Friday, March 18, 2016

A Brush Painting, a Field Sketch, a Watercolor from a Photo

American Robin in Silver Maple. Chinese Brush Painting by Ken Januski.

In my lengthy digression into Chinese brush painting all of my previous examples have been on paper made for sketching. But I did break down and buy some practice quality rice paper for brush painting a month or more ago. Because it came in a roll I had to cut pieces to size and then flatten them. I started that process at least a month ago soon after I got the paper.

But I've been dawdling on them just as I've been dawdling/procrastinating with a return to prints. Today I again spent time looking through my sketches trying to figure out what might make a good print. Then an American Robin landed right outside my studio window on the flowering Silver Maple.

Mourning Dove and American Robin in Silver Maple. Sumi Brush Pen Field Sketches by Ken Januski.

I did the quick brush pen sketch above of it, right next to an earlier field sketch of a Mourning Dove in the same tree. Once I'd done it, in less than a minute, I decided it was time to try that flattening rice a paper. The result is at top. It is a very quick spontaneous process, at least for me. And it's foolish for me to even be trying it since I don't at all intend to devote myself to Chinese brush painting. But still I'd like to pursue it a bit more and I'll continue to do so. Who knows where it will lead.

Swamp Sparrow in Papermill Run. Watercolor by Ken Januski.

First of year birds are starting to make their appearance, this week both Eastern Phoebes and Swamp Sparrows. I didn't do any field sketches of the 1-2 Swamp Sparrows at Morris Arboretum this week nor did I get any decent photos. So the watercolor above is based on some photos I took at Morris a number of years ago. After I'd finished this I realized that I did another watercolor based on the same photo a couple of years ago. I must like the pose. I certainly think it is a handsome bird.

I've shown some very different styles today. I much prefer the former. But every once in a while, when I'm struck by the beauty of a bird, I like to try to get it down in a more 'realistic' manner. Though as you can see it will never fool anybody into thinking it's a photo. That type of likeness just scares me.

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