Thursday, October 24, 2019

Blu Beary's story

Blu received his nickname because of his great fondness for blueberries, although on occasion he does love a good lingonberry or even a delicious huckleberry! In his neck of the woods, Blu has been known to devour over 30,000 berries in a whole day…they are just too delicious to resist!!

Blu is also a very curious bear and will inspect almost anything to determine if it is edible. Atho he can be very lazy at times, preferring to sit from the comfort of his trusty log sniffing the smells drifting on the breeze.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Flowers of the air

When you first step foot into the towering majestic Eucalyptus tree grove in Pismo Beach, you feel slightly disappointed as all you see is, well...just trees. But hold on...there's glittering flashes of orange all around you as well- camouflaged butterflies start fluttering over your head and you stand there just mesmerized with a stupid grin on your face...or was that just me!!

Western Monarches, my favorite of all the jewel-toned butterflies, migrate thousands of miles seeking shelter from the freezing northern winters and make a pit stop at Pismo Beach each year starting in late October. They cluster on the Eucalyptus limbs, hanging by the hundreds in an electrifying curtain of orange! I read that helps protect them from rain, wind and predators as well as providing warmth for the group! They estimate that over 20,000 butterflies migrate through that area in a single season!! That's pretty darn impressive for sure!!

Some fun facts:

Monarch weigh less than 1 gram!! Seriously?!!!

The Monarchs that visit Pismo Beach are of a different variety and have a life span of 6 months as opposed to that of the common Monarch which only lives 6 weeks.

Monarchs will lay around 1,000 eggs in their tiny 6 month lifetime...WOW!! After having 2 kids I was done...maybe laying eggs is easier...just saying!!

Winging it (c) 2019  13.5x8.75 colored pencil drawing

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Up at the quack of dawn

Up at the Quack of Dawn (c) 2019 17.5x13 $1825.00

Through the years I have hiked and photographed this beautiful trail in Pasadena, CA called Lower Arroyo Seco, meaning "dry stream" in Spanish. The trail leads you under the magnificent Colorado Boulevard Bridge, which is the only local bridge listed on the National Register of Historic Places, built in 1913. 

Just south of the bridge is where a small pond resided brimming with countless Mallard ducks and their adorable ducklings!

The Devils Gate damn, just north of this lovely area is where the problem began this year for the Lower Arroyo Seco area. A four year renovation project launched, plowing down 70 acres of enhanced habitat for wildlife due to LA County neglecting this area for years, allowing non-native and invasive plant species to thrive. Their plan is to remove 1.7 million cubic yards of sediment, with 400 trucks moving through this area per day for the next 4 years. It is said by many that the amount of sediment removed will harm a delicate ecosystem housing endangered and sensitive wildlife...yup it certainly has!

With the abundance of rain we received this year, it caused all that loose sediment and soil to flow down and fill up that pond where I took the photo for this drawing. I hardly even recognized the area when I went there a few weeks lonely drake left by himself, all the others had fled apparently. 

So, this drawing I created has great meaning to me more than ever and symbolizes what we lost. 

This is what it looked like weeks ago, just a small waterway going through...once the weather gets hot I'm not sure even this will be there. And certainly no more ducks or herons will be there.

My great hope is that 4 years down the line this precious area will be restored and waterfowl and other native wildlife will once again return. I really miss those ducklings!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Over the river and through the woods.

Wade in the Stillness
Collection of Memories
Stories to be told

~Kathryn Hansen~

Power to the Pebble (c) Kathryn Hansen 17x11.75 $1720

On the hiking trail in La Canada, CA with my dog Indie.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

He drives everyone nuts!

Wilderness Retreet (c) Kathryn Hansen 9.5x20
Despite Chippy McNutters diminutive size, he was pretty much a big shot in his neck of the woods as he could gather up to 165 acorns on a good day. His furry friends however were starting to have concerns about Chippy's hoarding problem. Intervention seemed inevitable. Luckily for Chippy hibernation season was right around the corner so he was able to skirt the issue till Spring!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Burnish, baby burnish.

There are lots of different types of burnishing when it comes to colored pencils, my favorite with this piece has been tonal burnishing. I will do this several times in a section. I start by layering my colors on top of each other with a very light hand (this is achieved by holding the pencil further back), going in opposite directions with very consistent tiny circular strokes, and keeping my pencil point razor sharp while building up layers of color. I'm not heavy handed but I do apply more pressure with a Caran d'Ache Pablo white or light grey pencil towards the end, when I have my colors down. I will go back then and add a bit more color and burnish again with the white or light grey pencil...doing this several times until I have a beautiful rich glazed look. What happens with burnishing, is that it causes the color to fill up the entire tooth of the paper...making it very smooth looking. 

In the darker areas of this piece I will burnish with a dark blue and reddish Pablo. Just remember to gradually build up your dark colors as once they are down they are hard to erase.

Burnishing is one of the last steps in this whole process, which can be quite tedious at times, but the results create a sleek and fantastic finish!

Materials used: 
Stonehenge white paper (sheet)
Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils
Caran d'Ache Pablo pencils

To see more of my process and short videos check out my Instagram (kathrynhansendrawings) page here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Stepping stones

I love hiking...I do it every weekend unless something prevents me from going. My dog Josie and I would leave early and be gone most of the morning, hiking high up in the mountains behind our home. She and I were soo connected and happy to be out there enjoying nature. But my sweet, beloved hiking buddy passed away over 3 years ago leaving me devastated. 

These days I hike with my new pup Indie, who to my disappointment is not a hiker...or even a walker...he's more of a sniffer. And when he gets onto a tasty smell there is no moving him...he is stubborn with a mind of his own. I use to get very impatient with him until I started going with his slow flow of things. So, hiking these days is not quite the same but neither am I, I guess. We don't conquer mountains in the wee hours of the morning like Josie and I did, now my hikes are laid back, relatively short, no more than 2-2.5 hours and fairly easy...but...incredibly beautiful just the same!! 

In the beginning I was hampered SO many times from actually hiking that while waiting for Indie to get in his sniffing, I just started looking down and observing the lovely stream we were trekking through, which lead me to taking a slew of photos with my phone and posting them to Instagram. One day my friend Lissa said I should draw those tiny snippets of nature...I said I was seriously thinking about it. Well, here I am over 2 years later finally doing just that!! I  don't know why it took me soo long, I guess I wasn't quite done drawing animals yet. 

It's been wondrous starting this new series of intimate portraits of nature taken from my exquisite town nestled in the mountains, just north of LA. I am enjoying the detailed layering of multiple colors in one piece...something I don't typically do, to this extent anyway with my animal portraits. It feels right and unique and fascinating to me. And I have SO many photographic reference images line up for this series that I hope to be creating these nature portraits for many years to come. This is all due to a crazy bull terror named Indie, who caused me to stop and pay attention to rocks, leaves and swirly abstract patterns in a sweet little stream along a beautiful hiking path!


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