Sunday, December 21, 2008

Draw What You See, See What You Draw

Today I finally broke down and put up my spotting scope in our tiny kitchen. Once the tripod legs are spread out there's barely room for anyone, human, feline or possibly even avian, to move.

But sometimes you just need to see your subject better. In this case the Mourning Dove, Downy Woodpecker and Junco were viewed through the scope. The detail that you can see when viewing through a scope always has the potential to make a better drawing. Though I don't show it here, or only with the vaguest suggestion, I could really see the complex and beautiful pattern of the dove. Also the wind-created lines in its breast feathers. That knowledge may not show up in the drawing done the same day. But it does add to my storehouse of knowledge, not to mention my visual appreciation, of the birds I see.

It's a pain to peer in the scope then refocus on the drawing pad remembering what you've just seen. But contemporary artists are lucky that we even have scopes. We should probably just count our blessings and not complain.

I include a small waterbrush in the photo of one sketch. I'm still amazed at the possibilities that this cheap little instrument, especially when coupled with watercolor pencils, opens up. One more thing for contemporary artists to be thankful for. I do think that the colors could be brighter but I expect that will happen as I add more colors to my very small palette of watercolor pencils

This last photo is of an immature accipiter that's been in the yard recently. We've had a number of immature accipiters, as well as mature Cooper's and Sharpshinned Hawks this fall. I've not been able to do much in the way of sketching them live. But I do hope to do a more developed drawing or painting from photos soon.

You might call this a perfect setup: a scope to see detail, convenient drawing and painting utensils, and cooperative birds!

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