Tag Archives: Watercolor

Red-throated Loons – My 48 North story for November, 2017

This is my 48 North magazine story for November. I thought t he subtle colors of this beautiful winter bird came out fairly well. Here’s the story:

“On the Port Townsend ferry, we crossed those notorious tide rips out in Admiralty Inlet and I spied quite a group of large striking birds, all milling about and diving for dinner in the turbulence. The red-throated loons are back from the north for winter in the Salish Sea. At about 24” long, these are the smallest of the three species of loons we see here, but they are still large birds. Easy to identify in flight, they have a hunchbacked look unlike any other Salish Sea bird and appear to fly very fast. Specialized bodies with legs placed as far to the stern as possible make for fast underwater swimming as they chase down and catch small fish. As with many species, they have evolved into a very specialized and successful fishing machine.”

“They arrive here in winter plumage, basic tux black and white with a very subtle mix that would drive a painter wild trying to portray. As winter progresses, they change profiles completely and sport a dramatic red-orange front and overall soft look of doe skin. Then they’re off for the long flight to the far northern lakes to nest, and here is where it gets interesting. These birds, with legs placed so far back on their bodies, make them almost unable to walk. They cannot stand upright! So, the loons push vegetation around to create a floating nest or simply push themselves up on a low shore. How the eggs stay warm enough to hatch is a mystery to me, but somehow it works – and next November we’ll see the results here with more red-throated loons to enjoy.”

Again, here’s the link to the NEW new puzzle I talked about last week.

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web. And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of stunning photography

And here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

Washington State Public Art Roster gets ME

Necedah-both-walls
Necedah National Wildlife Refuge paintings, images that eventually became 138 lineal feet of public art. I used this as an example of what I do. Necedah NWR is in Wisconsin.

Click this image to enlarge in your browser.

Every three years lots of Northwest artists apply to get on the Washington State Public Art Roster, a fairly small pre-approved group of professional artists that will be tapped to create perminent installations in new public buildings throughout Washington State. Libraries, schools and all other institutions that use the 1% of the cost of building for art use this list, AND, a couple of days ago I received a letter saying I’d been accepted and am now on the list.

This is a rare event for me. My life has been filled with entering art shows or competitions that are always won by crazy or fairly amateurish non-objective or abstract work, and almost never by competent and skilled people who have spent years diligently homing their discipline. It’s just that I’m from a generation that came from another generation that believed the very nature of being professional meant knowing how to do it better than most others. In my pitch to the Washington State Art Commission, I stressed this, saying that making public art that viewers spend lots of time looking at is important, that it’s what public art is all about – at least for me.

Carol-Armstrong-May-1-1963
How far it’s come for me. A painting I did for Carol Armstrong, over 50 years ago. I think it still looks okay.

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web. And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of beautiful photographs

And here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

Some Little Bits of Art for a Prairie Exhibit

In these posts I always try to show what I’ve currently been painting. This week it was finishing up over two dozen of these little insets for outdoor wayside panels – Land Trust on nearby Whidbey Island. (thanks, Mark and Pat) I like the looseness of these illustrations – telling a story, yet artistic enough as stand-alone little paintings.  Here are a few of them.

Vole
Vole in the grass
Bumblebee-and-Golden-Paintbrush
Bumblebee on Golden Paintbrush, one of the Northwest’s rarest flowers
Chorus-Frog
Chorus Frog – they’re singing tonight.
Rear-Admiral-and-Selfheal
Red Admiral and Selfheal
Swallowtail-and-Aster
Swallowtail and Aster

A friend and painter recently asked me if I ever tired of pushing all this paint around flat surfaces. I had to think, no, never – but pushing keys on this silly computer, dealing with all the amazing amount of stupid details of an art business, it just drives both of us nuts. Give me a trail, a sketchpad, a sunny day and I’m in heaven.

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web.And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of beautiful photographs

And Click here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

Anemones – A 48 North published story

2015-2-Fish-Anemones

This was my 48 North magazine story recently. Below is the text that went with this ‘sketchbook’ image. Almost forgot to post it! Too much art coming out of here.

Like a scene straight out of ‘Little Shop of Horrors,’ the brilliant red and yellow flower unfolds, over 100 petals waving in the current, a strawberry red delight for a passing perch to nibble on. A young perch moves closer, then closer still, and suddenly receives a stunning jolt that renders it useless. Through the haze, the fish vaguely sees those beautiful petals reach out and pull it towards the flower’s center, where once a flat pad was, now a mouth opens. A delight it’s not, but a splendid sea-predator whose tentacles first sting small fish, shrimp and even crabs, and then entirely consumes them in one slow-motion swallow. Fish go in tail first, and they can turn a crab around so claws are facing away before proceeding.

