Oct 13, 2016

Do you Know your Subject?- Part 1, Painting & Drawing Tips


 Can you paint that bird so it really pops?

Can you make it sing for joy?

Can you make your viewers feel towards that bird the way you do?  Enchanted. Excited. Enjoying that special moment of encounter. 

Can you make them feel like coming back for more?

Okay, make not all of that but certainly that is your goal.  You love what you paint and you want others to feel your fascination and delight. 
Robert Bateman does this in the Wildlife World.  But what about ordinary people like you and me.
PERCHED ON THE LINE -Ink & Watercolour
  A mix of Chickadees in the Gardens and Constructive Organics.

I have learned that my thinking is flawed.  I have learned that I can inspire.  That even I can have fans.

How to captivate an audience. 

Capturing  an audience is something you can do.  It can be earned through knowledge and technique.  I am a wildlife artist and painting and drawing birds and animals is my passion.  To inspire and enchant my audience I work on knowledge and technique to present my subject. 

So what does this look like in practise. 

This spring I was excited to see the chickadees return to our garden after the cold grey days of winter.  It was so much more interesting to look out and see them chitter and fly about.  It really made my garden come alive.  I decided to work on a series of works, I called it, Chickadees in the Garden.

Suddenly I was challenged, I needed to find different things in the garden that would interest my little birds.  I was out photographing the early spring blossoms: apples and cherries; the fruits and vegetables as they started to ripe: cherry tomatoes hanging on the vine, plums and grapes basking in the sun; now as we head into fall I am watching for other things my chickadees will love before they disappear with winter.  Working in this series inspired me; It gave me the impetus to learn more about my birds, their habitat and life cycle.

At the same time I needed to work on my drawing skills.  How could I change their pose.  I wanted my chickadees to have a sense of action.  To interact with their environment, not just sit pretty on a branch.  Again I was busy with my camera, snapping pictures of those little guys in the sun, in the shade, on a branch, in flight, looking here and looking there.  BTW, that flight thing is very difficult, they really do flit about.  I am still trying to get good 'in flight' reference pictures.

Of course the learning didn't stop there.  Once I had gathered my ideas I wanted to execute them in watercolour.  The chickadees are a cute little bird, easily recognized by their black heads and white throat.  However, that sharp contrast of white and black means they really can command the attention in the picture.  Finding ways to 'sit them' in their setting without having them sabotage the picture was a bit of a learning curve. 

There was more.  At the same time I was working on my Constructive Organic Series.  This series looks at the world as birds and animals see it: a mix of mechanical and organic shapes.  My series suddenly merged; my chickadees flew into this constructive environment.  Up to now I had focused on larger birds and animals and hadn't really visualized the small birds there.  But on reflection I realized they were also seeing a world that was both artificial and natural.  It all made sense. 

Captivating your audience, happens when you capture their thoughts.  Give them many examples.  Give them new meaning.  Working in a series means work that will give them all of that.  It reaps hugh benefits for you as well.  Your knowledge and skill with your subject increases tremendously.  Your passion intensifies.  You become energized.  

What kind of series have you tried?  Did you keep it going for long?  What problems did you have with it.  I would be very interested to hear your experiences with series. 

You can see a few of my "Constructive Organics" pieces in the following posts:
a. My first picture that lead to this series, Oct 29, 2015
b. Bringing Christmas and a Stellar Jay together, Nov. 26, 2015
c. Celebrating the Sandhill Crane, June 9, 2016
d. Trying different palettes, Oct. 6, 2016.

You can see a few of my "Chickadees in the Gardens" pieces in the following posts: 
a.  My starting point, Sunflowers and Chickadees, Mar 10, 2016
b. Combining my chickadee with grapes in the sunshine, Mar 31, 2016
c. The chickadees were eating my seedlings in the garden and this sent me on a vegetables bender, here he is with tomatoes, Apr. 14, 2016
d.  The gorgeous cherry blossoms that welcome spring had to become part of this series, May 26, 2016

Working in Series has so much value for artists, not only in their growth and development but in a marketing perspective.  More on that in the next post. 

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 Have a great artful day, Wendy


Brenda Hill CDM said...

love the little guy and so different from your other landscapes

Wendy Mould AFCA said...

Yes, always fun to mix it up a bit.