PDA

View Full Version : Oct Sketchbook Challenge - JTMB - 'Backyard' Nature Journal


JTMB
09-30-2010, 10:21 PM
Thanks to Robert for starting this challenge, and I hope it becomes a regular thing.

For my sketchbook, I picked a Pentalic Nature Sketch sketchbook 11 x 8.5 inches, with 50 pages of 130 lb. acid-free paper that contains 25% cotton. Robert's evaluation of this sketchbook caused me to try it and I liked it. I'm going to target doing both sides of each page, for a total of 100 pages of sketches.

The sketchbook theme will be backyard nature. I put backyard in quotes because I may define backyard to include public greenbelts, parks and trails that are in the development in which I live. Some manmade items may make their way in as well if they are related to the general theme.

For media, I will probably do a lot of dry media (pen, pencil, woodless graphite) but also Graphitint (water soluble tinted graphite by Derwent) and watercolor washes on at least some of the sketches.

I did page 1 as a preliminary page, with color swatches for the Graphitint's and Pitt artist brush pens...posted here.

This will be fun!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/30-Sep-2010/165640-103-0219-OctSB1-Sep30,10-WS.jpg

robertsloan2
09-30-2010, 10:48 PM
Great swatch page, John! Looking forward to your Backyard Nature theme. I'm still waiting, it's only a quarter to nine where I am.

denyalle
09-30-2010, 10:58 PM
Nice start! I like your notes the best :) They're helpful to the rest of us who haven't done a lot of experimenting yet with different supplies.

Epoh
09-30-2010, 11:14 PM
I always love having media swatches in my sketchbooks...and I love seeing yours! :)
and thank you for adding all the sketchbook info to your post, I'll have to remember to do that too (....only two more hours til I can start!!! :))

I have you bookmarked now, and look forward to seeing your work

RainySea
09-30-2010, 11:22 PM
I love the Pentalic Nature sketch too. . . I'm in the middle of my second 5 x 7 one. Love your first page with all the swatches and notes. Very cool theme, too. Look forward to seeing it. Hope I can keep up what with 27 joined up :)

Vivien Maloney
10-01-2010, 12:09 AM
Great start John. Sounds like an interesting Sketchbook. I've never tried that one. I like your color swatches - always a good idea to do them.

DrDebby
10-01-2010, 12:13 AM
Great start. Looking forward to your sketches from your backyard.

vhere
10-01-2010, 06:49 AM
watching ...... :)

Beautiful_Butterflies_Studio
10-01-2010, 09:16 AM
Watching and waiting for the next installement, although the colour swatches are a fantastic idea.... and very well done, including the notes!!!!!

christinemlr
10-01-2010, 09:26 AM
I like your backyard idea John. You'll get lots of interesting pages I'm sure.

Joan T
10-01-2010, 01:46 PM
John - I like your theme and your color swatch page. I'll be back to see what develops.

JTMB
10-01-2010, 02:11 PM
Wow - a whole batch of replies (thank you all!) even before I've posted a first sketch. Hopefully my first one won't be too awful...!

I had every intention of having my first day's sketches done before noon (it's 10 am here) but haven't even started. Since most of you in this forum know me as the bird nerd of the group, I figured I'd reinforce that by letting you know why I haven't sketched yet.

Most serious birders 'chase' rarities that are reported in their areas - especially birds they don't have on their 'life list' yet. Well, yesterday, an Acorn Woodpecker showed up at a park in Seattle. This is the first ever record of this species in our county, and very unusual anywhere in the state except the very south part along the Columbia River. So I went down there yesterday to try to find it - and missed it (by ten minutes, apparently). Based on its behavior yesterday, I figured there was a good chance it would still be there today (and maybe it's planning on staying the winter) so I got up early, fought the traffic and tried again. As I drove up to where it had been reported, I saw several other birders with their binocs pointed in the same place - always a good sign. And there it was! So I watched for awhile and then fought the traffic back and now can settle in and start to do other stuff.

I should mention that the Acorn Woodpecker is a very interesting species (Google it and you'll see what I mean). First of all, it has very unique features - it looks rather like a bird with a clown face. Second, it has a unique food storage method. As the name implies, they eat acorns almost entirely. They typically live in colonies and the colony cooperates in gathering and storing food for the winter. They store food in 'granary trees' (or sometimes granary buildings!). What they do is drill very tight-fitting holes and then jam acorns into the holes for future use. They jam the acorns in so tightly that even squirrels are unable to raid the supply and extract the acorns. In a large colony and an old granary tree, they have been documented to store as many as 50,000 acorns in the granary tree. This is fun to watch unless (as I've seen in several pictures) they decide to use the side of a cabin instead - and the owners show up for the summer only to find the entire side of their cabin full of holes which are full of acorns...!

Looking forward to everyone else's sketchbooks start to fill up as well...!!

:wave:

RainySea
10-01-2010, 02:39 PM
Hi John. . . I can't really sketch much until I get home from work, so I will be behind the pack as far as posting. You'll pass me up for sure.

Cool about the rare bird, great that you got to see it! Were you able to get a photo so you could draw it? Or maybe it was too far away. . .

Look forward to seeing your posts.

Vivien Maloney
10-01-2010, 02:41 PM
John - Your information on the "Acorn Woodpecker" is very interesting. I can see how exciting it would be for you to see one, if they're not seen very often. I find your sketchbooks and information on birds, fascinating. Probably because birds are very beautiful and also because your birds in USA are so very different to ours in New Zealand.
Looking forward to seeing how your Journal progresses.

eyepaint
10-01-2010, 03:14 PM
Yay! Love the colour charts :)

JTMB
10-01-2010, 09:03 PM
Thank you Rainy, Viv and EP! I did not get a picture of the Acorn Woodpecker, but probably will draw it from one or more photos that a friend of mine took. I have the ok to use his bird photos for my work, which is great for species I don't have my own pix of.

So here are my first two pages. The convention I'll use for pages is 1 for page one front, and 1B for the back of page one (you'll see the front pages have the number in the upper left corner.

The first page below (1B) is one of the landscaped mounds in our yard - we re-landscaped our whole yard about three years ago, with a view toward making it critter-friendly, but particularly bird-friendly. It has worked very well. The second page below (2) has a study of a Red Flowing Currant leaf, and an alder seedling, plus a very quick and small sketch of an Anna's Hummingbird that actually landed in the birdbath right outside the kitchen nook where I work. He splashed around a took a nice bath. This is unusual for hummers, as their feet are very small and weak, having evolved that way since unlike most other birds, hummers feed almost entirely while flying.

Due to a meeting and a band gig, tomorrow may not be a sketching day at all, so I'm going to try to get some more done tonight before it gets dark.

C&C is always welcome anywhere in the sketchbook!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/01-Oct-2010/165640-103-0226-PAN-Page1B-Oct1,10.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/01-Oct-2010/165640-103-0223-PAN-Page2-Oct1,10-WS.jpg

virgo68
10-01-2010, 09:09 PM
LOVE IT! these sketches are beautiful, loving the colours!

Beautiful_Butterflies_Studio
10-01-2010, 10:49 PM
This is becoming an amazing journal, full of information and BEAUTIFUL paintings and sketches. LOVE the backyard landscape (always a favourite of mine!), but the botanical study and bird are beautiful too.

So glad you got to see a rare bird for your neck of the woods, I can only imagine what a rush that would have been - like finding rare treasure or a long lost item hidden in boxes for years!!!!!

Gentle Hugs, Stacey

poochemio
10-01-2010, 10:59 PM
I like the idea of doing a test page, I admit I have always been too impatient to do one, and have regretted it. Very cool you managed to see the Acorn Woodpecker. I had a Golden Cheeked Warbler visit me on my deck last year and I had the hardest time not jumping up and down. Like your sketches and it looks like a beautiful habitat for all, and a lovely sketching area.
Margo

CandAlArt
10-01-2010, 11:23 PM
Great stuff! I love the theme of backyard and neighboring areas- I may use that theme some time. I am hoping to gather lots of theme ideas to use with different sketchbooks. I also like your notes by each sketch, very informative to us and a nice journal bonus for you.

DrDebby
10-01-2010, 11:56 PM
What a lovely backyard. So cool that you landscaped especially for birds and critters. The leaf, seedling and hummer are just delightful.

Epoh
10-02-2010, 02:50 AM
wow John...the landscaping is beautiful...love love love the colors and textures! and that leaf is gorgeous!! ...and wow..you were able to watch a hummingbird bathe...I want to spend some time in your back yard!

can't wait to see more :)

robertsloan2
10-02-2010, 03:03 AM
Beautiful garden scene and leaf studies. These are spectacular. Gorgeous color and textures in the garden, it looks so natural and the way it's laid out suggests the gardener's also an artist. Natural good composition!

Vivien Maloney
10-02-2010, 03:16 AM
Gorgeous garden! Love the little bird sketch the Autumn leaf and the little seedling.

loobyteacher
10-02-2010, 04:24 AM
I love all the journalling! It makes it a study as well as a learning tool.

RainySea
10-02-2010, 02:41 PM
OMGosh, what a beautiful back yard!!! I love all your notes and things, too. Wonderful pages!

JTMB
10-02-2010, 07:29 PM
Thank you Jackie, Stacey, Margo, Candace, Debby, Epoh, Robert, Viv and Rainy...! :wave:

More landscapes to come - the first one was just one part of the garden/yard, so I'll gradually draw/paint it all I hope.

Margo - I'm very jealous of the Golden-cheeked Warbler! :envy: :)

I will try after today to do only one post per day, but my schedule is such this weekend that I decided to post the page (2B) I did last night. This is back to my current favorite sketching subject - birds. I had a video of a Golden-crowned Sparrow feeding in the back yard on a gravel path that runs through part of it. So I put the video on a loop and stepped through it to find a bunch of poses I wanted to practice on, and drew them. These are in woodless graphite, which I'm finding I like more than the regular pencils due to having more options with it. You can see here that except for the final image, I opted not to try to put in the details of plumage, instead concentrating on getting the overall structure and features as best I could.

C&C always welcome...!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Oct-2010/165640-103-0229-PAN-GCSPfromVideoOctSB-Oct2,10-WS.jpg

Greeble
10-02-2010, 09:41 PM
I love that bird's pose at the bottom the sketches are all beautiful

Beautiful_Butterflies_Studio
10-02-2010, 10:10 PM
The bird sketches from "life" are fantastic, but the first one is the best, so expressive and natural, without been overworked - perfect life drawing!!!!!!

Gentle Hugs, Stacey

DrDebby
10-02-2010, 10:13 PM
I knew there would be birds in this. LOL. The sparrow is wonderful.

poochemio
10-02-2010, 10:32 PM
Cool bird sketches John. I'm eager to see more of them and your backyard habitat. It was a very cool day when the golden cheeked warbler decided to visit me and the deck. It hopped around in the live oak and then came down to play in one of my water features. I was so afraid the dog would notice it, but she slept right through it. Now I have to go and see if I can find an image of your woodpecker you saw. We have a few of the normal for the area red hedded guys that are amusing to watch, one of them is very fond of rain gutters, which makes a very loud sound.
Margo

CandAlArt
10-03-2010, 01:52 AM
Wonderful front-view of the bird- not an angle you usually see in bird art- very expressive. I love the birds in my yard too, and am inspired to try to sketch some!

Chuckcamo
10-03-2010, 02:52 AM
Cool work John, looks like you have a very nice back yard... very nice sketches, like that bottom bird sketch the best, can't wait to see more.

flashviv
10-03-2010, 04:17 AM
Great sketches, your book is going to be beautiful by the end of the month. Also really enjoying googling the birds you are mentioning here, the Acorn Woodpecker and Golden Cheeked Warbler are seriously good looking little fellows.

WC Lee
10-03-2010, 05:31 AM
wonderful sketches :) good idea video taping them and putting it in a loop cycle for sketching

prismalos
10-03-2010, 06:06 AM
Thanks for sharing your swatch page! First page already rocked, loved the shades and colors. keep going :)

virgo68
10-03-2010, 07:26 AM
I am liking the little one at the bottom, you are really showing the benefit of all your quick sketches and careful observations now John!

jaforsyth
10-03-2010, 10:22 AM
Great color chart - good idea! i am putting the colors beside my sketches so I can referece in future what I used. Great start!

JTMB
10-04-2010, 01:23 PM
Jeanne, Jackie, Raymond, W.C., Linda, Chuck, Candace, Margo, Jen, Stacey and Debby..thanks for looking and commenting! :wave:

Debby - how could you possibly know I would include birds...?? :lol:

So here are pages 5 and 6 (even though I only numbered one side of the 50 pages, since I'm using both sides for a total of 100 - I hope anyway - I figure I'll use 100 as the basis). Whatever...these are the next two...

