Nature Journal

Arbutus Menziesii, ink and watercolour.

Giant Pacific Octopus, watercolour done with salty seawater, and a bit of extra salt for texture, with archival ink line work on top.

Orcas are incredible, my first sighting was a pod just off the shore of Nanaimo from the ferry when moving back from the mainland.

Coves of East Sooke.
This series of watercolour landscapes is a perpetual panorama plein-air project I challenged myself to, not done in any particular order but set up on my pages running from East to West of the various seascapes and waterfalls around my local area. All water is sourced from the subject, which led to some wonderful salt textures and surprise results! I set the composition up to run across the seam of my sketchbook in an attempt to free myself from the constraints of a 'perfect' sheet of paper in front of me. Dirty water and folded seams let me be free to sketch without the burdening fear of imperfections and just go with it.

This series of watercolour landscapes is a perpetual panorama plein-air project I challenged myself to, not done in any particular order but set up on my pages running from East to West of the various seascapes and waterfalls around my local area. All water is sourced from the subject, which led to some wonderful salt textures and surprise results! I set the composition up to run across the seam of my sketchbook in an attempt to free myself from the constraints of a 'perfect' sheet of paper in front of me. Dirty water and folded seams let me be free to sketch without the burdening fear of imperfections and just go with it.

Common ferns of Vancouver Island.

Herpetological critters sighted around my new home in Metchosin, a mix of drawing inks and watercolour.

A page celebrating the wild botanicals that flowered in my yard in May

I just love when nature repeats itself in shapes and patterns! These patterns are all around us if you look for it.

This page was my first time playing with a paint-on resist gum, and I am in love with how well the foxglove turned out thanks to the white paper coming through the water washes!

With the resist I also experimented here with underpainting in yellow before masking off flower shapes for the bright green wash of foliage.

WIP of a page of camas flowers at Summit Park in Victoria.

Finished spread of the Camas study, and its Garry oak ecosystem lookout at Summit Park in Victoria. Camas is not only a stunning plant, but an edible in the asparagus family! Aboriginal people tended the Garry oak ecosystems, using fire and cultivation as management tools. The edible bulbs of camas and other species were the focus of the plant harvest. So important were these plants that the Victoria area was originally known as Camosun, or “place to gather camas.”

Garry Oak, Quercus Garryana painted plein air. Plein air is always a challenge mostly due to quickly moving sun and dancing shadow. So I thought it only apt this day to practice for the first time with Daniel Smith Shadow Violet!

There is no storm watching quite like the view from the West coast of Vancouver Island. This was my partner looking out from an inlet in Tonquin Park, Tofino, during February as the tide came in and the cold wind slapped our faces.

Coniferous trees found around my home, learning about the incredible differences in their details.

Barnacles! These pages depict barnacle covered driftwood at two lovely peaceful local beaches, the left is Roche Cove in East Sooke, and on the right is Portage Park in Esquimalt.

Some inkwork florals, preceding some delicious berries ready to be foraged around my homestead!

Harbour seals in banana pose! This gesture the seals do with their tails is only done when they feel at their most serene and comfortable. I spotted these freckly cuties at Whiffin Spit in the Sooke harbour at daybreak, the day I solidified a home to move to in the south island. I thought it only right to commemorate the sense of peace that comes with finding a comfortable and quiet home to move into with these adorable cuties that can find peace in the most rocky of places.

A quick plein-air sketch of the tree scenes found at Matheson Lake Park. I visited this spot with my good friend Jen, where we challenged each other to a 'draw.' We sat back-to-back with the challenge of painting the view on each side with a timer of 30 minutes without any under-drawing. We then shuffled 180 degrees and painted the opposite view, before revealing to each other what we had each come up with! If you'd like to see the results, visit us at my instagram link below, or hers www.instagram.com/isolinestudios

The beaches of Port Renfrew are hands down my favourite spot to watch sea life on this island so far. This is just a handful of the critters I've seen on the Juan De Fuca trails. Sea lions, black bears, humpback and killer whales being a bit too large to fit on this page...

Stonecrop at Devonian Park in Metchosin.

Just a little surrealist break, done after a VERY rainy walk through the woods surrounding Port Alberni on a cold November day.

Celebrating a beautiful tree, Arbutus Menziesii. The right image was done gesture sketching at Witty's Lagoon Park in Metchosin, the left were done at home from reference images.

One of the first sketches in this journal actually, I will never stop being fascinated with the mosses and massive old growth forests here. Cathedral Grove in Port Alberni.

A breath of fresh air after a long series of scientific illustrations, this seascape depicts my favourite local beach here in Metchosin.

WIP page of some seascapes in East Sooke.

The first of a series of pages of watercolour waterfalls. For each piece the water used is sourced from the subject matter! To be continued!

The WIP page of plein air waterfalls.

WIP shot on location at Whiffin Spit in Sooke, this page of panorama seascapes is all done in watercolour, with the water sourced from the subject matter... which made for some very interesting and lovely salt textures in the paint!

Chalk pastel is a fun medium to work with, this plein-air was a quick sketch at the lake behind my home back on the mainland.

