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…”

Taming the Dragon

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I am learning, as I open myself up to more spontaneous illustrations, that I never know where it will take me. It scares me sometimes, yet the time is right. There is this desire to expand that must be satisfied.

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When the business blogger sent me an article called Taming the Multitasking Dragon, it only made sense to have a busy dragon. In the end, I left him to stand on his own, no extras, but along the way I learned that researching dragons was not that easy. I mean – no one has actually seen a dragon!

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You can look up vintage dragons, you can look up current art on dragons, but in the end, you can do whatever you want with a dragon. I also reviewed bats wings, goats faces, eagle’s talons. The tail was a mix of reptile, squirrel and imagination.

Somehow he ended up pregnant looking, but that was ok. One observer really wanted to just “poke that fat belly.” Yeah – you try that! He has fire!

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Where are my reverse glass artists?

Still looking for someone who has experience creating reverse glass painting with ink and oils. Also found some old photos, which make for a great TBT (throw back Thursday).

Below: Table at the Broadripple Art Fair which happens every year at the Indianapolis Arts Center. This was during my Native American phase.

026 No Writing (photopaper Jan 94)

 

Close up of one (date is 1993).  I placed them with a shadow box type of backing so that the oil was not up against the matte board. This added shadows and depth.

025 No writing (Photopaper Jan 94)

Weekly Sketchbook – Winter Birds

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An exercise in “seeing”. I call these my 5 second sketches and am challenging myself to do them daily.

In using a Micron pen, it keeps me from attempting to perfect the sketch and just move on.

I am studying Indiana backyard birds that winter over for some oil painting I am working on.

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Conceptual Illustration: Some have the courage…

Conceptual Illustration

My goal with the second illustration was to go for a simpler form. I chose to do a line drawing with minimal color, which is not my usual style.

Process:

  • research art precedents
  • brainstorm words that describe the concepts in the chapter we were illustrating
  • choose a concept and brainstorm images that would best illustrate the idea
  • draw concept sketches
  • choose one and thumbnail
  • get a roommate to pose for me for reference photos
  • (get feedback from class and teacher and start all over again)
  • complete the final piece on bristol board with ink and watercolor

M. Scott Peck – The Road Less Traveled

Illustration of chapter 1: Discipline

“Life is a series of problems. Do we want to moan about them or solve them?”

Some have the courage…

Catchin’ the Breeze

Our first illustration challenge was to create a cd cover. I chose a song that has been the embodiment of my return to college and move towards the lifestyle I want  – no, not sailing and ocean cruising… following my heart and living in joy!

I chose an almost monochromatic theme and focused on the sun as a symbol of the hope and promise ahead… “as you walk into the light….” The main stanzas are below the photo.

Technique is watercolor and ink on illustration board.

The process was to collect photo references and work from those. I chose a photo from the trip to the Keys that had a boat on the water; however, I wanted a photo of a sailboat with the sail unfurled, so that Saturday a friend and I headed to Geist Lake and lucked out! The sailing club had a class in session and using a zoom lens I shot photos to my heart’s content!

Catchin' the Breeze

I created a youtube video of the actual song set to the photos of our dolphin swim for the nieces and nephews, so excuse that personalization. However, this is the specific song for anyone wishing to hear it – Eden’s Bridge: Catching the Breeze .

Catching the breeze
Sailing away and traveling
The seven seas
Open your door and
Step out and catch the breeze

The journey is long
But one step is all that it takes
To start
So lift up your eyes and
Pack up your courage and fill
Your heart

The horizon is distant
The sun is so bright
And the city is fading
As you walk out into the light