Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Female Cardinal





There's a cardinal pair that visits my backyard everyday. This year, the Mrs. and  Mr. had two young ones, both female. This young female is just starting to come into her colors, her beak isn't quite the bright orange that it will be soon. I took some artistic liberties punching up her color on the wings and tail a little. A hint of ultramarine blue with burnt sienna at the eye mask and the wing to liven up the usually sedate colors even more. The juveniles are always a little rumply looking due to their new feathers over the downy ones. I think she looks kind of sassy.

I also figured out how to finally paint the background with a light wash of blue to make the trees recede, but still read as being a thicket of trees. Before I was always painting the trees as their true color and the focal point would get lost by my giving priority to everything. A new technique for me to play around with and get used to. This was done in Micron pen, then a light gouache on paper.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Mockingbird is King

Here goes, my first time posting to Illustration Friday! This is a micron pen drawing with watercolor wash on paper. 


We have a Mockingbird pair that live in across the street in a rhododenron bush. The male likes to sing loudly and chase away all the other birds his size and bigger (!) from our property. He particularly likes to sit at the top spire of one of the tall blue spruce trees we have in our yard. In the morning and afternoon he will sing his whole repertoire of his version of different bird song and other non-bird noises, like car alarms, very loudly for the whole neighborhood to hear. I saw him perched atop the spruce one afternoon as I sat out sketching in the backyard and was inspired to draw this due to his very regal manner. No doubt, he is the king of the neighborhood!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Ready to Roast

A little Summer Harvest of ripe tomatoes ready to pop into the oven for roasting in a vintage glass Pyrex baking dish. Bathed in golden olive oil, slices of pungent garlic, and dusted with dried Italian seasoning mix. The "before" look is much more beautiful than the "after" results of shriveled peels atop a little circular glob of roasted tomato, but the sweet and complex roasted taste will surpass the visual.

I'm continuing to work on developing a quicker, more expressive style. This one is 7x10 pen and ink drawing with gouache paints on paper. I'm working with gouache for the first time, and wondering why it took me so long. For me, it's a happy marriage between watercolors and acrylics that is allowing my brush to do what I've been trying to get watercolors to do. It has the same fluidity of watercolors, but the paper dries faster because I use less water, so I can control better the 'bloom', or in otherwords, the bleeding of one color into another when you add another layer before the bottom paper is dry. With gouache, you can control the bloom. If you add more water to the pigment, you can get a thin watercolor wash effect, but with less water it can also be opaque like acrylics and you can fix some errors that may happen or add some white highlights that may have mistakenly been painted over.