Sunday, October 23, 2016

More Sora and Rail

Sora, Virginia Rail and Mallard. Sumi brush painting by Ken Januski.

Sometimes I seem to want to go fairly deeply ( I will not say 'deep dive' thank you very much) into a subject. That's been the case with sora and rails recently. I can't explain it other than the desire to get familiar enough with them that I think I can eventually do a fairly spontaneous work with them as subject. Today's newest foray is seen above, a sumi brush pen and ink painting of a Sora, Virginia Rail and Mallard, all seen a few weeks ago at 'The Meadows' of Cape May, NJ.

Every time I return to sumi brush painting I'm reminded of how extremely little I know about it, how low my skill level is, but also how much I love the rich tonalities and vigorous brushwork that it can allow. I'm using an extremely old sumi ink, one bought back in San Francisco when I was a student and my guess is that the lack of true black in this painting is at least partially due to the quality of the ink. Once of these days I need to buy a better ink stick.

Sora at Heinz NWR. Watercolor by Ken Januski.

I've also been experimenting with more detailed works and you can see them above and below. They are both based on photos of Sora at Heinz NWR that I took last year. Both are in watercolor.

Sora at Heinz NWR, version 2. Watercolor by Ken Januski.

Sora at Heinz NWR. Watercolor sketch by Ken Januski.
Before I started the watercolors I did a quick watercolor sketch, seen above, and a couple more ballpoint pen studies. But there are only so many ballpoint pen studies I can do. At some point they just get too frustrating to me and I need to move to a looser medium.

Sora at Heinz NWR. Ballpoint pen sketch by Ken Januski.

And speaking of loose media, the sumi brush or sumi brush pen may be among the loosest. The synthetic brush pen, used below, seems to me to be mainly a linear medium. You can't use it like a sumi brush and ink to get both line AND tone. But that also means that mistakes, generally impossible to correct, jump out at you and the viewer. But the feeling of spontaneity that it allows is well worth the risk involved.

Sora at Heinz NWR. Sumi brush pen sketch by Ken Januski.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Back in the SWLA Again

Ruby-throated Hummingbird and Turkey Vulture. Two-block Reduction Woodcut by Ken Januski.

I'm quite happy to be able to once again entitle a post with the words 'back in the SWLA.' For those of you who don't know it refers to the annual exhibition of The Society of Wildlife Artists at The Mall Galleries in London, Great Britain.

Anyone who follows this blog knows that I have a real love/hate relationship with wildlife art. The love part of it can be seen very reliably in the work of the SWLA and in their annual exhibit.

I've never seen it in person and once again this year, mainly due to lack of proper planning on my part, will miss it. And each time I see an online gallery of some of the work I realize what a great opportunity I'm missing.

But for anyone else you can, if you're not near London, take a look at The Natural Eye - 2016. Each year it again gives me hope for wildlife art! My print is for sale on page 5 of the online gallery.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Another View of a Sora

Sora at 'The Meadows' in Cape May. Ballpoint Pen Drawing by Ken Januski.

It's been quite a few years since I've done a more developed ballpoint pen drawing. I'm not sure why I chose this medium other than the fact that it seemed like it might be a good method for showing the lights and darks that often surround Soras as they move in and out of deep vegetation at the water's edge.

This could probably stand some darker darks but I think I've gotten it about as dark as I can with this ballpoint pen.

I always enjoy seeing Soras and other rails. My guess is that the Soras and/or Virginia Rail that we recently saw in Cape May will end up in either a watercolor or a print. Sometimes I just like to explore a number of media on the way to doing a more finished work.