Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pastel and Charcoal Piping Plovers Continued

These benign looking Piping Plover have given me a surprising amount of trouble over the last week or two. First there was the disastrous watercolor of a week ago. Then over the last two days this combination pastel/charcoal.

The problem really has nothing to do with the plovers. It's the background that causes problems. I'm trying to keep both the brilliant light of the sand and the variations in tone: yellow/ochre and blue. It seems like I can't have both. If I accentuate the color contrast it no longer looks like brilliant whitish sand. Today I had the opposite problem. I erased the pastels enough that there was a more uniform light color. But then it looked dull!

In the last and probably final version above I've made the top part of the drawing a bit darker and richer in color. There was no such orange on the sand or in the photo. The last blue area of shade was not so dark and blue. But I felt that I really needed to differentiate this more distant area from the more sun-drenched area where the plovers stood. So I've taken some artistic license in what I hope is both a good drawing and a drawing that is more or less faithful to its subject.

I have to add that its very overcast today. After I work on the drawing for awhile I take it outside to spray on fixative. What a surprise! A brand new drawing when seen in the brighter light of outdoors. Mainly it's looked dull and monotonous. So that's one more reason that I added the darker, richer colors at top.

Piping Plovers are obviously very beautiful birds. This is the third version of a painting or drawing that I've done based on the photos I took of them in April at Cape May. I think it's time to change subjects for awhile. But I may still try one more watercolor in the future. I'd still like to get them and their surroundings in one brilliantly lit painting.

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