shop, or follow the blog by hitting the “follow blog” button at the top of the sidebar. 

 

Indian Pipes

The Indian Pipe, also known as the Ghost Plant or the Corpse Plant, pops up the woods in the late summer.

Indianpipesweb

They are eye catching in their pale rosiness.  They lack any chlorophyll and are essentially parasitic.

Most importantly, they are fun to draw and paint.

indainpipesweb

They were the star of one summer’s Cottage Cards.

If you enjoyed this post, please like Ashley Wolff Art on Facebook, visit my webpage here, my Etsy shop, or follow the blog by hitting the “follow blog” button at the top of the sidebar. 

 

pumpkinmotherhood
Mural_7web

A Mural for Karla’s Room

I grew up with a fold-out frieze of Noah’s Ark running around the top of the walls of the room I shared with my sister. Gazing from my pillow on the top bunk, I studied every detail of those animals. I’m sure that must have influenced my choice of subjects to this day.

Last summer I painted a fantasy mural of a clearing with a pond, horses and some little houses for my grand niece Julie Anna. Her family had a new baby on the way and this summer,  7-month-old Karla got her own fantasy mural.

Mural_1web

To prepare, we set up lamps and a worktable, and draped the room with sheets.  

Mural_12

I began with an spongey oval to echo Julie Anna’s  Pastoral scene, but I decided to go underwater this time.

Mural_13

I added a sandcastle in the background and built up turrets and windows and seaweed until I was happy.

Mural_15

Now it was time to introduce the star–a fat, little mermaid with long dark hair.
Mural_14 copy

Of course she needed an entourage of sea creatures,

Mural_3

including a whale for Julie Anna, a dolphin for Karen, and an octopus for me.

Mural_7web

My other favorite bits now are the pearl in the oyster and the eel in the cave.

Mural_6web

Karla seems pleased. No smiling for the camera this time–she only wanted to pat, pat, pat her little mermaid.

 

If you enjoyed this post, please like Ashley Wolff Art on Facebook, visit my webpage here, my Etsy shop, or follow the blog by hitting the “follow blog” button at the top of the sidebar. 

Life with Dogs-Part 8: We Love Lucy

Every kid needs a pet.

I knew I was lucky to grow up with dogs and wanted the same for my boys. Lucy made our family complete.

ro&Lu1997web

Even though I insisted we get a female dog so there’d be another b**** in our House of Boyz, Lucy had all the skills they admired.

She was good at messing around in boats,

Stormweb

She had the patience to fish,fishingweb

She loved to snorkel,
pumpkinsnorkel-web

and most important, she had game.

She never tired of the game of catch-of trying to catch the baseball, and of chasing it down when it got away.

limantourweb

Lucy was becoming an excellent new muse.

If you enjoyed this post, please like Ashley Wolff Art on Facebook, visit my webpage here, my Etsy shop, or follow the blog by hitting the “follow blog” button at the top of the sidebar. 

Ro&LuVTweb

Life with Dogs-Part 7: We meet A New Puppy

Our long, dog-less drought finally ended with a puppy.

I knew it was time.

B&R were independent and ready to help care for another creature. I tried to find another Vermont farm dog like Pumpkin, but when that didn’t work, I followed a lead to a breeder in Maine.

B,Lu&Ro

We 1st met Lucy in southern Quebec. Her mother was appearing in a Sheep Dog trial and we drove up to see a tiny, 8 week old pup. Then we waited and waited for a month until she was 12 weeks old.

Ro&Lucybabyweb

I wanted my boys to have the experience of raising a baby; chewed shoes, baseballs, flowerpots and all.

babyLucyweb

It’ll be fun to watch as Lucy grows up and become a book character in her own right.

If you enjoyed this post, please like Ashley Wolff Art on Facebook, visit my webpage here, my Etsy shop, or follow the blog by hitting the “follow blog” button at the top of the sidebar.