Thursday, January 29, 2009

Mallard Finished

My duckling is almost finished, I've spotted a couple of things to tweak but nothing major.
I have found the watercolour works better with coloured pencil than acrylic so I'll be using it more often.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Drawing Birds by John Busby

If you want to draw birds from life then this book is a good place to start.
Drawing Birds by John Busby
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Christopher Helm Publishers Ltd; 2nd ed edition (19 Jul 2004)
Available from Amazon
The book is written by John Busby who has been drawing birds for over 60 years. He was born in 1928 and studied at Leeds and Edinburgh Colleges of Art.
As well as his own paintings the book contains work from 37 other bird artists, many of them members of the Society of Wildlife Artists. Most of the artwork included are drawings made on the spot.

The book is split into 7 chapters including:-
Birds in Water
Birds in the Bush
Birds in the Air
Each chapter is beautifully illustrated with examples from a wide range of artists who work from life.

The book is not about a photo realistic approach, rather about achieving drawings that have character and life. For anyone who wants to understand the birds they are painting or drawing then I have no hesitation in recommending this book.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mallard Continued

Having done a 600 mile round trip yesterday to take Roxie to be mated I haven't had much time for art.
Roxie has stayed with the breeder as she wasn't quite ready, so we have another long trip next weekend. The big bonus was that we visited Slimbridge on the way home and I got some nice photographs of a Water Rail.
I am almost finished with my duckling.
The duckling itself is just about done except for a few tiny tweaks, the water is also done, so I've just the stones at the bottom right to finish. I'm using the same colours that are in the water and the duckling and keeping them dark so that they don't really attract the eye.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Mallard Duckling in Mixed Media

I'm trying to finish this one in between working on the stoat. Most of it is watercolour with touches of coloured pencil.
I'm working on a new squidoo lens on drawing and painting birds and hope to have a couple of book reviews to post over the next few days.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Stoat in Coloured Pencil

I've been continuing to work on the stoat painting. I've added the stoat itself and you can see the scale. When I was watching the stoat on the Loch side running in and out of the huge boulders I couldn't help comparing its brief lifespan to the endless eons the rocks had been in existence. That was my concept behind the painting, a tiny bright spark in a large monochrome landscape.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Today's bird is a Nuthatch which I photographed yesterday. The sun appeared briefly so the light on the bird was quite good. I'm definitely going to include him/her in a future painting.
Today we've been at the first dog show of the year. Roxie had to stay at home because she's in season and we would have been better leaving Juno at home as well. His mind was definitely not on showing, it had been left at home with Roxie and Roma (who's also in season).
It was nice catching up with our friends though and looking at this years puppies.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Goldcrest and Stoat in Coloured Pencil

I've started drawing my stoat from the photograph I took in Scotland.

So far all French Grey on Arches Hot Press paper, 20 x 8. I am going to paint the stoat in full colour to provide a bright splash.

Todays bird is a Goldcrest which visited the garden several times, it only stays for a couple of minutes each visit so I was lucky to catch it in a good pose.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Woodpecker part 4

I decided to add a background to the Woodpecker using mainly watercolour with a little coloured pencil on top. It needs some work yet but I have a picture in my mind of how I want it to end up.

I've included a close up of the Woodpecker, still a lot of feathers to complete.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Woodpecker Part 3

I'm finding the watercolour is working better than acrylic when I'm working over it with coloured pencils. I can use a dark Sepia/Payne's Grey mix and then add fine detail using a light blue pencil.I went to Fairburn Ings yesterday and saw my first Kingfisher of 2009, although it was a very fleeting glimpse. The light was poor so my photographs aren't very good, which is a shame as there was a Snipe quite close to one of the hides.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Peanut Butter and Woodpeckers

I've put peanut butter on the menu for my garden birds, the rough not smooth kind. I've started spreading it onto the bark of my trees and it's certainly creating interest.
The Treecreeper appears a little perplexed, in fact I'm sure he'd scratch his head if he could. I think he visits every day just to see what's on the menu, being an insect eater he's not been too impressed with my offerings up to now.

I've been working on my Woodpecker and I have to say I'm enjoying painting the bark.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Great Spotted Woodpecker Painting

I'm working on the duckling but started this one as well.
It's a Great Spotted Woodpecker and it was perched on one of my Silver Birch trees when I photographed it.
The size is 10 x 6 and I'm using coloured pencil and watercolour on Arches hot press paper.
I'm thinking about very lightly drawing a couple of trees in the background but I'm not sure that would work. I'll try it in photoshop first.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Watercolour Duckling continued

I've not had much time today as I've been cooking the Sunday lunch, then afterwards we were all having a turn on the Wii fit. It always finds that I'm not very fit, although today it showed I had the body of a 26 year old. It obviously cannot see my body, or feel its aches and pains or else it would reverse those numbers.
Anyway I'm continuing to work on the water, building it up in layers and trying to avoid mud. I'm being very restrained as I haven't even put the ducklings eye in yet.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Watercolour Duckling

I've made a start on another duckling, this time it's a Mallard. I photographed it in the Spring at Marten Mere.

It's watercolour on Arches Hot Press Watercolour paper, 10 x 8inches.

I've been giving some thoughts to what I want to achieve in 2009.

Birds will play a big part in my work, both photographs and paintings. I intend to continue working on improving my photography as I have become increasingly interested in it as art in its own right.

My specific aims are:-

  • I aim to produce 6 new feline works for the 2009 SOFA exhibition.
  • I aim to submit 2 works to NEWA and at least one piece to SWLA .
  • I aim to enter at least 3 competitions.
  • I aim to develop my miniature painting and submit to one exhibition.
  • I aim to complete at least one new painting each month.
  • I aim to post on my blog at least 3 times a week
  • I aim to spend one day each week on marketing with the aim of approaching a Gallery with my portfolio by the Autumn
  • I aim to have a tidy up of both my websites, and my squidoo lens

Friday, January 02, 2009

Back from Scotland

The weather was really cold in Scotland, down to minus 20 overnight and never above freezing during the day. It was beautiful, the sun shone and the frost was so thick it looked like snow. The dogs came back from their late night walk with tiny icicles under their chins, formed by their warm breath condensing. Clinton wasn't too impressed with this and demanded they were removed by leaping about shaking his head, then sinking slowly to the floor and rubbing his head on the carpet.
This is my favourite photograph, taken on the shore of Loch Fleet.

Tomorrow I'll post a bit about my aims for 2009 as far as my artwork is concerned.