Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Chickadee

No sooner did I see my photos of this Carolina chickadee in the snow than I began to think about painting it. Since I haven't painted snow in a while, I decided to try it first in my sketch book. Sketching is fun because its relaxed. Generally used for recording experiences, artist notes and sometimes the planning out of a painting, a sketchbook is a place for 'no pressure' practice and play. It's a doubly worthwhile experience to take photos as the sketch progresses. I'm discovering this as I remind myself to do it. You get to see what's happening twice, once while you are deep in your creative brain, wandering the uncharted territory of color, shape and perspective as it relates to a new subject. And a second time as you see the progression through images.








While viewing the image on the left above I could clearly see the pathways of dark and light and how they weren't leading my eye through the sketch. And since this sketch is a bit of a map for a future painting, I went back in and added the darks you see on the right and in the final sketch (top). Generally, I like to begin with the background when I start a painting, to see how the colors and light play out. Then I work with the painting focus to make sure these same colors are reflected in the subject.

This is a painting of neutrals with a splash of color, an arrangement I love. I used ultramarine blue, vandyke brown and sepia to make variations of gray and brown. I added quinacridone gold to the blue to create greens and Winsor Deep Red for the berries.
In the end the sketch was wonderful practice. I noticed and corrected details in the placement of the eye, the shape of the beak, the shape of the white feather pattern against the black cap. I also noticed snow. It's crusty and irregular. I lost my snow shapes easily. So, with my sketch to remind me, I'll draw the snow detail more carefully in the final painting.
Inauguration day. New hope and new energy for the world.

16 comments:

  1. Oh Vickie- That's so beautiful. I know we all have our own talents, but the ability to create a work of art like that is so far beyond my grasp. It's such a treat to see how you do it and follow it from start to finish.

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  2. Very lovely--and interesting to see the progress as you work!

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  3. You are soooo talented! She is beautiful!

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  4. I'm blown away! This is awesome! Your sketch is a masterpiece in my eyes.

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  5. Thank you for the free tutorial Vickie! I love your sketch progression and look forward to the painting. At least I hope we get to see it.

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  6. So glad you posted the WIP. I love seeing what is going on in the mind of an artist. It is awesome and you better do another on watercolor paper.

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  7. That is just awesome. What a wonderful talent you have. And thanks again for sharing it with others.

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  8. Your sketches are better than my finished product. I love the way you are able to capture the essence of the birds in your paintings. I not only "see" a chickadee, I can feel it!

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  9. So beautiful.. your Inauguration Day has been a really birdy one :)

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  10. Good celebration with beautiful a bird.
    I can't do this. Your are a very good artist.

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  11. Wow! I really wish you were near to learn from you! You are a good teacher.

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  12. This chickadee is even cuter than the one I posted today. Lovely in all ways. You have a wonderful gift and talent.

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  13. I can only "paint" digitally, but I love it, and it provides an opportunity for people like me with not an iota of talent, to express what I see.

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  14. That is bee u t full.....I just love your art!
    thanks for sharing it with us.

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  15. Hi Vickie - Thanks for visiting my blog. I think I've been here before. This post is so inspiring! I so wish I could paint and I have actually started collecting paints and paper and books to that end. Before I started blogging...I bought a sketchbook and made a deal with myself to do one sketch every day for a month. It was so much FUN! I've taken so many photographs that I would truly love to paint. Where do I begin?
    I love your chickadee in the snow watercolor - lovely! When I see what you and Toni from 'A Spattering' do - I DREAM!

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  16. Thank you for the watercolor lesson, Vickie! Loved your Chickadee sketches!

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For the Love of It...

...the sage sees heaven reflected in Nature as in a mirror, and he pursues this Art, not for the sake of gold or silver, but for the love of the knowledge which it reveals.
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Your Uncapped Creativity...

Your Uncapped Creativity...
"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action; and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. You must keep that channel open. It is not for you to determine how good it is, nor how valuable. Nor how it compares with other expressions. It is for you to keep it yours, clearly and directly." ----the great dancer, Martha Graham