Friday, January 15, 2010

My Favorite Canada Warbler

When we first started visiting Shenandoah National Park more than 10 years ago we had a hard time finding many warblers. As with any place the more you visit the more you learn where the birds are.

I remember when we saw our first Canada Warbler, and even more our first Hooded Warbler since its song was so full, rich and only a few feet away. These two bright yellow warblers have always been among our favorites, especially at Shenandoah.

Over the years I've taken many photos of Canada Warblers. Once you get to know them you find that they're fairly gregarious, much more so than the Hoodeds we've seen.

And yet almost all of the photos have been somewhat cold, more indicative of the gray back of the Canada Warbler, than the warm yellow of it's underside and face. But there is one photo that just glows. I took it last year and was surprised when I found that it actually turned out and that I actually had gotten the bird.

I've held off on using it because I liked it so much I feared my artwork would never match both the photo and my memory of the day. Today was the day to give it a try though. I've been sneaking up on this for a bit. The detailed Canada Warbler drawing, the quick watercolors of a day or two ago. All inspired me with the confidence to give it a try.

This watercolor is also on the lower quality paper that I use for my quick sketches. It's not real watercolor paper. That will be for another day. I'm not sure if this is done. It's sort of foolish to try to work this paper more than 30 minutes and I've already spent about 90 minutes. But I'm not completely happy with how the warbler exists in his environment. I think I'd like a few more details in the background.


This morning, Saturday, I did make a few tweaks to the painting. The finished version is at top. I think that it is slightly improved. Below is yesterday's version.


Gabrielle said...

I think that's really a lovely painting, Ken. The bird definitely stands out more in the tweaked version. I look forward to when you decide to have a go at it on real watercolor paper.

Ken Januski said...

Thanks so much, Gabrielle! I seem to be building up a number of paintings that now need to be done on good paper. But I think this one probably should be the first. Wish me luck!

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