nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘art

another book, another cover

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True to my mantra of having multiple projects on the go at one time, I have been quietly working on a new book, of the genealogical variety. The book, titled Ella: 1859-1933, is an historical account of my great-grandmother’s life, revealed through family stories, Census and City Directory records, military and other official government records, and study of other genealogical sources (I have blogged before about my great-grandmother https://janetims.com/?s=Ella+Norman+). Much of the information is the result of study by Dr. Jane Margaret Norman, my aunt, who began looking for evidence of Ella’s life in the 1970s and found out most of the known information on Ella’s life. The book will be of interest to Ella’s descendants and others in the Hawk and Kresge lineage.

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Ella (Hawk) Norman

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A Brief Synopsis of the Book:

Ella Hawk (her maternal grandfather was a Kresge) was born in 1859 to a Pennsylvania German family. When she became an adult, she followed the path of many who felt the lure of the West. By 1880, she lived in Laramie, Wyoming where, in 1886, she met and married Frank Norman. She had one son, Leo, and lived in the West for another 24 years. In 1911, she returned to Pennsylvania to live with her mother and sister. Her son served in the navy and eventually met and married Katie Clark, a trained nurse. In 1927, Katie returned to Canada to raise her young family. Katie and Leo were my grandmother and grandfather.

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The book includes a detailed presentation of these events, as well as the genealogical references. I will also include three poems as a memorial to Ella’s family and the account of a trip we took to Wyoming to see where Ella and Frank were married.

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my grandfather, Leo Norman, Ella’s son

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Book Cover:

I include two references to flowers in the book, to red poppies, and pink and blue columbines. So I decided early to include these flowers on the cover of the book. I also wanted to show Ella on the cover but as a silhouette, walking in the garden. I know, from my Uncle Francis’ memories, she wore wide-brimmed hats, so the figure will be wearing such a hat.

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Proof cover- a photo of the columbines in my own yard show roughly what I want for the final cover

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At first, I painted apple trees in the background, but the symbolism of the trees escaped me. So I removed the trees and added a scene from the Laramie area, featuring the nearby mountains (the Snowy Range), and a suggestion of foothills and plain. Now the silhouette of ‘Ella’ looks from her garden in the East towards the West. My uncle (her grandson) told me she never forgot the West and wished to return some day.

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I completed the basic elements of the cover painting in one sitting. But a lot was left to be done: layers of colour to be added and detail in the mountains and flowers. My main objective was to add colour in such a way to make the poppies appear far away and the columbines close by.

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Colour will do this. In general, cool colours (like red) look far away and warm colours (like blue) appear nearby. This generality is modified by the tone (darkness or lightness) of the colour: dark colours appear to get closer while pale colours appear to recede. Saturation of colour will also affect its appearance of advancing or receding: a pure colour will appear nearer; adding a bit of another colour will cause it to recede.

for more information on colour in art, see How Colors Advance and Recede in Art Science of Colour.

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first layer of painting

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second layer of painting – mountains, poppies, figure and leaves have been retouched

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The final painting: I added colour to flowers and leaves and a lighter green to the foreground.

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the final cover

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I will revisit the cover design in about a week, and perhaps tweak the border colour and other aspects. let me know what you think.

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All my best!!!!

Jane

Written by jane tims

July 30, 2022 at 7:03 pm

Posted in family history

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Meniscus Science Fiction Series: the extras

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As I write the Meniscus Science Fiction Series, a very enjoyable task is to update the extras in each book:

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Ancient Argenop Wisdom: every book includes an associated line of ancient Argenop wisdom. The Argenops are the gentle rodent-like aliens who befriend the Humans. They became separated from the Dock-winders, in history and sentiment, when geology (The Fault) divided En’ast from Themble. I plan to do a full book collecting the wisdom of the ancient Argenops.