The first page is another section of the yard/garden. I should mention that you could get the impression our garden is huge from the paintings of pieces of it, but it's not all that big. Our garden is about 80 x 70 feet - roughly 21 x 24 meters - and almost all of it is landscaped rather than having just lawn. The landscaping actually makes it feel bigger than it felt when it was mostly grass, by creating mini 'outdoor rooms' and paths that give the yard a greater sense of depth.

The birds are Band-tailed Pigeons - a native species that is not invasive like feral pigeons that everyone is used to. But, they are capable of consuming vast amounts of bird seed in a short period of time, especially when a large flock shows up (I've had a many as 30 of these guys in the yard), so they wreak havoc on the seed that I spread each morning for the ground-feeding species. I've kept chasing them off to discourage them and so now I'm down to only a couple that show up each day, so we're at a workable level for them and me...! :) I utilized a looped video (and stopped it at a couple points) as reference for the pigeons.


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Oct-2010/165640-103-0236-PAN-OctSB-Oct3,10-WS.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Oct-2010/165640-103-0238-PAN-BTPIfromVideo-Oct3,10-WS.jpg

poochemio
10-04-2010, 01:41 PM
John too bad you live half a continent away from me, I would love to come sketch in your backyard! Love that bird feeder it looks like an oriental lantern. I love the look in the bottom pigeons eye, it is spot on.
Margo

loobyteacher
10-04-2010, 01:43 PM
I really like your nature studies, you capture them well

Joan T
10-04-2010, 02:10 PM
Great sketches of your yard and the birds!!! What a fun place to sit and observe!

RainySea
10-04-2010, 02:40 PM
John, lovely birds. . . its so fun to draw things which call to us, isn't it!? I can feel that you really like birds like I am drawn to dogs :)

vhere
10-04-2010, 03:30 PM
pink leaf and pigeon are lovely :)

Whisperwood
10-04-2010, 06:45 PM
Awesome journal John!! Will enjoy following this :-)

DrDebby
10-04-2010, 06:50 PM
Ah, your backyard is lovely, even if it isn't "big".

Sounds like the band-tailed pigeons can be a nuisance too. Great action poses you've caught on them.

virgo68
10-04-2010, 07:00 PM
John your garden rooms look lovely - what a nice idea (you can sit in different areas at different times during the day I am guessing, to enjoy it all at its best?). I enjoy your bird sketches but it is great to see these new images from you :)

robertsloan2
10-04-2010, 07:14 PM
Jeanne, Jackie, Raymond, W.C., Linda, Chuck, Candace, Margo, Jen, Stacey and Debby..thanks for looking and commenting! :wave:

Debby - how could you possibly know I would include birds...?? :lol:

So here are pages 5 and 6 (even though I only numbered one side of the 50 pages, since I'm using both sides for a total of 100 - I hope anyway - I figure I'll use 100 as the basis). Whatever...these are the next two...

The first page is another section of the yard/garden. I should mention that you could get the impression our garden is huge from the paintings of pieces of it, but it's not all that big. Our garden is about 80 x 70 feet - roughly 21 x 24 meters - and almost all of it is landscaped rather than having just lawn. The landscaping actually makes it feel bigger than it felt when it was mostly grass, by creating mini 'outdoor rooms' and paths that give the yard a greater sense of depth.

The birds are Band-tailed Pigeons - a native species that is not invasive like feral pigeons that everyone is used to. But, they are capable of consuming vast amounts of bird seed in a short period of time, especially when a large flock shows up (I've had a many as 30 of these guys in the yard), so they wreak havoc on the seed that I spread each morning for the ground-feeding species. I've kept chasing them off to discourage them and so now I'm down to only a couple that show up each day, so we're at a workable level for them and me...! :) I utilized a looped video (and stopped it at a couple points) as reference for the pigeons.


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Oct-2010/165640-103-0236-PAN-OctSB-Oct3,10-WS.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Oct-2010/165640-103-0238-PAN-BTPIfromVideo-Oct3,10-WS.jpg

I love these pages. The garden scene is spectacular and the poses of the band-tailed pigeons are wonderful, their anatomy is perfect and their gestures so lively they're fantastic. Gorgeous!

JTMB
10-04-2010, 09:17 PM
Thanks Margo, Colleen, Joan, Rainy, Vivien, Rachel, Debby, Jackie and Robert...! :wave:

Yes, the garden has been a big positive since we re-did it. It does have drawbacks, in a weird way. I work at the kitchen table which looks out on the garden, and it's hard to concentrate on work with so much to see outside. We had relatives here last year and after watching the garden for a bit, one of them said 'This is like having your own aviary.' Which it kind of is, except the birds aren't confined.

Anywhere, here are the next four pages, though I'm still running a bit behind the pace needed to finish the full 100 pages in the month - one would think I would have learned about not overcommitting to things, but nope! :o

Two more mini-landscapes here. Then a Northern Flicker working on the suet feeder that is only about 15 feet from the window by where I work. The red stripe under this bird's lower mandible indicates it is a male. Females lack the red stripes in this species. I guess I should mention in case anyone notices - if you live in the eastern half of the US, this species has two subspecies, a Red-shafted Flicker (in the western part of the country) and a Yellow-shafted Flicker (both officially Northern Flickers, and they will hybridize where they overlap). Yellow-shafted Flicker males have the red mark on the nape (back of the neck), not the malar region as this bird does. Hybrids sometimes will show red in both areas.

And finally, a not-so-successful sketch of a coyote. I was tempted not to post it, but hey, this is a journal, not a finished piece and so I'll post everything I do this month good or bad. I haven't drawn many mammals and so haven't really internalized the basic looks yet as I have to some degree at least with birds. I did the middle image first, then attempted another head to the right of the first drawing. Neither hit the mark, but it was a good learning experience.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Oct-2010/165640-103-0241-PAN-OctSB-Oct4,10-WS.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Oct-2010/165640-103-0248-PAN-OctSB-Oct4,10-WS.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Oct-2010/165640-103-0244-PAN-OctSB-Oct4,10-WS.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Oct-2010/165640-103-0251-PAN-OctSB-Oct4,10-WS.jpg

Greeble
10-04-2010, 09:51 PM
What a neat backyard! And those birds are so well done

Epoh
10-04-2010, 09:58 PM
John-such wonderful work! the pigeons are charming, that tree is gorgeous, and I think you did a fine job on the coyote

I love how you film the birds and then replay them to sketch from. Years ago, I used to watch the news just so I could sketch the newscasters, as substitute figure models :wink2: ...actually, I should try that again...

DrDebby
10-04-2010, 10:04 PM
More great sketches. The coyote isn't bad at all. Love the backyard scenes.

RainySea
10-04-2010, 11:14 PM
Hi John, beautiful colorful plants and trees. . . I love your yard! We have lots of coyotes around here, too. . . ever noticed how different they move than dogs/wolves? Nice job with them. BTW, can you tell what kind of bird (http://wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=718451) this is that Ernest photographed/pained? I know you are a birder :)

JTMB
10-05-2010, 01:54 AM
Thanks Jen, Epoh, Debby and Rainy! I'm glad to hear my coyote maybe isn't quite as bad as I thought it was. To me it looked more goofy than predator-like in my rendition. I'll try a few more versions down the road.

Rainy - I posted a comment on the thread you asked me to look at. The bird in the picture is almost certainly a House Finch. Details for why are in the post I made in the other thread. By the way, to further my (bird nerdy) reputation, I spent two hours this evening attending a lecture in Seattle on bird feather identification - given by the two authors of a book that just came out on the subject. Now in addition to confusing myself trying to ID a live bird, I can REALLY confuse myself trying to figure out what bird lost a feather when I find it...! :lol:

jaforsyth
10-05-2010, 02:01 AM
I want to live in your back yard;-) Your sketches are wonderful - I love the plants in the pots - very colorful!

RainySea
10-05-2010, 02:14 AM
I just knew you'd have the answer! :clap: :clap:

loobyteacher
10-05-2010, 01:06 PM
I really like the idea of looking at what is in your back yard. we have coyotes around here as well, but I don't know if I can capture what they look like!

Joan T
10-05-2010, 01:14 PM
Great coyote sketch, but I just love that colorful tree!!!

vhere
10-05-2010, 04:17 PM
I don't think the coyote sketch is bad either :)

and are you going to draw that feather you talked about? feathers are lovley to draw

virgo68
10-05-2010, 08:17 PM
John, WOW - your colours for the garden sketches are beautiful (you guys are in the middle of Fall over there now? Spring here - so it is interesting to compare the colours). I love the way on the coyote page you have added your thoughts, this is how I envisage "proper" sketchbooks to be and it is just the sort when I am surfing the net that I like to look at and study.

I know sketchbooks can be all things to all people but this is how I'd like to see my own one day ;)

JTMB
10-05-2010, 11:00 PM
Well, I had a good day sketching today...I'm back on schedule to complete the book by the end of the month. Hopefully it'll stay that way.

So I decided to keep sketching some more coyotes today to start. Next Monday I'll be starting an 8-week bird and wildlife in watercolor class and we will be starting with mammals, so I figured I'd get a little experience beforehand. The coyote sketches here are all done from photos taken by a friend of mine. This coyote was in a major park in Seattle and sadly had to be captured and destroyed because it got very bold with people - walking directly up to walkers with dogs and kids, and sometimes acting aggressively. Fortunately my friend got some great pix before it got trapped. The first one is a 'portrait' closeup shot and then a quick sketch to try to get the structure and head shape correct.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2010/165640-103-0253-PAN-CoyoteFromPhoto-Oct5,10-WS.jpg

The next two drawings are of the coyote 'mousing'. Many of you have probably seen this behavior on TV or in the wild, but it is quite amusing. They hunt around until they find an area where they think there is a mouse (presumably they smell it), then they hop up in the air and pounce down on the area to scare the mouse into moving...and then grab it. In the second image, I added some Graphitint color, although the nearest color was a bit too red, but it still added a little flavor to the straight pencil drawing. The second coyote drawing looks like he had a few too many rabbits in the past month or so...a little too heavy in the midsection. :lol:


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2010/165640-103-0257-PAN-CoyoteFromPhoto-Oct5,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2010/165640-103-0259-PAN-CoyoteFromPhoto-Oct5,10-WS.jpg

The next one is just a side view of the coyote, done in woodless graphite.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2010/165640-103-0263-PAN-CoyoteFromPhoto-Oct5,10-WS.jpg

I'll do another post for the other two sketches I did today.

JTMB
10-05-2010, 11:10 PM
Here are the other two sketches I did today.

The first one is a landscape looking over a golf course that goes near our house, down into the Snoqualmie River valley.

The second one is a Western Meadowlark from a field guide photo. I decided to do that species today because when I was out walking my yellow Lab this morning, we flushed one of these from a pond only a couple hundred yards from the house. Although they are a fairly common bird, they are not common in our neighborhood (or on our side of the mountains actually) due to a lack of suitable habitat - so this was a nice bird to find in this location. I had only seen them twice before in the last six years here.

Both the images were done with light pencil sketches and then watercolor washes added.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2010/165640-103-0265-PAN-ValleyView-Oct5,10-WS.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2010/165640-103-0269-PAN-WEMEfromPhoto-Oct5,10-WS.jpg

RainySea
10-05-2010, 11:30 PM
wonderful sketches, John! I love the mousing motion of the coyotes, I have never seen them do that here in the canyons. Interesting! I like the second outline coyote and also the last one full body one reminds me yet again of how different they are from wolves/dogs. Lovely watercolor sketches, especially the little singing bird! He seems so joyous and love the feather textures.

virgo68
10-06-2010, 12:22 AM
I like the position of the first coyote mousing sketch (great shot and your sketch looks as if quite accurate?), the golf course is spot on and your meadowlark is a joy in full song (?)

JTMB
10-06-2010, 12:31 AM
Yes, the mousing behavior is very interesting to watch. Years ago there was a movie about a scientist who went to the arctic to study wolves for an entire season (can't remember the name of the movie) and it had shots of wolves doing the same thing to catch lemmings.

My drawings (especially the first one as Jackie noted) are pretty accurate. I had the most trouble getting the coyote 'look' in the face and head, more so than the body structure. Every practice piece helps, of course.

DrDebby
10-06-2010, 02:01 AM
Your posts are always so informative as well as lovely to look upon. Thanks.

Chuckcamo
10-06-2010, 02:14 AM
very good sketches and info, your washes work really well with the pencils, that Meadowlark looks great!

denyalle
10-06-2010, 11:23 AM
Love the sketches and the info on the Coyotes, the first mousing one is my favorite :)

sarales
10-06-2010, 12:52 PM
Oh, I love these!! I especially love the meadowlark and the golf course!! VERY nice!

vhere
10-06-2010, 01:30 PM
that coyote mousing has really got the feeling of that intent pounce that they do :)

Epoh
10-06-2010, 03:30 PM
wow John, your coyote sketches are improving in just the few you did :)
...and I remember that movie you mentioned...Never Cry Wolf (a Disney film)--LOVED that movie!!! my favorite sketch is the first "mousing" one :)

your landscape is excellent, and your bird is superb!

