Wednesday, September 22, 2010
This sora is strictly virtual though. I went to Morris Arboretum again yesterday but didn't find the sora. I did find two Solitary Sandpipers and one Kildeer though. When a Solitary approached within two or three feet of me I was shocked to see how small and delicate they are. Since I'd always seen them in scope or binoculars before I didn't have a good sense of scale. But these were so close that I saw them with my naked eye.
As a side note though, they didn't get anywhere as near to me as the mink, which almost walked across my shoes. I'm not positive that it was a mink and in fact had never even seen one before the animal we saw last week in West Virginia that seemed to be a mink. With this one I had edged close to the shore, but was still hidden by reeds and trees, so that I could sketch the shorebirds. I think I must have hidden myself so well that the mink didn't even know I was there as he scooted by at water's edge.
Back to the Solitary. I did a number of field sketches, none too successful, trying to capture their delicate shape. Also did two kildeer sketches, of varying quality, as well as a Great Blue Heron in an attractively awkward stance and one Northern Flicker.
As I've said many times I really do love improvisation in art. I've been able to use it in pastel but never with watercolor. Watercolor is just so unforgiving that I've always been afraid to try it. Today I finally decided to give it a chance. I also chose larger paper than usual, 12x16 inches. I thought this large size might force me to be a bit looser, and not fiddle too much.
For the composition I used two different photos of Solitary Sandpipers and combined them with the sora, based on my last watercolor. Oddly enough when I sketched the Sora, there actually were a Solitary Sandpiper and a Lesser Yellowlegs right in front of it. But I wasn't interested in them then so I didn't sketch them. In any case this watercolor is an improvisation in composition as well as technique. But it still has its basis in reality.
I don't know if it's done. Since it's my first time with something like this it seemed good to leave it rest at this stage.