Thursday, April 21, 2011

Time to Paint a Warbler

With all the time I've spent out fieldsketching and hunting warblers and other migrants over the last two or three weeks I've had a sublimated desire to paint a warbler or two. But they're only here once a year, or twice actually if you include fall migration, and it makes most sense to get out and see them in real life. I've been doing a lot of sketches of Yellow-rumped warblers, you know the ones that you can ID just by their quick, flitty movements, only slightly less speedy and flitty than a kinglet. And I continue to learn as I do so.

But they are also beautiful birds. Wouldn't it be nice to get one down in paint? Well I was out fieldsketching again today. I saw my first Louisiana Waterthrush and Yellow Warbler of the season. Yesterday I saw my first Solitary Sandpiper, Fish Crow, Green Heron, Great-crested Flycatcher and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. And, more Yellow-rumps. I took a few photos of them as well as doing sketches.

The quick watercolor at top is based on one of the photos. But it's also based on all the fieldsketching. The beauty of fieldsketching is that it forces you to see how a bird is put together. Then when you see a photo, which is always an abbreviation or distortion of the real thing, you're better prepared to use its information to paint something that's true to the bird. So as I said this is based on a photo. But more than that it's based on all the time I've spent looking at and sketching Yellow-rumps over the last week or two.

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