Sunday, November 17, 2013

Bird #8 Sharp-shinned Hawk or "Sharpie"

Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus) or "Sharpie"
17 November 2013, Permanent marker, 11" x 14"

I started sketching this piece shortly after I finished the last piece that was posted on this blog. It's been a long time coming... but that's one of the great things about creating art... you can always pick right back up wherever you left off.

I decided to make birds a focus area for my art when I rekindled my creative fire almost a year ago, and I really enjoy working with permanent marker. It didn't go unnoticed that the brand name for the world's most popular permanent markers and the nickname for one of North America's smallest raptors are one in the same. Let's just say... I couldn't help myself. Both the hawk and the marker are drawn life-sized.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Cornell Lab's new Birds of Paradise Project

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has a new Birds of Paradise website.

It is very cool... eye candy for the artist/naturalist.

The "Birds-of-Paradise Project" is the first to assemble still photographs and videos of all 39 species on one website. Tim Laman (the wildlife photographer I mentioned in one of my previous posts) is one of the major contributors of content. In addition to all of the great images, there is some very interesting information on the biology and behavior of the BOPs.

Since I've already finished pieces of the King BOP and the Twelve-wired BOP, I've only got 37 more to go!

I better get to work.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Bird #7 Black-necked Stilt

Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus)
19 January 2013, Acrylic on cardboard, 11" x 14"

This one doesn't require much explanation. I borrowed a few techniques from watercolor to create the background, but the bird is pretty standard acrylic paintbrush application.

It took quite a while to arrive at the look I was going for with the background. After trying a bunch of different stuff that didn't really work out... and struggling to get it right... I finally resorted to watercolor tactics.

Here are a few photos of the work in progress. It's quite an evolution.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Amphibian #1 American Toad

American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus) calling male
15 January 2013, Permanent marker, 11" x 13.75"

This is another piece based on a photograph previously posted on The Naturalist's Angle. It's one of my favorite frog calling photos that I've ever captured. I think the most interesting details of the photo are the ripples in the water generated by the vibration of the toad's body as he squeezed out his anuran serenade. I tried my best to accentuate the rippling water in my drawing and ended up creating a very stylized interpretation.

"Hey ladies, I've got the perfect puddle, lay your eggs here." 

Here are a few photos of the work in progress.

Basic pencil sketch

Outlined in ink, pencil erased, GO TIGERS!

Working on the details

As much as I love it, I think it's about time to put down the permanent marker and try a different medium for my next piece.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Fish #3 Green Sunfish

Green Sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus)
11 January 2013, Permanent marker, 11" x 13.75"

This was probably the most colorful Green Sunfish I had ever caught. They're typically pretty colorful fish, but I had never seen one with such intense red-orange fin margins. I suspect this was a male displaying breeding coloration. The fins were also proportionally larger than those of any other Green Sunfish I can recall. The fins in the drawing aren't quite as big proportionally as they were on the actual fish... I guess I subconsciously shrunk them down a bit when I sketched it out. I chose to illustrate this one in a style similar to the Longear Sunfish posted previously. The fish stands alone pretty well, so I decided it didn't need any sort of background. Here's my photograph of the fish originally posted on The Naturalist's Angle:

I decided to take a couple of photos of the process this time... since that seems to be something that art bloggers do. I'm still fairly new to being an art blogger, so you'll have to forgive me for not posting any photos of works in progress previously.

This is where I sat down to work on the drawing during my lunch break. It's nice to be able to work on art in the rain under a pavilion overlooking the lake at Oak Mountain State Park.

An ideal environment to work on nature inspired art

I had sketched in pencil at home the night before, so my goal for lunch was to define the outline with ink.

Basic sketch

Outlined in ink, pencil erased, Go Grizzlies!

It's a pretty big leap from that basic outline to the finished product, but I got so carried away with stippling that I forgot to take any more photos along the way. Maybe next time.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Bird #6 Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise

Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise (Seleucidis melanoleucus)
Mixed media (colored paper cutout & permanent marker), 06 January 2013, 11" x 13.75"

For an explanation of my choice of media and my perspective on Birds of Paradise, check out the previous post of my King Bird of Paradise executed in the same style... or you can squint to read the print in the screen capture below. This piece was created as a complementary companion to the King B.O.P. piece.

The fraternal twins side by side:

The Twelve-wired (33-35 cm) is about twice the size of the King (16-19 cm) in life- so I ended up illustrating them a bit larger, but the two species are still not depicted to scale.

Here my artwork is pictured with the Autumn 2012 issue of Living Bird magazine. The cover photo by Tim Laman served as a reference material for this piece. There are many more amazing photographs of the Birds of Paradise in the magazine and on Tim Laman's website.

No one had anything to say when I originally posted the King B.O.P. here on the blog. A few friends on Facebook made comments when I posted it there, but I guess you could call them art hippies.

Too weird for commentary

Perhaps it was just a little too unusual for anyone to comment, but hopefully a brave soul will share their thoughts about this style now.

Please don't be afraid... any and all comments welcome.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Bird #5 Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)
Permanent marker, 05 January 2013, 11" x 14"

Great Blue Herons are regular company at the places where we fly fish throughout North America, so I imagine my fly fisher friends can appreciate this one.

The colors are a bit surreal... but it's Sharpie markers. What do you expect?

I think that's why I'm drawn to permanent markers as a medium- they force you to be creative with a limited color palette.