Sep 22, 2016

Chasing After Sasquatches - Painting and Drawing Tips

or A Day in the Life of a Wildlife Artist

Sounds glamorous, eh?

The life of a Wildlife Artist.  Painting away in the studio: Bald Eagles perched on a rock ready to take flight; a Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep surveying his herd or a black bear swimming across the channel.  Exciting stuff to paint and draw, but where does it come from??

No, wildlife artists do not cruise the internet for pictures to paint.  They need to own the idea, feel the moment, live it.  That's when you really feel the excitement and wonder in the final piece.  So where do those pictures come from.

Well come with me for a day and see.
This is my kind of day!!

My day starts with packing kayak and cameras for a trip to Campbell River to kayak with the salmon.  Tides were good, weather looked great and the salmon were on the move.  Off we went.  We meaning the Art by Wendy team: Steve, myself and Max.  We were going to be joined by our guide, Sherry, my sister, an experienced Campbell River kayaker.

Sherry, my guide and Wendy (Photo courtesy of Brian Kyle, our kayaking buddy)
Oh, you say, this is glamorous.

Well, yes it was on the first trips out.  Beautiful sunny skies, warm weather, awesome to be on the water.
Heading out of the main channel into the estuaries.  
 I saw lots of salmon surfacing, not able to catch any shots.  Seals everywhere, got some good short of them.  A heron was most obliging to sit and let me get a few close shorts of him.  Startled a beaver who quickly disappeared, no shots there.
My friendly heron
On the way I learned a few things as well. As I many of you know I am new to kayaking and taking pictures on a moving river is very different from the calm waters I was in during the summer. Camera is bobbing, boat is bobbing and turning, wildlife is not holding still.  Big learning curve!
Heading up the channel, we just missed seeing a bear on the trail beside us.  (Kind of glad about that, just a bit too close)

We got out again the next day.

Awesome Skies and Water

More great weather and awesome sights.

More Awesome Skies and Water

 Eagles and turkey vultures were starting to gather along the river, saw a few big 'Tyee's' jumping out of the water.  They were gathering not far from our launching spot.  Lots of seals everywhere on the river.  Got a shot of one feeding on salmon.
These guys are very curious and followed us everywhere.  
Then the weather changed.  We held off for a day to see if it would improve.  Yes, it was going to clear a bit early the following day.  Check the tide, oooooooh.  High tide at 6am. Aaaaah, Sunrise at 7:03 and then rain by 8.  We decided to go for it. Twilight would be good enough light to get out there and chances of more widelife early in the morning. So up at 5, at the water by 6.

Big surprise.Fog.

 People living by the ocean are use to random fog/heavy mist happening all the time.  I'm not.  We waited. and waited. and waited.

Fog is lifting, maybe its a go.

 The fog seemed to be lifting, it was getting lighter, then nothing.

Not going out in this!
 The rain started and the fog got worse.  We headed for home.  (I must admit we went down for a nap after that!)

Later in the day the weather did improve, well the rain slowed down to a heavy mist.  The tide was up again and we were down at the water by 5pm.  Off  we went.  The rain came back but so what, visibility was good.  We had company in the evening, Brian, a photographer and kayaker.  (I think he was the one that really got us out there, rain or shine.  And we were glad he did!!)
Yes, we had rain. 
Photography was really hard now, moving water, twilight conditions and rain falling.  Hard to keep the camera dry.  Definitely not glamorous.  But this was the greatest trip of all.  We saw herons perching on the trees and stumps, bald eagles screeching in the trees, turkey vultures crowded on the trees lining the river in places, seals following us everywhere we went, beaver and otters, but the most awesome sight for us was a bear.  Swimming across the channel right in front of us!

Black bear swimming across the river
We were able to get pretty close as of course he was not worried about us, he wanted to get across.  And of course the star of the show that brought us all there, the salmon.  They were fanning the water with their tails and jumping and lurching right out of the water.  A really great paddle.  We were soaked but definitely felt it was worth it.
The fish are starting to line the river.  They are really the star of the show.  We are all here because of them.

The next morning it was time to head home.

The trip was good but did I get my salmon pictures? No.  We were probably a week early for the main run up the river so although I saw lots, it was not enough that I could get a good shot away. Did I get other material, you bet.  Every trip has its stories. Not all trips go as planned.  But ideas, inspiration and passion are developed there!

What excites you in your art?  Where does your inspiration come from?  What are your stories?

Special Note: 

Open Studio at Art by Wendy, Saturday & Sunday, October 1 & 2, 10-4pm. 
Come and visit my studio/gallery.  Join me for Drawing Demos 11am & 1:30pm daily.  Art in the City is happening in Surrey all weekend.   33 artists, prizes to win, sculptures, paintings and more.  See Art in the City: Studio Tour 2016 for more info.

Fall is coming fast but there is still time to paint and draw outside.  Check out my series of  Drawing Tips for Summer Fun.  It is a four part series starting here.  Great ideas for quick sketches in your journal or plein air pieces.  Best of all when the cold wind blows you can take these ideas inside and keep on going.

Looking for a starting point in your drawing?  I will be happy to get you up and running.  Call  now and set up a few lessons to get you on the road with your art.
For Commission Works see here
For Private Drawing Lessons see here
For Marketing Mentoring see here
For Marketing or Art Presentations Contact Wendy 

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Have a great artful day, Wendy


Brenda Hill CDM said...

Beautiful pictures, good post Wendy

Wendy Mould AFCA said...

Thanks, I hope it gave you a few inspirational ideas for your art. I know you have a passion for your drawings and getting your reference material is always a story.

Merrilyn Mason said...

Your passion for portraying nature flies from your it...portray it...artbywendy.

Wendy Mould AFCA said...

Very true, I really love being out there. Even when it was raining and we were getting cold, it was really hard to turn and head in. My kayak wanted to keep going.

Maria F. said...

Lovely photos Wendy. Can experience your passion for nature through your vivid pictures and blog. Thanks for sharing.

Wendy Mould AFCA said...

Yes, having a kayak has really opened up a whole new world for me. I really have my sister to thank for that. I am looking forward to new adventures next summer.