Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mixed Bag: Fair Scribbles; Good Shot of A Strange Bird


Gardens, Somewhere Else, Not Here


It was a mixed bag for me yesterday, between my digital "Pollackesque" rendering and the laundry. I managed to finish the watercolor I started Sunday.

 Once again I'm not pleased. I think it has to do with the reference photo I used. More likely it's that I paint  with watercolor like they are acrylics. I did have a brush in my hand though; and that's a step in the right direction.

 I also started another charcoal of JD. Note that he's grimacing over the experience. But once I start subtracting with my knead, he'll lighten up. During the session, I noted I prefer vine charcoal to willow. Willow is softer; Vine is harder and more controllable over all for me. Willow, however, will give you good black). I'm pretty sure I've got JD's posture. I had also hoped to gesso out the previous painting I had on the canvas I have in mind for him, but never got to it. We had a fly that was dive bombing us that had to be chased down and destroyed.

As his lifeless tiny  body lay on the living room floor, I side-stepped around  to join Ellis  on the deck for some wine and cheese while we waited for CSI to show up. To pass the time, I  bird watched.

 Sunday night, I had watched the movie, The Big Year with Steve Martin. It's about birding and quite amusing.  I think I like birding. I watch them all the time.I think I could be a birder; I like the hat. So I  also took my camera out on the deck to be ready for any bird that flew within camera shot. Lo and behold a flock of something-or-others landed on the lawn just as we settled down. There's were dozens of them. The lawn must be full of grubs--or seeds or whatever it is raven-like birds eat.  They didn't really look like ravens or crows, but what do I know; I don't have a book. If anybody out there has any idea what this bird is, please share. This  is my second official sighting. I could be having My big year? Two photos of two different birds is certainly  more than I shot last year.


It's a Bird. It's a I-haven't-got-a-clue bird in  Midwestern, North America

19 comments:

  1. The sketch of your grandson is wonderful; captures the essence of the movement, energy.

    "Haven't got a clue bird" is a fine name.

    We have a "Mel Blanc" bird that I'm pretty sure is a mockingbird.

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  2. The more I draw him, the more relaxed I get for going into a painting, which I really don't think I'll finish until after the workshop I signed up for in mid August. I'll prep the canvas with acrylics and rough him in in oils and leave it at that. I could really use some oil medium instruction, as well as anything else she has to offer about gestural portraiture.

    I'm sitting in my seasoned painting coat of many colors waiting for the salmon to defrost. Dinner is such a memento interruptus! I was about to gesso over the canvas I was painting rain on to use it for JD. When I noticed it wasn't too bad--actually scrapping it down the way I did to get rid of all the picayune brushstrokes was a huge improvement. I think I'll order a new canvas for JD. It's good to turn a canvas to the wall for a month and then take a second look before scrapping it.

    As for birds, my enthusiasm will pass. I don't drag my paints outdoors to paint plein air why would I go chasing birds all over the woods? If they happen to fly by, okay. I'll take a shot and buy a reference book. It was just a whim. "Bird" is good for now;-))

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  3. I like the abstract feeling of your watercolor painting, and I would probably treat watercolor like acrylics too. =)

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    1. I think my years with acrylics have spoiled me with watercolors. I keep trying, but mostly with disappointing results. The colors aren't vivid enough,blending is tricky and subtraction just doesn't work well. Plus the proper size is too small and larger sheets, don't seem appropriate. I do like 20 x 20 canvases plus and being able to mix large quantities of fluid paint in containers ready for use. I'll probably go back to it. Eventually, after my portraiture phase passes IF it passes. I am good with a pencil.
      I saw your painting at the Painting A Day site; you're in good company.

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  4. You're almost back on track. I knew your brain wouldn't let you mope around :0) ... not that you have: your moping is other peoples active.

    Your flower picture reminds me of the tulip fields in Holland ... I'm sure Judy will agree with me, when she checks you out.

    Nice to see you returning to JD - the pose looks exactly right. You might as well accept that your never going to be happy until its done.... and you might not be then.

    I hang bird feeders up - I feed 'em seed, peanuts, coconut, fat balls etc..A few years ago, people were beginning to complain about the increasing volume of the 'dawn chorus' I told them to ******* ****.

    OK I know not all our birds are the same as yours, but, that looks like a song-thrush to me. Use 'Cris, Artist in Oregon' (she's on my sidebar) - she's the expert on birds. By the way we call serious bird-watchers, 'Twitchers'... don't know why.