I'm really enjoying your sketchbook, thank you

JTMB
10-06-2010, 08:05 PM
Thanks Debby, Chuck, Denyalle, Leslie, Vivien and Epoh! :wave:

Thanks Epoh for remembering the name of the film for me...that was it. My favorite scene in the movie was when the scientist got the bright idea to drink (tea, if I remember correctly) until he was saturated with water, then go outside his hut and 'mark his territory' in the way of the wolves. Which he did, on stones, shrubs, etc. Then it showed the wolves coming around, catching wind of his 'mark' and making a beeline to the mark and marking over it. My yellow Lab does this all the time on our walks, and she's a girl. Canines are fantastic, and humorous at times.

So today I finished pages 17 - 20, in time to head off to a class tonight.

The first page is bird sketches. These birds are small (in life as well as in the sketches). They were done in graphite, and the last one had Graphitint added for color. Both these used video I shot of them through my kitchen window as a reference. The first three sketches are a Red-breasted Nuthatch. These very cute little guys are known for their habit of descending trees 'upside down' - meaning as opposed to virtually every other climbing bird, the nuthatches head is pointing toward the ground and it walks down the tree, not the 'normal' way of doing it. I have a pair of these visiting my feeders and they are like little hyperactive conveyor belts. They show up, dash into the feeder that has the sunflower seeds they like, then dash out into cover to either eat it or store it. This goes on a good part of the day. The second species on this page is the Chestnut-backed Chickadee, a chickadee species only found in our part of the country, so it is a popular target for birders visiting from the east.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Oct-2010/165640-103-0282-PAN-RBNUandCBCHfromVid-Oct6,10-WS.jpg


The next page contains two from-life sketches of American Crows. Crows have a very large and uniquely shaped bill, which I haven't figured out how to draw well yet - as can plainly be seen in the second crow drawing, which looks pretty bad in that regard. My excuse is that the two models I was working from decided to fly off when I was just getting started on the second sketch. So this page is probably the biggest egg I've laid so far this month - ya can't win 'em all, as they say! :)

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Oct-2010/165640-103-0276-PAN-AMCRfromLife-Oct6,10-WS.jpg


The next page contains sketches of the Red Ossier Dogwood plant we have in the biggest pot on our patio. One reason for the name is that the bark of the limbs on this plant turn reddish brown in the winter, then go back to brown during the warm part of the year. Right now its leaves are turning, with some almost completly red and some still completely green. I decided to do this one in Pitt pens to see how it came out. Overall I think it worked out ok, but even with the 48-color Pitt set, it's impossible to get really good color matches (unless there is a good way to mix Pitt colors to get a desired tone - if there is, I don't know it yet). Makes you appreciate how versatile mixing your own paint colors (particularly watercolor for me) really is when it comes to approximating the colors you see in front of you.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Oct-2010/165640-103-0279-PAN-RedOssierDogwood-Oct6,10-WS.jpg


Finally, I had an exciting visit this morning. Up the way from our house about 150 yards or so is a 'raptor snag' tree that we always keep an eye on. Its top has about fifteen feet of dead snag, with the remainder of the tree from there to the ground being still alive and green. Hawks, eagles and the occasional falcon love this spot as a hunting perch because it has a territorial view. So I always check it in the morning and periodically throughout the day when I'm home. This morning I looked out and there sat a pair of Peregrine Falcons, an impressive and majestic species that is one of my favorites. I ran to get the spotting scope and sketching supplies and plunked down on the patio with the scope fixed on the birds. Whereupon, of course, they decided to leave, so I had barely time to get down an outline of one bird. So I did some more outline sketching from memory, and then used a couple of photo references to finish the sketch. Once again, as with the crow, the bill is not as close as I would like it to be, but overall it's a passable sketch. This one was light pencil drawing, then watercolor.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/06-Oct-2010/165640-103-0271-PAN-PEFAfromGuide-Oct6,10-WS.jpg

RainySea
10-06-2010, 08:33 PM
Hi John,

What a beautiful raptor. . . how awesome that you got to see a pair today. I like your colorful pen drawings of the foilage. I like the colors you used but I do understand what you mean with pens and mixing colors. . . 48 is just not enough to get all the range wanted and they don't really mix. But you got a great likenss anyway! And the graphitint adds just a perfect amt of color to that bird.

DrDebby
10-06-2010, 10:08 PM
Amazing work. The peregrine is, wow.

sarales
10-07-2010, 12:12 AM
How cool, John!! :) I love it!

JTMB
10-07-2010, 09:04 PM
Thanks Rainy, Debby and Leslie!

Here are today's pages - 21 through 24. Since the yard had a lot of Dark-eyed Juncos (cool little birds that are very numerous here in the fall and through winter) I decided to start sketching them. Which wound up being all that I sketched today. This was a bit of a learning experience, because I think I burned out a bit or lost some focus on them on the last two of the four pages. The first two pages gave better likenesses of the species, and the Graphitints on page 2 I thought worked well. Page 3 was a disaster - I laid an egg with the watercolor...again, I think I lost focus a bit. The fourth page was so-so, back to Graphitints.

Dark-eyed Juncos are actually in the sparrow family,although no sparrow really looks much like them. They have a 'hood' that ranges from light gray to almost black. The outer tail feathers are white, and a telltale sign when you see a flock of juncos fly. For the 'Oregon' subspecies which is our primary subspecies here (there are four or five others in the country), they have some chestnut coloration on them as well, in most cases. Then grayish brown for backs and tails, and a grayish belly. They have light pink bills. The thing I found most challenging about the original sketches were that they are somewhat like little cotton puffs - their head isn't particularly separated from their body and so they're kind of this amorphous round and chubby shape.

I'll no doubt do more of these as the season goes along as well, hopefully I'll get better...! :)

The first page was sketched in woodless graphite. The upper left one I felt was the best, although because all of these poses required foreshortening, I was pleased overall with how they came out.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Oct-2010/165640-103-0285-PAN-DEJUfromVideo-Oct7,10-WS.jpg


The next page was started with a woodless graphite sketch, then the color was added using Graphitints. Both of these sketches gave good likenesses of the species - from my perspective this was the best page of sketches.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Oct-2010/165640-103-0288-PAN-DEJUfromVideo-Oct7,10-WS.jpg


Theoretically this page should have been easier, as they were more side poses which require less foreshortening. But the initial graphite sketches weren't as good as the first two pages, I didn't think anyway, although they're passable. But then I just laid an egg with the watercolor. It's awful...oh, well! :o

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Oct-2010/165640-103-0290-PAN-DEJUfromVideo-Oct7,10-WS.jpg

The final page produced the worst likenesses of the species, but I went back to Graphitints for the color and that worked better than the watercolor. The sketches here are ok, but a little stiffer than the better ones in this series, I thought. Nonetheless, it was a fun couple of hours doing these!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Oct-2010/165640-103-0292-PAN-DEJUfromVideo-Oct7,10-WS.jpg

C&C always welcome!

sarales
10-07-2010, 09:25 PM
I love your juncos, John! We have them come through at the feeders every once in a while. I love them!

DrDebby
10-07-2010, 11:34 PM
Cute juncos. So many poses.

Vivien Maloney
10-08-2010, 12:41 AM
Sweet little Juncos!

Chuckcamo
10-08-2010, 01:33 AM
God job, think I've seen those birds around my parts...The 2nd one is my favorite too, the shape and color blends in great...

WC Lee
10-08-2010, 04:42 AM
I like those coyote sketches esp. the one that is pouncing to scare the rodent into moving

virgo68
10-08-2010, 06:33 AM
Wow - you have been very busy John! These are very well done (and we all have our tussles with watercolour from time to time :) )

Your drawing and observation skills are improving all the time.

RainySea
10-08-2010, 10:53 AM
wowzer, John. . . you've been busy. That is a lot of birdies :) The graphitint ones are my fav but you did a nice job on the grahphite ones also.

vhere
10-08-2010, 12:47 PM
lovely attitudes there :)

Joan T
10-08-2010, 10:33 PM
Your coyote and bird sketches are really great! I also like the landscape of the golf course. You have been really busy.

Beautiful_Butterflies_Studio
10-09-2010, 01:28 AM
Hi John,

The Views from and within your gardern are just GORGOEUS. Each painted so BEAUTIFULLY!!!!!!! This includes the BEAUTIFUL scene of the golf course!

The leaf studies are just GORGEOUS, each so unique and beautiful!!!!!

The Bird Studies are getting better and better with each study and sketch/drawing!!!!!

THe coyote's are FANTASTIC all with excellent form. THe ones mousing is just breath-taking, such an unusual pose and BEAUTIFULLY rendered!

Gentle Hugs, Stacey:grouphug:

eyepaint
10-09-2010, 01:07 PM
Love the poses of the birds in post 76.

JTMB
10-09-2010, 01:50 PM
Thanks Leslie, Debby, Viv, Chuck, WC, Jackie, Rainy, Vivien, Joan, Stacey and EP! :wave:

In trying to get halfway decent at sketching birds from life, the artists who do it well all say to do as many poses as possible to really get familiar with the characteristics of each species...so I've been really pushing myself to do that even with the not-quite-from-life ones. It's definitely a challenge.

Here are the next three pages, numbers 25 through 27. The first one is another watercolor landscape scene from the garden. The second is a spider in the Orb Weaver family of spiders - I have no idea which particularly species this one is. Orb Weavers are spiders that build the 'classic' roundish spider webs that are often photographed with dew drops hanging on them. This time of year, these guys are everywhere in our area. The 'model' here was right outside our kitchen door, up against the house near our hummingbird feeder. I took some closeup shots of it and drew from that, using Pitt pens. The third is a Japanese elm tree in a container. This tree was given to us as a housewarming gift when we moved in here a little more than eight years ago. We didn't think it would make it through some summers as it needs a lot of water in the container and a couple trips we took almost did it in. But it seems stronger than ever now and is a really fun little tree. I was apparently a bit too relaxed in the recliner when I did the tree, as the pot is more than a little lopsided. :)

C&C always welcome!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/09-Oct-2010/165640-103-0333-PAN-StumpPathOctSB-Oct9,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/09-Oct-2010/165640-103-0334-PAN-OrbWeaverOctSB-Oct9,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/09-Oct-2010/165640-103-0339-PAN-JapaneseElmOctSB-Oct9,10-WS.jpg

RainySea
10-09-2010, 03:15 PM
Hi John,
Wow, three new pages. . . impressive.
Scary spider *shiver* Again, your yard/garden is so lovely! Nice marker work, the leaves are so delicate.
Have a great weekend!

sarales
10-09-2010, 04:52 PM
These are lovely. I like the spider! We get these gorgeous huge yellow/black garden spiders that build fascinating webs with zippers in them. I think they are also orb spiders, but I'm not positive.

DrDebby
10-09-2010, 07:23 PM
Lovely water feature in your backyard.

The spider is phenomenal.

Wonky pot aside, it's still a great drawing of the tree. Have you moved it to a bigger pot? Or considered giving it a permanent home in the yard?

virgo68
10-09-2010, 10:12 PM
Not a spider fan but you've done a great job on the orb - that was Pitt pens? I do like your little watercolours of landscapes John, you have a knack with them.

flashviv
10-10-2010, 01:52 AM
Love the series of Juncoes, you managed to really catch them in lifelike poses (something I am trying to master myself!).

The garden path is beautiful, I like the burst of colour.

Love the spider too - very tribal looking art style, though I guess it was probably what he looked like.

Vivien Maloney
10-10-2010, 05:16 AM
Great job on these John. I'm not very keen on spiders but you've made him look beautiful! Love the tree in the pot and I don't mind if it's wonky. It gives it character.

JTMB
10-10-2010, 09:59 PM
Thanks Rainy, Leslie, Debby, Jackie, Linda and Viv! :wave:

Yes, spiders kind of creep me out a bit as well, but these guys are really amazingly colorful. My sketch is a pretty good representation of the critter, with the exception that since Pitt pens were used, there were 'only' 48 colors to choose from, so I had to settle for the closest in the set.

Yesterday I did zero sketches since my band played a gig on the other side of the mountains, and my wife and I headed over (with our two geriatric dogs happily in the back of the car) early to do some birding along the way. Between the driving, the birding and the music, I got nothing done yesterday.

So today I managed four pages, numbers 28 through 31. I'm still almost on target to finish the whole sketchbook, although I have two more classes that start this week, so time will be tighter yet.

Today's pieces ranged from two birds that I was reasonably pleased with to a so-so mini landscape to an outright flop. But the flops are educational and it's in the book, so it's here as well.

