Meet Little Joe, he’s a bluetit that comes regularly to my garden and the feeders. Like most bluetits he’s always moving, darting in and out, never still. When he’s on one feeder he’s always looking to the next one, full of life and energy.Continue reading
Sunrise at dawn.
Wading into each others lives.
Togetherness and warmth
(Jack Thompson 2015)
Meet Denis, he’s an egret. I mistook him for a stork initially but I am better informed now. Many thanks to Diane Pickering for the kind use of her reference photo.
What I loved about this image was the soft glow of the morning sun hitting the twigs around Denis’ feet and illuminating his bottom feathers, making them glow a lovely warm yellow.
Quite a large piece I had initial decisions to make, do I keep it large and include the habitat or exclude the habitat and focus on the bird itself. I decided to keep it large – he’s a large bird afterall and have a go at working with the habitat.
It became apparent that I would need to find a method to work with the habitat, I am not used to working on landscapes, my mind was overtaken with all the detail in those twists of twigs and stick.
After experimenting with several different methods I settled on darkening the whole image and placing the dark shadows in first, then lightening it gradually, reinforcing the dark areas and lifting out the lighter areas. This is how I work my portraits and fortunately it worked. The trick is to keep a really light hand with the charcoal so you can blend it in or lift it out. Here’s a quick video of me drawing it……
and another little video where I am describing the process …
Once I’d cracked the habitat I was able to work calmly on the bird itself. Being a white bird it was necessary to keep a very light hand and concentrate on the lighter end of the grayscale.
Here is a little slideshow of all the bits of my progress shots…
I hope you have enjoyed the progress shots of the making of ‘Morning Glow’, Denis has been framed in a dark wooden frame and is ready to hang.
Denis can be purchased from my online shop, click here or on the image above.
This is Maxwell.
I named him after a character in a historical novel I was listening to whilst drawing him.
He’s been a saved photograph for quite a while, and in fact I have tried to draw him a few times. Due to the fluffy nature of his coat it would only work with certain mediums. Also, interestingly, I always have a problem with brown. Lots of birds and animals have quite a lot of tan colour in their feathers and coats, for some reason that colour or tone always seem to be absent from my sets of pastels.
In the end I had to mix it myself. It’s the first time I’ve used watercolour with charcoal but they work quite well as long as the charcoal drawing has been fixed before you start applying the paint.
Here are a few progress shots….
Maxwell, as with Betty was painted in charcoal initially. It gives the bird a good flowing undercoat before working in my detail with the sticks of charcoal. Probably a bit more controlled than with Betty. Once the charcoal is dry its very easy to manipulate it, move it around, lift it off etc.
He always seems to be quite chirpy to me, singing away merrily…
The finished piece is available in my website shop – click here to go there!
Or click on the framed piece below…
He’s a little junco bird, a very fluffy one.
Charcoal is a great medium for capturing movement.
Birds are never still, they are constantly moving or about to. When drawing or painting birds I like to ensure I’ve captured that flitting sense that a bird has.
Here are some progress shots as I build up the charcoal…
I make sure the bird is completely drawn in charcoal first, adding the colour just at the end.
Sebastian is available to buy from my website shop here
Or click on the image below to visit him….
Meet Alice, she is a frequent visitor to my bird table. Happily she loves to pose for photographs and I now have plenty for many future drawings.
I have drawn her in charcoal – here is a progress drawing so you can see her in charcoal…
I always like to keep the colour to a minimum but it is tricky when a bird has so many lovely colours. My strength is charcoal so with a solid under drawing in charcoal always helps….
Alice is available to buy from my online shop. Click here
I am getting quite proficient with my camera now and despite walking and taking my camera with me, the best shots are always from the birds in my own garden.
This little fella comes to visit with his gang most days. The feeding from the bird table and the feeders has increased greatly since the weather has got colder. I recognise Billy from the slightly tufty hair on his head, he’s quite bold for a bluetit.
I made a little video of laying down the pastel on his head with a few conte sticks. I love adding a shock of colour to my charcoal drawings but always try to keep it to a minimum
Billy is available to buy from my website shop.
Click here to follow the link