Saturday, December 15, 2012

Cardinal Pair

A pair of cardinals has been visiting my backyard lately. It's obvious that they've heard that there's copious amounts of black sunflower seeds available, they've been coming each morning and evening. They're very quick and wary, always looking around and it's hard to catch them close together for a photo op. The female usually is on the ground where the seeds are while the male stays up in the ornamental cherry tree branches above or on the fence just below that. The female's colors are very good at blending in with the ground and dried leaves, mostly buff colored with just a hint of red on her head crest, a little on her wings, and a dull red on her tail. The male of course is brilliantly colored with the red hood and pinky, gray edged wings. I love to see him swoop from tree to tree zeroing in on the sunflower seeds.

I sketched this with pencil and pen, then lots of watercolor washes and layers. I gave it more of a summery feel than what is  in season now, I wanted a lush green background to amplify the brilliant red of their plumage.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Where did she go?

Where did I go for a year?  I wish I could say that it was to this idyllic place above, to hear the wind rustling through the leaves, to see ducks, geese, and swans glide gracefully by while I sat on the banks of Crystal Lake, and to have creativity flow out of my soul and onto pages of my sketchbook through my pencil. Alas, nothing so inspiring. Truth is I worked 65 hours a week while my day job was getting ready for a major software change, and while prospectively searching for, finding, then buying a house, then moving and settling in.  I was a little tired. I also moved out of the shared studio space (I'm surprised I remembered where it was) and now have my own space in the house.

So I've been regaining my hand-eye coordination and have been puttering around the new studio.
Here's one of the new ones I worked on when I first got settled.  I'm thinking of calling it "The Wary Hare" just because it sounds funny. But he's not a hare, he's a bunny rabbit. I found some old pictures that I took at the Topsfield Fair one year. My friend and fellow artist Claudia Marchand turned me on to the wonderful illustrator Wendell Minor and I was inspired to do a small animal illustration. There's a soft wash of watercolor in the background and in the log, and mostly colored pencil in the rabbit's fur. I need to arrange some better lighting to take the pictures with, though. The colors are more vibrant than they look.