Suddenly Smitten

Golden Fairy Lantern painting yellow Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

 

Hi Everyone!  Early Spring I came across the Golden Fairy Lantern wildflower and was instantly smitten by it.  Photographing these little flowers took me on an unexpected creative journey.  I painted them, made block prints, and hand bound books. Along the way I learned a lot about trying new ways when things do not work out as expected.  I love to experiment and play, so I was completely in my element.

 

 

 

Golden Fairy Lantern yellow Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

 

 

The Golden Fairy Lantern is a flower that is endemic to Northern California.  These flowers are no larger than 0.5″.  I had to play with the camera settings a LOT before I could capture a few sharp photos of this beautiful little flower.

 

 

 

Golden Fairy Lantern drawing yellow Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

 

 

There are little green butterflies that I also see on the trail, the same kind that flutter around in our garden as well.  They are so sweet, I love watching them.  After coming home, I drew this picture of a butterfly with two Fairy Lantern flowers and set to painting it.

 

 

 

Golden Fairy Lantern painting yellow Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

 

 

Then I ran into a little problem.  I could not paint them to my satisfaction using watercolours.   There was nothing wrong with them per se, but I was looking for something different than what I got on paper.  After painting a few flowers with unsatisfactory results, it was time to change course. 

I pulled out my markers, Inktense pencils and my FW acrylic inks.  I painted little areas on this sketch with each kind first to observe the behaviour.  I really liked the markers, but unfortunately the colours bled to the back of the paper.  So, I used the the FW inks instead.

 

 

 

Golden Fairy Lantern painting yellow Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

 

 

This was one of the unsuccessful paintings.  Instead of throwing it away, I cut the part out that was alright and tried a few new things on it. It was great not to have to worry about lines and shapes here, but simply play with paint.  Then I pasted it on to one of my scrap book binding covers and it became a bookmark.

 

 

 

Golden Fairy Lantern painting yellow Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

 

 

The FW inks worked a lot better for the painting, but there was something still missing.  Then I realised that I was trying very hard to copy the shadows from my reference photo and making a mess in the process. 

With “Let go, Luke” from Star Wars in my head, I put the photo away and started painting following my instincts.  It worked.

 

 

 

Golden Fairy Lantern painting yellow Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

 

 

Once everything dried, I used watercolour pencils to add the details and shadows to the butterfly, and the painting was done.

 

 

 

Golden Fairy Lantern drawing yellow Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

 

 

However, the idea for a block carving was already stirring in my head.  I made another line drawing in my larger sketchbook.  I spent a lot of time smoothing out those curves in the drawing.  I decided not to ink the master copy in case an accidental nudge of the hand derailed the pen from the line.  I apologise for the faded photo, I draw with a light hand.

 

 

 

Handmade Everyday Journals with Fairy Lanterns Lino Print @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

You know the rest.  The block was carved.  

Since I didn’t purchase sharpening supplies early,  one of my old tools had gone dull beyond sharpening and also got notched.   I decided to recreate the edge of the tool. 

I had never done this before, so of course I mucked up a few times and had to restart from the grinding-down step.  I finally found the right angle, and it clicked.  It was a long process. 

 

 

 

Lino print on Japanese rice paper @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

During the printing process my roller bid me adieu and applied ink unevenly on the board.  Get new roller, clean block, wait till it dries, repeat printing.

I played with printing on different kinds of paper,  both heavy paper and Japanese rice paper. 

 

 

 

Handmade Everyday Journals @ Inktorrents.com by Soma

 

 

I made bullet journals with the print on the cover.   I am using the blue journal for my Japanese studies.  A few of the others have also found new homes.  The journals are available in my shop.

 

 

Printing And Bookbinding – A Perfect Pair

You can read about the carving and book binding here. 

 

 

 

 

 

As I get bored very easily when working on repetitive things, I very rarely work on multiple things with the  exact same picture.   However, I was smitten by these little flowers and I delved more and more into the world of creativity centering around them.  Each one was different enough and they tossed me a few challenges along the way.  It was fun to play along.

I hope you will also find something that piques your interest, and try something new and fun!

Until next time,
-Soma

 

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Blue Dicks purple Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

Wandering Camera – Wildflower Portraits

Blue Dicks purple Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

Blue Dicks Photo Print

 

Hi Everyone!  I have something very special to share with you today.  There is a trail not too far away from where I live.  It’s not a very large trail, about 1.25 miles one way.  Parts of it get very steep and most of the year it is completely dry.  However, in early spring, I have seen the most variety of wildflowers in that small of an area.

 

 

 

Western Blue Eyed Grass purple Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

Western Blue Eyed Grass Photo Print

 

Since a few years ago, I have been taking portraits of these little beauties.  I thought I would share them here along with what it takes to get these photos.

They never grow where I can comfortably position myself to take a photo.  So, I need to place myself in very awkward positions most of the time.   Thankfully, the trail is a quiet one.

 

 

 

Milkmaids Northern white pink California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

Milkmaids Photo Print

 

Most of them are really tiny, between 0.5cm and 1.0cm.  Keeping myself steady and focusing on the right part of the flower gets a bit tricky.  I have to use my eyes and not depend on the camera.  Not to mention, the slightest breeze throws another wrench in the whole game.

 

 

 

Star Lily white Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

Star Lily Photo Print

 

I had to play with the camera settings quite a bit to capture something that small.  There is not much room for adjustment, so I have to be there at the right time when the sun is not too harsh but the flowers are lit up properly.

 

 

 

Golden Fairy Lantern yellow Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

Golden Fairy Lantern Photo Print

 

I really love these little wildflowers.  As you already know, due to severe allergies, I end up getting chest constriction if I spend too much time outside.  So my dear husband keeps a keen watch on the time. Despite that, I sometimes get carried away by the love of photographing these beauties and pay for it dearly afterwards, but the time I get to spend there is always extremely special.

 

 

 

Golden Fairy Lantern yellow Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

 

The Golden Fairy Lantern is a flower that is endemic to Northern California.   These two were tucked away by an oak tree.  When I went back the week after, I looked for them and, to my surprise, found them too.  They were a bit worse for wear, but still pretty.  It made me very happy to see them again, like seeing a couple of old friends.

 

 

 

Golden Fairy Lantern drawing yellow Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

 

There are little green butterflies that I also see on the trail, the same kind that flutter around in our garden too.  They are so sweet and I love seeing them.  It was easier to draw one in with the flowers, than trying to capture them in a photo.  Those little flowers are challenging enough for me.

 

 

 

Golden Fairy Lantern yellow Northern California Wildflower @ InkTorrents.com by Soma

Golden Fairy Lantern Photo Print

 

There’s an immense sense of joy when I get those photos where everything works out.  The composition, light, focus all work together to capture the essence of these little ephemeral beauties.

 

 

Here is a Gallery of all the Wildflower Portraits together.  Please click on the image thumbnails to see the pictures and the names –

 

 

Purchase wildflowers photo prints

 

I have added these photo prints to my shop.  I print them on high quality photo paper using archival ink. They can be framed as-is in a 5″ x 7″ frame, used as greeting/note cards, or simply displayed on a small table easel.

They are very special to me and I hope you enjoyed them too.  Let me know if you have a favourite.

 

I look forward to seeing your photos and reading about them.

 

Wandering Camera art and photo linky party @ InkTorrents.com by Soma Acharya

 

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