Exotica

Last week was the Tunbridge World’s Fair, tucked into a hollow in Vermont’s Green Mountains. There’s always plenty of cows, goats and swine at this country fair. It has THE BEST prize-winning cakes, jams and pickles, huge pumpkins and incredibly clever scarecrows.

I’ve documented all this in my sketchbook over the years but this time something special caught my eye. A bird. Not just any bird… a vibrant, colorfully feathered creature. Not a fancy chicken or even a Guinea hen… a pheasant maybe?

I could have taken a photo and walked on… but what’s the fun in that? Instead I drew this glorious thing with feathers, annotating my sketch with all the pertinent info. I had already decided that adding paint here would be a disaster… I’d do it at home.

My comprehensive notes allowed me to complete the spread without even looking at the two reference photos I quickly took before moving on.

He’s beautiful, he’s exotic. But what IS he?

Google to the rescue. It seems he’s a cross of two Asian pheasants, a Golden and Lady Amherst’s hybrid.

And a well positioned lens view through the cage.

Next summer be sure to make time in your busy schedule to visit one of your local fairs. You never know what you’ll find.

Learning New Tricks (Test)


Yesterday I learned a technique or two I’m hoping will streamline how I post my sketchbook photos.

Previously I scanned my pages and loved its bright, clear look… but my scanner has since stopped communicating with my laptop. The last time that happened I lost nearly a week of my life on the phone with tech support. I have no desire to experience that again. Over the years I’ve also found myself relying on my phone to handle more and more of my life. In fact, last October I started posting with the WordPress app for iPhone.

Since the scanner debacle I’ve only been posting photos of my work. They’ve been OK but I’ve had to do quite a bit of editing to get an acceptable image.

Enter Tina Koyama of Fueled by Clouds & Coffee. Tina did a test post in preparation for her July trip to Manchester, UK as an Urban Sketchers Symposium  correspondent. She’s testing various apps and methods for uploading photos and images of sketches to the urban sketchers blog. Her June 7, 2016 post, Green Lake Intersection (Test) prompted me to ask why she preferred to use a scanning app, in particular Cam Scanner. (available for both Android and iOS)

Based on her images I downloaded CamScanner and gave it a whirl. Fantastic! It saves me multiple steps as it brightens, straightens, and crops with just one click.

See for yourself… the image was done with carbon black ink and watercolor on Strathmore 500 Mixed Media paper.

Natural evening light… dusk, approximately 8 PM. 


Same, with Cam Scanner. 


Indoor LED desk lamp. 8 PM. 


Same, with Cam Scanner. 


Natural morning diffused light, west window. 


Same but with Cam Scanner. 

The mid-body yellow was burned out in both of the other attempts but the Cam Scanner image from yesterday  morning shows the yellow glow and came the closest to the true image in my sketchbook.

One more thing. The majority of this post was dictated!  Yeah, I felt funny talking to my phone but it worked surprisingly well. I need to brush up on the commands, like what to say to get the program to capitalize, but I think I’ll be dictating more and more. 

You CAN teach an old dog new tricks!