Author Archives: RyanMcGurl

Climbing the Cape Lookout Lighthouse

I might not be able to take pictures of fall foliage quite yet, but I did get to climb a lighthouse this weekend, on the Cape Lookout National Seashore.

The lighthouse and keeper’s residence.

It was 207 steps to reach the top, and my legs definitely felt it, but this amazing view was worth the effort!  Seeing the Outer Banks from this vantage point makes you realize that the islands really are just a narrow strip of land, an overgrown sandbar really, less than half a mile wide in most places.

Looking North along the South Core Banks. Looking East towards the Beach and the Atlantic Ocean.There is no bridge to this part of the Outer Banks, so you have to take a boat to get there. Not only is it a beautiful ride, but also it makes the islands pretty empty. You might have to hike a little, but even on a “busy” day you can find a patch of solitude.

Shackleford Banks, viewed from the ferry, not the top of the lighthouse.

In my Sketchbook, Maple Leaf

Here is a recently completed sketch of a maple leaf.

I started with just a rough outline, first in pencil, then traced in pen.
I added color using water color paints. I usually like to use markers, but I really wanted something soft and more blendable here.I’ve started building up and darkening the lines. I had some trouble with this. My favorite sakura pens weren’t working very well. I think maybe because I used a mixed media paper that the paint didn’t really soak into? I don’t usually use paints. Instead I used a gel pen, I had no problems working over the paint, but I feel like the lines aren’t as clean as I would like. Its hard to tell on the computer screen, and really, it won’t bother anyone but me.
The finished piece. Overall, I’m pretty happy with this, and I’ve started a digital illustration of this same design, which I plan to have finished in the next few weeks.

Curated Collection: Autumn

Its September 1, that means it is the beginning of fall! My favorite season. Yes, I do know that the official start of fall isn’t for another 3 weeks, but I just love it too much to wait. So, here is a beautiful collection of Autumn Leaves artworks I found on Society 6

I’m ready for cozy fall fashion (even though it is still too warm for sweaters here), gardening with mums and pretty pumpkins, fall scented candles, warm drinks, and hiking in the woods.

What are your favorite fall activities?