 

It gets better. The fish-eating anemone can switch between being male and female – and may live to be 100-plus years of age. Sure they look like beautiful flowers, are related to coral and jellyfishes, but at 10 inches across, these hunters are some of the Salish Sea’s largest anemones. But everyone has a softer side, and the fish-eating anemone may also play host to small fish, allowing six-inch painted greenlings a safe harbor. Leaving the protection of the anemone by day, at night the greenling sleeps without harm right over the anemone’s mouth on the central oral disc. The fish are safe here because anemones use their tentacles for defense against predators like sea stars or snails.

 

Thanks for reading this week. Send this to someone who might appreciate what I’m painting and tell them to sign up. I’m trying to expand my list. An email will work.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web.And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of beautiful photographs

And Click here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

Hooded Merganser study

2015-3-Hooded-Margansers

“Stick it on the paper, hard and fast, as fast as your brain can move the pencil and brush. Don’t think about this, just do it!”

 

Today, a little watercolor that isn’t for sale, but is part of another project – and I liked it enough to show it around. If art is simply reflecting life, this little male Hooded Merganser could have been painted several times this past month. We’ve been seeing several courting pairs in the Port Townsend Boat Haven marina on hikes through town, and we watch as each male is circling, rearing back, showing off his Mohawk to a potential lady-love. Later, they’ll find a nest hole up one of our local wilderness rivers like the Dungeness and set up house.

Not so many lines, a dash of color, and you get a Hooded Merganser.

Thanks for reading this week. Send this to someone who might appreciate what I’m painting and tell them to sign up. I’m trying to expand my list. An email will work.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web.And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of beautiful photographs

And Click here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

October’s Story for 48 North Magazine

2013-10-Turnstones

Click the page to enlarge it in your browser for easier reading.

Shutdown, day 11! While the Park Service may be shut down and leaving us with a bleeding business – and sales and commissions are looking to like someone run over by a tank – and we may be unable to go to parks for research or even get it from the web because all park websites are down (and it’s a bunch, let me tell you), or, for that matter, even go camping for a couple of days and enjoy OUR own parks in OUR country – life goes on. (that’s a bad sentence, I know, but one I’m leaving because it represents some big frustrations) So, here’s my story for 48 North magazine for October about some little birds that just want to be able to exist in a safe and secure place, carry on normal life and be safe. Sounds like us!

 

PLEASE, ALLOW ME A RANT: I know I’m preaching to the choir here, and probably HALF my readers get this on computers that are currently turned off or even available to be turned on, but I just want to say I’ve appreciated every minute of trying to make an honest living painting nature in national parks. A lot of that has to do with the scenery and our heritage, but even more has to do with the fabulous people we’ve met over the years who work for the government. They’re not all bureaucrats, but scientists, naturalists, people trying to spend their lives making a difference in a good way – and currently they’re draining their savings accounts to pay the bills. Yesterday, Day 10, it was announced that parks and their local communities have lost $750 million dollars in lost revenue THIS WEEK, money that will never be regained or back-paid, and most are in some pretty remote communities that need it.

It seems lost on people who support the Tea Party that Congress’ job is to pass laws that then require spending money, and shutting down government and not paying the bills it already rang up is ludicrous – like buying a car and then refusing to pay for it. I urge everyone to not forget about all this when it comes time to vote the next time!

 

Thanks for reading this week.

Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web.  And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of beautiful photographs

And Click here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

The Artist’s View – Eifert’s 48North Page for June, 2013

Recently we were in the Seattle Aquarium and while Nancy was photographing the yearling sea otter, I spent some time in the tidal tank area with my sketchbook. This is one of my favorite Seattle-places, almost as good as the Woodland Park Zoo. I’ve spent hours in here drawing and just watching life go on in the big salt water exhibits. So, from that came this little sketch showing the community of critters that live there on one of the pilings. This is all raw ocean water that gets piped into the aquarium, and it’s all unfiltered so much of the marine life comes in naturally. As I was drawing this, I realized everything in front of me was either trying to eat everyone else, or trying to just hide so as to not be eaten. What a scary place to live – so I wrote about it for my monthly story in 48-North magazine.

 

And here’s my original sketch before I added watercolor to it as an underlay. Lets see: plumose anemones, kelp crabs, pile perch, acorn barnacles, ochre star, little brown barnacles and a hermit crab or two. Got it!

And just in case you missed it last week, here’s our newest puzzle, “A Walk on the Wild Side” for Fort Townsend State Park, the old-growth forest park near us here on the Olympic Peninsula. Check it out here on the website. And thanks, everyone, for the initial interest in this new interpretive puzzle. Very gratifying.

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Click here to go to the online blog this was to. And you can follow me on Facebook where I just posted a new hiking album.

Click here to go to our main website – packed with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Click here to check out what Nancy’s currently working on with her photography.

Click here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

The Amazing Giant Pacific Octopus

Click the illustration and it should enlarge in your browser so you can read it better.

This is my January 2013 sketchbook page in 48-North magazine. A diver in Seattle recently hauled one of these critters ashore and it caused a big uproar, mainly because it happened right at a seaside city park. There are two much-beloved octopi-adults in the Seattle Aquarium, and the fact this diver-guy took one home for dinner didn’t sit very well with always-nice and extremely liberal Seattle.

