This particular week I did a couple of prompts but mostly simply practiced mostly from my own photos except on the two specified. I have to retrospectively
#7 Enchanted was some quick gestures of a Carolina Wren that enchanted me on my hike at Ritchey Woods over the weekend.
#8 is Frail – I was busy illustrating a comment on Facebook, so skipped this one and drew the hippie chicken above. However, I kept thinking of our frail ecosystem. Maybe I will revisit this word.
# 9 – did not use a prompt – Whitetail Deer Photo reference – John Baughman – https://www.facebook.com/JustJohnsNature/
#10 no prompt – Blackpoll Warbler Photo reference – Jining Han posted on Indiana Birdography
#11 – no prompt – one of our bunnies that live in our wild wood. I called him Notch.
The remaining day was spent sketching with a pencil. I worked on a child’s face and also on Christmas ornaments over the weekend. I did do some quick gestures in ink that are in a random sketchbook somewhere.
Day 16 – Angular – I was just starting to draw a Great Egret I photographed at Eagle Creak this month. As I was playing with the lines (in nature they so often replicate, lending a beautiful symmetry to the animal or bird), ta da – Angular happened by accident. I think it has the most likes of any on my Instagram.
Day 15 – Weak – I could not get the image to work, so I started doing my quick 10 second drills to loosen up my hand. I was flipping through Google images and when I was done, these made me laugh so hard that I shared them.
This was a hard work week, so I went off script in order to keep inking. Other than these first two, I did not follow the prompts and just had fun and used the time to loosen up.
Hispid Corbis Rat / Red-Breasted Nuthatch study (saw my first one on our feeder this past week! Had to commemorate a “lifer”. The rat was from Google images.)
Below is my first ever fan art. Then the ravens took 2 days with the first being for the initial sketch.
I love James and Margaret, who have made a backyard habitat in CA their home. The “caretakers” of that space give this loving pair of ravens food puzzles on their deck and interact with them in very fun ways. I have been wanting to sketch these guys for some time and took this opportunity. I think they would look very great in paint! Next project!
Corvids are extremely smart birds and I have learned so much from James and his only love, Margaret. It is amazing to watch their story unfold. You can follow them and their fellow inhabitants of that backyard on Instagram or Facebook.
I have been wanting to take my love of birding, hiking the state parks, and nature photography to the next creative level – nature journaling seemed to be an obvious extension. To break through the paralysis that inevitably happens when it comes to my drawing, I signed up for a class by Jan Blencowe and it has been fabulous. I highly recommend it for beginners, as well as “stuck” veteran artists.
One of the new tools I am learning to use, and quite enjoying, is the extra fine fountain pen that uses platinum carbon ink.
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…”