‘Rafters’ is the home Daniel, the Slain, built in the woodland

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The Meniscus Solar System: This is a fairly recent edition to the books. A representation of the solar system of Meniscus includes: the two suns (Tathlet and Amblyn), the planets (Aagle, Meniscus, Di-natha and Sel), and the Meniscus moons (Cardoth roe and Cardoth grill-en).

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This is Meniscus, a planet far from Earth: this is an introductory bit, meant to introduce readers of every book to some background information about the planet Meniscus. The text includes the odd behavior of water on the planet, a description of the landscape, the various aliens encountered, and a short history of the Slain. Oddly, this is the section I have occasionally forgotten to include in every book.

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The Maps: Producing the maps of the planet Meniscus is essential to the writing since the stories are chronicles of the Human travels through the landscape. I produce the maps in GIMP, so I am able to highlight certain features of interest to a particular book. I also include a dotted line showing the path of the travels of the main characters. At first, only the east and west maps for Prell-nan South District were shown. As the adventure expanded, maps for east and west halves of Prell-nan North District were included. In the upcoming adventure Meniscus: The Reckoning, readers will see El’ban District, often mentioned in the earlier books.

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Map of Prell-nan
North District
(West Half)

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The Cast of Characters: I include all of the characters in the Series, whether they occur in the current book or not. The notes on the characters are meant to explore a brief history of each character: Human, Slain, Argenop, Dock-winder, Gel-head, and Others, including the pets. This section was added to books after …. at the suggestion of one of my terrific beta-readers.

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Glossary: Various unfamiliar words used by Humans in the story are explained here. They include measurements, names of plant and animal life, and items found on the planet of Meniscus. Some of these are names borrowed from the local aliens, and others are names the Humans have devised for various items, based on their experience on Earth or with other Humans.

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arbel  
                    nodding woodland flower
corms edible

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A Condensed Guide to Gel-speak: The dictionary, at first short, has grown with each book – there are now 180 words in the Gel-speak dictionary. Although most Gel-speak is translated right in the text, readers may like to find out how an idea is expressed in Gel-speak as the translation is not literal. So ‘genetic material’ is translated as ath-elan-elana, literally ‘body memory.’

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The next book in the Series, Meniscus: The Struggle will be released in the next couple of weeks. I am looking forward to having a release and book signing in August, details to be announced here.

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If you haven’t read any of the Meniscus books, there are a couple of places to jump in to the action:

Meniscus: Crossing the Churn

Meniscus: Oral Traditions

Meniscus: Rosetta Stone

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All my best,

keep reading!

Alexandra, a.k.a. Jane

Written by jane tims

July 15, 2022 at 7:00 am

Book Covers: from sketch to design

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In producing my science fiction books, one of the many tasks is to produce a book cover for each book. I could hire this step out, but I made a decision early in my author experience to feature both my art and writing in producing my books.

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There are ten (soon to be eleven) books in the Meniscus Science Fiction Series. Once I decided on the design for the first book (Meniscus: Crossing The Churn), I knew I wanted all the books in the series to follow a similar cover pattern. I liked the format of a single block showing the cover art and the general placement of title, volume number and author’s name. I also wanted all the cover art to show the two Meniscus moons (Cardoth-roe, the big moon, and Cardoth-grill’en, the little moon) and the characters in the book in silhouette.

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Creating a book cover takes four main steps.

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Step One is to consider how I want to present the book and what themes could be displayed.

Step Two is to do a black and white drawing of the cover.

Step Three is to do an acrylic painting of the drawing.

Step Four is to create a cover for the book, to be up-loaded to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) for both paperback and e-book editions.

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The only cover to depart from the pattern (no drawing was produced that led to the cover), was Book Seven, Meniscus: Encounter with the Emenpod. Here are the drawings and final covers for all the books after the first:

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There is one other book, Meniscus: One Point Five – Forty Missing Days, that should be shown. Its cover came from a painting done to welcome people to my sales table at various book fairs.

