A quick lunchtime plein aire of bright new leaves. Yes, that’s new leaves – no idea what kind of tree this is, but it makes new leaves and flowers in the fall. Whatever it is, it reminds me of an avocado tree, and the top of it is an easy target from my favorite space in the parking structure. Add some sunshine to backlight them, and I could not resist!
That rich color behind it is Daniel Smith’s Piemontite. Leaves are a combo of PY154 yellow and Green Apatite with a dash of Piemontite to pick up the “new leaf” redness visible on the brand-new foliage. It was first outlined with the Kuretake #40 ink brush, so I’m counting it in for Inktober.
This rather silly-looking songbird came with an extra challenge. I met a friend for an impromptu lunchtime drawing session. We both wanted to paint the same reference, so I placed it upside down for me (right-side-up for her). Call me a show-off, but it solved the problem and we had a lovely time drawing and chatting. Thing is, I was working an upside-down bird upside down, Betty Edwards style. Read more
Here’s a bird I’d never heard of before: an Azure Kingfisher. They have the best birds in Australia! Clearly my life is not going to be complete until I’ve been there. If all I did was spend a day out seeing wildlife it would be a plane ride well spent.
Kingfishers have giant beaks as a rule, so this is actually fairly proportionate to the source photo. The color was just crying out for a strong dose of PB29 Ultramarine (in gouache) and some Burnt Sienna did a nice job on the bird’s warm breast. What I am not happy with is the eye – it’s not a bad eye on its own and would be fine on a songbird. This is an Azure Kingfisher though, and they have enormous beady eyes. A disappointing lesson in minding proportions! Letting it go for today, though with gritted teeth.
About 3″ x 4″ on the Strathmore paper, with the Kuretake #40 ink brush.
Not much to this sketch – it rained for the first time in months and I had to commemorate that somehow! These blades of grass had been intriguing me for weeks anyway. They were choking out the ornamental grasses in my favorite sketching corner. All of that dancing and waving in the breeze was making me want to draw them anyway; a few sparkly waterdrops finally made them irresistible. Approx 6.5″ x 4.5″ on Strathmore Windpower 140lb CP.
Garibaldi are the largest members of the Damselfish family, which surprised me. I’m only familiar with the smaller damselfish commonly found in people’s aquariums. Apparently Garibaldi are easy to find if you’re diving or exploring the sea with a glass-bottom boat. It’s hard to imagine something so colorful inhabiting our local waters!
This time I thought to scan the fish before painting it. It’s the largest drawing of Inktober 2016 so far and possibly the largest thing I have drawn all year. Someone offered me knitted socks in exchange for a Garibaldi painting – I figured if she was going to work that hard, I had better do the same! This fish takes up the entire 9″ x 12″ page from the Windpower pad. I put down the base drawing with the Kuretake #40 ink brush using several reference images. Now, on to the paint! Read more
Now here’s a bird that lends itself to drawing with an ink brush! Black-Necked Stilts have ridiculously long legs. They’re long when the bird is in water; on land, it looks like they have legs that were meant for different bird. Most of the time, they’re in enough water to look proportionate (for a wader, anyway.) Read more
Someone suggested drawing these gorgeous fish that can be found off the local shores. Found a reference image in my favorite fish pose, and that sealed the deal!
I drew him too close to the spiral to get both fins, so left the spiral in the image, just to make sense of the half-fin. He’s made of PO62 Benzi Orange and PO73 Pyrrole, with Cobalt for the shadows. The background is both of the Phthalo greens, PG7 and PG36. Not pigments I use often, but the right choice here. I’m particularly pleased with the cobalt. Up close, there’s some beautiful interplay and texture where it pushed aside the orange pigment particles and flowed into the shadow areas.
PO73+PO62 is fast becoming my favorite orange. Benzi Orange by itself often hasn’t got enough depth, it’s more like a school-bus yellow than a true orange. PO73 Pyrrole is strident, but turns salmon pink in tints. In combination, they pack a powerful punch as a middle orange that stays true in the faintest washes. They’re especially nice when mixed on the paper, as I used them here.
Walked over to a different corporate park to check out their landscaping for a change. This park has an enormous manmade pond, big enough to support giant koi and to attract a variety of wildlife. Today, across the sand volleyball court, I spotted a Snowy Egret in the middle of the lake.
There’s some lily pads and pond equipment out there. The bird was standing on a pipe or something that was just at the surface, making it look like the bird was standing on the water. Several ducks were doing the same on other pipes. I stole quietly across the volleyball court, hoping the reeds would hide my approach. Shouldn’t have worried! Read more
The crab left an odd gap on my page, so I found something that would fill it right up. The Toco Toucan gets the job done! He’s mostly ink, with some color obviously on the head, feet, and that incredible beak. (Funny thing about toucans. Their bills are large, but not very powerful. It can be hard for them to crunch up a grape!) This one has a wash of PO62 Benzi Orange on the eye spot and beak, with a further wash of PO73 Pyrrole Orange to deepen the color, and PB28 Cobalt Blue to give a little shadow. The feet are PB28/PO62 mixed on the paper. Finally, there’s a streak of PBr7 Burnt Umber on the branch.
Background is PV19 Rose Deep and PB16 Phthalo Turquoise. Those two are an odd combination and I hated it for a minute. The turquoise is far too green to normally make a good purple, and I should have known that. Fortunately it smoothed out into a decent-looking red-violet. Drawn with the Kuretake #40 brush.
Reference photo from Wikipedia.
This is a female Fiddler Crab. They’re not hard to find at aquarium stores, and I’ve had more than one as pets. Interesting creatures! The males have one very large claw that is waved about (to attract the females of course.) All of them are busy, curious, and entertaining as they prowl around their tank looking for food. Unfortunately, they’re usually sold as freshwater creatures. Read more