Sketch of the Day: Bøllemosen Pond and Bog, Skodsborg

Happy September Equinox- a national holiday here in Denmark. It might explain the fireworks displays over the Copenhagen skies for the last few nights, but who can be sure? Tivoli Gardens, a venerable amusement park here, is celebrating its 170th anniversary with Saturday night fireworks that begin at 11:45 pm on the dot. You think 170 years is old for an amusement park? Try 451 years- the age of Bakken, the amusement park in Jaegersborg Deer Park.

Red dragonfly at the bog/pond in Skodsborg, a short walk from the old-fashioned red-brick train station. It perched on my finger at one point, allowing a good closeup of its little white eye-spots. The bog is full of sundew plants and the mossy surface underfoot shakes like jello. Watercolor over pencil, 8 1/2 x 11 Stillman & Birn Alpha Series sketchbook.

Today is the Autumn Equinox, a national holiday in Denmark. I was hoping it might explain the fireworks lighting up Copenhagen skies for the past three nights in a row, but who can be sure? No matter. I LOVE fireworks.

Tivoli Gardens is a venerable amusement park in the heart of the city and puts on a sensational fireworks show every Saturday night, starting at 11:45 pm sharp. The first booms always wake me up out of a sound sleep and I run like a little girl to the window to watch. 172 years is not truly old for a Danish amusement park. Bakken wins that contest hands-down. At 431 years of age, it bills itself as the World’s Oldest Amusement Park. Bakken is smack-dab in the middle of Jaegersborg Deer Park, right by the pretty bog in Skodsborg. Why would anyone combine an amusement park with a deer park? There must be a good historical reason. Or, it could be one of those nice Danish mysteries, like Sunday night fireworks.

Happy Equinox.

Bakken Amusement Park's all-wooden roller coaster, fairly terrifying just to stand  on the ground nearby and look at.

Bakken’s all-wooden roller coaster. It’s terrifying just to look at, much less ride on.

Bakken's other roller coaster. Note the cow hindquarters...

Bakken’s other roller coaster….I won’t ride this one, either.

Posted in Adventure!, Art, Copenhagen, Culture, Denmark, Diversions, Drawing, entomology, Environment, field sketching, landscapes, natural history, Nature, plein air, Pop culture references, self-indulgence, Sketching, travel, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sketch of the Day: Migration on a Danish Marsh

Thousands of shorebirds rest and recharge on a sandbar and in the lagoon at Olsemagle Revle, a bird sanctuary on Køge Bay south of Copenhagen. Starlings were hawking insects, an osprey was cruising, a sparrowhawk put shorebirds up and moved on without catching anyone. The lapwings made sure of that, harassing it until it flew out of the scene. Watercolor over pencil, Stillman & Birn Alpha Series 8 1/2 x 11 sketchbook. A little Chinese White to catch the light on the golden plovers on the strand.

Fall Migration with a few thousand shorebirds on a sandbar at Olsemagle Revle, a bird sanctuary on Køge Bay south of Copenhagen. Starlings hawked insects, an osprey cruised, a kestrel put shorebirds up into the air and then moved on without catching anyone, followed by lapwings. Mute swans cruised like sailboats. Watercolor over pencil with a few dabs of Chinese white to pick up some highlights.Stillman & Birn Alpha Series 8 1/2 x 11 sketchbook.

Posted in Art, bird art, birding, birds, Copenhagen, Denmark, Drawing, Environment, field sketching, landscapes, natural history, Nature, Sketching, travel, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hygge on the Harbor, Copenhagen

We took a stroll across the bridge from Nyhavn to the Christianhavn side of the water and entered the street food warehouse, a wonderful hodge-podge of various artisan cooks, with tables outside at the water's edge. Mellow crowd, music, deck chairs, firepits, ships and boats and floating parties chugging by on the harbor. Alive, warm, cheery and totally hygge. Watercolor over pencil in 5 x 8 Moleskine sketchbook.

A stroll across the bridge from Nyhavn led to the Christianhavn side of the water, where we entered the awesome street food warehouse, a wonderful hodge-podge of artisan chefs, baristas, beer and wine purveyors at Experimentarium City. Even the booths in there are hand-crafted. After lunch we relaxed at the water’s edge on sling-type deck chairs, warmed by lit braziers and all the ambient hygge. Watercolor over pencil in 5 x 8 Moleskine sketchbook.

