A Hummingbird Bulb

A Hummingbird Bulb

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I have broken out into a whole new phase of my ornament painting. Realistic nature!

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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!”

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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.

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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.

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Sketching Birds

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This has been the year for sketching the birds I am photographing and spending time watching all the youngsters figure out their big new world. I started last fall doing the above types of 5 second sketches.

I like to use ink for the initial sketches because it forces me to capture their essence without overworking and overthinking it. Perfection is not the aim and ink is always full of lines that can not be erased, so that forces my letting go of the OCD side of my personality.

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This month I started spending a little more energy on the initial sketch then adding various views of the same bird in pencil.  We have had so many Downy Woodpecker babies this year that I decided to catalog them to see who sticks around. Did you know that you can tell them apart by their head stripes? It has been fun and very illuminating to learn about these individuals visiting my feeder.

Note: I have been naming them only because it is easier to talk about them with a name versus – “you know, that one with the squiggly stripe…”