Thursday, September 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 

 Be sure to like and share my posts. You won't miss a single one if you follow by email or Like my Facebook Page. Keep up with all the art events by joining my email list (see sidebar)
Have a great artful day, Wendy

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Ready to Bust Loose? - Painting & Drawing Tips

or it could be - Having fun with Max.

NEW WORKS FROM THE STUDIO OF ART BY WENDY

Are you kind of cautious with your work?

Does the idea of paint dripping and oozing sound great, but not something your brushes will do?

I'm with you on that.  I find I have great plans of dripping and splattering when I start.  But soon I am back to my tried and true ways.  I like detail and I like realism.  I am stuck. 

But my Dream of Freedom is still there!
SWEET AND INNOCENT - 11 X 14, Watercolour
My recent series of posts has been on under-painting.  It is a very intriguing subject and one that fits well with drawing.  When drawing there is that attention to building values, working from light to dark, layering.  My favourite thing is to sculpture the shape of my subject as I build up the values. 

Underpainting lends itself well to all that. 

Light and mid values set out the image.  Then through glazing, that sculpturing process begins.   Needs are met and life is good.

But underpainting has another purpose  - it can satisfy that need to Bust Loose and do something loose and free.  Drips. Splatters. Textures. They all work.  Sweet and Innocent is really busting loose for me.  I splashed and splattered, let colours run and played.  That awesome loose feeling was there. After it was time to build the values and shapes to bring little Max alive.

Fun.

To really celebrate my freedom I went all out, new colours for Max.  Please don't tell him about the purple and orange, he is Black and Tan and proud of it. He was very happy with his pencil drawing, so not quite sure how he would feel about the colour.  (Max's drawing is here)

This might be your ticket to happiness too. Grab some paint and give it a try. 

Let me know how it works out.  I would love to see where your Freedom Train takes you.


Need more tips and examples of underpainting see my last few posts starting here.  

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 

 Be sure to like and share my posts. You won't miss a single one if you follow by email or Like my Facebook Page. Keep up with all the art events by joining my email list (see sidebar)
 Have a great artful day, Wendy

Thursday, September 1, 2016

What the heck is Underpainting in Watercolour all About? - Painting & Drawing Tips

NEW WORKS FROM THE STUDIO OF ART BY WENDY

 Okay, so what is the big news.  You know under painting is the first layer of paint that is put on your ground.  It is just the base for the layers that come after.  It is very common practice in working with oils and acrylics. 

However, Watercolorists like to use it too.

But as in all things, watercolour  artists are different. 
READY FOR MISCHIEF - 5 x 7, Watercolour
Note how the background colours run right  into and out of my gull. 
Some artists do very detailed under paintings to define the values while others are fast and loose putting colour everywhere.  I just finished looking at Tim Saternow's work.   He uses Payne's Gray to do a detailed value painting of his street scenes before he adds his colour.  (There is an excellent demo of this in the 19 Issue June/Sept. 2015 of The Art of Watercolour.)  But it is the fast and loose underpainting that catches my eye.  Kim Johnson, who I mentioned in my last post,  does animal portraits with this method, I wanted to give it a go.

My first attempts were with my crow, Busybody, see here and Ready for Mischief, my seagull, above.  You can definitely see I was pretty bold with my underpainting, well bold for me.  I was swirling colours and just having fun.  I did have my drawing down first and I was careful to preserve my white areas but other then that I just dropped colour, wet into wet. 
Once my little experiments were finished I went for the big stuff.

Here are a few ‘work in progress’ pictures for my picture, The Hunter Waits.  
First a pencil drawing of the main shapes. 
My underpainting was lots of splashes of colour on wet paper.  My main goal was to:  preserve the white of my eagle’s head and tail; use all the colours that would be in later layers but in a purer form; use colour in the low to mid value range.  Once the underpainting was finished I let it dry completely.
WIP  #1:  Here the under painting is dry and I have started to layout the rocks.  You can see how the colours blend with the rocks in different ways.  Note the back wash marks along the bottom. 




WIP #2:  More layers  of paint on the rocks, finished the ones in the top right corner.
 Note the detail of the rocks below, you can see how the red under painting is showing through.  It adds interest to the rocks and connects the small rocks to the larger ones. 

WIP #3:  the body of the eagle is now being filled in. Again some of the under painting helps to add interest and connects him to his surroundings.
WIP #3: I love how the the rock in the foreground has those interesting blues and purples from the under painting. 
The finished painting "The Hunter Waits" is in my last post here.  

Things I noticed as I painted:
- lovely little spots of colour showing through in my rocks and sand that made each rock a little different
- great under tones in my sand, in some places I glazed over the sand but others I left alone. 
-it was nice not to have the stark white paper glaring at me as I painted.  It somehow seemed easier to blend my colours and judge my values.
-I wished I had let a bit of my under painting flow into the eagle’s tail as it was too white without some of the local colours on it. I ended up having to paint some in.
-the flow of colour in the under painting seemed to tie the picture together in a more cohesive way. Each part felt connected to the whole. 

Is underpainting fast and loose for every picture? Probably not.  Should you give it a try? Definitely.

Pull out the paper, pour and play, and then paint away.  Be sure and share your results with me. 

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 me now and set up a few lessons to get you on the road to a summer of fun 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 


 Be sure to like and share my posts. You won't miss a single one if you follow by email or Like my Facebook Page. Keep up with all the art events by joining my email list (see sidebar) Have a great artful day, Wendy