Posted in architecture, Art, Copenhagen, Culture, Denmark, Diversions, Drawing, Food, Sketching, travel, urban sketching | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sketch of the Day: Shorebirds at Ølsemagle (oolseh-mowel) Revle

Lapwings and Oystercatchers at the marshes north of Køge, Denmark. The lapwings hung out in the inland lagoons and the oystercatchers spent all their time in the kelp and sand and surf. They were within spitting distance of each other, which shows you how compact a niche can be.

Lapwings and Oystercatchers at the marshes north of Køge, Denmark. The lapwings hung out in the inland lagoons and the oystercatchers socialized in the kelp and surf on the other side of a single grassy sand dune, which shows you how compact a niche can be. Køge is pronounced, “kooweh”, sort of. My Danish neighbor is trying to teach me Danish pronunciation, and when Danish tones are attempted by American lips, hilarity ensues. Watercolor and pencil on Stillman & Birn 8 1/2″ x 11″ Alpha Series. Drawn through the scope.

There’s this wonderful long barrier island along Køge Bay, south of Copenhagen, a bird sanctuary called Olsemagle Revle, with marshes and beautiful white sand beaches that go on for miles. I’ve gone there twice now, once with the Danish Ornithological Society  and once alone. That would be today. The S-Train (“S-Tog”) goes right near it, and you can take your bike on board for free, get off at Olby Station and ride to the marsh, about 2.5 km.

I swear I'm going to upload a step-by-step tutorial on how to actually, physically, take your bike on the S-Train. It's a great service, goes everywhere, works wonderfully, but if you don't know the ins and outs, you're going to screw it up. If you're anything like me, that is. That's my bike. It's on the S-Train. I'm sitting next to it, making sure it doesn't fall over, even though it's fairly securely engaged with the rear-tire clamp rack. The first time I used it, my bike fell onto the expensive roadster next to it, earning me a dirty look from its owner. So it goes.

I swear I’m going to post a tutorial on how to physically get your bike on the Copenhagen S-Train. It’s a great service, goes everywhere, works wonderfully, but if you don’t know the ins and outs, and if you’re anything like me, you’re going to screw it up. This is my bike on the S-Train. I’m sitting next to it, making sure it doesn’t fall over, even though it’s securely engaged with the rear-tire clamp rack. The first time I used it, my bike fell on the expensive roadster next to it, earning me an unhappy look from its owner. I love the S-Train, but it’s a learning curve.

At Olsemagle there are scads of swans, buckets of barnacle geese, a glut of golden plovers, and plenty of graylag geese to go around. Also, today, naked men. In Denmark, sunshine + beach = nudists, but I admit getting caught by surprise. Two guys on the dune, who, from a distance, seemed to be dressed in long pink t-shirts, were simply displaying their sunburns. One nude man walked up to me as I trudged across the sand, scope over my shoulder, and tried to entice me into joining him for a swim. Though the Danish was incomprehensible, the body language was unmistakeable. I thanked him and hurried along, eyes forward.

Barnacle geese at the marsh. Their white faces in black necks makes them look like sock monkeys. Beautiful geese. Not the most common in the marsh, but the most vivid. The greylag next to them- that's the most common. Pencil in Robert Bateman 8 1/2" x 11 sketchbook.

Barnacle geese at the marsh. Their white faces in black necks makes them look like sock monkeys. Beautiful geese. Not the most common in the marsh, but the most vivid. The greylag next to them- that’s the most common. Pencil in Robert Bateman 8 1/2″ x 11 sketchbook.

Fabulous day, beautiful marsh, lots of sunshine, plenty of exciting encounters all around. See below for one more.

Happy Friday.

Flock of gentle sheep, sans ram, helps keep down the invasive beach roses growing everywhere. Reminds me I need to look for a warm sweater before winter sets in.

A flock of gentle sheep helps keep down invasive beach roses. Which reminds me to shop around for a warm sweater before winter sets in.

 

 

Posted in Adventure!, Art, bicycles, bird art, birding, birds, Copenhagen, Culture, Denmark, Diversions, Drawing, Environment, field sketching, Livestock, mammals, natural history, Nature, self-indulgence, Sketching, travel, Weather, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Sketch of the Day: Fruit and Flowers, Copenhagen

Fruit and Flower Stand, Gammel Torv, Copenhagen. The Old Square. The Italian Food Market cleared out and made more room for the regular street vendors, including this stand. The vendor sang the specials at intervals. I don't know enough Danish,  but I think it was a ripe nectarine

Fruit and Flower Stand, Gammel Torv, Copenhagen. After last week’s Italian Food Market cleared out , the regular vendors came back to fill the void. Including this one, who sang out the specials every few minutes in a plaintive tune. I don’t know much Danish, but it sounded like a hymn to ripe figs, six for 20 kroner. Watercolor over pencil on Stillman & Birn Alpha Series 8 1/2″ x 11″ sketchbook.

