Bob and I went on a short trip to Petoskey, Charlevoix, and Harbor Springs a few weeks ago. It was a very pleasant time with good weather. One highlight of the trip for me was photographing a Common Merganser with chicks resting on a rock along Lake Erie. We saw them at Fisherman's Island State Park.
The scenery was very peaceful and the towns very clean and inviting for tourists. The area also boasts many, many miles of biking trails.
I spent a bit of time on a small watercolor study at a roadside park just north of Petoskey.
Last weekend Bob and I went to the state park: him for kayaking and me for a little more plein air practice.
I decided to try pastels this time. I have so many art supplies from my many years of doing a variety of things, so I'm just experimenting with different things outdoors to see what I like. No decision on that yet.
Here is the beginning sketch with the scene in the background.
And here is the point at which I stopped. I consider this another study. It's about 6x9" I had a bit of trouble at one point. I got all set up, just barely started the sketch, and realized I really needed a bathroom break. Bob was already out on the water so I had to pack everything back in the van and drive over to the restrooms. Then go back to my spot and set up to begin again. Well, thank God for bathrooms - and sure sometimes with I had a painting partner!
Bob finally bought a kayak this year after many years of wanting to try it. He decided on this nice inflatable one. This was his first time out with it: He and the kayak both performed very well. No spills and able to maneuver around the lagoons very well. It was a nice calm day on the water.
A few weeks ago we had a really stormy and windy day. I drove out to Sterling State Park to see the waves and ended up staying to do a small watercolor study. I got thoroughly soaked and cold, but it was still fun. The waves were probably at about 5 feet with very strong wind and driving rain. I was able to sit under one of the shelters to do the watercolor. Good thing or I would have had no artwork at all.
Sterling Storm study, watercolor, about 6x8"
Great Egret sheltering on a stormy day.
I also took some of the best egret photos to date: the storm brought a couple of them into a small pond with more shelter and with the gloomy day I was able to get the brilliant white with a dark background. Perfect for scratchboard and with several really nice poses. Then I almost lost them all by accidentally hitting the delete button on my computer. I found a good 'restore' program after a few tries and was able to retrieve them from the camera card. So I learned a new trick and also got the images back. Whew!!