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    1. Almost back is right. Not quite. The Netherlands, albeit Holland, is where that garden is. it's another gorgeous photo I borrowed from my Tauck European River Cruise magazine. Actually, I told Ellis he could throw the book down on the floor and I'd take the trip on whatever page that opened. They all look wonderful. They all look energetic and my knee is not--but it is still the knee I came into the world with. I intend to keep it that way.
      I used to have feeders. Ellis made me take them down, bird droppings were all over the place. It was unsightly. So, I did.
      I think with JD, I have to give up on going for a likeness. Then I have a chance of being happy with the results. It is a very ambitious project for where I'm at with portraiture.

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  5. Dear Linda, for me the watercolors are pigments that are diluted with water!
    Everything else that is' if they have to be made ​​light, transparent ,thin ,quickly ... without drawing as a kind of obsession for many in Italy ... I do not agree! The watercolor is mine and what I do I want!
    Like this statement for a world watercolor freed from prejudices?!?
    Your watercolor has character, it seems ,as suggested by John ,Keukenhof!
    The boy is coming up right!
    Having terraces and not a garden,if the birds fly away ... is cleaner!
    No poetry but true!
    A smile, from a distance ,for YOU!

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    1. Thanks Rita. I've gave up my birding this afternoon as I hosed off our deck. Messy creatures!
      I don't draw with watercolor. Wet into wet is how I like it. This one was a bit different. After it was dry I went back in. It was probably too big a picture for a proper watercolor--or for me?
      Slowly, JD is taking shape, but I will probably be drawing him very carefully on the canvas. My viewpoint is a difficult one that's been causing me a lot of trouble. I still want to pursue it though. A smile back at you in lovely Italy.

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  6. OK, those few sentences about the fly has me in stitches:-) JD has a great posture and movement. I'm still in awe (and intimidated) by your charcoals. I tend to smear it all into a worthless mess!
    So, master of many mediums, I need your expert eye and valuable input on a commission that I am working on... I am stuck... if you would be so kind to give my your honest opinion, I will be honored. May I e-mail you?

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    1. Absolutely. I'd be delighted.
      Thank you for your kind words on the charcoal drawing. This pose is one of the hardest I've attempted. I've got his body, but his head still isn't right. Tomorrow is another day. I'm very frustrated, but determined. It is a lucky thing this is not a commissioned work. It is an unlucky thing that I'm his nana and therefore my own client. A likeness is important.

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  7. Watching the slideshow and I could see your (grand-children's) portraits..
    I can tell, that you painted with love, coming from your heart!!!!!
    Thank you for stopping by. You gave me joy!!!!!!

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    1. Thanks for reciprocating M. I liked your blog a lot.Beautiful photography of places I would love to experience. Your layout was very attractive too. I'll be sending a link to my daughter in-love. She's from Greece, the middle of the country, I'm not sure where. The town has a long name that starts with a T; I imagine there's a few of those. I'd love to go and meet her parents, but every time I bring it up, she tells me they don't speak English. Well I don't speak Greek, but I am willing to sign and due to being the foreigner would probably pick up a few words. Maybe someday...

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  8. I like everything I see! Makes me want to keep more active in the studio. Your blog organization is nice, too.

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    1. You noticed. Thank you. I just started playing around with sizes and text colors this morning. While I like having the thumbnails of followers, I wanted more space so I could enlarge some pieces. The way it was the two columns overlapped--not attractive. Artwise, I'm in a bit of a slump. I suspect it's over a few failures on getting my grandson's head on the paper tilted as it is in the reference photo. I'm thinking a grid and pencil cartoon is going to be how to do this one.

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  9. I find the presence of birds so relaxing.
    A bit off topic, but "Birdy" used to be one of my favorite books when I was really, really, really young.

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    1. Good for the novice is it? :-)) Information has just come in. A friend from HS directed me towards starling or grack something-or-other. I look it up. She gave me a source. Not that I'm that into this. I'm into it sitting on my deck on the edge of the nature preserve watching lots of pretty colored fine feathered friends pass by. It's just recently I thought I'd try tophotograph them. But the little suckers are quick!

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  10. Hi Linda. Your bird looks like some type of thrush, I think. While you're photographing birds, I was taking pics of slugs at my front door last night; there was some heavy exchange of genetic material going on. :) As for JD, I think you have his posture down perfectly!

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    1. But that's about all I have down. His head is a total mystery! So you have f&@#ing sludges invading your space. That's hilarious. Here, we keep the porch light on all night to scare away the chipmunks who like to take safe harbor on our threshold and poop a lot. Who knows what they are doing while we sleep?
      The bird is a Starling says my friend Allison, but I'll look up Thrushes. Allison lives in town. You live where you might have seen a few birds. Consider the source.

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    2. Starlings are black[male] or brown[female] I was fascinated by the slugs. :)

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