It's All In The Name

February 21, 2020

While some drivers get distracted by eating or talking–or what the latest fight in the backseat is all about–I, in my dotage, am beyond all that. Those distractions are way too sophisticated for me because I get distracted by street names. If they ever have to use the jaws of life on me it’ll be because I was mulling over the origins of ‘Puhallo Drive’ or ‘Sahali Terrace’.

The same goes for the names of birds. ‘Where does ‘Junco’ come from?’, I’ll ask out loud to an indifferent spouse. (It originally means ‘bush’ or ‘shrub’, which is where they hang out.) ‘And what’s with the name Grebe?’ (No one–much less my spouse–seems to know its name’s origins–just that it’s a diving waterbird.)

So it was with a bit of embarrassment that I discovered the reason Barn Swallows, Tree Swallows, Cave Swallows and Cliff Swallows are called ‘Swallows’

‘Barn Swallow’
watercolour on Arches Hot Press 140# Paper
3.5″ x 5″
by Lance Weisser
SOLD

It’s because….

…..they ‘swallow’ alot of insects.

True Lovebirds

February 14, 2020

It is only the adolescent Ravens who gang together in raucous, food-finding frat parties. Once they find their true love, Ravens are almost always seen in pairs, and stay paired with their one-and-only for life.

“Together Forever”
watercolour, 7″ x 10″, Arches 140# Hot Press Paper
by Lance Weisser

Maybe no box of chocolates for his soulmate, but one of those shrivelled crab apples would be at least a stab at making a Valentine’s Day gift.

Where Green Reigns Supreme

February 10, 2020

In watercolour-land much discussion takes place over how one goes about dealing with an abundance of greens in a given landscape. Summer landscapes abound with green, all of them different in hue and tone and degree. The old school adherents council the need to create greens from the various blues and yellows available on one’s pallet–that using those pre-mixed greens directly from tubes will only clash.

So if one is using Cobalt Blue for one’s sky, for example, using it with a Raw Sienna or New Gambodge for a foliage green will integrate it, anchor it and serve to unify the painting, as long as one then also uses the Raw Sienna and New Gambodge in other parts of the painting as well.

There are, however, such a huge variety of pre-mixed Greens being offered, it is almost too tempting not to use them, or at least borrow from them when mixing a blue and yellow, as was done in this little sketch of a Bulacan yard, Philippines. My spouse, Raul, is from there, and I stayed for a month each time over three years, a place so fresh and lush, it is a virtual and visual smorgasbord of every green there is.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is weisserlancebulacan-backyard5x7watercolour175.jpg
‘A Bulacan Backyard’
watercolour sketch, 5″ x 7″ on ordinary card
by Lance Weisser

Lovers of a Good Fire

February 6, 2020

Pinus contorta latifolia (Lodgepole Pines), are everywhere in British Columbia and Western N. America. They provide the forest industry with most of the logs used in sustainable logging operations. And their natural regeneration is brought about by periodic, seasonal fire.

[USDA Forest Service]

“. . . some forest plants lay dormant under typical or ‘normal’ forest conditions; lying in wait to germinate or disperse after a fire provides an open canopy and abundant light. Seed banks stored in the soil (snowbrush) or forest canopy (lodgepole pine) provide ample seed for regeneration. . . ” [Dr. Dan Binkley, professor in Colorado State University’s Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability]

Small tree growing in a very lithic soil at Inspiration Point, Yellowstone Natl. Park [C.J. Earle, 2002.08.03].

It’s all about the cones. Under normal conditions the Lodgepole Pine’s pine cones are sealed shut, but fire melts the natural sealant and opens the cones, releasing the seeds.

“Mountain Mists”
watercolour, 12″ x 14″, Arches Hot Press 140# Paper
by Lance Weisser
[sold]
%d bloggers like this: