12x12 inches - pastel on Strathmore
©2011 Sonya Johnson
This was painted last Friday, I believe, during a fishing/painting trip to Haviland Lake. Back in mid-May, we'd hiked to the north end of the lake to a small and somewhat secluded peninsula away from the main shore that all the campers and most fishermen use, and it didn't seem that far...so, I decided to bring my french easel along for this trip. However, after hauling it over 1/2 mile from the parking lot and across a good section of large broken rock, I was less enthusiastic about my decision and my shoulder and hand were nice and fatigued by the time we arrived to the location.
However, it took me pretty much no time at all to settle on this view - this small extension with its rocks, lots of neat grasses and reeds, and of course the lake reflections. The distal shore has a slope of pine-fir-spruce to the left that transitions to a flat open area with some scattered pines and the distal Hermosa Cliffs and their aspen-covered slopes.
I was thankful I'd put the Terry Ludwig dark eggplant (V100) pastel stick in my plein air box, because it's one of the few dark pastels I have to use for deep shadows (and I can see why so many pastelists find it an indispensable part of their palette). I ended up finishing up the conifers in my studio, and did some touch-ups on the reeds and water reflection.
I'm not sure the blue on the right side of the lake reads properly, but that's what was going on - small ripples were producing these sky blue bands and the bottom wasn't visible at all. If this was sanded paper, I could keep tinkering with them until they looked right, but it isn't and thus my ability to make adjustments is a bit limited. I already adjusted them twice (and reshot the photo just before I started this post), but I don't think it helped.
I've wanted a hummingbird feeder ever since we've lived in Durango, and in June, I bought a couple of inexpensive feeders. It's been a few weeks, and now the little birds have been visiting the one off our lower deck regularly. Of course, one of my ulterior motives was having them for photographic subjects. So, there will no doubt be periodic pictures of little hummers showing up here from time to time.
They are so entertaining and fascinating to watch, and quite frankly, just plain cute. I can't identify this species from my Audubon field guide, unfortunately.
Here are a few from the other day:
Having a look inside
This one was literally right outside the door, perhaps 2' away, and hovered long enough for me to get this photo. What I like about this photo (aside from the unique perspective) is that the directional motion of the wings is visible - they appear to be moving in a figure-8.
Having a drink
How these birds manage to live on nothing but sugar water is amazing to me
Taking a break
The birds seem to use the little perches maybe 1/3 of the time during their visits. A few will just sit for close to a minute, either feeding or just sitting and looking around