 

 

So, with that swirling around the local news, I thought I’d do a little illustration and essay about these critters that I THOUGHT I knew about. Little did I know! It was a pity I only had 200 words of text because the giant Pacific octopus is about the craziest animal I’ve ever read about – and that’s saying a lot because I’ve spent my life doing this stuff. To me, it’s enough that they only have two bones in their entire body, but their sex life appears to be the stuff of legends.

As if the essay and sketch page above isn’t interesting enough, like the 14-FOOT arm span or shark and clam dinners, there was even better stuff I had to leave out. Such as: during mating, the male releases a ‘sperm bag’ that’s 3 FEET long, which he then approaches the female with and using one of its 7-foot long arms gently inserts it into her. He gets to do this several times with multiple partners if he’s lucky, but basically that’s it for him – and he dies soon after. When the female gives birth to the 100,000 little octos, they’re all attached to a long ‘rope’ that she ‘hangs up’ in her den. She then fastidiously and constantly grooms this until the kids hatch, where upon she dies as well. Oh, and I could go on, but as my editor said, “I can hardly wait to see the illustration … or not!”

I’m telling you, I never get tired of learning about this stuff, but this time it left my mouth slightly slacked.

 

Thanks for reading this week.

Larry Eifert

Click here to go to the online blog this was to.

Click here to go to our main website – packed with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Click here to check out what Nancy’s currently working on with her photography.

 

Paintings From Paradise

 

For the last few weeks, Nancy and I have been in San Jose and Cabo San Lucas, then a some nice days in San Diego visiting family on our way home. Of course I couldn’t let a good day at the beach go by, so I painted a few watercolors of those times with my little Prang travel kit. Above, there’s Nancy coming along the beach with Cabo’s  inner harbor right behind her. The last time we saw this place was in 2005 when we sailed Ave Maria, our 50-ketch (just the two of us – 38,000 lbs of boat – two tired sailors) into the harbor midway through a very good adventure (here’s the link to THAT story).

And here’s Nancy again going to where she is most comfortable, swimming in a tropical ocean. These are both “5 x 7” on Arches paper.  At one point on this one, I had an 8-yr old Mexican kid come by and watch me. Not a peep, not a change of expression, just cautious amazement – and then he went on  his way without a word. I like Mexico a lot!

 

And below is another one, more of a trip log, of that girl-I-share-life with, book in hand, shoes off in the sand and using a boulder for part of her towel.  This one is 7″x 7″. These paintings are such great ways to remember a trip. By seeing these paintings later, I’ll vividly remember each rock, the color of that golden sand, the frigate birds whirling overhead and maybe also recall the green Ridley sea turtles that we saw hatching out on the same beach just a few hundred yards to the left.

 

And here’s the amazing part. Good friends, and I mean GOOD friends invited us to share this cliff-top house right on the hill above Cabo overlooking the invisible line that marks the Pacific Ocean and Sea of Cortez. It was quite a place. Our bedroom was the room behind the chairs – really! But what the photo doesn’t show is that the edge of that pool drops straight down probably 3-400 feet to the ocean. REALLY! It was a thrill to swim up to that edge and look over, to look DOWN at the backs of the frigate birds and pelicans as they went by. I don’t ever remember sleeping in a room so far out on a cliff that had both the morning sun rising and evening sunset streaming into opposite windows. Besides this, the ceilings of most rooms had custom handmade arched parabolic brick ceilings that amplified the sound like we were all ‘miced up’, an obvious needed addition because the sound of the crashing waves below was sometimes deafening. There were times we thought we felt the place shake.

 

Thanks for reading this week. I’ll be back on my normal blogging schedule from now on. Thanks for the kindness from everyone this Solstice Season.
Larry Eifert

Click here to go to the online blog this was to.

Click here to go to our main website – packed with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Click here to check out what Nancy’s currently working on with her photography.

Moon Snails

Here’s my monthly article for 48-North magazine. This will be published in the November issue in a couple of weeks, and I also get the cover! If you click on the image, it should enlarge so you can read the story easier. Quite some critters, these moon snails.

 

The Twins: Photography by Nancy Cherry Eifert

On another subject: On June 8th, I blogged about our backyard fawns.  We currently have 9 deer that come and go in our little meadow. Some pass through and we only see them occasionally, but thanks to Nancy’s efforts at handing out apples to all comers, this spring we had two moms that produced three fawns. This photo was taken around June 1st. This second photo below was taken of the same twins just the other day, October 16, making them about five months old. That’s the same apple tree as in the first photo. They won’t take apples directly from our hands, but I think they would if we spent some time coaxing them. Mom’s still here too, and the three of them spend considerable time standing in the grass patiently waiting for the next cut-up apple. For East-coast readers, these are Columbian black-tail deer, much smaller and more delicate-looking than either mule or white-tail deer.

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Click here to go to the online blog this was to.

Click here to go to our main website – packed with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Click here to check out what Nancy’s currently working on with her photography.