All my best,

Jane ( a.k.a. Alexandra)

Written by jane tims

July 13, 2022 at 7:00 am

Next Meniscus: The Struggle

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In the Meniscus Science Fiction Series, I am now working on Meniscus: The Struggle, the sequel to Meniscus: Rosetta Stone.

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Meniscus: Rosetta Stone introduced us to Abra, a translator who has discovered a manuscript containing the mysterious Dock-winder language. As Abra works on the manuscript, she begins to think the words will hold the secret to the downfall of the cruel Dock-winders.

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In the sequel, Meniscus: The Struggle, Abra will enlist the help of Tagret, a chemist, to decipher the symbols in the manuscript. She will also try to get the help of Don’est, the Dock-winder child adopted by the Humans of Themble Hill. But will peculiar Don’est be a help or a hindrance?

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Meniscus: The Struggle will be available in June, 2022. Next post, I’ll show you some of my work on the cover of the book.

All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

April 25, 2022 at 1:58 pm

my new journal

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Every January, every year of my adult life, I have started a journal, or as we used to say, a diary. Sometimes the idea of keeping a journal lasts the month, more often not. I have lots of information on the Januaries of my life, but little on the other months.

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In the 1990s, I began keeping what I dubbed ‘my rough journal’ and I have stacks of these. The idea of ‘rough’ took away any limitations imposed by keeping track of the date or specific experiences. My rough journals are filled with early drafts of poems, notes from writing workshops I have attended and doodles. Many doodles, since after five minutes have passed, I usually start drawing people or border designs.

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This January, I encountered the idea of the ‘bullet journal.’ The bullet journal takes a sort of multi-media approach to journaling. It uses some writing, but also drawings, mementos, stickers, ribbons, scraps and so on to create meaningful memory pages. Sometimes the pages are less about memory and more about planning.

bullet journal is a method of personal information developed by designer Ryder Carroll, shared with the public in 2013. The system organizes scheduling, reminders, to-do lists, brainstorming and other organizational tasks into a single notebook. The name “bullet journal” comes from the use of abbreviated bullet points to log information.

paraphrased from Wikipedia

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One of the things I have liked about the bullet journal is its diversity. I love using stickers, stamps, various papers and tapes. Last year, I discovered ‘washi tape,’ Japanese masking tape, made of rice paper and printed with various designs.

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washi tape, stamps. stickers, all the stuff of bullet journaling

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I have also collected a lot of stickers over the years and today, I printed out my first page of homemade ‘stickers,’ created from some of my many drawings, sized and grouped in PowerPoint, and printed using AVERY 81/2″ X 11″ shipping labels.

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Today, we are almost at the end of April, and I have kept my bullet journal, a bit sporadically, since January 1. I create a page at least once a week and spend about a half hour at any journal session. I find it relaxing, creative and compelling.

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apparently, I can’t spell ‘field’ … my biking is virtual, using Street View by Google Earth

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When I create anything, from a painting to a bullet journal page, I am usually aware of a ‘watching other.’ Some people refer to this as ‘the monkey on my back.’ I find this ‘other’ distracting and a barrier to ‘creative freedom.’ So, when I work in my bullet journal, I try not to satisfy the watching ‘other.’ Instead, I create my journal pages just for me and don’t think to myself: ‘someday they will find this and think how messy and unartistic I am.’ As a result, my bullet journal pages are not always beautiful. They probably wouldn’t get an ‘A’ in school. But they are for me, and I love them.

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All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

April 22, 2022 at 12:55 pm

working on a poetry manuscript

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This week, I am assembling a new poetry book in the ‘a glimpse of…’ series. The first two books, a glimpse of water fall and a glimpse of dragon gave readers a peek at some of the beautiful waterfalls in New Brunswick and the bits of magic in all our lives. A glimpse of sickle moon will explore the seasons in New Brunswick. The manuscript won Third Place in the 2020 New Brunswick Writers’ Federation Competition for the Alfred G. Bailey Prize.

