Sunday, August 15, 2010

Finding the Correct Tool

The drawing above is based on a photo I took at Thompson's Beach in southern New Jersey last May. I really liked the photo, both the birds and the color of the water. The blue of the water really set off the black and white of the Black-bellied Plovers. But the one or two watercolor sketches I did of it previously only hinted at what I saw.

Since I've decided to work in pastel and charcoal for a bit I was looking for subject matter. When I saw this photo I just had to try another version.

I'm not sure if it's the fact that I'm now in abstract mode or just that the way I use pastel I never have to worry about details, probably the latter. In any case I soon found that this was just the medium to get across what I saw that day, both the beauty of the plovers, in shape, pose and color, and the striking beauty of the water, two different shades of blue. This was rounded off with the rusty color of the Short-billed Dowitchers.

I'm not sure if this is done. Sometimes I just like to post them so I can get another perspective on them. Most likely it is done. I'd like to keep it fresh. Either way at least to me it shows that sometimes you just have to stumble upon the right tool for the job. The scene seemed to lend itself to the broader and bolder method of treatment that both pastel and abstraction allow.

And yet realism is in here. I never would have felt free to do these generalized dowitchers and plovers if I hadn't done many more realistic paintings and drawings of both.


Pam Johnson Brickell said...

Great colors and love the playful design. Makes my eyes enjoy the dance.

Ken Januski said...

Thanks Pam. I keep trying to do a version of this view that I'm happy with. This comes close.