View Full Version : Crumby Sparrows

07-12-2003, 02:54 AM
Hey All,
Started this last night . . .it's from a photo in the Ref Library taken by Bevsbigsis. Never thought of sparrows as particularly beautiful but this photo took me. The colours in the original background and the pine needles are not the same as I have used here . .using artistic licence by incorporating more greens and oranges which are somewhat complimentary and they do seem to "pop" a bit more. Also maximising the backlighting effect by ensuring the background around the sparrows head is quite dark giving greater contrast and thus greater impact from the focal area. having a lot of fun with this one.
All comments welcome as I'm learning more and more about colour and composition here. Slowly developing an "artists eye" but still a long way to go (the more I learn, the more I realise I don't know much)

First the ref pic


Where I'm up to


and a close up


07-12-2003, 07:44 AM
I so look forward to viewing your work! And this one is no exception.
COming along fine...looking forward to the update!


07-12-2003, 07:49 AM
Looking good Mat! :D

07-12-2003, 08:41 AM
It's gonna be another stunner:clap: :clap:

07-12-2003, 08:55 AM
This is completely awesome, Can't wait to see the finished painting :clap: :clap: :clap:

07-12-2003, 09:05 AM
Well Crumby, I can see that this is gonna be another GREAT picture!!! I love seeing your work !!

Look forward to seeing this progress. :)


07-12-2003, 10:02 AM
Wow, this is just fabulous. I have a soft spot for sparrows myself, as that was the nickname of a kitty I very recently lost to breast cancer ... this just tugged at my heartstrings. A true honor to the little birds who posed for the piccie.

Might I ask for a brief explanation of your methods for such gorgeous detail?

Marvelous, congrats. Hope to see some of the updates as the painting progresses.


07-12-2003, 10:09 AM
This man's work just amazes me. WOW What talent

07-12-2003, 11:26 AM
dreamy background. The birds are coming along well too...I like seeing someone else work from the top down...I tend to drag stuff through the finished work if I don't work that way...going to be a stunner...most important is that you're feeling the energy as you go!

07-12-2003, 03:10 PM
As always, the jaw is already on the floor........... Your work is amazing. I wish I had your patience and eye for detail...

How do you stay so focused? I have immense trouble with detail, because my attention gets pulled to different parts all the time. This makes it impossible to get anywhere near the detail I would like...

Looking forward to seeing your progress ! :clap:


07-12-2003, 03:30 PM
Hi Sir! I had that pic earmarked too... but will leave it to your better skills... I'm really glad you've chosen to do the humble sparrow... they are such beautiful little birds.....did you know that they are becoming an endangered species? Although we have loads of them in our garden, noisy little beggars they are too... we have five nest boxes in the garden and each one has been taken by the sparrows, now on their third brood. LOL

Keep going sir... it's going to be a cracker.!


07-12-2003, 04:43 PM
Wonderful work as always! Your detail is amazing.

07-13-2003, 09:39 AM
Hi Everyone,
Thanks for looking and the supportive comments.

Gayze: Well yes they were kind to pose for the photo, unfortunately I can't take the credit there . . Bevsbigsis deserves all that. As for an explanation of my method, the best thing I can do is point you to Gaka's Article on the right side of the pastels forum page. Although we differ slightly nowadays in our technique (not much) that's a great start . .and there's no-one better to learn off than Gaka if you want detail.

Dyin: I don't always work top down but am trying to on this one. Usually go al over the place.

katrem: Normally I'll try and do the background first . . . but I've got to admit I need a lift every now and then through the painting . .so I do a bit of boring bit (Background) then some more interesting bit (sparrow) . .that way it keeps my interest up . . even to the point when I get to tedious bits on the sparrow, I'll digress and do the eye for a bit of a pick-me-up. Little things like that keep me going.

Mo: Sorry mate . .beat ya to it!!:evil: he he . . seriously you should still do it . . it IS a nice pic. Endangered?? ..the sparrow . .well I never!!

OK a bit of a WIP update. After about 6-8 more hours. Sorry about the quality of the photos, the colour is wrong due to the fact that it was taken under a flouro at 11:40pm . . plus my tripod is broken so it's hand held . . hard to get clear macro photos hand held.

This first pic is just the bird (I've done a little more background off to the left but ya don't wanna see that).


Next is the close up . .I measured it and this is about 1.5 times actual size. Bit blurry so the detail doesn't show up as well . . but you can see for a supposedly boring bird there's oranges, creams, greens and blues in there as well as the browns. I kinda like sparrows now :D


OK will keep you all posted
Gonna be a long one this . . .and it's Monday in about 15 minutes!! WHAAAAAAAAHHH

07-13-2003, 10:25 AM
whoa... it is so hard to imagine this is done in pastel. The detail is amazing. Fantastic work :)

07-13-2003, 11:04 AM
I'm speechless. Every time I see your work, I'm in awe. Lovely subject matter and the detail, as always, astounds me.

You really have done an exceptionally fine job on the feathers. Thanks for sharing the close up.

Crumby, Enjoy the fun of painting this!!! Keep us posted - we're all very interested.


07-13-2003, 01:04 PM

I'm just in love with your little birds. So glad you posted those close-up detail pix, they're amazing. Thanks, also, for the pointer to Gaka's article -- had already read it, and will do so again.



07-13-2003, 04:44 PM
Astounding work Sir.... Keep winging away, waiting with baited breath here. :)


07-13-2003, 05:08 PM
absolutely gorgeous...can't wait to see more...

07-14-2003, 07:28 AM
looking good crumb

07-14-2003, 10:28 AM
Really great CB.. love that lil guy's face and the pine needles!! The wing detail is amazing also.


07-14-2003, 10:08 PM
Wow Crumby! - just beautiful!


Kathryn Wilson
07-14-2003, 10:26 PM
Wow!! This is amazing - how do you get such detail? Are you using pastel pencils? I have seen alot of pastels lately that look like photos - and this one is going to be "a stunner" as Mo says from time-to-time.

:clap: :clap:

07-18-2003, 03:57 PM
Crumby, your work is astounding - the feathers in that little guy r incredible - EXCELLENT EXCELLENT work!!:clap: :clap:

07-18-2003, 05:57 PM
Couldn't help swearing out loud when I saw this one, Crumby :D It's going to be perfect.

07-20-2003, 09:55 AM
G'day all,

Thanks for looking . . really gives one a lift! :)

Kyle, I don't use pastel pencils as i find them too scratchy . . .just sharpened Faber Castell pastels and a few Conte's (as well as some soft pastels here and there). There are about four brands in here so difficult to tell you exactly what I'm using where.

Well this is going reeeeeeeally slowly but that's OK coz I don't want to rush it. Have had very little time for painting lately but got a bit done on the weekend. Doesn't look like much progress but those pine needles took forever . . I was going cross-eyed trying to work out which ones went where!! lol . . also did most of the bottom half of the same sparrow I was working on previously.

As I said . .not much progress but thought I'd post anyway. Colours aren't quite right but that's nothin' new.
Crumby :)


Kathryn Wilson
07-20-2003, 10:15 AM
Wow - those pine needles are fabulous! Can't wait to see more. I am astounded that you are getting such detail with by just sharpening your pastels.

I just purchased a small box of Faber Castell pastels and they look luscious.

07-20-2003, 10:15 AM
Holy C**p! This is amazing! I love it. You managed to keep the dimensionality of thos little pine needles too. They look as if they are physically coming out from the foreground. This is terrific! Woo hoo! I love your work and I can see you love what you do.
I think the colours are fine. I really like them. I see you tightened up and made more visible, some of the detail in the bird. Well done.
:clap: Joss

07-20-2003, 10:42 AM
Wow Crumby !!! This is just fantastic (again).... love the pine needles ........... they look so real, and the little sparrow just looks great !! I envy what you do mate ...... I'll just keep practicing. LOL !!

Looking forward to seeing it progress !


07-20-2003, 12:34 PM
WOW!! That bird looks so soft and your pine needles look amazing - wow Crumby!! Just like all of your work this is truly gorgeous!:clap: :clap:

07-20-2003, 01:57 PM
exquisite...birds are very dear to my heart and you have captured it so well I can feel the little thump of its heart from holding them in my hands (replacing fledglings back in nests)...the needles are awesome...I like the colors you have right now...I really understand the slow going...but that's the only way to get this kind of detail and subtle nuances...waiting with bated breath for next installment!

07-21-2003, 03:58 AM
Stunning:clap: :clap:

07-21-2003, 10:08 AM
Amazing...all of it so far! The pine needles look so real!!!!


07-27-2003, 10:52 AM
Thanks all for looking and the supportive comments.

kyle - Yes that's all there is too it . .some people sharpen them with a knife or sandpaper as well.

Joss - yes it was difficult to see any detail at all in the fluffy feathers towards the bottom so I did as much as I could and kinda made up the rest. Thought I needed to keep this part sharp as it's the focal area of the painting.

Dyin - fragile little fellas aren't they??

OK . .sorry about the length of time this is taking. I haven't painted much lately and finally got a bit of time this weekend. Basically have got the top half done. Got the second bird done and some more pine needles up top and to the right. Aiming to finish this in about 2008!!:rolleyes:



Kathryn Wilson
07-27-2003, 11:01 AM
Don't worry about how long it's taking - every time I pull it up to see the progress, I enjoy the painting all over again. Wonderful, wonderful - coming along very nicely.


