Pumpkin time

My first dog was a free puppy from a dairy farm.

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She was the last pup in the litter.

I picked her up, cuddled her and immediately called her Pumpkin.

Pumpkin was an affectionate name in my family, a term of endearment like Sweetie or Honey.  I took her home and we became an inseparable pair.

One of the first adventures we had together was driving from Vermont to California and back in a small Ford pick-up with my boyfriend, and our old, family dog, a German Shepherd named Thumper.pumpkin&ThumperPumpkin came to every class at art school, she was my model and muse and, when I got my first job after college. She came to work with me. When I started dating the reporter, she gave him the seal of approval.

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Her name didn’t fit a black and white border collie, but she ALWAYS looked good with the real gourds!pumpkinstackHalloweenMask

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It is hard, this time of year, not to see her in the Pumpkin Patch.

Full Circle with Baby Bear Counts One: Gobble, gobble, gobble

When I was young I used to find a thicket of these in my neighborhood, sit in the shadow of the vines, and eat grapes.

These are tiny and tart, but the intense grape taste makes them delectable.

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We called them “Fox Grapes,” According to Wikipedia:  There is ample evidence that the labrusca was growing wild in North America centuries before the Europeans discovered the continent.

If a wild grape is growing, a turkey is going to find it.

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And bears will follow…

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Surprise!

Full Circle with Baby Bear Counts One: Crunch, Crunch, Crunch

Every September, the cow corn is harvested. This is not sweet “People Corn.” It is pure carbohydrate and is usually chopped and made into silage to feed to the dairy cows throughout the winter.

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Occasionally the harvester leaves a patch, meant to represent the quality of the whole harvest for insurance purposes, and a few stalks are left standing to feed the wildlife instead of the cows.

corn:webThe ears of corn looks pretty tough.

We aren’t going to eat them with butter anytime soon.

But the crows, and the deer, and the bears love them.

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The crisp edges and black lines of the linocut really lend themselves to cornfields and crows.

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And watercolor adds the autumnal burnish.

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Making a Fairy Card

Every summer I make many ‘copies’ of one Cottage Card to send to close friends.  I am lucky to have a lot of friends, so I make a LOT of cards.

I usually keep the prototype here in my cabin in Vermont. So far, there are 12 of them. The Fairy Card started like this, but a square image is harder to mail, so it morphed into a rectangle.

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I begin with a sheet of watercolor paper, grid it with masking tape and draw the design on each card.

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Then I use classic assembly line techniques, pioneered by Henry Ford. Of course, there is a huge difference since I fill all the positions on the assembly line!fairyprocess_1:web

I start adding color, working on all the cards sequentially. No two are alike, but the palette is consistent.

This is a group of brunette fairies.

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And they are all pleased to be bathing in an upturned mushroom cap.

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And to fly around with rainbow wings.

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Full Circle with Baby Bear Counts One: Three Beavers

B&Beaver-'88A card, painted with watercolor on real paper birch bark, made for my mother in 1988.
 

The Beaver is an amazing animal. 

I have always been impressed with their talented tails, teeth and overall energy. They can transform an environment in a very intentional way, just like humans do.

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Near my cabin in Vermont is an extensive beaver-created environment. Every time I visit it seems bigger and more complex. I never see the beavers themselves. They are nocturnal and secretive, but their handiwork is everywhere.

chewedtrunkThey are capable of taking down huge trees and can peel a stick of bark as neat as you please!

beaverchewingAll this work goes into dam building to enlarge their pond area.

 

beaver damIn this drawing you can clearly see the different levels that the low beaver dams create. And here are real dams from my hike yesterday.

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AshbeaverdamDespite being made of nothing but sticks and mud, the dams become firm enough to walk on.

Their other project is the Beaver Lodge.

lodgeThe lodge is cleverly entered only from  underwater.

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So when Baby Bear hears “clapping,” he runs through the reeds to find a beaver pond with lodge and dam and three busy, building beavers, gathering twigs and bark before winter comes.

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Full Circle with Baby Bear Counts One: Part 4

Bears are great climbers.

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Look at those claws!

Two cubs were orphaned when their mother was killed by a truck. They were  brought to the office of Oregon’s State Wildlife Veterinarian, Dr. Colin Gillin, where I was able to videotape them.

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Bears climb trees to escape danger and to find food.

My cub climbed the tree to confront two squirrels

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My 1st sketch didn’t have him in the tree  so I revised to show him climbing.

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But the perspective seemed weird, for both the bear and the squirrels, so I revised again.

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And then again, to show the cub’s whole body.

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Finally I was able to carve the block…

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Print it and paint it.

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Full Circle with Baby Bear Counts One: Part 3

There is not a tree I hate.

There are quite a few I am neutral about and many I really admire and look up to.

There are a handful I love.

I love oaks.

I grew up with the deciduous Eastern white and red oaks and came to love Yosemite’s Black Oaks, and California Live Oaks too.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABut my favorite oak, a very old oak, is growing in a park with other oaks in Corvallis, Oregon. It is my model for the tree in this spread.S&Rwalking:web

OregonoakHer branches reached out horizontally, twisting and swathed in mosses and lichen.BBSB10-11floppedShe first appeared in Baby Bear Sees Blue, when the cub sees green.Now she is back in Baby Bear counts one, full of ripe acorns that are filling the coffers of two rambunctious squirrels.BBCO6-7.1webI started my thinking with a close up view.

BBCO6-7Then pulled the focus out and assumed a lower point of view.

dummy.6-7webThen I decided to pull out completely to show the ground beneath them AND the spreading oak.

dummy6-7.2webIf you look carefully you’ll see sign of a retreating squirrel.

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Living in Color, and Out Loud!

The high ceilings are packed with industrial piping and fans, the overhead fluorescents cast a cold light and weathered, white painted walls of the Visual Art Center bristle with push pins.

So making a comfy and pretty office is a CHALLENGE.

GREEN/TEAL/ORANGE/YELLOWEDulemba

Luckily, Elizabeth Dulemba has such a great eye that she can toss a supply closet and come up with enough oddments of fabric and accents to furnish not only her own cool-palette-with-pops-of-orange office, but have ideas left over for her colleagues as well.

ProfSanderson_1Ruth Sanderson’s workspace is pretty in PINK/GOLD/COPPER/WHITE 

and mine is the three primaries: RED/BLUE/YELLOW

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Speaking of primaries, as well as secondaries and tertiaries, color, in the form of watercolor SAMPLER wheels is back.

colorwheel_3I am always amazed by the HUGE number of shades created by combining just red, yellow and blue.colorwheel

And FINALLY,  summer in Virginia would not be so GREEN if not for the daily thunderstorms that turn the swollen creek BROWN and the sky into a

RAINBOW!rainbow_2