A Lot of Duckweed

I haven’t turned on the hose pipe during this long dry spell but this weekend the pond had got so low that I felt I had to. The surface was entirely covered with duckweed, so I put on my arm-length waterproof gloves and pulled it out around the edges, then used a pond net to scoop up the remaining clumps in the middle.

A A Milne’s poem Bad Sir Brian Botany came to mind. The bit where Sir Brian gets his comeuppance from the villagers:

“Sir Brian went a journey, and he found a lot of duckweed . . . “

I left the piles of duckweed at the water’s edge to give the pond life a chance to find its way back and gave a helping hand to a few ramshorn snails, dragonfly larvae and black water beetles that I spotted struggling.

I didn’t see any frogs or newts but I was skimming the surface layers and they were probably lying low. Continue reading “A Lot of Duckweed”

Gnome Work

I THOUGHT that I’d finished with fairy tale characters for another year after our pantomime production of Beauty and the Beast, but no, this gnome has cropped up in a step-by-step tutorial that I’m going through to learn how to use my new pen tablet, the Intuos 4, in Photoshop CS5. It’s not the drawing that’s difficult, it’s taking on board all the tips and tricks that will save me time in the long run.

Value study; a rough sketch of tonal values.

I’ve been using Photoshop since, if I remember rightly, version 3, some 15 years ago but I’m far from being an expert, even in my limited usage of it, as I stick to what I know. Going through this tutorial is a timely way to take another look.

An example: one small detail that I sort of knew but had more or less forgotten, is that if you hold down the ‘shift’ key as you draw a line you get it perfectly horizontal or vertical.

I’m hopeless when I have to follow someone else’s instructions for doing a drawing, it’s so stultifying, but it’s a good way to learn the process.