Saturday, June 20, 2015

Green Jewels of June

Ruby-throated Hummingbird on Monarda. Sumi Brush Pen and Watercolor Sketch by Ken Januski.

Ebony Jewelwing on Leaf. Sumi Brush Pen and Watercolor Sketch by Ken Januski.

June brings two green jewels to Philadelphia each year, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, whose back always has some green on it, and the Ebony Jewelwing damselfly, where the male is a brilliant blue/green, though his wings are black(ebony) as could be.

As I've continued to experiment with the Kuretake Sumi Brush Pen, so much so in fact that the first ink cartridge is drying up, I've decided to try it with both of these green jewels as subject. Above both are done first with the brush pen. Then I added a bit of watercolor for color. Since the ink is water-soluble it runs a bit. Given my style that does no harm. But I am investigating how to use permanent ink in the pen.

Ebony Jewelwing and Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Sumi Brush Pen Field Sketch by Ken Januski.

I've always planned to use the pen primarily for field sketching. Finally today I did do with the 20-30 Ebony Jewelwings, the most I've ever seen at one time, at Morris Arboretum. This was a matter of looking through binoculars, trying to remember what I saw, then putting it down, at a very small scale in my sketchbook. Not great but at least recognizable. That's a good base to build from. When I got home I saw the first Ruby-throated Hummingbird in our yard for today. They or it has been here for 4 days straight, feeding primarily on trumpet honeysuckle. The sketch is done from memory later. At this time of year I rarely have drawing utensils with me when they appear so I stare until they leave, trying to memorize the bird and it's movements.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. Sumi Brush Pen Sketches by Ken Januski.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Sumi Brush Pen and Watercolor Sketch by Ken Januski.

Above are two more sumi brush pen sketches of hummingbirds from photos. In the bottom one I've added watercolor. It may seem hard to believe but one of my purposes in trying the pen was to find a way to sketch my subjects with lines of varying width. This works well in sumi and I'd also like to use the varying line width in my prints as so many have done before me. I haven't really done that much yet in my prints but I hope the sumi sketches will help in that transition.

Below is a woodcut of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird seen in our yard last year and a linocut of an Ebony Jewelwing and Louisiana Waterthrush from 2011. I'm sure more prints will eventually appear.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird on Yew Twig. Woodcut by Ken Januski.

Louisiana Waterthrush and Ebony Jewelwing.Linocut by Ken Januski.

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