Thursday, March 22, 2018

bird project

While I am not a serious birder, I do enjoy bird watching. Whether at National Wildlife Refuges, National Parks, or any place I travel or hike, I look for birds.

I have attempted to paint birds over the years, but felt frustrated by the outcomes of my efforts. I even dedicated a sketchbook to bird sketches, only to give up after about 12 pages.

Finally, I tore some scraps of paper into squares and rectangles no larger than 7" on a side. And I started to paint small watercolor bird sketches.

This female cardinal sketch is #18 in the project.  The sketches are for sale, unframed. Contact me if you might be interested and I will send you images of what is available.

Cattle Egrets are smaller than their Great Egret cousins. I was lucky to witness hundreds of these birds at the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge. #9 Cattle Egret is still available.

When I started this project, I focused on the basic shape of the bird head and body. As I got more comfortable with the subject, I took more care with color and form. Some sketches use ink line to help delineate shapes. Others rely on value and color.

An all white bird presents its own challenges. How to describe shape within such a high key value scale? In this case, I used a very light blue to help show the forms.

#13 Bunting. The more I looked at birds, the more I cared about looking at their eyes. How does the light hit the eye, what color is the eye, how does the eye relate to the rest of the head. I want to capture that feeling of looking at the bird and being seen by the bird. Both.

Birding, or more casual bird watching, makes me feel more connected to my environment. It enriches my time outdoors. How about you?

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