Wednesday, September 9, 2015

End of a Sketchbook, Continuing Sumi Brush Pen and Watercolor

Turkey Vulture and Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Sumi Brush Pen Field Sketch by Ken Januski.

I'd guess it was a year or so ago that I vowed to try to do more field sketches during the coming year. I do 90% of them in a Moleskine sketchbook, mainly because that is the one sketchbook that fits comfortably in  my back pants pocket. Over the last 5 plus years it has taken me about 14 months on average to fill one up, even though there are only about 100 small pages, counting each side of the paper as a separate page. But the last one took much longer. Thus my post about trying to do better this year.

BUT guess what? Above are the last two pages of the sketchbook. On the left a Turkey Vulture with Ruby-throated Hummingbird below, an actual scene at the Manayunk Canal last week. On the right a Ruby-throated Hummingbird at our trumpet honeysuckle in the backyard, done from memory.

And it's almost 14 months since I started the sketchbook. I think if I hadn't switched to the sumi brush pen for most of my sketches it would have taken at least another month to finish. I do intend to continue with the brush pen though so maybe the next sketchbook will fill up more quickly. I guess another possible solution is to make sure that I don't take a camera with me!

Turkey Vulture and Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Sumi Brush Pen and Watercolor Painting by Ken Januski.

Though the sketchbook pages at top are different scenes I liked the way that they fit together. So I tried a new 12x16 sumi brush pen and watercolor painting based on them, though it's not all that likely that the trumpet honeysuckle would be growing in this environment. I also changed the hummingbird to one based on a photo I took a few years ago. I was reluctant to use it because though it showed many aspects of the hummingbird that I wanted to show it also had an odd perspective on the foreground wing. On the other hand it showed the fingers of the wing pivoting in a different direction that the rest of the wing, something that happens, though too fast to see, in most birds. So though I knew it might be very hard to read correctly I decided to try it anyway. I'm not quite sure it worked but nothing ventured nothing gained.

I'm not thrilled with this painting but I do like the combination of subjects. As I've written in the past, and a propos the recent John Busby quote, I often find that my best prints are ones based on unlikely scenes such as this, often rendered initially in a rather crude way. But the important part is not the detail, it is the entire scene.

Photographic detail is rarely enough of an emotional stimulus to prompt a painting or print for me. To me it's sort of like watching TV and hoping to be inspired. A portrayal of an actual scene, though, even if crudely done, often has enough emotional resonance for inspiration. At least in my book(ALIMB).

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