Friday, August 28, 2015

Hummingbird Inspiration!

Hummingbird migration is one of my favorite seasonal events.  In mid-July our first hummingbird nestlings fledged, more than doubling the number of hummingbirds at our yard feeders.  In a short time they were joined by migrants, increasing activity in the garden substantially. If you sit still for a while you can pick out the youngsters by watching their behavior.
Young juveniles look just like adult females with the exception of feathers that are more gray than green, a characteristic that is hard to see at a distance.  Behavior is the primary give-away to recognizing a recently fledged juvenile.
While females are all business--coming to the feeder for a drink and leaving quickly to return to nesting activities--juveniles hang-out.  They sit on limbs, hide in the foliage, watch the activities for a while and tentatively approach the feeder.  They also explore everything, especially the flowers. 
Juvenile hummingbird observations inspired my two "mini-bell" sketches above.  Both were created using negative painting to form the leaf shapes that make up the tangle of foliage so characteristic of minature petunias.  "Hummingbird and Million Bells", above, began as a wet-on-wet multi-colored wash of Quinacradone Gold, Quinacradone Rose and Cobalt Teal Blue (all Daniel Smith watercolors). 
These three primary colors--red, yellow, blue--provide the basic palette for the sketch. Variations of green were made by mixing the gold and teal together.  Only two additional pigments were added, Burnt Sienna and Lunar Black.  Lunar Black was added sparingly in the final touches for texture and as the darkest dark shapes.
With each layer of paint, the goal is to add some new leaf and stem shapes appearing behind the lighter shapes. Because these shapes are darker and the space around them, darker still, they recede into the background and give the painting depth.
Negative painting can feel intimidating at first because it's easy to get lost and forget where your layer begins and should end.  Taking your time, imagining leaf and stem shapes as you work, and working in small areas at a time will help transform a confusing effort into a relaxing experience.
The nice thing about leaf shapes is there is natural variation in their size and shapes and you don't have to worry about getting them down perfectly. Mistakes happen and disappear!
If you are new to negative painting, visit my blog post, "Fun with Fall Leaves",  for a fun exercise to get you started.

More posts about hummingbirds:  hummingbird studies and hummingbirds in flight

Visit my companion blog and enjoy the Wonder of Hummingbirds Festival

1 comment:

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

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