Page 28 is the view out the kitchen nook window where I work on the computer. It looks out onto a birdbath that is right up against the house, and the mini stream feature is behind it to the left. I left the stream out because it's going to be challenging...I haven't worked up the gumption to do it yet. This was done as a pencil sketch, then watercolor washes were added.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/10-Oct-2010/165640-103-0344-PAN-Birdbath-OctSB-Oct10,10-WS.jpg


Page 29 is a Merlin, using a photo reference from a raptor guide book. I decided to do this bird today since we had a visit from one within easy scope distance of the house. These little raptors (just slightly bigger than a robin) are very feisty and excellent predators (they eat other birds) and were popular with female falconers in medieval (and later) England. Falconry was a royal sport, and there are many falconry references in Shakespeare's works. There are several subspecies of Merlin, and this is either a 'Black' or 'Pacific' Merlin or a 'Boreal'. However, they do hybridize, so it is basically impossible to be sure unless you have a bird in hand.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/10-Oct-2010/165640-103-0347-PAN-MERLforOctSB-Oct10,10-WS.jpg


Page 30 is a watercolor landscape that is today's face plant flop. It was rainy, cloudy and foggy today and so the view down into the valley was fairly obscured. I did this trying to get a sense of the weather, and what I got was a sense that I really don't know the first thing about watercolors! :lol: Oh well - learning experience! The foreground plants were supposed to be our garden plants with everything else kind of light and fuzzy in the background. I suspect even the great artists produce a flop every now and then...!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/10-Oct-2010/165640-103-0353-PAN-ValleyInFog-Oct10,10-WS.jpg


So, for page 31, I retreated to my favorite subject currently - birds. This is another view of a Merlin getting ready to take off after an unfortunate bird. It is from a photo taken by a friend of mine and an excellent birder - Marv Breece - and used with permission.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/10-Oct-2010/165640-103-0350-PAN-MERLforOctSB-Oct10,10-WS.jpg


C&C always welcome!

Epoh
10-11-2010, 02:59 AM
love your watercolor landscapes, and the Merlin is so beautiful!

I really enjoy your sketchbook :)

Chuckcamo
10-11-2010, 03:11 AM
very nice sketches... I love looking at birds of prey, Merlin looks great...

sarales
10-11-2010, 09:59 AM
Very nice!! I especially love the Merlins!

vhere
10-11-2010, 01:55 PM
good stuff - and you've done so much!

eyepaint
10-11-2010, 04:35 PM
Wonderful Merlins. Here's a wikipedia article about Merlin birds (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merlin_(bird)).

Wasn't there a fictional magician named Merlin? Yup! (Wikipedia article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merlin))

DrDebby
10-11-2010, 05:33 PM
You are right, it's all about learning.

The Merlin pictures are great. Love the bird bath with the drip faucet.

robertsloan2
10-11-2010, 05:40 PM
Cool back yard scene with the birdbath and gorgeous landscape, but my favorites are the two studies of the Merlin. I love raptors anyway, and these two paintings are superb. Gorgeous!

JTMB
10-11-2010, 06:52 PM
Thanks Epoh, Chuck, Leslie, Vivien, EP, Debby and Robert! :wave:

Well, today was deer day. I started an 8-week Bird and Wildlife Art in watercolor class and today's focus was sketching mammals, so it fit right in with the sketchbook challenge. These are all done from my photos, most of which were taken from our yard - 'our' deer are very tame, since they have never been hunted in this area. We've had them come up on our patio within feet of the house in order to munch (in some cases decimate!) potted plants and flowers. The 'oh isn't Bambi cute?!' factor wears off very quickly in those situations.

These are all done in HB pencil sketches followed by a watercolor wash, and in one case some line work with a Pitt brush pen. I tried hard to keep them loose, both because that's what the instructor wanted and also because that's the direction I want to go in with my work.

Sorry about the reduced image quality versus earlier uploads - I, uhhh, 'lost' (somewhere in the house) the charger for my normal camera and needed to revert to an older and smaller point-and-shoot which doesn't have quite the quality of the other one.

C&C always welcome!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/11-Oct-2010/165640-1717-S70-DeerForOctSB-Oct11,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/11-Oct-2010/165640-1718-S70-DeerForOctSB-Oct11,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/11-Oct-2010/165640-1724A-S70-DeerForOctSB-Oct11,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/11-Oct-2010/165640-1724B-S70-DeerForOctSB-Oct11,10-WS.jpg

CandAlArt
10-11-2010, 08:15 PM
Your poses are wonderful, both birds and deer. Much more interesting than the typical straight pose in pictures. Bravo.

DrDebby
10-11-2010, 08:42 PM
Your deer drawings/paintings are delightful.

JTMB
10-11-2010, 08:59 PM
Thanks Candace and Debby!

Yes, Candace, I've been purposely trying to draw non-typical poses since this helps a lot drawing from life - which is what I'm spending a lot of time on now. A number of these required foreshortening, which is still something I have to work on a lot (along with everything else!). :)

sarales
10-11-2010, 09:08 PM
John, I enjoyed seeing your deer sketches. I tried my first ones a couple of weeks ago when we had several days in a row when deer would just walk into the yard! I finally got smart and put the sketch book near the door... my sketches aren't nearly as good as these! I definitely need more practice. :)

virgo68
10-11-2010, 09:50 PM
Those deer sketches are just gorgeous !

vhere
10-12-2010, 03:51 AM
You've got the ready-to-run at the slightest threat well :)

loobyteacher
10-12-2010, 03:39 PM
Wow, we did say a sketchbook in a month, not 2 weeks.... you are really doing a whole lot of work!! They are very nice

jmb57
10-12-2010, 11:26 PM
your sketches are great, love the variety the birds look so lifelike

Chuckcamo
10-13-2010, 12:35 AM
great job on the deer.... this time of year we have deer moving about like crazy...

JTMB
10-13-2010, 01:04 PM
Thanks Leslie, Jackie, Vivien, Colleen, jmb and Chuck! :wave:

I guess I'm on a furry critter kick currently, with the deer and yesterday's pieces, which are posted here. This post includes one deer and three squirrels.

The deer is a blacktail buck that showed up about 100 yards from our house a couple years ago and I managed to get a few good pictures of him - this is a pencil sketch with light watercolor washes.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Oct-2010/165640-1726-S70-BuckFromYardPhoto-Oct13,10-WS.jpg


The first squirrel is an Eastern Gray Squirrel, which is actually a non-native invasive species in our area and therefore not desirable. However, they're here to stay and they are cute and sometimes curious. We just had one show up in our back yard yesterday, so I decided to draw a couple of them. This first one is done in pencil, watercolor and Graphitints and was done from a photo I took through my work window a couple years ago of one who was apparently fascinated with my job and office.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Oct-2010/165640-1728-S70-GraySquirrelFromUltreoPhoto-Oct13,10-WS.jpg


The next squirrel is a highly annoyed ground squirrel. This is a species not found in our yard or neighborhood, so I stretched the definition of 'back yard nature' for this one (and the next). This junkyard dog squirrel (notice its shredded right ear (to left from the viewer's perspective) was photographed at Yosemite National Park loudly scolding the visitors who were in the area. Maybe someone didn't give him a peanut...! This one is a pencil sketch and mostly watercolors, though on the previous image and this one, I used a Pigma pen for the whiskers.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Oct-2010/165640-1731-S70-AngryGroundSquirrel-Oct13,10-WS.jpg


And the final squirrel is from a photo I took of a ground squirrel (again a non-local species) on the Deschutes River in central Oregon during a raft trip. This guy was just hanging from one strand of barbed wire, supporting himself with his feet on a second. I could not figure out what he was doing for sure, but I theorized he was warming up in the sun. It had been a cool night and this was early morning and the sun was hitting his left side and back here. After I photographed him I became concerned that maybe he was stuck and started down over the bank to check him out - at which point he chattered, jumped off and everything was fine. A bit strange...! This is done with a pencil sketch and Graphitints.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Oct-2010/165640-1735-S70-DeschutesGroundSquirrel-Oct13,10-WS.jpg


C&C always welcome.

Selina Designs
10-13-2010, 01:24 PM
Hi John, I am "new" to WetCanvas (have been absent for many years) and found your post today. Thanks so much for the idea about the preliminary color swatch page - that's fabulous!!! I can see many great ideas hinged on that one thing.
Cindi

Vivien Maloney
10-13-2010, 02:23 PM
Love the deer and squirrel paintings! We don't have squirrels in NZ so I've enjoyed seeing them when on holiday overseas and your paintings of them bring back memories of them.

sarales
10-13-2010, 03:22 PM
I love the deer and squirrels! That deer is magnificent!

DrDebby
10-13-2010, 05:49 PM
Wonderful deer and variety of squirrels. The little guy on the barbed wire is delightful.

CandAlArt
10-14-2010, 01:12 AM
I love the squirrels in my yard and feed them regularly--You sure do capture their faces and postures! Wonderful! I have to try this- I have at least one good photo ref my hubby took. They move pretty fast for a live pose!!

virgo68
10-14-2010, 01:38 AM
Hi John, these last sketches are fabulous! Love them all, the watercolour washes are lovely.

Chuckcamo
10-14-2010, 04:19 AM
Your sketches look great, awesome looking deer, those washes are spot on...

Hey I was just reading an interesting article about wall clocks and deer... http://www.grindtv.com/outdoor/blog/21180/wall+clock+nailed+to+tree+becomes+strangely+irresistable+to+deer/
We have whitetail deer run through every now and then, I might put a clock up 4 them.. :D

WYSIWYG
10-14-2010, 04:57 AM
Haha... love, love, LOVE the pissed off squirel!!! They all have a tremendous lot of personaility and life captured in them!

loobyteacher
10-14-2010, 07:58 AM
you really have captured the movement of the animals

vhere
10-14-2010, 10:39 AM
I agree :)

rmcbuckeye
10-14-2010, 11:28 AM
Coyotes are becoming a issue here in NE Ohio. Recently, a woman was attacked by one in her backyard. Bit her right on the FOOT, and she was in a wheelchair! She was getting her puppy (Shar-Pei) in the house, and when she saw the Coyote, she rushed and threw her puppy inside before the animal would attempt to have it for dinner. Scary. There are coyote signs all over the place now warning people to not walk their small dogs in the parks, and be on the alert. We even have Black Bears coming in now! It's strange, they're coming from up North.



Well, I had a good day sketching today...I'm back on schedule to complete the book by the end of the month. Hopefully it'll stay that way.

So I decided to keep sketching some more coyotes today to start. Next Monday I'll be starting an 8-week bird and wildlife in watercolor class and we will be starting with mammals, so I figured I'd get a little experience beforehand. The coyote sketches here are all done from photos taken by a friend of mine. This coyote was in a major park in Seattle and sadly had to be captured and destroyed because it got very bold with people - walking directly up to walkers with dogs and kids, and sometimes acting aggressively. Fortunately my friend got some great pix before it got trapped. The first one is a 'portrait' closeup shot and then a quick sketch to try to get the structure and head shape correct.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2010/165640-103-0253-PAN-CoyoteFromPhoto-Oct5,10-WS.jpg

The next two drawings are of the coyote 'mousing'. Many of you have probably seen this behavior on TV or in the wild, but it is quite amusing. They hunt around until they find an area where they think there is a mouse (presumably they smell it), then they hop up in the air and pounce down on the area to scare the mouse into moving...and then grab it. In the second image, I added some Graphitint color, although the nearest color was a bit too red, but it still added a little flavor to the straight pencil drawing. The second coyote drawing looks like he had a few too many rabbits in the past month or so...a little too heavy in the midsection. :lol:


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2010/165640-103-0257-PAN-CoyoteFromPhoto-Oct5,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2010/165640-103-0259-PAN-CoyoteFromPhoto-Oct5,10-WS.jpg

The next one is just a side view of the coyote, done in woodless graphite.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2010/165640-103-0263-PAN-CoyoteFromPhoto-Oct5,10-WS.jpg

I'll do another post for the other two sketches I did today.

JTMB
10-14-2010, 01:00 PM
Hi Cindi - welcome and glad you're back on the forum and that the swatch page was helpful! :wave:

Viv, Leslie, Debby, Candace and Jackie - thanks so much! :wave:

Chuck - Very interesting and bizarre about the deer and clocks! I've thought seriously about putting up one of the motion setting cameras, either in the woods to try to get a picture of a cougar and/or bear, or near one of my feeders to see what birds I'm missing when I'm not watching. Just haven't gotten around to it yet.

WYSIWYG - yes, indeed, this fellow had a major attitude problem! Interestingly, despite his size, none of the tourists walking around went anywhere near the guy...!

