Inktober is in full swing and here I am forgetting to blog it! Feel free to look me up on Instagram, where I am quite active. Day 1 was “Ring” (the Nashville Warbler’s eye ring is quite distinct) and “Leaf”. So I hit all 3 lists on this one.
I had no plan going into this year. Come whatever comes. I am watching 3 different lists and am hit and miss with them. This was Mindless and Seedpod. I use to mindlessly whack these down. Now even the seedpod is prescious.
Day 3 was the Killdeer offering herself as Bait to predators to pull them away from her nest. Amazing birds. They nest across the street from me each summer, so I hear them daily.
Day 4 was some practice 60 second sketches.
This momma Robin was sitting near me on the trail. I was unwittingly standing directly under her nest build. I moved back and watched as she industriously went about her business.
It was a great start to Inktober.
The final lesson was about fur, feathers, and creating the illusion of depth. This was intense and I have much admiration for people who do Natural History Illustration for a living!
This was a great class and I have learned so much!
This was a week of working on tones (no details) and looking at how the eyes are made, reflections, cast shadows etc.
I chose one of our local squirrels to be the subject – a little hazelnut thief. I am a sucker for them every time, though. They run around trying to bury huge walnuts in our lawn. So funny!
I find that I need more practice finding the structure and geometric shapes – then examining all the shading and light source. This has been more of a cerebral exercise than I am used to.
I need to do more of this. Nothing wrong with picking up the pen or paints and having at it, but stopping to think about the details and remembering why things look the way they do is a good practice. This has been an excellent course.
NewcastleX: NHI101xDrawing Nature, Science and Culture: Natural History Illustration 101 – EDX Link
A study in my various pencils – this is a common thing to do to get comfortable with the tools for the current project.
The Natural History Illustration course has been fun and a lot of learning is happening. Some of the homework included unfinished sketches demonstrating the learning techniques.
First activity was to work with natural items, breaking them down into geometric shapes, working their curves, etc. and this shell really showed me how rusty I am.
We then did field sketches of birds. Some people really finished them out. I need to spend time doing more of that, but part of my problem in the field is thinking things have to be perfect. I am working to let go of that and just get it down on paper first. Also, this was sketch paper and I knew better than to try watercolors, but did it anyway. It is a learning and reminding process.
I learned about studying flowers and how to turn them into geometric shapes (not pictured), measure, and make notations. This lesson was interesting, but I found it a bit too detailed for me. I love seeing these types of illustrations. I hate doing them.
This was about learning how to quickly capture form and essence of mammals. Now we are getting into my “love”.
We studied skeletal structure, which I actually found quite fascinating. I used one of our raccoons who was trying to get to our bird feeder as my model and tried 3 different gesture drawings for each pose. This lesson was real helpful and I enjoyed it immensely. I may be studying skeletal structures a bit more!
The preliminary blocking activities were very helpful. I normally jump right to this type of gesture drawing above, but doing the 2 preliminary gestures made doing this one so much easier and correct. That was an interesting ah-ha for me!
This was a practice on how to block off parts of birds using circles, ovals, and geometric shapes – which is difficult for me to do. We also looked at how their skeletal structure is made.
I am going to have to practice this a lot more and, for once, I am excited about practicing!
From The Dictionary of Sidney
I regularly try to take a course that inspires my art and creativity. I just started one from the Univ of Newcastle, Australia, on Natural History Illustration.
This morning has been an introduction to historical illustrators from the Hunter Valley area in Australia. I have fallen in love with Helena and Harriet Scott’s work from the mid 19th century.
Their work is exquisite.
NOTE: There is actually an ap of their work. Talk about making the old new again!
This year I finished my calendar in very good time and did not have to drag the project out through January! Yay! I made it easier on myself with large photos of Tennessee and photos of our ancestors from the Smokey Mountain area.
I have been doing this calendar for 14 year now (or was this 15 – I can’t remember!) For information on how they are made, you can look at an older post like last years.
I have broken out into a whole new phase of my ornament painting. Realistic nature!
Remember the Inktober drawing I did of a hummingbird? The photographer of the “model” for that image contacted me to commission an ornament. Something I had not contemplated before.
I had never painted a hummer in oils, and certainly not on a curved surface. I started it then panicked, “I can’t do this!”
However, I know my process pretty well by now and panic is part of it. So I broke state, went shopping, then came back and was in a much more steadied state to finish the first layer. I began to breathe again.
After a couple of days to let that dry to a tacky surface, I began shaping the next layers, pushing paint around and making tiny little touches. Finally, today I finished it and feel like I have had a tremendous breakthrough in my art. This will always have a special place in my heart. I plan to use this little Rufous Hummingbird to help me push through some watercolor practices in the next month. He is very inspiring.