This is Notch – I think she may be a first time mother. She has at least 2 babies so she got bold enough to come up to the deck. It seems they get hungry about this time of year. I also see them in the deep winter when the snow is thick. Otherwise, they only visit at night. How do I know? My tomatoes growing on my second story deck keep disappearing.
The Rose-breasted Grosbeak’s have been plentiful this season. I have my own photos, but a friend, Steve Bradley, took one of a male that truly inspired me. I used his photo for my painting and one of my own for the female.
First I practiced drawing them since their big old beaks were a new shape for me.
Then I tried the male on my Mom’s Mother’s Day card/letter. I decided I liked that so well, I did the couple in my nature journal (the first image above.)
I watched a Cooper’s Hawk wrestle with a huge stick that had a smaller one hooked to it. When he finally got them untangled, he ended up with the short stick and appeared quite disgruntled about it. He tossed it down and left, at that point, and went up into the tree and started wrestling with another branch. It was very entertaining.
I have begun a perpetual nature journal. However, I am an IT consultant and this week I was switched from many years working from a home office to 5 days smack in the middle of downtown Indy. What an adjustment. So this will curtail the amount of nature I am observing, but I still have the weekend bird count for Cornell University. Feeder birds may be the main pics until I can get out on a weekend.
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.
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!