Colleen and Vivien - Thanks! :wave:

Rachel - yes, I understand with the coyotes. I grew up in central PA and we never had coyotes back then (a few decades ago). Now, my friends back there say they're everywhere. As a result, you don't see pheasants anymore. We have a problem out here with cougars. A few years ago, they stopped cougar hunting with dogs, which was about the only way they could be successfully hunted. Not very many people hunted them because it was very hard to do, even with dogs, and so it really didn't affect the population that much. But what it did do was instill a healthy fear of humans into the cats and there were almost no reports of aggressive cougars. Since the dog hunting was banned, the cougar population has grown somewhat, but more importantly the cats - especially the young ones - have lost their fear of people. Since they're on top of the food chain with everything else out here, that creates an issue for hikers, etc. and there have been some well-publicized issues. I think it will only be a matter of time until someone's kid gets hauled off into the woods - there have been at least three situations in the last two years just near my house where cougars have been sighted near elementary schools and the schools were actually closed for recess until the fish and game folks declared that it was ok for the kids to go out again. Cougars are way scarier than coyotes because of their size, efficiency as predators (I've read an article that cougars are pound for pound the most efficient predators on the planet) and stealthiness. Some biologists did a study on several trapped and GPS-collared cougars captured in our state to track their movements (they, especially the males, have large territories which they patrol on a regular basis). One conclusion of the report - people have no idea how close they come to populated areas and how regularly. The cats in the study regularly used neighborhood walking trails, and in several cases came to houses. Because of their stealth, they were rarely seen, but they were definitely using the area. Interestingly, cougars are what is known as 'crepuscular' - which is neither nocturnal nor diurnal. The term means that they are most active around dawn and dusk - this correlates to their primary prey (deer and elk) and their active periods.

Sorry for the digression folks...

If the predicted rain holds off, I'm off to the zoo today to sketch raptors.

sarales
10-14-2010, 02:11 PM
Fascinating digression!

poochemio
10-14-2010, 03:48 PM
I have been out of pocket the last week and couldn't check online. John your sketches are just great, the peregrine falcon fabulous (I'm a huge raptor fan, and we have peregrines in our area too), and the squirrels amused me especially the angry one. Oh yes and the meadowlark, I saw them constantly growing up but they aren't common here in Central Texas.:thumbsup:

JTMB
10-14-2010, 08:20 PM
Thanks Leslie and Margo!

Here are yesterday's and today's sketches - I think I'm actually a bit ahead of where I need to be to finish all 100 pages for the month, a bit hard to believe.

The first image is a quick (and rough and marginal) landscape of a pond about 200 yards from our house. I go there to bird, plus there are some fish in it and kids fish there periodically. There is a lot wrong with this little piece - sky too blue, pond too gray, reflections not great, but it conveys a sense of the place at least. The mountains in the background are the Cascade Mountain foothills.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Oct-2010/165640-1746-S70-4thHolePondLS-OctSB-Oct13,10-WS.jpg


The next sketch page is life drawings of mallards, which were on the preceding pond. First time I had tried ducks from life and it was pretty hard - especially the bills (my normal bugaboo).

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Oct-2010/165640-1749-S70-MallardAt4thHoleFromLife-Oct13,10-WS.jpg


The next page is a California Quail, done from one of my photo references, taken near where I worked before I retired. We had as many as 14 coming to our feeders at that location for some time in the winter. I took a little more time on this one, which shows (I hope!).


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Oct-2010/165640-1752-S70-CAQUfromUltreoPhoto-Oct13,10-WS.jpg


The next three pages were done today (the 14th) at the Woodland Park Zoo raptor center in Seattle. They had multiple species tethered outside within about 15 feet of the viewing area, which made it relatively easy (for drawing from life anyway). I spent most of my time on a Red-tailed Hawk since that is a species we have seen from our back yard. Also worked a bit on a Harris's Hawk that was right next to the Red-tailed. Even with relatively cooperative subjects, it was hard.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Oct-2010/165640-1756-S70-RTHAatZooFromLife-Oct14,10-WS.jpg


The next two pages are more hawk sketches (HAHA is the abbreviation for Harris's Hawk if you see that in my notes and are confused about what the term is, and RTHA is Red-tailed Hawk.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Oct-2010/165640-1761-S70-HAHAatZooFromLife-Oct14,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Oct-2010/165640-1766-S70-RTHAatZooFromLife-Oct14,10-WS.jpg

DrDebby
10-14-2010, 10:38 PM
What a great area you live in to have ponds and birds around you.

Like seeing all your studies of birds from life. I can see you learning. It's fascinating. Marvelous job as always.

JTMB
10-14-2010, 11:53 PM
Ooops...! Forgot one page. This would be the second page in the hawk sequence above.

And thanks, Debby! I do feel like I'm learning a lot even though I'm still laying an egg periodically. :lol:


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Oct-2010/165640-1759-S70-RTHAatZooFromLife-Oct14,10-WS.jpg

Chuckcamo
10-14-2010, 11:54 PM
very nice set of sketches, like those life drawings... you got a great view from your house!

Beautiful_Butterflies_Studio
10-15-2010, 01:38 AM
Hi John,

ALL of these SKETCHES and DRAWINGS are AMAZING!!!!!!

Each so unique and special, LOVE each and every one, especially the life drawings, they are getting soooooo much better!!!!!!

Gentle Hugs, Stacey

vhere
10-15-2010, 05:30 AM
great bird studies :)

JTMB
10-16-2010, 08:10 PM
Thank you Chuck, Stacey and Vivien!

Today's uploads put me exactly halfway through the sketchbook - 25 pages, both sides, for a total of 50 out of 100 sides. I might make it yet...

The first one of the pages here shows three Greater White-fronted Geese. This is a species that seems to be getting more common in our area in fall and winter migration. They are smaller than Canada Geese (although Cackling Geese, which used to be lumped under Canada Geese, can be as small as these are - which is a bit bigger than a good-sized Mallard duck) but have orange bills and feet and lighter coloration on top than Canadas. These were sketched from a video I made at a plein air watercolor class last week when six of the geese waddled near us, feeding with a larger group of Canadas. This is pencil sketch plus watercolor wash.

The next page is a couple of flowers from our garden - an aster (they just bloomed in the last couple days, quite late, an indication of the wet and cool summer we had), and a yellow flower whose name I can't remember. These are done with Pitt brush pens.

The last two pages are sketches of a captive cougar at a nearby small zoo - located on Cougar Mountain, and fittingly enough called Cougar Mountain Zoo. And, surprise, surprise, they have cougars. Well, one male cougar named Noshi. They used to have two, but the other one died of old age and Noshi is 17 years old (he was born in captivity, I believe), which apparently is pretty old for a big cat and so he gets the royal pampered treatment from the keepers. He was moving around a lot when I was there, because the keeper had just given a talk and then hid his food around in various places so he had to walk to find and get it. I was struck initially by how the very long tail was held in a very curved manner and so did two quick sketches of that, then when the cat finally laid down, I did a quick sketch of his head. The second cougar page (the whole cat) was done using a video I took as a reference. The cougar sketches are in woodless graphite, HB and 2B primarily.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Oct-2010/165640-1769-S70-GWFGfromVideo-Oct15,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Oct-2010/165640-1771-S70-AsterOther-Oct15,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Oct-2010/165640-1773-S70-CougarAtCMZoo-Oct15,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Oct-2010/165640-1776-S70-CougarAtCMZoo-Oct15,10-WS.jpg

robertsloan2
10-16-2010, 08:28 PM
Love the pouncing coyotes! That's wonderful. Great motion and accurate anatomy on those canines. Well done! Cool pond landscape and mallard sketches, love the shapes of the mallards' heads and bills. Beautiful California quail, I recognized it at a glance and smiled. That's so perfect.

Beautiful hawk sketches, they look like great working drawings, quick gestures and expressions easily developed with more detail. Again such lively expressions! Love the cougar, you really got his musculature and proportions just right. Cool flowers too, but the cougar sketches really get to me, I'm a cat nut and you got that cougar perfect.

virgo68
10-16-2010, 09:46 PM
Excellent work John, you have some such a long way and it is showing ;)

vhere
10-17-2010, 09:26 AM
the geese and the cougar are good - it's so good to sketch from life

DrDebby
10-17-2010, 08:01 PM
These are splendid. I really like the cougar drawings.

RainySea
10-18-2010, 02:11 AM
LOVE the quail on the stump . . . nice colors and texture.
The rock textures on the cougar is also great and the cougar himself well-drawn. . . like the composition of that one.

JTMB
10-18-2010, 05:48 PM
Thanks Robert, Jackie, Vivien, Debby and Rainy! :wave:

Well, today is a bummer in that I'm in the worst back pain I've ever had - this is the first time today I was able to tolerate sitting at the computer. Hopefully this won't last too long - the docs don't believe it's anything more than very bad muscle spasms, so it could be worse (always could be worse!). But it's hard trying to draw while lying on your back with knees in the air and ice under the back - that'll be my excuse if the next sketches I do are clunkers. :lol:

Here are three from yesterday - pages 51, 52 and 53.

I guess Robert inspired me to do cats...big cats in this case. Here are another batch of cougars, done from the video I took recently at the nearby zoo. The first one turned out really well from my perspective - it actually looks a lot like the cat in the reference video...! Maybe I'm making some improvements in drawing mammals after all...grin. The other two are ok, in that they look like cougars (sort of) but if you saw the reference video frames, it would be apparent that the likeness of the individual animal and its personality is a bit lacking.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/18-Oct-2010/165640-1780-S70-CougarFromVideoAtCMZoo-Oct17,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/18-Oct-2010/165640-1784-S70-CougarFromCMZooVideo-Oct17,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/18-Oct-2010/165640-1787-S70-CougarFromCMZooVideo-Oct17,10-WS.jpg

DrDebby
10-18-2010, 06:32 PM
Sorry to hear you are in pain. That's a huge bummer.

The cougars are fabulous. I really like the first one.

virgo68
10-18-2010, 07:52 PM
John - fabulous stuff - I am soooooo impressed! Hope you are back on your feet properly soon :)

CandAlArt
10-18-2010, 08:38 PM
well I thought your backyard was really getting WILD till I scrolled back up to read it was a zoo picture HAHA! Great job! Especially #26 from 10/16. wowser.

JTMB
10-18-2010, 08:43 PM
Thanks Debby, Jackie and Candace!

Yes, Candace, the cougar is not from the backyard. BUT...they are seen in our area, usually just tracks because of their stealth, but they have been seen within sight of our back yard. Plus, the zoo is our 'neighborhood' zoo (about 11 miles away) so I figured that qualified as almost backyard...! :lol:

Twice this autumn we had a bear come in the back yard and pull down two of our bird feeders. So now until the bears are in their dens for the winter (probably another month yet) we have to bring in those feeders every night to prevent the marauding bruins from having their way with the poor birds food...!

Chuckcamo
10-18-2010, 09:14 PM
good job with the big cats... the sketches and washes look great!

loobyteacher
10-18-2010, 09:22 PM
wonderful animals, I especially like the quail, geese and cougars.

Selina Designs
10-19-2010, 12:27 AM
John, these are wonderful - you captured the cat so well! Hope you are feeling better soon....
Cindi

sarales
10-19-2010, 12:31 AM
John, I love these cougars!! They are wonderful.
I'm SO sorry about your back pain. I do hope you have relief soon!!

robertsloan2
10-19-2010, 01:33 AM
Yikes, I feel for you about the back spasms. I know how bad those can get and how hard it is to get into a position where you can wait it out. Glad you can use ice to help with them. I hope they go down fast, and that maybe you can get a massage - that always helps.

Gorgeous cougars, especially the first one. I can see a few minor proportion problems with the others - head a bit small and head angle shifting on the graphite one, the second it's mostly a matter of lost lines and values on one side of the chin, but that first one is incredible. He's finite perfection and the other two come so close. Keep sketching from the videos, it's so fantastic you have them!

Also, try sketching from the first sketch, the one that came out so well. Transposing it into another medium should prove interesting. Just a suggestion. The more often I do cats, the easier they come to me - and wow, you're doing so well with these cougars! Tempting me to go up to the RIL and find some good cougar shots!

JTMB
10-20-2010, 03:21 PM
Thanks Chuck, Colleen, Cindi, Leslie and Robert! :wave:

My back is feeling much better, though not back to where I'd like it to be yet, but tolerable compared to the last couple of days. Thanks for the well wishes - that's probably what made it better...! :)

So I've got sketches from a couple days to post here. Sorry about the color cast on some of the images - I took them early this morning outside in shadow and was not able to completely color balance them before uploading.

