warbler

Warblers for Walt.

I like going to concerts for so many reasons. One of them is that I find ideas for art projects between the notes. At a concert in SF last week I got the idea of 10, 8×10 pieces of wood with two warblers on each. In acrylic this time versus my watercolors before. The watercolor warblers taught me so much about the medium, It is my hope this project will yield the same with my work in acrylic. I chose 20 of my favorites to paint and paired them up by color contrast and in the case of one (I’m sure you can guess which) by name. This project is dedicated to my little nephew Walt.

kentandmag

warblerstnandnash

yellowandbtblue

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Warbler reprise.

Trying out a paper thin wood veneer that has an adhesive backing. Supplied to me from my local art supply store to try out.  I adhered it to a piece of cold press art board. Gave it the warbler go, and I enjoy the results. It put up with the eraser plenty well. I’m a big fan of cherry lumber’s color and grain.

 

 

But the heart has its seasons, its evenings, and songs of its own.

The beginning of a Red-tail hawk in flight

The beginning of a Red-tail hawk in flight

“But a thing falsely drawn will never prove up.” -Luis Agassiz Fuertes, Wildlife artist 1874-1927

Some of my recent pencil work for the bird project. I figure I’m about a week out from having all five warbler plates finished and colored. I’m not sure how other artists celebrate finishing their projects, but I’ve got a few ideas of my own….probably drawing more birds. I have started doing studies for a Snowy Owl drawing. I hope it doesn’t take me as long as the Mocking Bird did.

The fifth and final plate of warblers in pencil.

The fifth and final plate of warblers in pencil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birds of a feather

Blackburnian Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler

Hooded Warbler

Hooded Warbler

Red-faced Warbler

Red-faced Warbler

The Warbler factory is rolling along. I started another two plates of warblers like these ones. 12 more total. When I’m finished with these next warbler collections I will have 30 warbler species total. I chose at random, but also looking for themes, one group of six I chose were: Nashville, Grace’s, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mourning, and Golden Cheek.

Planning for warblers

Planning for warblers

I spend a few weeks on each plate looking to get the shapes and lines right. I made a paper bird that I cut out from a drawing I made of a basic warbler shape. It helps give me a base point of planning for the pages.

A warbler plate awaiting color.

A warbler plate awaiting color.

This collection of six: Hooded, Blackburnian, Yellow, Kirtland’s, Red-faced, and Magnolia.

From their names to their colors they are like poems with wings.

All I know is something like a bird within her sang

All I know is something like a bird within her sang

I took the dirt-jump bike out to my jumps by the railroad tracks. Its a great spot for riding and birding. I saw a great big red-tail (Buteo jamaicensis) up in a tree. Noted in my brains notebook some traits for a drawing I’m planning.
I struggled in high school art class because we were graded on our planning. 10 years later it’s my favorite part, ok well I enjoy it a lot. besides I’m not sure riding a bike off a jump can count at planning artwork.

The book in the Photo is by Donald and Lillian Stokes. they have a number of field guides all with great photos. the warbler one has been a big help for me with these warbler plates.
My other go-to book was originally published in 1966. A Guide to Field Identification: Birds of North America. It’s an illustrated guide, vs. a photographic one. The mix of illustrations and photos helps me make the transition of real life to pencil, ink, and color.

My goal over the last few months my “plan” for what to do with bird drawings has changed. A whole guide to all the birds, or just some? While i like the idea of drawing every bird i have to be honest with myself. there’s a couple of things to consider like 1: there are over 900 species of birds of North America. Yeah that’s the big one, and I’m not too entirely stoked to draw the 200 some waterfowl or shore birds. While of course I appreciate them as a naturalist but I find drawing them is well just not that exciting. So for the moment I’m assembling a guide to warblers of North America.

….And a lot of raptors on the side.

and a Loon. (That’s my one favorite waterfowl).

A plate of warblers

A plate of warblers

This would be my very first blog post ever. Given such, it’s probably best I start with a bird drawing. I plan on using this medium to share my expierences with the subjects of science, art, literature, and music. (Birds,drawings of birds, good books and the Grateful Dead). Welcome to my tiny corner of the internet. Thanks for stopping by.
-Ben