I couldn’t let December fly by without resurrecting Draw a Bird Day once again. I want to thank Kathy at Backyard Bird Nerd for a photo that just kept calling my name, and Ann at AnnChristina.com for a wonderful, emotive painting that just made me want to really try and capture a beautiful little wren!
Wrens are such exuberant, lively singers, and they are so chippy and happy too. I fell in love with Ann’s recent wren painting, and wanted to try my own rendition with the same photo. Ann gave me a great tip when I asked about her painting. She sometimes uses colored pencil for the underdrawing, or to add depth to her work. I really loved that idea, so I decided to try using watercolor pencil for the initial sketch. Once I sketched in the wren, including the markings, and liquified the pigment, I let it dry before going back in with my Cotman travel watercolor palette. Considering it was done with student-grade paint in my little mixed media art journal on my lap in front of the TV (vs. using good Arches paper meant especially for watercolor and sitting at a proper table with my full M. Graham palette), I was pretty happy with it. I have drawn many of Kathy’s lovely wren photos since, and I’ve even made some progress rendering bird feet since this painting was finished (which was kind of like my impossible dream, lol)! I’m making the journey, people. 😀
I also wanted to share a few paragraphs from a book about drawing birds that I’ve mentioned before, “The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds” by John Muir Laws. I have tremendous respect for this man, both as an artist and a teacher. If you love birds as I do, and you’ve ever wanted to draw or paint them, let me assure you that you CAN do it. It does take practice. Just as you wouldn’t expect to sit down at the piano for the first time and play a symphony, you can’t expect to sit down and draw perfectly the first time either. Drawing is such an amazing practice, much like meditation. You will get back what you put into it, and I can tell you I’ve found rewards beyond anything I could have imagined when I started just over a year ago.
All my life I told myself I can’t draw because I don’t have “the gift”. Well, often we believe what we tell ourselves, and in this case, I wasted over 45 years believing that! I don’t want you to fall into the same trap. Mr. Laws says it much better than I could here on page two of his wonderful book (please click the photo to enlarge):
I found this book at my local library, but if you have any interest in birds/making bird art, this may be one to purchase (or add to your Christmas list). You may also want to check out the author’s blog and YouTube videos. I promise you will be informed and entertained! He is due to release a new book next month called “The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling”. Based on my experience with this author, it’s sure to exceed my expectations.
I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season. Hub and I set up his homemade nativity scene in the front yard over the weekend, and I’m looking forward to doing a post on it soon. Until then, peace and joy to all!