Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sketching a Limpkin in Water

More time please!  A thousand images to paint and so little time.  I could go out in nature every day for the rest of my life and never get enough of it.  And then there's the time needed for painting.  I have enough inspiration right now to keep me busy for months.  
I began this sketch by applying liquid resist to save the reeds and edges of the bird while I added a wash of blue.      
The wash ended up lighter than I wanted, reminding me to make a bigger, juicier puddle of paint next time.  On the other hand, smooth water reflects light and light areas are part of what we see when we look out on water.  When the paint dried, I removed the resist.
Below, I added color to the face and bill. 
When I stepped back from the sketch, I didn't like the brown I had mixed, too dark.  So I dried the paint thoroughly and using a scrub brush, lightened the brown areas.  I then changed the paint mix to a lighter shade of brown, a slightly different mixture of Cobalt blue and Burnt Sienna, with a touch of Van Dyke Brown.
At this point, I shifted focus and spent sometime creating the shading around the larger body feathers.  I applied paint first, then softening the edges.  It's one of those details I enjoy.  It was while working on this less stressful area (meaning I've practiced it more), that I noticed the shadow.  I had completely lost the slender shadow of the head and neck.  Checking to be sure the paint was completely dry before starting, I scrubbed out the right side of the shadow (above).  
Above you see my two most used scrubbers.  The one on the left is about 3/8 in wide and soft, for light scrubbing in larger areas.  The one on the right is made of stiff bristles and works well for tight areas.  The word scrub is a misnomer, really, because the idea is not to scrub the paper, but to lift off the paint.  You want to preserve the paper's surface as much as possible while removing pigment.  The operative word is "lift".  Apply clean water with the scrubber, brush a few strokes with a lifting motion, then blot with tissue or paper towel.  The brush stroke loosens the paint; the blotting lifts it off the paper.    
I added detail to the reeds, corrected the body shadow shape (see top image), and added detail to the rest of the feathers.  To finish, I brightened white areas on the plumage by adding some white gouache.

9 x 12 watercolor on Arches 140# paper.

To see another sketch of this bird visit Sketching A Limpkin
For photo images of this bird and the story of its specialist lifestyle visit The Delightful Limpkin and Delightful Limpkin II at Vickie Henderson Art.

5 comments:

  1. I love reading about how these wonderful things come to life. And you totally made me have a Bob Ross flashback. "Van Dye Brown".
    :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. wow, this is so well done and so beautiful...

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  3. Wow, absolutely beautiful sketch Vickie! And thanks for sharing the process, always wonderful to pick up new ideas or techniques. The end result is stunning! And I agree with you, time to experience and do it all is at a premium!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for sharing your process so generously :) Love the result :)

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  5. Love your Sketchbook and your blog. Wonderful photos and paintings. What a talent!

    ReplyDelete

Welcome! I am glad to hear your comments, questions and feedback! Vickie

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