I got back my many bird photos from May trips to Illinois and Shenandoah National Park last week. Included in them were many photos of some very friendly Palm Warblers at Oakdale Nature Preserve in Freeport, IL. Part of their cooperativeness I'm sure is related to the fact that they spend much of their time close to the ground, rather than at the top of very tall oaks like many warblers.
The image above is a small colored pen and ink drawing with watercolor wash. It's based on one of the photos. Though this Palm Warbler was close enough that the photo shows a lot of detail, particularly of feathers, I opted not to include that much detail. The same is also true of the background foliage but I usually don't have much interest in foliage detail.
The warbler itself was another story. There was a temptation to include more detail, assuming that I could also do so successfully. But, at least for me, that would require a finickiness that I thought would kill the overall life of the painting. This is probably due to both my artistic history and actual physical habit. I probably couldn't control the watercolor brush well enough to show all the details in the feathers even if I wanted to. But my artistic background, which says that no one part of the painting is ever as important as the whole painting, probably had a much larger affect.
My insect drawings are far more detailed. But in a way they are more studies, whose secondary intent was art. In my bird art, it is art itself that always takes precedence, with the secondary intent being accurate detail. Perhaps as I continue to do bird art that will change. But I doubt it. More likely art will remain the primary intent, but on a more ambitious scale than many of the small sketches that I've shown here.
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