I've become enamored at the idea of doing a series of "eyes", specifically my daughter's. This is from a photo taken during a camping trip. Yes, her cat does come camping with us. This cat, Rozie, is practically another limb! :)
My intention was to try to paint this very loose in imitation of artist Stephie Butler's style. Obviously, the finished painting didn't quite stay "loose" but I wanted to complete it anyway because, well, practice makes for a better artist.
I started this painting of a bearded iris several years ago and left it unfinished in my closet. I decided to pull it out the other day and finish it. I had the flower done but it was just floating there on the center of the white paper. I put in the stem rather quickly, no problem, but what to do about the background? Plain white seemed boring. I decided it needed to make a bold statement with lots of color. I drew and painted in a few surrounding leaves but it still needed more. In the end I decided to fill the foreground with leaves just as you would see in a garden but I wanted the background totally different. I decided it needed to be big and bold and DARK! I wet the back of the paper quite liberally and let is soak a bit and then laid the wet back onto my gator board letting it stick to the board. I then wet the white areas of the background with clean water and laid in the blues and purple found in the flower and the leaves. I wanted the background to really contrast with the white portion of the flower. The reason I wet the front and back of the paper before laying in the color was because I new it was too much area to cover quickly because I had to work around the white shapes and the tips of the leaves. Pre-wetting it gave me more time to work because the paper held the moisture longer (tip I learned from my artist friend Pattie Foxhoven - thanks Pattie!).
This serious guy is called a Feruginous Hawk and is a predatory bird as you can tell by his beak. The hooded area over his eye helps to keep the sun out of his eyes and gives him that fierce look. This drawing was very challenging for me. Trying to get his head proportions correct and then trying to get the overall feeling of the pattern in his feathers. Colored pencil does not erase very easily at all and the work is slow, gradually building up layers until you get the look you want.
I am very satisfied with the outcome but I have not decided if this piece is finished or if I want to add some additional features like cutaways of his feet, wing feathers, etc.
In my initial drawing you can see that I have the head proportions a bit off. The back of the head and body are much to narrow. You can see how much better it looks after I corrected it in the final version below.
Taking a little break from dogs and cats, I have started working on birds. My first efforts were simple timed drawing and looking at the directional design of feathers.
Quick little sketches, I set the timer for 8 minutes and made a game of it!
Looking at different types of eyes and comparing the highlight and encaustic areas to that of a human eye. I'm also adding a bit of color for fun. In the drawing of this bird of prey and the picture below I'm realizing how a birds jaw hinges much farther back than it would seem, it actually hinges below the eye, even if the beak itself doesn't seem to go back that far (see below).
Angle of lower jaw where it connects with the beak and the location of the jaw hinge.
A couple more timed sketches, deciphering the "egg shape" of the body and playing around with the directional design of the highlights of feathers.
This cute little guy is an exercise in drawing white fur which is quite challenging. This was done on Bristol paper which has a very smooth surface and using a regular 2B graphite pencil. The easier and preferred method (for me) would have been to use white and black charcoal pencils on a toned background but, as I said, this was to be a challenge. To help separate the white fur of the pup from the white background I added a little tone with graphite and a little smudging with my fingers - kind of reminiscent of Kindergarten and actually fun. Because the graphite tends to smear easily if your hand brushes against the drawing I finished the drawing by "cleaning" it up with my trusty electric eraser. I love how you can restore the bright white of the paper.