The photo reference comes from a birding friend, Sally Slick, and as soon as I saw it a couple of months ago, I knew I would use it for Inktober. These feisty little birds have fierce battles, but this was a beautiful image of one grabbing the other’s beak.
Also, it was first through hummingbird photography that I began to connect online with various birding groups and gaining several new social groups that have been informative and a lot of fun.
Sally happens to be a conduit for that type of connecting. I met her when she was at the Indiana Dunes (now a National Park) several years back and we stopped at a pull over where she happened to be parked and taking photos. She gave us pointers on where to find the Sandhill Cranes, as well as other tips.
Come to find out, she is a local (to me) birder and she introduced us to her group of birding buddies. We have since enjoyed meeting them when birding our local parks, as well as sharing our various adventures online.
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.
For the word, Precious, I had to do my newest nephew, Isaac. However, I am not confident with portraits, so I worked him up in graphite pencil first. Then inked it. I plan to keep working on more portraiture, because it is such a challenge with great reward when you get it right.
Flowing is in process. Cruel was next. I did a fast sketch just for fun and have no intention of reworking it. I did not like this prompt until I thought of how cruel it is when birding to discover a wonderful one was behind you the whole time. In this case, a Sandhill Crane. I shared a throwback to last year to show I really can draw these birds. Cartoon style is still a struggle for me.
I skipped Whale and went straight to Guarded. This was a very technical drawing, so I sketched it first, then inked it.
We ended on clock, which did not inspire me, so I skipped it. I am batting a low average this Inktober. 5 last week and 4 this week. We will see if we can’t beef that up next week.
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.
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…”