The first one is a dogwood fruit and a dogwood leaf partly turning color. The fruits are strange looking things, but a couple of bird species like them - crows, robins and starlings. Haven't seen anyone else get them. These are in Pitt brush pens and as you can see the color for the purplish red part of the leaf really doesn't look red enough. But it sort of gives the idea.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Oct-2010/165640-1820-S70-DogwoodFromLife-Oct20,10-WS.jpg


The next one is a watercolor of a Wilson's Snipe, done from a friend's photo. I picked this species because last week when walking the dog along one of the neighborhood trails, I flushed one of these about three feet away. It must have been in migration because the location in which I found it was not great long-term habitat. Only the 2nd time I've seen one of these in my neighborhood walks.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Oct-2010/165640-1815-S70-WISNfromGTPhoto-Oct20,10-WS.jpg

The next pencil drawing is the old familiar Canada Goose, which has gotten so populous in our area (and many others) that it is a nuisance. These birds never used to be year-round residents in our area - they were only seen in migration. Now, due to golf courses and lawns everywhere (which to geese is like a massive buffet table) there are huge populations that just stay put. And make parks and beaches unusable at times - to quote a friend of mine, they are "sewer pipes with beaks". :) This was a pose from a video I took during a plein air outing two weeks ago.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Oct-2010/165640-1814-S70-CanGooVideo-Oct20,10-WS.jpg



For those of you who have actually read some of my bird posts, you'll know that I struggle with getting accurate bills (I should mention that at least here in the states, a bird's bill is synonymous with a bird's beak, and was actually the preferred term by our instructor, so that's what I use). American Crow bills are big and unique and have given me fits the few times I've drawn crows. So I decided to pull out a video I took of four crows in a tree in our yard and stop it on different poses and concentrate on 'headshots' of the birds. So here we go with five different pages of crow sketches - apologies for the repetition, but it was a great learning exercise. Some of them came out passably well - others are quite wonky, sigh!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Oct-2010/165640-1810-S70-AMCRsInYardVideo-Oct_20,_10-WS.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Oct-2010/165640-1808-S70-AMCRsFromVideo-Oct20,10-WS.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Oct-2010/165640-1803-S70-AMCRsFromVideo-Oct20,10-WS.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Oct-2010/165640-1800-S70-AMCRsInYardVideo-Oct2-0,10-WS.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Oct-2010/165640-1799-S70-AMCRsInDougFirVideo-Oct20,10-WS.jpg


And finally, I decided to do some timed sketches, giving myself no more than five minutes per sketch, of American Goldfinches using video (stop framed and drawing one or more birds from the frame). So the final three pages are goldfinch sketches. It was a helpful exercise toward my goal of doing reasonable drawings from life.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Oct-2010/165640-1794-S70-AMGOsFeedingVideo-Oct20,10-WS.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Oct-2010/165640-1791-S70-AMGOsFeedingFromVideo-Oct20,10-WS.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Oct-2010/165640-1790-S70-AMGOsFeedingInYardVideo-Oct20,10.jpg

C&C always welcome!

vhere
10-20-2010, 03:44 PM
the natural poses in those stop frame are lovely and so lively

some good pages :)

sarales
10-20-2010, 05:59 PM
John, I'm glad you are feeling better! I love all those beaks, and the goldfinches are excellent. :)

robertsloan2
10-20-2010, 07:32 PM
Cool dogwood fruit and leaf. One thing I found with the Pitt pens was that they layer pretty well, using bright red over a light green will often give a good maroon color. Try some combination swatches, it really extends their range well, especially in neutrals and muted colors but also analogous ones. Love the reserved white veins on that.

Gorgeous watercolor painting of the snipe. That is a magnificent bird, so much detail and accuracy. Your bird paintings and drawings always thrill me. Maybe it's the cat side wanting to pounce on them!

Fantastic series of crows and goldfinches. I'm not bored at all seeing the repetition, since there isn't any - you're doing so many different poses and they're all so true to life. Wonderful drawings, so detailed, well modeled, beautiful and accurate.

Did you use a blue pencil or adjust graphite drawings to blue to make them show up more? Just curious, because monochrome blue is gorgeous in person too. I've got a spare blue Derwent watercolor pencil that I sometimes use for sketch and wash.

virgo68
10-20-2010, 09:30 PM
lovely studies - well done :)

Selina Designs
10-20-2010, 11:11 PM
Love the bird sketches - especially the timed ones! A fabulous idea, and you executed them wonderfully. It looks like a tiny flock! You have done so many different poses of the birds, it is not repetitious at all; different moods and angles; all show your progress.

DrDebby
10-20-2010, 11:18 PM
First of all, I'm not bored. The different angles and views of the same bird are very interesting. In fact, this could be a life drawing class for birds instead of humans. :) Love seeing all your bird drawings.

RainySea
10-20-2010, 11:19 PM
Beautiful work, John! The cats are just beautiful, especially the first one. . . its perfect! Love the pose and the color. And the eyes!

The snipe is lovely, the soft reflection and the colors really appeal to me.

Chuckcamo
10-20-2010, 11:42 PM
Good to hear your back is getting better... very nice sketches, the Goldfinches look great!

Carole A
10-20-2010, 11:53 PM
John ~ I love your crows and your Amer Goldfinches. Both of those birds hang around my backyard. The crows are real comics with some of their antics. And the goldfinches are so much fun to watch with their roller-coaster style of flying. Up and down. This time of year, we're getting small woodpeckers, nuthatches and chickadees at the suet feeder and the sunflower seeds. Flickers also at the suet feeder. Soon the cedar waxwings will be traveling through; some years they just decimate the holly berries and then I have none for holiday decorating.

Oh well, they're fun to watch and in a few years when my old Lab leaves me, they will be my "pets", along with frogs, squirrels and one very fat goldfish in the pond.

Carole A

JTMB
10-21-2010, 12:20 AM
Thanks Vivien, Leslie, Robert, Jackie, Cindi, Debby, Rainy, Carole and Chuck! :wave:

There was actually a flock of goldfinches feeding when I did the video. So what I did for references was go through the video one second at a time, find a 'frame' where there were a number of interesting poses of the various birds and then sketch them one by one. I found the imposition of a time limit to actually help the sketches compared to some I've done in the past with no time pressure. Strange, but true...! :)

Robert - no colored pencil(s) were used. The images were taken in the early morning outside in the shade, and the auto white balance on the camera I'm using doesn't work well - they came out extremely blue. When color balancing in Photoshop, the adjustments were pretty significant and in order to get the paper to look something like its actuall off-white, the graphite was left looking pretty blue. I didn't think it was worth shooting all the images again in regular sunlight in this case, given they were just sketches.

Oh yes...one more birder info tidbit. The Wilson's Snipe in the painting is not floating in the water - it was wading up to its belly so the legs were not visible. Snipe are not actually waterfowl, meaning they can't land and float on the water like ducks, gulls, geese, etc.

robertsloan2
10-21-2010, 05:21 AM
Oh that's cool! I didn't know that about snipe. It's beautiful, and you've taught me something about birds again. I only know that snipe hunting is also something like "wild goose chase," a chance for experienced wilderness sorts to play pranks on the ignorant.

I like the blue cast to your graphite sketches, was just curious. Some of my friends deliberately turn graphite scans to blue in order to make them show up better and show more detail. You were correcting to get the paper right, so it wound up blue instead of graphite on pink. Makes sense. My photos sometimes turn pink or buff too. I tend not to worry on graphite because if the drawing can be seen, I'm happy.

Time limit sketches are great. I was scared the first time I tried it. I was going to a life drawing group in Kansas and one of the other artists started her modeling night with "A bunch of gestures," which turned out to be one to three minute poses. She did a lot of interesting ones. I used charcoal and heart thumping, tried to keep up by just getting the general shape of her body in. By drawing fast, it was weird, I started going faster and they weren't all unfinished. Sometimes I had time to put in her features with quick dots or swipes of charcoal. They came out better than the slow sketches!

The same session where I first did gestures, when she did a fifteen minute pose I felt like I had hours to finish and got in lots of shading, all her details, finished early to my surprise. It was a shock and a valuable lesson. I stopped worrying about it at all.

That solved the problem of trying to draw my cat. He moves. If he's sound asleep, the moment I start sketching, he'll roll over or look up or turn around. If he's awake, he knows I'm paying attention to him, so I have something much more important than drawing him to do. Pet the cat!

So after doing the girl that night, I wound up starting to keep up with Ari's twitchy sleep patterns. The result is all through my sketchbooks - hundreds of cat gestures later, I can get him in the fleeting poses that still take trained memory to finish. I'm close to capturing him moving.

What you're doing with the goldfinches video is the same thing. Quick timed sketches like that are the next thing to being able to see that pose and sketch it even while the bird's moving. Or when it repeats a motion, like preening or splashing in a bird bath.

Oh yeah, since you mentioned you had a couple of the Daniel Smith luminescent watercolors, I have a personal challenge for you, should you care to take it. Sketch a grackle in pen and ink with ink wash. Let the ink wash dry, going dark wherever the grackle's dark values are and medium where medium, leaving reserved highlights. Over that, use the Luminescent watercolors to do the iridescence of his neck. I love grackles. I love their iridescence and those watercolors are incredible over black - and won't mix with ink. You could do any non-black details in other watercolors but the majority of a grackle's black, so the ink would do it.

I hope you do it because I'd love to see it and do not have any grackles around here to practice with. My window's on the second storey and for some reason they avoid the tree by my window. I occasionally see little brown birds, but that's it.

JTMB
10-22-2010, 02:28 PM
Thanks, Robert! I'm in the same boat as you are - grackles are actually an extremely rare bird in our state, and particularly west of the mountains where I live. I'll put it on my list for down the road, however, and try to get a good photo to work from.

In the two figure drawing classes I took at college last year, we started every session with ten second sketches...! We were drawing on newsprint, so the format was large as well. We were using charcoal or soft pastels and (for the longer timed work) a 'form' and value approach rather than a 'line' approach. The longest poses we had were half an hour. So we started inside with shading and building up values and then developed the edges rather than starting with an outline.

So here are pages 65 through 69 out of the 100 page (or page side, to be more correct) sketchbook for the month.

The first image is of Red-breasted Nuthatches from a video I took of them at my feeders. This species (and all nuthatch species) are hyperactive - it is virtually impossible to see them resting for more than a fraction of a second. They are amazing. They're tiny as well - about the size of a chickadee. We have had a pair of them coming regularly to our feeders for the last four or so months.

The next quick sketch was done at the natural area near our house that I go to frequently, and is part of a Bigleaf Maple multi-trunk tree, most of which has died and is sun-bleached and dry. I may try doing the whole tree at some point, but that would be a challenge.

The next two pages are sketches from my photos of a wonderful little species called a Bushtit. These birds are perhaps the cutest of the little birds out there, at least in terms of 'teddy-bear cute'. They are just basic brown-gray birds with black eyes (males) and gray eyes (females) and a long tail. But they are highly gregarious birds which feed in flocks and happily chatter away as they work their way through an area feeding on tiny bugs in the little nooks and crannies of the vegetation. Their nests are fun as well - they are long suspended things that look like gray socks hanging from branches, and they have large clutches of eggs. When the babies hatch and get close to fledging, the sock/nest is constantly squirming around like there's a squirrel or something inside.

The final page is another interesting small species (larger than the Bushtits) called a Brown Creeper. They are called that because they are in constant motion creeping up and along trunks and branches of trees looking for bugs. They will work their way up for some distance, then fly down at a steep angle to the lower parts of another tree or branch, and start creeping their way up again. They are common in the appropriate habitat but tough to find (for me, anyway) because they have an effective cryptic camouflage pattern on their backs which blends in very well with tree trunks and branches. This image is done in Graphitints - all the others were woodless graphite.

C&C always welcome.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Oct-2010/165640-1831-S70-RBNUfromVideo-Oct22,10-WS.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Oct-2010/165640-1834-S70-DeadMapleAt3Forks-Oct22,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Oct-2010/165640-1836-S70-BushtitsFromPhoto-Oct22,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Oct-2010/165640-1838-S70-BushtitFromPhoto-Oct22,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Oct-2010/165640-1843-S70-BRCRfromPhoto-Oct22,10-WS.jpg

robertsloan2
10-22-2010, 06:09 PM
Wow! I can see how well camouflaged the brown creeper is from your drawing - any other angle he'd be invisible. Beautiful bird, and fantastic Graphitints drawing. Gorgeous bushtits. I love those little guys, you're right about how cute they are. They look like the sort of little toy birds you'd put on a Christmas tree. Cool nuthatches - I used to see those at feeders in other places I've lived and they're so accurate.

Gorgeous bird drawings as always. I really enjoy this book. Your portion of the multi-trunk maple and the leaf with the bushtit are splendid too. Well done!

DrDebby
10-22-2010, 06:19 PM
Wonderful bird drawings and information. The tree looks great. Challenge yourself to draw the whole of it. It would be awesome.

Chuckcamo
10-22-2010, 10:27 PM
Excellent sketches, really like how you did the shading too, those last two birds are intriguing, they caught my curiosity... great job!

RainySea
10-22-2010, 11:04 PM
great birds! I love the little guy at top of page 34 and then the one behind the leaf on the next page with no number. Wonderful shading.

vhere
10-23-2010, 12:06 PM
lovely natural looking attitudes and movement you are catching with these :)

JTMB
10-23-2010, 08:25 PM
Thanks Robert, Debby, Chuck, Rainy and Vivien!

Here are the next four pages - numbers 70, 71, 72 and 73. More birds, of course.

The first one is a Pied-billed Grebe, a diving waterbird with a stubby and stocky bill. They have the unique ability to partially submerge if they're concerned. They flatten their feathers up against their body and slowly sink like a submarine to whatever depth they want. They can do this so that just their eyes and top of their head are above the water, or of course they can dive completely and travel quite a distance under water. This was done from life, with details added later, at a natural area near my house.