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The poetry book presents fifteen years of seasons, each presented as four poems about spring, summer, winter and fall. The poems about spring talk about floodwaters, under-story flowers and waking from hibernation. Summer poems tell about hurricanes, picking raspberries and sheep in the morning meadows. Fall poems explore first frost, wasp nests, fading flowers and ripening blackberries. And in winter–ice caves, snow drifts, walks in the falling snow and feeding birds.

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I have struggled with how to present these poems. I thought of making each suite of four represent a year in my own life and entitling the section 1978, 1980, 1996, 2012 and so on. I thought about titling each section as a special year–‘The Year of the Path,’ ‘The Year of the Groundhog,’ and so on. I have finally settled on a title drawn from a common theme in the four poems presented–‘paths through tangled woods,’ ‘where shadows meet,’ and ‘a sliver from full.’

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For the cover, I will create a painting of the crescent moon, seen through the branches of birch trees. The image below is a facsimile.

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All my best as you work on your own project.

Jane

Written by jane tims

January 14, 2022 at 7:00 am

now available: a glimpse of dragon

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a glimpse of dragon, second poetry book in the ‘glimpse of’ series, is now available at Westminster Books in Fredericton.

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The book is illustrated with my black and white drawings and considers extraordinary things in ordinary life. These are poems about comets in the sky, ghost cars in the covered bridge and dragons lurking in the campfire.

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campfire dragons

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dragons prowl

in balsam

backcrawl in amber

blisters of pitch

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dragons lurk

under mantles of smoke

blacken the stones

spurt throatfuls of fire

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dragons leap

to the Draco sky

watch us grow small

with sparking eyes

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close their lids

and sleep in flight

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You can also order a glimpse of dragon at Amazon, click here.

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I hope you enjoy ‘a glimpse of dragon.’

Jane

Written by jane tims

December 20, 2021 at 3:28 pm

a glimpse of dragons

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This year, I am continuing to gather my various poems into categories for publication. I intend to publish three books of poetry in the ‘a glimpse of…’ series.

So far, I have published ‘a glimpse of water fall,’ a collection of poems about waterfalls and the way lives can sometimes take a ‘downwards’ turn. In 2012, the manuscript for a glimpse of waterfall won Honorable Mention in the Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick’s competition for the Alfred G. Bailey Prize.

Next year, I will publish ‘a glimpse of sickle moon,’ poems journeying through the various seasons of the year. In 2020, the manuscript for a glimpse of sickle moon won Third Prize in the Bailey competition.

Later this fall, I will publish ‘a glimpse of dragons.’ This poetry collection is about the mysterious events in my life that take imaginative reasoning to understand. The title comes from the idea, in the Dark Ages, that unexplainable celestial events were the actions of dragon-kind.

I have gathered six types of poems into this collection and I illustrate many of the poems.

1. those ordinary things in my life that seem imbued with magic;

2. my ‘observations’ of dragons;

3. unexplainable events in my life that would fall into the category of ghost stories;

4. my encounters with magical people;

5. poems about my deep appreciation of sky and the awe that accompanies trying to understand the reality of space;

6. a tribute to the crow, an animal I feel kin to, and the dark women I associate with crow-kind.

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The poetry book ‘a glimpse of dragons’ will be published by kdp and available in paperback on Amazon in December. The book will also be available from Westminster Books in Fredericton.

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Take care in these days of pandemic,

all my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

November 10, 2021 at 2:07 pm

how much for a trip to space?

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Yesterday, October 13, 2021, will be part of Star Trek history since William Shatner (a.k.a. Captain James T. Kirk) took a real journey into space, on board the space tourism ship, Blue Origin’s New Shepard. The cost of a ticket is variable, but in the range of hundreds of thousands into the millions. I said to my husband, “I’ll pass. I’ll just let the Dock-winders come and get me, and ‘take’ me to Meniscus.”

