Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hummingbird Studies--Movement and Light

I will just about come up with any excuse to sit outside with hummingbirds this time of year.  Since tropical storm Lee has pushed rain and colder air our way in Tennessee, there has been an increased mob of hummingbirds gathered around my five feeders. They are especially active in the early morning and late evenings, just before departing to continue their migration as night migrants.  
Yesterday evening, while refilling a couple of feeders, I marveled as all feeders were occupied with 3-4 hummers at a time.  No sooner did they finish their drink, than they were back to fanning tails, chirping and giving chase.  Hummingbirds in flight are not easy to see for more than a few seconds, let alone, sketch, so I rely on my camera to give me details about posture and plumage.  

Even using my camera (Canon Rebel xi with 300 mm zoom lens) is a delightful challenge.  It requires patience, anticipation and steady nerves.  But what it also gives me is a closer view.  My current binoculars will not focus within the shorter distances needed for sketching, so my camera serves as a substitute, and occasionally gives me a nice in-flight reference image.  
Right now I am delighting in watching hummingbird behavior.  Mature birds and juveniles behave very differently.  When trying to capture these birds in a sketch, it is also a challenge to try to capture the light and movement which is so much a part of the personality of hummers.  So after hours of watching them, I enjoy trying to capture what I've internalized in a sketch.  This is resulting in a series of hummingbird studies. I could also label them studies of movement and light.

I am sure that each study will continue to look very different, as these two do.  These are playful experiments.  My challenge is to not 'mess' with what's happening on the page, but let the water and pigment move freely.  While painting, I'm focusing on the experience of hummingbirds, rather than the detail of the bird.  That's my goal, at least. Those beautiful details are hard to resist!
Bloom or watermark created by dropping clear water into pigment on paper.

A different watermark created by dropping clear water into an area that has been salted.

You can find more of my hummingbird art in my bird art gallery at my website, Vickie Henderson Art.
To see some of my recent hummingbird photography, visit Humming Bird Days of Summer.

4 comments:

  1. these are very nice, fresh sketches, Vickie. Thanks for the tips on watermarks.

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  2. So glad to reach you .. (had a cookie problem before.)
    Love your work and I'm trying to loosen up my watercolor. To me 'water'color means just that.!!
    Your tips are so welcome.. and I have tried Hummingbird on a coneflower months ago.. I was pleased with it because it DID turn out loose, but I'm not always able to achieve that... thank you ... BJ

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  3. Thank you, Concetta. I am also enjoying your wonderful drawings from Namibia. Beautiful and what a wonderful experience!

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  4. Thank you for your persistence, Barbra! It is a challenge to remain loose when you see all that beautiful detail in your subject. But fluid movement is also one of the most delightful aspects of watercolor!

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

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