Capturing fall colours at Blinkhorn Lake Park. Another challenge in jumping right in with paint on paper, as I find I have a tendency to get lost in too many details.

I will forever be fascinated by the fungi life here. I wanted these pages to feel as maximalist as the forest floor.

Fungi sketches page 2. These were done in archival ink.

Mushrooms after rain. In the 2020 lockdown as we all know there was not much else to do but visit the forest. I found myself becoming obsessed with learning about fungi for these past few crazy years! This page displays 'raindrops' in line with each mushroom reading both the common and scientific names of each colourful fungus.

Mushrooms, left detail.

Mushrooms, right detail.

Mushrooms pre-paint, I had almost decided at this point to back out of my original colourful plans and stick to my comfort zone of black inks. I am so glad I pushed through that feeling!

I had the great opportunity to take part in a guided mushroom walk with mycology expert Kem Luther, thanks to a program at the Metchosin ArtPod gallery ( you can see the result of this over in my Traditional Illustrations). It was a splendid day for fungi spotting! We did some journal sketching while chasing after the myco-experts, and learned a ton in a short time. Lots of new sightings for me, and some massive artists conk! We saw a few way up in the trees that must have been a hundred years old, some about the size of a coffee table!

Another page born from the great privilege of a guided forest walk, this time with both Andy MacKinnon and Kem Luther, local mycologists. Another great day and even more mushroom sightings in a local Metchosin park. What fun scurrying after a troupe of scientists in the rainforest, furiously trying to scribble down whatever I could pick up from them!

A quick shot while in the process of chasing after Kem and his mycologist friends through the woods. Fat Jack, suillus caerulescens.

This page is the study prequel to my first full-sized mushroom illustration. (check it out over in my Traditional Illustrations section). Shaggy Manes, Coprinus Comatus, are just too fascinating a fungus not to include way more detail than just looks alone!

Shaggy Mane detail, in their late Inky state.

Shaggy Mane detail.

Detail, inked inks.

The winter of 2021 I dove headfirst into this mushroom obsession of mine, as you may already be able to tell. Inspired by the forest of Metchosin and the bountiful collection of species here, I have been working to learn as much as I can about these curious creatures we share our forests with.

Another page, I just can't get enough of these characters!

Wavy caps, psilocybe cyanescens. This piece was actally a commissioned sketch destined to be a tattoo for another Islander.

A very different type of journal page, spore prints!
In December 2021 I suffered a very difficult set of injuries, due to a bad motor vehicle accident. through the winter of 2021 through spring of 2022 I had been making several spore prints, allowing nature to make some art for me, and had been unsure what exactly to do with them. So instead of sit frustrated that I couldn't get outside and create, I looked around my studio and decided to tape these into my journal, intending for them to be reminiscent of microscope slides.

Freshly printed

The finished page of spore prints! This was very difficult to capture on camera due to all of the glare over the tape, bu was avery fun experiment in preservation! We'll see how this all holds up in my very high traffic sketchbook!

Conocybe tenera, looking a bit celestial.

Pluteus cervinus, gills vs. spores comparison.

Ghost Pipes, Monotropa Uniflora.
Sketching from some late summer reference photos of sightings around the woods behind my house. Challenged myself to show translucent waxy texture in simple lines.

Flower detail. You can see why their monikers arevariations of 'pipe' and given the title uniflora especially in this phase.

Detail of the inner structure of the flower.

Indian Pipe is actually a member of the Ericaceae, the blueberry family, which includes blueberries and cranberries (of course), as well as rhododendron, azalea and arbutus, among others. Of the 3000+ non-photosynthetic plant species, the majority are in this family. The presence of Indian Pipe in a woodland usually means the soil is very rich and the forest extremely high-quality. If you spot the white flowers there, chances are there are many other unique and uncommon species to be found nearby.

This is one example of the two-sided greeting cards I have recently mocked up for local market table sales this fall season. So far I have kept this to local sale only, but do reach out if you are interested in my nature journal pages as greeting card prints!

This is one example of the two-sided greeting cards I have recently mocked up for local market table sales this fall season. So far I have kept this to local sale only, but do reach out if you are interested in my nature journal pages as greeting card prints!

Lichen is fascinating, and it has been covering my backyard in shades of green just begging to be drawn. I really love the shade of blue-green these types have, and was very close to adding some soft colour here, but decided against it keeping lots of inky black as I just love how high contrast the black rhizines on the undersides of these lichen are compared to their pale green tops. Really interesting similarities and strong differences each of these types have. I had a fun time learning about the attachment structure of those with rhizohyphae (like the underside of the freckle pelt here) and the medicinal uses the usnea have.

Description

This nature journal has been a perpetual project alongside my other works. I started this journal a mere week after my first arrival to Vancouver Island in 2015, and though I have travelled and lived around BC in many cities and beautiful locations since, I only really seem to pick up this book when I am at peace and in awe here on the island. Enjoy these works depicting the natural wildlife around the Pacific, and journey through the natural wonder that is Vancouver Island with me!

Date

2020-2022