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So, if you are a reader of the Meniscus Science Fiction Series, you will know that the Dock-winders of Meniscus have visited (or will visit Earth) seven times: 1982, 1988, 1995, 2008, 2013, 2020 and 2023 (two years from now). Each time, they harvest Humans for transport to their planet. In every Meniscus book, there is a list of characters and the years they were taken. Next year, I will be publishing three novellas, short urban mysteries, in the Meniscus Peripherals Series. In each book, set on Earth, there will be a mention of a Dock-winder abduction and a connection to a Meniscus Science Fiction Series story.

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If you are not fussy about being ‘taken’ to Meniscus, for free, you can still be transported to the Meniscus world, for the small price of a paperback or e-book. There are now nine Meniscus adventures (ten if you include 1.5), and the tenth in the series, Meniscus: Rosetta Stone, will be released tomorrow, Friday!

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The books in the series are:

Book One – Meniscus: Crossing The Churn

Book 1.5 – Meniscus: One Point FiveBook One – Meniscus: Crossing The Churn

Book 1.5 – Meniscus: One Point Five

Book Two – Meniscus: South from Sintha

Book Three – Meniscus: Winter by the Water-climb

Book Four – Meniscus: The Village at Themble Hill

Book Five – Meniscus: Karst Topography

Book Six – Meniscus: Oral Traditions

Book Seven – Meniscus: Encounter with the Emenpod

Book Eight – Meniscus: The Knife

Book Nine – Meniscus: Meeting of Minds

Book Ten – Meniscus: Rosetta Stone

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Reading will transport you to Meniscus, second planet in the solar system of Tathlet-Amblyn, a double sun. Meniscus is a world of woodlands, deserts and mountains and the cities of Prell District, North and South. The plants and animals are peculiar and sometimes dangerous. And water moves upward, not down. Rivers do not flow and water is hard to swallow. The Humans who find themselves on Meniscus are the slaves of the Dock-winder system. But sometimes they are able to escape and, with other Humans, build relationships and communities and have exciting adventures.

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Meniscus: Rosetta Stone will introduce two new characters, Abra and Trath. Abra, an historian, finds a manuscript written in both Dock-winder and Gel-speak. Abra believes translation of the document may reveal a secret to overthrow the Dock-winders. She sets out for Hath-men, a village where The Resistance is centred. But traveling alone on Meniscus can be very dangerous.

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Meniscus: Rosetta Stone will be available on Friday, October 15, in both paperback and e-book versions. Once I get copies, it will be available from me or at Westminster Books in Fredericton.

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All my best.

(The Dock-winders are fictional.

You don’t have to worry about them!)

Jane

(a.k.a. Alexandra)

Written by jane tims

October 13, 2021 at 5:24 pm

taking an art course

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I trying to add some diversity to my day, so I am taking a course from Domestika: A Meditative Approach to Botanical Illustration. I have been through the introductory videos and last evening, I began the drawing exercises. Where I am, I have no scanner or camera, but I will use some photos and drawings from past excursions to illustrate what I have to say.

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The first lesson is to observe simple shapes in the plant you want to draw. The instructor uses cacti for his subject matter. I am using water lilies of various types. I usually draw with pencil, so this is the first time I have used pen. I am a ‘maker of mistakes,’ so the eraser does a lot of work when I sit down to draw. Using pen sounds a bit intimidating, but I will prevail.

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The simple shapes associated with the water lily are the elongated outlines of flower petals, and the deeply-notched spherical outlines of the various leaves. For my drawings I chose Nuphar lutea, Nymphaea odorata, and Nuphar microphylla, all species found in New Brunswick.

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simple shape drawing of Nymphaea odorata

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The above is a crude copy ‘by finger’ of one of the drawings I did, this one of Nymphaea odorata, showing the basic shapes.

The next lesson is a more accurate representation of the plant.

I am feeling that you have to go backwards to move forwards. We will see.

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All my best

Jane

Written by jane tims

July 22, 2021 at 11:15 am

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