Just before things ramped up in late fall, I did finish drawing #5 for the sketchbook exchange. I was not sure what to draw since plant life outside was disappearing due to colder weather. Happily, one cool, rainy fall day, my older daughter spotted a very rare find right in our driveway! We had arrived home after school and the kids ran outside for a few minutes to play in the rain. My daughter came in to tell me she found a lizard. I really thought she must be mistaken, but followed outside to take a closer look. What I thought was a clump of wet leaves was actually a salamander!
It was very patient (trying to hide, no doubt, by staying still) while we looked at it for nearly 10 minutes. I took a number of reference photos with my cell phone so we could look it up later. Finally, it scurried up the driveway and burrowed down into the mulch of our flower bed.
We went back inside, and I started to do some research based on the markings it had. It was about 6-7 inches long, dark gray in color with white/light gray markings along the side. What I thought was a rare enough find (first salamander we had seen in our yard in 7 years) was even more rare - this was a small-mouthed salamander (Ambystoma texanum), which is endangered here in Michigan!
Needless to say, I decided that I *had* to draw this for the sketchbook! With the color, I debated doing this just in graphite, but finally decided to choose a range of colored pencils, including cold grey I, V and VI as well as some dark indigo for a little more depth in the darker areas (all Faber-Castell Polychromos.)
Since it took me a while to find something I wanted to draw, I was a bit behind in shipping this out to the next participant. I had wanted to include some autumn leaves, but didn't have time to draw them properly. Then I remembered some leaves I had drawn last year. I dug around and found the ones I wanted and cut them out to include on the opposite page from the salamander. Done!
I love the challenge that each sketchbook presents, depending on what season it is when it arrives, what my personal schedule will allow, what inspires me. I really enjoy that moment when I find something that speaks to me and compels me to just open the book and get started! Art in action :)