Toadstools and mushroom sketches {Field guide Friday}

This is a series on my blog this year where I will be sharing a sketch from my nature journal every Friday in an effort to keep myself drawing (at least weekly) and to hopefully inspire someone else while I’m at it. Hope you enjoy it!

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I remember when I was a kid, going foraging for mushrooms after heavy rain with my dad. We both love mushrooms and would sometimes end up with bags full of them….We always stuck to the safe field mushroom, and never got adventurous sampling other different varieties.

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I am pretty sure that the mushrooms in the sketches are inedible ones. I have been trying to identify them but they are really hard to ID. I have a field guide but am still clueless. I know that the big one is a toadstool, but I didn’t realise how many different toadstool varieties there are. I will just have to stick to drawing them for now. And look into a mushroom foraging workshop in the future….

Sketchbook adventures

sketchbook 3 by shantele ianna

sketchbook 1 by shantele iannaCurrently my sketchbook is getting filled up with random drawings. The garden is still producing eggplant and we scored some figs from a friend so that went in. Any good eggplant recipes? Please share in the comments, I am drowning in eggplant.sketchbook 4 by shantele ianna

Fish are always my favourite subject. I am working on a book of drawings of the local area and want to include local wildlife…. I am also dreaming of going scuba diving again at Julian Rocks, a study trip of course….sketchbook 2  by shantele iannaAnd I am working on a special project for a friend.. Slowly it is Tiger moth watercolor sketch by shantele iannacoming together, I will share all here once it is finished.  I am also happy that my little moleskine is filling up with sketches. It sat empty for a couple of years and now that I have a theme for it I am filling it up. Check out more here.

Photo Walk – Mornings

IMG_9483 A wedgetail eagle just waiting to snatch up a chicken lunch!!IMG_0593 IMG_0582 IMG_0455 IMG_0449 IMG_0448 IMG_0291 IMG_0293 IMG_0317 IMG_0329 IMG_0351

Since the start of the year I have set a goal to walk the dogs every morning. I have been pretty good at keeping it up just missing a few days here and there. It is obvious in the photos above that it is Ruby’s favourite part of the day.

Recently I started carrying my DSLR camera on these walks. We are planning a trip to the Kimberley in June so I want to practice taking photos and using the camera before we go. I have also been grateful to capture the change of seasons, the dew on the grass and the morning fog. Also my grandfather always used to say that when a tree dropped a large branch it meant rain was coming!! I think he was right……

Tiger moth {field guide Friday}

This is a series on my blog this year where I will be sharing a sketch from my nature journal every Friday in an effort to keep myself drawing (at least weekly) and to hopefully inspire someone else while I’m at it. Hope you enjoy it! Tiger moth watercolor sketch by shantele ianna

Tiger Moths are common throughout coastal northern New South Wales. They have distinctive orange and black bands on their bodies and orange spots on their wings. They are pretty small at about 4cm and are normally seen flying around during the day.

This is the second moth I have drawn for field guide Friday and it got me thinking what is the difference between a moth and a butterfly. Well there are some general rules (and exceptions to the rules of course) that separate the two groups.Tiger moth watercolor sketch 3 by shantele ianna

Tiger moth watercolor sketch 2 by shantele ianna

  • Moths generally have feathery antennae, whereas butterfly antennae have a club on the end and are thinner;
  • Moths are generally duller coloured than butterflies;
  • Moths wings are linked together whereas butterflies are not;
  • Moths hold their wings flat when resting but butterflies hold their wings upright (making it very hard for photos);
  • Moths have larger forelegs;
  • Moth pupae spin a cocoon whereas butterfly pupae is not in a cocoon; and
  • Moths fly at night whereas butterflies are seen flying during the day.

The tiger moth seems to be an exception to a lot of those rules, being bright coloured, thinnish antennae and seen during the day.

New blog categories and archives

archvies by category 4I have recently been doing some housekeeping on the website and trying to make it more organised. There is not a huge amount of content yet but I was surprised when I went back through that there was a decent amount to be archived. I have added archives on the top menu bar with images and have divided the posts up into the different categories that I have written about so far. These images and categories make it both easier for me and the reader to find old posts and content. archvies by category 1

There has been a travels category for a while now, located in the top menu bar (now located in the sidebar). This is a round up of all the posts I have written about our adventures and holidays with info, tips and photos from the places we have been. There are posts from our trips to USA, Mexico and Europe and I plan on adding posts from out honeymoon in Borneo and Thailand soon.

archvies by category 2I have also had some buttons in the side bar that link to; sketching tools and posts related to urban sketching and nature journaling. This is where the travels category is now located.

archvies by category 3And finally I have a page dedicated to all the posts from field guide Friday (my latest project). Ideally this page will be added to as my posts go up and as the project continues.

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So far I have categories for urban sketching, nature journaling, paper projects, travels, shop and our wedding. I will change or add categories as I write about new things (farm life in the future) but for now it feels a lot more organised. I hope this makes it easier for you to find stuff and enjoy reading the blog a bit more.  Thanks so much for reading and for your support!!