The second bird is a Purple Finch female. The Purple Finch male, as the name implies, has a lot more color, whereas the female is basically a 'little brown bird' in coloration. The Purple Finch female looks a lot like the House Finch female, although once you are experienced with them, the overall profile is significantly different. The biggest field mark for Purple Finches, though, is the light beige 'supercilium' (eyebrow) that you can see inthe drawing here. The House Finch does not have this supercilium.

The third bird is one of my favorite ducks - the drake (male) Northern Pintail. Both sexes of this species are very sleek and elegant-looking birds, with long, slender necks and (for the male) a beautiful but not gaudy coloration pattern. Their name derives from the very pointy tale that is obvious on the male, as here.

The final drawing here is an Acorn Woodpecker. This is a very unique species which we normally don't get at all in our area - in fact they are quite a rarity in our county. So when one showed up for about four days a couple weeks back, it drew quite the admiring crowd. This species eats acorns as its primary staple and is unique in that it is a highly communal bird. The birds cooperatively harvest and store acorns in the unique manner portrayed in this sketch - they store acorns in a 'granary tree', and granary trees (which can also be the side of a cabin rather than a tree) have been documented to contain as many as 50,000 stored acorns. The birds drill the holes so precisely that stored acorns can't even be removed by marauding squirrels.

The first three pages are done with graphite and the Acorn Woodpecker started with a graphite sketch and then received watercolor washes.

C&C always welcome.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-Oct-2010/165640-1854-S70-PBGRfrom3Forks-Oct24,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-Oct-2010/165640-1851-S70-PUFIfromMagazine-Oct23,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-Oct-2010/165640-1849-S70-NOPIfromMagazine-Oct24,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-Oct-2010/165640-1846-S70-ACWOfromMag-Oct24,10-WS.jpg

DrDebby
10-24-2010, 12:11 AM
Oh wow! These are awesome. Love the woodpecker.

RainySea
10-24-2010, 02:24 AM
Hi John,
more neat birds. . . love the flying duck and the colors of the woodpecker (that red head is a hoot! he looks like he's wearing a little cap :) so many interesting colors in birds.

CandAlArt
10-24-2010, 11:18 PM
I never tire of your birds. Not many people attempt them. I may have missed you saying this, but do use all photo refs or sometimes do them from life? They move too fast for me, but with your experience I imagine you get good results even from life sketches.

JTMB
10-25-2010, 12:00 AM
Thank you Debby, Rainy and Candace!

The Acorn Woodpecker is a bit comical in its coloration - and the red top of the head is part of its quirky looks. I really like this species - I like woodpeckers in general, actually. They're cool birds.

Candace - I am working on sketching birds from life, and some of the images here started that way (the Pied-billed Grebe was that situation) with some detail added later. Most of the birds in here, though, are from either photos (most of which are mine or a friend of mine) or from videos I've shot of various species. In the videos, sometimes I keep them running on a continuous loop and sometimes I find a frame I like and stop it there while I sketch.

So here are pages 74-77. The first sketch is a Bewick's Wren from a photo I took - singing his head off looking for a mate, done in graphite.

The second sketch is a Pacific Wren (until very recently, known as a Winter Wren). Pacific Wrens are little brown cotton puffs - tiny things, but with an attitude about ten times their size. They have an amazingly long and variable song that is simply amazing coming from such a small bird. This sketch is also in graphite, followed by watercolor washes. I used field guide photos as a reference for the Pacific Wren.

The third sketch is a good old male House Sparrow, from a photo of mine, started as a graphite sketch, then with watercolor washes added.

The final drawing is done with Pitt Artist brush pens, from two leaves from plants in our back yard - the red one is a Serviceberry leaf, and the yellow-green on is from a Chinese Witch Hazel.

Thanks for looking, everyone!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/24-Oct-2010/165640-1856-S70-BEWRfromPhoto-Oct24,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/24-Oct-2010/165640-1861-S70-PAWRfromGuidebook-Oct24,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/24-Oct-2010/165640-1863-S70-HOSPfromPhoto-Oct24,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/24-Oct-2010/165640-1867-S70-AutumnLeavesYard-Oct24,10-WS.jpg

Selina Designs
10-25-2010, 12:51 AM
oohhh, I love the Wrens! I live in southeast Texas and we have a similar wren who has built his home under our house! I love to hear him singing in the mornings! You've nailed them; and the Bewick's wren is such a cheeky little fellow! Great work.
Cindi

RainySea
10-25-2010, 10:59 AM
beautiful birds and leaves, John. your details are wonderful. . . from the delicate feathers and feet on the sparrow to the veins on each leaf.

DrDebby
10-25-2010, 06:09 PM
Great birds and leaves. You are so good with the pencil then water color wash.

robertsloan2
10-25-2010, 08:55 PM
These are fantastic. I love the Wrens. They're too cool. Great job on the leaves and that house sparrow is perfect. That first wren is magnificent, the beak is stunning and the expression so lively!

Acorn Woodpecker looks good, that bright red cap is cool. I've seen red patches on many types of woodpeckers or other bright heads, it's just something about them, didn't seem odd to me. The pintail in flight looks good, I've seen that position. The grebe looks a little stiff but very detailed, I could probably recognize one from it. Best in that batch is the female Purple Finch. I've seen those in person and she is spot on - she looks so real!

Well done! You've been prolific and so accurate with all of these, they're a joy! Glad to see you're still producing lots!

virgo68
10-25-2010, 09:15 PM
John - great stuff! Your work ethic is tremendous and you are creating some really great stuff here - I am amazed at your progress and what you are learning re techniques etc. Your drawings are showing great improvements (meant in the best of ways as a huge compliment ;) )

Joan T
10-26-2010, 04:16 PM
I had so many pages to catch up on. Love the many, many birds. Awesome deer and wonderful birdbath. Nice sketches!!

Chuckcamo
10-26-2010, 10:33 PM
Loads of bird sketches, that house sparrow looks perfect, kind of 3 dimensional. Great job on the sketches!

JTMB
10-27-2010, 07:12 PM
Thanks so much Cindi, Rainy, Debby, Robert, Jackie, Joan and Chuck! :wave:

Here are pages 78 through 83 out of the 100 page sketchbook. So, 17 pages to go with a bit more than four days to go - means four pages per day. I think I'll be able to do it.

All these sketches were done lightly in graphite, then watercolor washes added. The color balance on some of these isn't great, but they were good enough to upload.

The first sketch is a Brewer's Blackbird. In many types of light, these birds seem jet balck, with just the bright yellow eye to indicate much color at all. However, in good light, they have a purplish head and bluish body, and it is almost irridescent at times. The value is a little light here, but it gives the idea. These have not been common around our area this year, although they're not rare either. This was done from a friend's photo.

The second sketch is another duck - a Bufflehead. These are small ducks that show up in our area to spend the winter - they breed further north. Their head is also irridescent purple and green over black, but in this image my color balance is way off. Looks better than this in person for sure. This was done from my photo.

The next four sketches are all of Osprey, from photos of mine that I took a couple years ago. I was fortunate to find an Osprey nest that was relatively low by their standards (they are built in the open on high spots, often telephone or power poles, or specially-built Osprey platforms that are designed to keep them off more dangerous locations). This nest is on the Deschutes River in Oregon where I take an annual float trip. The second special thing about this nest is that there is a high bank near it, and with a very large camera lens, I climbed up the bank and was able to get higher than the Osprey nest and shoot down into it. There were two chicks that were getting close to fledging and two adults (this same pair has fledged chicks out of this nest for at least five years now). The first drawing shows one of the adults which has just flown into the nest clenching a trout in its talons. The second sketch shows a young bird that is close to fledging but hasn't yet - you can perhaps see the shorter tail feathers as one indication of this. The bird in this drawing had fluffed its feathers up for some reason and looked like the baddest raptor west of the Mississippi River...:) . The final two sketches are of birds in flight, carrying things. The first one might be confusing, not having seen it live. That bird is actually carrying a large hunk of bark from a tree, that it has picked up to add to the nest (they re-use the same nests year after year, and keep expanding them and repairing them). The piece of thick bark really was as large as shown here -it shocked me when I saw it. The final image is of an Osprey which has just successfully caught a trout - I should have mentioned at the beginning of this that Ospreys are pure fish-eaters. They used to be referred to as Fish Hawks and are very well adapted to catch fish. This bird had just caught a good-sized trout and had done an in-flight 'shudder' to get a bunch of the water off its feathers. Note that it only has one set of talons in the fish - this is unusual. Usually to get both sets of talons in during the catch, but in a case like this, the bird will quickly grab the fish with its other talon, and then they always line the fish up with its head facing the same way they are, and the fish lined up under their body so they have the least possible wind resistance. They have one foot in front and one foot behind it so that the trout has the lowest possible in-flight resistance on the way back to the nest or perch to eat.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2010/165640-1870-S70-BRBLfromGTPhoto-Oct27,_10_-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2010/165640-1873-S70-BUFFfromPhoto-Oct_27,_10_-_WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2010/165640-1875-S70-OSPRfromPhoto-Oct27,10.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2010/165640-1879-S70-OSPRchickInDeschutesNest-Oct27,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2010/165640-1881-S70-OSPRfrom_photo-Oct27,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2010/165640-1883-S70-OSPRfromPhoto-Oct27,10-WS.jpg

virgo68
10-27-2010, 08:30 PM
I learn so much reading your threads John! Never heard of a Bufflehead - I might adopt the name for myself :lol:

I like all of these last ones but particularly the first and the last sketches - you've caught the positioning of the bird and fish so well. I am not sure what sort of species of blackbird we have here but they are funny to watch even if a nuisance throwing all the bark and woodchips around looking for a tasty morsel! You can't have manicured lawns and perfect flower beds with blackbirds around ;)

Vivien Maloney
10-27-2010, 10:49 PM
You've been really busy sketching since I last looked in - well done. It's very interesting seeing and reading about the different birds in your part of the world, most of them completely different to those down here.

Selina Designs
10-27-2010, 11:56 PM
oohhh... love the osprey's! Such beautiful birds...you captured them well - especially the baby! Great expression! Thanks for the background info, too...I just love hearing about their habits.
Cindi

DrDebby
10-28-2010, 12:06 AM
Wonderful birds. The osprey are magnificent. Liked the bark being carried to expand the nest.

sarales
10-28-2010, 01:02 AM
Excellent osprays, John!!! I love spotting their nests when we go down near the coast. :)

sarales
10-28-2010, 01:03 AM
I guess that should be "osprey", not osprays! LOL!

RainySea
10-28-2010, 01:34 AM
omgosh, you are on a roll John. Really nice painting of the blackbird, I love the blues and purply tones in his feathers. Just beautiful.

Are ospry raptors? The paintings looks like raptors. . . great paintings of them! we sometimes see golden eagles up in the mountains. In fact, they have a tracking program for goldens here in SoCal
http://www.wildlife-research.org/wildlifenewsVol6.pdf

vhere
10-28-2010, 04:28 PM
catching up breathlessly! you really are on a roll

robertsloan2
10-28-2010, 05:18 PM
Thanks so much Cindi, Rainy, Debby, Robert, Jackie, Joan and Chuck! :wave:

Here are pages 78 through 83 out of the 100 page sketchbook. So, 17 pages to go with a bit more than four days to go - means four pages per day. I think I'll be able to do it.

All these sketches were done lightly in graphite, then watercolor washes added. The color balance on some of these isn't great, but they were good enough to upload.

The first sketch is a Brewer's Blackbird. In many types of light, these birds seem jet balck, with just the bright yellow eye to indicate much color at all. However, in good light, they have a purplish head and bluish body, and it is almost irridescent at times. The value is a little light here, but it gives the idea. These have not been common around our area this year, although they're not rare either. This was done from a friend's photo.

The second sketch is another duck - a Bufflehead. These are small ducks that show up in our area to spend the winter - they breed further north. Their head is also irridescent purple and green over black, but in this image my color balance is way off. Looks better than this in person for sure. This was done from my photo.