I get so many good comments here, and this one in particular has generated an answer that might be useful to others:

Body Art says:

Hi Debby, I love your sketch. Would you mind explaining your process? I would appreciate info on your technique if that is possible. Thanks!

Thank you, Body Art. I’ll try to explain- it’s a high-speed approach that catches overall gesture and shape before detail, then refines from there. Street sketching and bird drawing are really similar: they both have moving parts and require a fast hand.

There’s no one method for making a drawing. Every situation poses its own challenges, but here are three tips. Tip 1: draw statues. Depending on the sculptor, they can make for awesome anatomical studies.Tip 2: touch everything a lot. Develop your tactile memory to allow you to “feel” in your mind what you’re drawing on the paper. Pet your dog or your cat for a few minutes, a nice thing to do anyway, and then make a drawing. You’ll have a stronger sense of volume, proportion and, I guess, fur; and a better sense of how an animal is shaped. Tip 3: gesture-draw a two-minute scribble of something- your sleeping dog, your friend, your bicycle- on a regular basis. It will teach you to drop the detail and convey the gist. It also gets your hand/eye up to speed. Set your timer, and go.

Hope that made some sense, and hope it helps!

Posted in architecture, Art, Copenhagen, Denmark, Drawing, Flowers, Food, How-to, Sketching, travel, urban sketching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Sketch(es) of the Day: Jaegersborg Deer Park

It's rutting season at  the Deer Park, or Dyrhave, at Klampenborg. It's a great park where royalty once hunted, but is now home to more than 2,000 free-roaming Fallow, Sika and Red deer. It's also a stunningly beautiful parkland, free and open to the public for hiking, biking, horseback riding, dog-walking, jogging, and sketching rutting stags from a safe distance. Pencil on 8 1/2 x 11 Stillman & Birn Alpha Series sketchbook.

It’s rutting season at the Jaegersborg Deer Park, or Dyrehave, in Klampenborg north of Copenhagen, where royalty once hunted but now 2,000 Fallow, Sika and Red deer roam free and protected from harm. Ancient oaks and twisted beeches here call to mind the etchings of Durer. The grasslands are dotted with forest stands, ponds and a small castle called the Hermitage, closed up but still grand and covered with fun decorative sculptures. It’s free and open to the public for hiking, biking, horseback riding, dog-walking, jogging, sunbathing, picnicking and stag sketching from what seemed like a safe distance. Pencil on 8 1/2 x 11 Stillman & Birn Alpha Series sketchbook.

Today is a two-fer. More charismatic fallow deer. These were resting in the shade of giant beech trees, looking peaceful until two males got up to clack antlers and grunt. Pencil and watercolor on Stillman & Birn 8 1/2 x 11 Alpha Series sketchbook.

More fallow deer.- huge animals that never lose their spots.  The males rested peacefully in the shade of giant beech trees until two got up to clack antlers and grunt. Pencil and watercolor on Stillman & Birn 8 1/2 x 11 Alpha Series sketchbook.

Posted in Adventure!, Art, Copenhagen, Denmark, Drawing, field sketching, mammals, natural history, Nature, nature journaling, Sketching, Wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Sketch of the Day: Nyhavn Dusk

Perspective on Nyhavn Canal. Antman and I have begun a small new tradition in which, at the end of the day, we take a couple of Carlsberg beers down to the wharf's wood edge and watch the passing show. We listening to street music, to the creaking of ropes and spars on the moored ships, to the crying of gulls. It's cheap entertainment. Mike usually reads, I usually sketch. Here, a street guitarist sings, people walk, sidewalk cafes are busy, and a young woman in nice leather boots rests her feet and listens to the music, too. Pencil on Moleskine 5 x 8 sketchbook.

Evening at Nyhavn. At the end of a nice day Antman and I like to sit on the wharf’s wooden edge and enjoy the passing show. He reads, I sketch. A guitarist serenades, people wander, cafes bustle, and a young woman in leather boots rests her feet and takes it in, too. Nyhavn is a canal in Copenhagen; the name means, “new harbor” and is pronounced (something like) “new-howen”.

Posted in Copenhagen, Culture, Denmark, Diversions, Drawing, figure drawing, Sketching, urban sketching | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments