Saturday, March 6, 2010
I haven't had any time to do any artwork over the last week. But I did have an interesting week reading the first two books published on artist Robert Bateman. I've never looked at him closely, but what I have seen I haven't liked much. I know that this is probably considered sacrilege in wildlife art circles.
But I have to say that I'm glad I read the two books. I have a new appreciation for him. That appreciation had begun with an essay by him on the Wildlife Art Journal (the site is a pay site but some samples are available for free). The essay is called, as I recall, something like 'Why I Am a 21st-century Conservative.' I found myself thoroughly in agreement with him in terms of how neo-conservatives have absolutely corrupted the notion of 'conservation', natural, social and cultural. I was so impressed by it that I wanted to give him another look.
It has been a pleasure. For one thing the reproductions are richer than those I'd seen elsewhere. In particular the color is much richer. And the design stands out more. Also Bateman talks about how he's not happy when people praise his skill in portraying detail. That's not really all that important to him. This was a surprise because if I'd had to sum up his work previous to reading these books I would have said: too much detail, rendered in too-muted colors. So it was a pleasant surprise to see that though he does care about detail that is only part of his motivation.
I don't want to go on anymore about him here. Perhaps in another post. In any case seeing how important design was to him reminded me of my Great-crested Flycatcher still on the back burner, waiting for a more developed rendering than my last quick watercolor.
I've had these photos for a couple of years and just couldn't figure out how to do a painting or drawing based on them. Today I did a few more design experiments in color and then finally went with something fairly similar to what I used a couple of weeks ago. It is amazing to me how much time I spent on trying to figure out a design that I liked. This was the only one that showed promise.
There is definitely more work to do here. But it's off to a solid start. I suppose I could still ruin it. But since I haven't posted anything in awhile I wanted to post it, half-done though it is.