Strange attractor pop up shop

strange attractor open studio wares 6Two friends and I recently opened a pop up shop in a vacant space in Lismore. The idea of the shop was that it would be an open studio, where people could come and see us painting, making and creating. It was also an opportunity for customers to visit a shop where the objects were made by the artist’s.

strange attractor open studio wares 7 strange attractor open studio wares 3Pop up shops are such a fantastic idea to revitalise an empty space, encourage customers in an otherwise empty area in a street or town and contribute to the urban community.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset strange attractor open studio wares 1 strange attractor open studio wares 4There were three of us in the studio all with different skills and styles that worked well together. I contributed my watercolour paintings of the local area, fish and things that have inspired me from my travels around the world. The other girls are amazing and their skills with interior design were inspirational. They made handcrafted ceramics and a variety of wares. You can find more info about Stef here and Nat here.

strange attractor open studio wares 2 strange attractor open studio wares 9I learnt so much from the experience about customer service, packaging, talking to customers and met some lovely local people. But the main thing was that it pushed me to ‘just start” and put myself out there. I set up business cards, had a few markets stalls, set up my home printing area and set up my etsy shop. It’s been amazing meeting so many people and creating that sense of community, bringing artists together, creators and makers of beautiful things.

The shop is now closed for new clients to move in, but if you spot us at the local markets come and say hi.

Emperor Gum Moth {Field guide Friday}

This is a series on my blog this year where I will be sharing a sketch from my nature journal every Friday in an effort to keep myself drawing (at least weekly) and to hopefully inspire someone else while I’m at it. Hope you enjoy it!

Emperor Gum Moth watercolor sketch by shantele ianna 1I am always happy to find Emperor Gum Moth’s hanging around the garden, they are beautiful creatures. The Emperor Gum Moth is a large moths with a 120-150mm wing span and is easy to identify from the four colourful “eyes” on their wings. This guy is probably a male because they are said to have hairier antennae than females.

Emperor Gum Moth watercolor sketch by shantele ianna 2Apparently they adults don’t feed, they only live for a couple of weeks after hatching from their cocoon and their only goal in life is to mate and lay eggs. They are also native to Australia, so keep your eyes peeled.

Happy weekend everyone and happy insect hunting….

{Field guide Friday} Dolphin Fish

This is a series on my blog this year where I will be sharing a sketch from my nature journal every Friday in an effort to keep myself drawing (at least weekly) and to hopefully inspire someone else while I’m at it. Hope you enjoy it!

IMG_0277ccThis weeks sketch is of Doreen the Dolphin Fish. Most people would recognise this one as from the header image on my website. Fish are my favourite subject to draw, and particularly ones with bright dazzling colours.

dolphin fish watercolor sketch  print head close upDolphin fish are a large species that are found in the deep open ocean preferring warmer subtropical waters. The origin of the name Dolphin fish is quite contentious with many speculation on its origins that I’m not going to go into here. They are also known as the Mahi Mahi (meaning very strong in Hawaiian) and Dorado (meaning gold in Spanish). Either way they are a stunning fish with golden yellow bodies and different shades of blues on their fins, lips or as spots.

dolphin fish watercolor sketch print tail close upThey are a very sought after recreational fish on fishing charters, but are not targeted commercially in Australia. They are relatively fast growing and reach sexual maturity with 4 months of age. Their conservation status seems to vary throughout different guides, but they are generally listed as not of concern. I have never eaten one, or caught one but would love to see one in real life.

Prints of the original watercolour drawing are available in my shop. Head over there if you would like more information.

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Happy fishing and diving everyone.

{Field Guide Friday} Wanderer or Monarch butterfly

This is a series on my blog this year where I will be sharing a sketch from my nature journal every Friday in an effort to keep myself drawing (at least weekly) and to hopefully inspire someone else while I’m at it. Hope you enjoy it!

Wanderer butterfly and larvae watercolor sketch by shantele iannaMost people including myself can instantly recognise a Monarch butterfly (or the wanderer). They have distinctive orange colours on black wings with a band of white spots on the outer edge. The larvae are easily identified too by their white, black and yellow stripes. Wanderer butterfly adult close up by shantele ianna

Wanderer butterfly larvae sketch by shantele iannaThey have two sets of black tentacle’s at either end of their body, which often make it difficult to determine which end is the head, but the longer set are located at the head end.Wanderer butterfly larvae close up by shantele iannaThe wanderer are very common throughout Northern NSW, but are not native and were introduced to Australia in 1871. They have a short life span of only 6 weeks but breed throughout the year in this area. The eggs are laid on the leaves of plants in the milkweed family, where the larvae feed on the leaves and flowers.milkweed

In this area they are commonly seen on the narrow leafed cottonbush, and the red head cottonbush which are both weeds and are toxic to cattle. The caterpillars and adult butterflies are toxic to birds due to the toxic milky sap in the plants they eat.

{Flield guide Friday} Bull ants

This is a series on my blog this year where I will be sharing a sketch from my nature journal every Friday in an effort to keep myself drawing (at least weekly) and to hopefully inspire someone else while I’m at it. Hope you enjoy it!

bull ant watercolour sketch by shantele iannaOur property seems to be full of large biting ants, particularly the Bull (or bull dog) ant. They are large ants with big eyes and long mandibles and can grow up to 4cm. You know when a nest has been discovered because they come out in swarms in an aggressive attack mode. We seem to have lots of nests along our boundary fence line and generally have to be careful of attacks when we are repairing fences. They inflict a painful sting from their venomous stinger located in their abdomen, by holding their prey between their large mandibles, and it hurts!.

bull ant close up watercolour sketch by shantele iannaThere are approximately 90 species of bull ants and all are found only in Australia. Despite their fierce reputation they mainly feed on sugar in the nectar from flowering plants. The colonies consist of a fertile queen (for laying eggs) and infertile female worker ants to do all the other chores for the colony. We often see solitary winged bull ants around the farm, apparently these are fertile males or females which have left the nest to start a new colony. So if you see any while your bushwalking keep a safe distance.

This sketch was done from a photo with Windsor and newton watercolours and a uniball micro deluxe waterproof pen. Check out this post for more information on my sketching kit.