The next four sketches are all of Osprey, from photos of mine that I took a couple years ago. I was fortunate to find an Osprey nest that was relatively low by their standards (they are built in the open on high spots, often telephone or power poles, or specially-built Osprey platforms that are designed to keep them off more dangerous locations). This nest is on the Deschutes River in Oregon where I take an annual float trip. The second special thing about this nest is that there is a high bank near it, and with a very large camera lens, I climbed up the bank and was able to get higher than the Osprey nest and shoot down into it. There were two chicks that were getting close to fledging and two adults (this same pair has fledged chicks out of this nest for at least five years now). The first drawing shows one of the adults which has just flown into the nest clenching a trout in its talons. The second sketch shows a young bird that is close to fledging but hasn't yet - you can perhaps see the shorter tail feathers as one indication of this. The bird in this drawing had fluffed its feathers up for some reason and looked like the baddest raptor west of the Mississippi River...:) . The final two sketches are of birds in flight, carrying things. The first one might be confusing, not having seen it live. That bird is actually carrying a large hunk of bark from a tree, that it has picked up to add to the nest (they re-use the same nests year after year, and keep expanding them and repairing them). The piece of thick bark really was as large as shown here -it shocked me when I saw it. The final image is of an Osprey which has just successfully caught a trout - I should have mentioned at the beginning of this that Ospreys are pure fish-eaters. They used to be referred to as Fish Hawks and are very well adapted to catch fish. This bird had just caught a good-sized trout and had done an in-flight 'shudder' to get a bunch of the water off its feathers. Note that it only has one set of talons in the fish - this is unusual. Usually to get both sets of talons in during the catch, but in a case like this, the bird will quickly grab the fish with its other talon, and then they always line the fish up with its head facing the same way they are, and the fish lined up under their body so they have the least possible wind resistance. They have one foot in front and one foot behind it so that the trout has the lowest possible in-flight resistance on the way back to the nest or perch to eat.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2010/165640-1870-S70-BRBLfromGTPhoto-Oct27,_10_-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2010/165640-1873-S70-BUFFfromPhoto-Oct_27,_10_-_WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2010/165640-1875-S70-OSPRfromPhoto-Oct27,10.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2010/165640-1879-S70-OSPRchickInDeschutesNest-Oct27,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2010/165640-1881-S70-OSPRfrom_photo-Oct27,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Oct-2010/165640-1883-S70-OSPRfromPhoto-Oct27,10-WS.jpg

John, these are fantastic! The Osprey is one of my favorites. Love it, and quoted forward because the thread turned a page. Thanks again for all the information on each of them, that rocks.

Chuckcamo
10-29-2010, 04:01 AM
Great stuff JTMB, the Blackbird and the Osprey look exceptionally good, great info too. :thumbsup:

flashviv
10-29-2010, 05:00 AM
WOW, this is good stuff!! Great read too. Beautiful pages.

JTMB
10-29-2010, 10:31 PM
Thanks Jackie, Viv, Cindi, Debby, Leslie, Rainy, Vivien, Robert, Chuck and Linda! :wave:

And yes, Jackie, Bufflehead is definitely one of the more quirky names for a bird species. :)

Here are 7 more pages, leaving 10 more to go to finish the 100 for the month.

The first two pages are a Nashville Warbler and a MacGillivray's Warbler, respectively. These two species are confusing until you get some experience - they look quite similar. The differentiating field marks are some pretty minor differences - the most obvious one is that the Nashville has a big white eye ring whereas the MacGillivray's has two white crescent marks above and below the eye, and therefore lacks the full eye ring of the Nashville.

The third image is a favorite species of mine, found only in a small area of the western US - an American Dipper. This is done from a friend's photo and shows a very recently-fledged young bird begging mom and dad to feed it. This species has a unique feeding niche - it lives by fast-moving cold streams and dives in the water, walking/'flying' along the bottom to grab aquatic insects and the occasional fish egg. Pretty interesting to watch. The pair that fledged this youngster fledged two sets of chicks this summer - four each time...!

The fourth image is a small gull called a Bonaparte's Gull, from a photo I took.

Images 5 and 6 are of a Downy Woodpecker, a small and common woodpecker throughout the US. In the second of these images, the woodpecker was excavating a hole in a dead tree to make a nest hole.

Image 7, my favorite of this batch, is a Hairy Woodpecker, very similar to a Downy but a bit larger and with a longer bill and a different sound. A couple summers ago, I found a Hairy Woodpecker nest hole pretty close to our house and visited it for a couple days to photograph the young birds, who were very close to leaving the nest. They and the parents made an incredible racket with the coming and going of the parents with food - didn't seem very safe to me, but they fledged successfully.

All these images were sketched in pencil then had watercolor washes added.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Oct-2010/165640-1904-S70-NAWAfromGTPhoto-Oct29,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Oct-2010/165640-1906-S70-MacWarbFromPhoto-Oct29,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Oct-2010/165640-1899-S70-AMDIyoungBegging-Oct29.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Oct-2010/165640-1896-S70-BonapartesGull-Oct29,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Oct-2010/165640-1892-S70-DOWOonLimb-Oct29,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Oct-2010/165640-1890-S70-DOWOexHole-Oct29,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/29-Oct-2010/165640-1888-S70-HAWOyoungFromPhoto-Oct29,10-WS.jpg

Greeble
10-29-2010, 10:39 PM
i am enjoying all the birds

robertsloan2
10-29-2010, 10:41 PM
These are fantastic, all of them. I love the detail and accuracy. You're handling the watercolor with a lot more confidence now and your strokes are becoming so expressive. As I thought - many types of woodpeckers have a bit of red on their heads to tell each other "Hey, I'm one of your kind" especially around the point they start hanging out in birdy bars chirping pickup lines and dancing raunchy.

sarales
10-29-2010, 10:51 PM
I love all these birds!! Terrific!

DrDebby
10-30-2010, 12:10 AM
These are all marvelous. I really like the fledgling begging.

JTMB
10-30-2010, 12:14 AM
Thanks Jen, Leslie and Robert!

Robert - most woodpeckers do have red patches, but in most species of woodpeckers, it is only the male which has the red. Or, both species have red, but the male has more red. There are a couple of exceptions, but that is true for the most part.

Selina Designs
10-30-2010, 02:28 PM
You are capturing these birds so very well....love the watercolor! The gull looks very similar to the ones we have here on the Gulf coast. I am not certain of the species we have, though. and I love the last woodpecker sketch - that's great! you captured his expression perfectly!
Cindi

virgo68
10-30-2010, 08:11 PM
Congratulations on a wonderful collection of work for the month! Your workrate is phenomenal ;)

Chuckcamo
10-30-2010, 09:43 PM
great collection of birds, your watercolor looks great, like how that Woodpecker is looking out of his nest hole...

RainySea
10-31-2010, 12:34 AM
really nice watercolor, love the textures and colors of the trees and birds. That baby bird is so cute with his big mouth!!

Epoh
10-31-2010, 02:10 AM
I thoroughly enjoy looking through your sketchbook... the watercolors you've done lately are just beautiful, giving such a wonderful quality to the birds :) ...love the Warblers

I have also enjoyed the information you have shared with us, thank you!

robertsloan2
10-31-2010, 02:13 AM
Thanks! So that wasn't my imagination seeing red on all those woodpeckers. I must've mostly seen male ones when I noticed them. Cool. I'm not off my nut. Your information's always useful!

JTMB
10-31-2010, 02:58 AM
Well, I finished up the 100 pages today, with these last two posts for the last ten sketches. Whew! It was fun, but intense - it definitely helped push my sketching skills ahead I think.

The first three sketches here are in graphite. The first one is a Barrow's Goldeneye duck, a winter resident in our area, often on salt water. And yes, it has a weird-shaped head, shown in the sketch. The second is a Northern Harrier, previously known as a Marsh Hawk. This raptor cruises very slowly only a few feet over the vegetation in marshy areas and pulls up in a stall and drops on prey when it sees it. The bird in this sketch is a male, which has the dark wing tips and lighter body, whereas the females and juveniles are a more even brownish color. The third sketch is a Surfbird, a shorebird that winters in our area in small numbers, resting on rocks by salt water in a sheltered area when it is not out feeding.

The last two for this page (and the five on the next page) are all in watercolor over initial graphite sketches. The first one is a small raptor called a Sharp-shinned Hawk that preys on other birds. This bird looks a lot like a larger similar hawk called a Cooper's Hawk. This sketch was done from a photo I took of one that landed ten feet from our kitchen door. The last sketch in this post is a good old American Robin, fluffed up and sitting on a limb.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Oct-2010/165640-1908-S70-BAGOfromPhoto-Oct30,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Oct-2010/165640-1911-S70-NOHAfromGTPhoto-Oct30,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Oct-2010/165640-1915-S70-SurfbirdFromPhoto-Oct30,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Oct-2010/165640-1917-S70-SSHAfromPhoto-Oct30,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Oct-2010/165640-1921-S70-AMROfromMag-Oct30,10-WS.jpg

JTMB
10-31-2010, 03:08 AM
And here are the final five images for the October challenge!!

These are all watercolor over initial graphite sketches. The first sketch is a Caspian Tern, a waterbird that dives in salt water for small fish. There was a large breeding colony of these birds in a nearby town this year - quite a spectacle as several thousand of these set up a colony and raised a number of chicks successfully. They have a long, bright orange, dagger-shaped bill.

The second sketch is an Eastern Bluebird, very similar to the Western Bluebird found in our area.

The third image is a Brown Pelican, an increasingly common sight in our area on the coast each year. They used to be pretty rare, but for not completely understood reasons have gotten much more regular visitors.

The fourth is a Brown Thrasher, a bird not found in our area, but fairly common in my home state of Pennsylvania, and one I love to see when I go back there.

Finally, the last sketch for the monthly challenge is a Snow Goose. On Fir Island, about fifty miles north of my house, 20,000+ Snow Geese winter every year and people come to photograph them and just thrill to the amazing noise the flock makes when it takes off.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Oct-2010/165640-1923-S70-CATEfromMag-Oct30,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Oct-2010/165640-1925-S70-EABLfromMag-Oct30.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Oct-2010/165640-1928-S70-BRPEfromMyPhoto-Oct30,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Oct-2010/165640-1934-S70-BRTHfromMag-Oct30,10-WS.jpg


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Oct-2010/165640-1937-S70-SNGOfromMag-Oct30,10-WS.jpg

virgo68
10-31-2010, 03:19 AM
Wonderful! That goose is the perfect finish - excellent job John!

JTMB
10-31-2010, 04:20 AM
Thanks so much, Jackie! I'm glad to be finished, but it will be strange not waking up every morning thinking about what I was going to do to fill the necessary number of pages to stay on target...! :)

sarales
10-31-2010, 08:32 AM
Gosh, John, I think these last 5 are your best yet!! They are excellent!

Epoh
10-31-2010, 11:55 AM
that Snow Goose is just wonderful! the shadowing under the wings is perfect...I can see it in flight :)

congrats on finishing!! :clap:

RainySea
10-31-2010, 12:07 PM
:clap:

WOW, 100 pages. . . amazing. Huge congrats on the big accomplishment, John. Mine was less that half that size and took a lot of effort so my hat is off to you.

And what a lovely book of birds and nature. Of this last group, I like the flying goose and the Harrier but also the bluebird is so sweet. . heck, they are all great.

:thumbsup:

robertsloan2
10-31-2010, 02:19 PM
Wow! These are incredible! The last ten are breathtaking. I love the Caspian Tern, the brushstrokes are almost like sumi-e and that bright orange beak is so striking. You captured the feel of it so well. The poses are amazing - the flying snow goose again with glorious brushwork and elegant accuracy. The brown pelican (something snide in me keeps wondering if they all moved from Louisiana after the oil spill) is incredible. I've seen those, that is a pelican in flight, that's magnificent. The graphite Goldeneye is gorgeous too, love the strong darks and odd shape of its head. It looked natural at a glance, I think I've seen weird headed ducks before. The flying Northern Harrie's gorgeous too. They all are.

Congratulations on a triumphant finish. The last ten are amazing, just wonderful! Thank you for participating!

DrDebby
10-31-2010, 06:10 PM
Wow! 100 pages! Congrats on a spectacular finish.

The birds you've drawn and painted are just magnificent.

JTMB
10-31-2010, 08:29 PM
Thanks so much Leslie, Epoh, Rainy, Robert and Debby! :wave:

Robert - no need to thank me, I enjoyed it immensely. Thank YOU for originating a great idea! A lot of artistic motivation happened this month that probably would not have otherwise - at least that's the case for me.

eyepaint
11-01-2010, 01:03 AM
What a lot of birds! Congrats on finishing! Love the goose. Will you continue with us with the "draw a page a day" in November? :)

JTMB
11-01-2010, 01:31 AM
Hi EP, and thanks very much! :wave:

Yep, I'm definitely on for the page-a-day in November. I think, however, that I'm going to try to do some people portraits and/or figure sketching, which is not my comfort zone.

Chuckcamo
11-01-2010, 02:52 AM
your last batch of sketches look great... congrats JTMB, wow 100 pages....

vhere
11-01-2010, 02:04 PM
great :)

CandAlArt
11-02-2010, 02:16 AM
I clicked this thread into my subcription file (because I can't figure out where "favorites" go) so I don't lose your wonderful bird drawings. I would like to begin attempting to sketch my own yard birds. Thanks for sharing your October works!

JTMB
11-02-2010, 02:38 AM
Thanks Chuck, Vivien and Candace!

Candace - I'm flattered that you enjoyed the birds, glad that's the case. Birds are great subjects (except they don't sit still very well - :) ) - there is so much variety of species, behaviors, poses, colors, patterns, etc. that they'll never get boring in my mind anyway.