Sunday, August 12, 2012

Mid-August Field Sketches

It seems like there's always something getting in the way of my field sketching. A cool morning today convinced me to get out to Morris Arboretum to see if anything unusual was around. Sure enough the first bird I saw was a Great Egret. A few field sketches of the bird are above. The head is the only sketch viewed through a scope. Most of the time I was so close to the bird that I couldn't use the spotting scope to view him, unless I just wanted to look at a certain section.

In the field sketches above I did a number of other sketches of him, these done with my naked eye. Egrets and herons are often both a pleasure and a challenge to sketch. They are very elegant. But this one was constantly feeding. Just as I started to put down the bill and head he'd move and I'd not be able to get the sinuous curves of the neck, or I'd get that and miss the torso. That can be frustrating. But if you keep at it it becomes easier. Though these are all very small sketches I'm happy with them.
Other birds seen and sketched include Cedar Waxwings, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Belted Kingfisher just before being attacked by a second one and an immature Red-tailed Hawk. I continue to get a great thrill from field sketches, both my own and those of others.
What differentiates me from many bird artists I think is that I rarely want to take this hard won knowledge of birds and make a more finished painting based on it. I value the knowledge but more to do something spontaneous, not to do something more finished. I've never had much appreciation for high-finish art. And I don't think that will ever change. To me it seems to kill off, or at least lessen, all the sense of life that field sketches often so wondrously capture.
By the way my new web site is moving along. Hot and humid weather this week convinced me to stay in and continue work on it. I'm slowly adding a collection of thumbnail photos of a lot of work. Eventually much of my work will all be visible here.

No comments: