Friday, August 6, 2010

The Curious Wood Stork

Below you see a Wood Stork I sketched nine years ago.  In fact, this was both the first time I attempted to record my travel experience in a sketchbook and my first sightings of Wood Storks.  I had to get out my field guide to be certain of the species.  I also didn't have my digital camera back then for reference images, so the sketch was created from my field guide and my memory, giving it a whimsical quality.  
Sketchbooks are tons of fun, both creating them and looking back on them.  They reflect the mood of the moment as much as the subject.  Below is another Wood Stork sketch created this year.  In this encounter, I had the fun surprise of seeing this bird standing close-up, near the road.  When you are observing from a car, birds and animals are often undisturbed and may stay around allowing amazing looks.
My impression of this endangered bird--a bird draped in chiffon-like plumage topped off with a head full of wrinkles and scales.  What a combination.  When I looked at my photo images later, all I could think about was the fun I would have sketching him!  And while I was sketching all those scales and wrinkles on his head, I wondered more and more what this characteristic was all about.
To create this sketch, I experimented with masking fluid to save the feathery edges of the plumage and used a disposable skewer to make the lines.  This avoids soaping a brush to prevent the bristles from sticking together and also solves some of the challenge of making fine lines.  But even with a sharp tipped skewer, the fineness of the line takes some practice.  After dipping the stick in the fluid, droplets form on the tip.  What worked for me was to place the drop of fluid in a large area and drag a finer line of liquid to the edge of the feather.
Since rubbery masking fluids deteriorate with exposure to air and lose their effectiveness over time, I've poured some into an old film canister, to lessen exposure to the original bottle, and labeled it with the type of mask and date.  Have you ever picked up a bottle of mask and wondered how old it is?  At least on this bottle, there was no date anywhere.  Masks are said to have an effective life of approximately one year after they're opened.

This sketch also reinforced the practice of walking away from the table for a while, sometimes overnight, to discover what fresh eyes will see.  In this case I noticed that the placement of the eye didn't look right.  A closer look and I realized the problem was the height of the crown. 

A light scrub and a new crown line and the problem was solved.









To see photo images of this bird and read more about why his head is scaled instead of feathered, visit my Wood Stork post at Vickie Henderson Art.
And to see the rest of the sketch pages made along with the top image in my first travel sketchbook, visit Our Amazing Wetlands.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Vickie! I agree with stepping back and away. Sometime I can't believe how my sight changes from day to day..

    Love how this boy turned out! Great eye expression!

    ReplyDelete

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

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