07-27-2003, 11:33 AM
Aww..you did real good 'guessing' at the detail on the little fluff feathers...looks very realistic...this is really fleshing out and is going to look awesome when it's done...guess 2008 will be a year to look forward to lol!

07-27-2003, 02:04 PM
this is amazing work! such detail........i thought i had already posted to it! I have even showen people at work!

07-28-2003, 09:42 AM
Originally posted by kyle
Don't worry about how long it's taking - every time I pull it up to see the progress, I enjoy the painting all over again. Wonderful, wonderful - coming along very nicely.

:D I agree 100% - warms my heart each time I open it - it's just beautiful!!:clap: :clap:

07-28-2003, 10:12 AM
Keep going Crumby - I'm patient and willing to wait till you get each of those little feathers and pine needles complete!!!

Do you ever have problems with smudging your work? If not, how do you avoid it?


Allan Jameson
07-29-2003, 05:41 PM
Hey Crumby....wondered where you were....painting bloody sparras....look fantastic too....call in some time.

07-30-2003, 08:12 AM
good to see some updates....... lol Im not soooooo patient hee hee :evil:

.... coming along great........ feathers look so fluffy and soft :)

08-09-2003, 01:11 AM
Hey everyone.
Thanks for looking :)

Bnoonan: I don't have any troubles with smudges . .I use a mahl stick . .same as what gaka uses in hs article on the macaws.

OK this is finally finished I think. Gonna let it sit on the easel for a couple of days and do critiques as I wander past every now and then.

I'm sorry this has taken so long . . . got higher priorities at the moment with a sick family member. Hope you don't mind me brnging up this old thread.
Cheers and thanks for looking again :)


08-09-2003, 04:33 AM
This is absolutely stunning :clap: :clap: :clap: I'm speechless!

Kathryn Wilson
08-09-2003, 06:00 AM
So glad you persevered and finished this - it's very special and you deserve lots of accolades! This tree limb wasn't developed the last time I looked and it's incredible!

:clap: :clap: :clap:

08-09-2003, 07:35 AM
Stunning!!!!:clap: :clap:

08-09-2003, 08:34 AM
So glad you finally posted it...been waiting! It came out lovely, tho I knew it would! the touches of yellow in the background complement the birds nicely and I love the eye peering thru the pine needles of the little guy on the left. Nice detail throughout! Sorry to hear you have a sick family member...

08-09-2003, 08:36 AM
Originally posted by crumbedbrains
I'm sorry this has taken so long . . . got higher priorities at the moment with a sick family member. Hope you don't mind me brnging up this old thread.
Cheers and thanks for looking again :)

Hugs to you Crumby and family....... this is a job well done

08-09-2003, 10:23 AM
Tom, I have sent you a pm but I want the WC gang to know how honoured I was to have you ask to use my baby sparrow photo as a reference. I been watching the progress pics and now the finished product. What amazing detail, warmth and life you have brought to it. I have been watching these little ones grow up in my backyard, the photo was happenstance...I could hear their excited chirping while I was preparing dinner, grabbed the camera and got a few shots off of Mom feeding the gang and the fledglings practicing flying. For some reason that evening the yard was full of parents and kids...sparrows,cardinals and red-winged blackbirds. It was so amazing. Your painting brings all those great feeling back.

08-09-2003, 10:27 AM
I'm delighted you bumped this thread and showed us how far you have come...it looks done to me! It is amazing.
I'm sorry about your family problems....take care and I hope things work out for you all!


08-09-2003, 11:14 AM
Thanks for looking guys!!

Bevsbigsis . . now don't go getting all mushy on me now will ya!! . . don't forget it was me who approached you to paint your wonderful photo . .I loved it and still do. so THANKYOU!!!!!!!

08-09-2003, 11:15 AM

Wonderful pastel work...
oh, and Barb, Why on earth did you *ever* name this shot "Crumby Sparrows?" :D From the first time I saw it, I was in love! :)

08-09-2003, 11:39 AM
LOL jsr88!!!
It was me who named it Crumby Sparrows!!
I dunno why but I've been naming my threads Crumby something for a while now (Crumby geese, Crumby chimp, Crumby Lion etc) . . . . that's what people here call me . . . Crumby short for Crumbedbrains.

Title of the painting is "The Waiting Game"


08-09-2003, 11:52 AM
Crumby this is absolutely wonderful !!!!

I can't believe that someone had achieved this the way you have....... I am speechless !!. Excellent work mate !

Look forward as usual to the next one !!

:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

08-09-2003, 11:54 AM
This is a fine piece of work...I would imagine it looks even better on the easel...
The 'fluff' is excellant and the depth of field from the photo is what gives the sharpness to the chicks..
I'm usually in the H2O section but bought a digital camera and have been getting some great tips from the photographers and stumbled on the posy by bevsbigsis..
Keep up the good work. Hope everybody is well
Take care,

Katherine J
08-09-2003, 11:56 AM
Awesome, simply awesome, Crumby.


08-09-2003, 12:08 PM
I'm awestruck! This is so beautiful.

08-09-2003, 01:41 PM
Crumby ... this is utterly superb ... I'm amazed that this sort of thing doesn't take you much, much longer. This level of observation is just beyond me ... don't know how you achieve it. Thanks for updating the thread for us :clap:

08-09-2003, 03:22 PM
This is wonderful! well worth the wait.
The detail is stunning!
Well done!
:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

marilyn h
08-09-2003, 03:23 PM
Nothing but magnificant!

08-09-2003, 07:54 PM
Thanks for looking everyone and for the wonderful comments . . .spurs me on to the next one!!! really!! it does help.
Thanks again

08-09-2003, 11:29 PM
Hey Matey,

So sorry to be so late in telling you how wonderful this is!!!! Some things are worth waiting for and this is no exception!! Love it!! Been all over the country as you know and am off again in a day or two til September so needed to drop you a quick congrats before I go.

Cheers and sending good thoughts to you, K and the kids.


Chooky :D:D

08-10-2003, 11:16 AM
OMG! I just knew I would fall off my chair along with the dropping of the jaw. Bonza work Crumbles. You gotta be proud of this. :clap: :clap: :clap:

08-10-2003, 07:18 PM
Hi Crumby. As usual, this is breath taking! Like everyone else I am just in awe of your talent. Congratulations too to the the photographer for such a charming photo which, in itself, is a work of art.
I was at the Ekka on Friday and I looked for some of your work, but didn't see any there that looked like you.

08-13-2003, 07:03 PM
Originally posted by crumbedbrains
Hey everyone.
Thanks for looking :)

Bnoonan: I don't have any troubles with smudges . .I use a mahl stick . .same as what gaka uses in hs article on the macaws.

OK this is finally finished I think. Gonna let it sit on the easel for a couple of days and do critiques as I wander past every now and then.

I'm sorry this has taken so long . . . got higher priorities at the moment with a sick family member. Hope you don't mind me brnging up this old thread.
Cheers and thanks for looking again :)


Crumby.... It's a gobsmacker Sir.:) I'm in absolute awe of your work.

Healing vibes to your sick relation...Keep well yourself too.


08-14-2003, 06:23 AM
This is so lovely! Would look great on a bird calendar, would make me rush out with the sunflower seeds, peep, peep, peep!
Are you doing reproductions?

08-14-2003, 06:35 AM
Sir Crumby,
I knew it would be deliciously good!!;) You set the standards on Excellent!
Well done mate;)

08-14-2003, 08:16 AM
Thanks again for looking guys, :)

Chook, have a great time on your trip . . . and thanks for the thoughts.

Chelle, yeah a lot of the credit needs to go to Bevsbigsis for the photo . . .fantastic shot

Mo .. thanks for your thoughts

Madder, as a matter of fact it looks like this will be the first of my paintings to go to print . . . . been targeting a particular print distributor/publisher for about a year now and he's finally pulled the trigger and said yep . . . this is the one to kick it off!! . . let's hope!!

Redsy, Thanks mate . . now I need to get some dirt on Chook since you spent a few days with her . .any hints??? LOL


08-14-2003, 08:57 AM
Dirt? did he ask for some DIRT ON CHOOK??? lololol hmmm

I see oppertunity for blackmail, does anyone else see this?? hehe

Im not sure you could handle it Crumby, hehe she is a WILD WOMAN ya know.......

08-14-2003, 09:32 AM
oh terrific! congrats! the first of many I'm sure!!!:clap:

08-31-2003, 03:43 PM
absolutely wonderful

and a great plus to watch the evolution



09-01-2003, 07:53 PM
I think you need a little more detail. There are microscopic organisms that live within the feathers that have not been rendered acurately. I also think that one of the needles on the tree is 17/64 th inch to thick....No seriously, all sarcasm aside you have amazing attention to detail. I am amazed that you not only can work that small, but have the implements to accomplish the task(especially pastels!). Thanks for sharing...although a better description of technique would be useful.

Mikki Petersen
09-01-2003, 10:57 PM
It's another Crumby masterpiece! You really have a talent, Sir! this is the first time I noticed the pencil sketch you start from. No wonder you get such amazing detail. My pencil sketches are scribbles and blobs to indicate major objects, tee hee. Guess that's why I don't end up where you do either...sigh! Just awesome work!