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Old Thursday 24th July 2014, 21:21   #1
PeteArtfullHealth
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Art and Birding Equipment plus

Hello
I am new to the forum and suspect this has been answered elsewhere but where? Anyway you may all have different views and methods.
My question is when you go in the field birding and getting information for your artworks, what equipment do you take and use, and what is your methods for getting the data that you need?
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Old Thursday 24th July 2014, 21:44   #2
Mackem George
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That should test them, myself as my wife puts it am thinker meaning thinks about it but never really does it.Taking own photos is where my present situation sits,sometimes remember to take pencil/sketch book guess what busy with camera.Think this a situation which tends to crop up the photographer/birder guy or birder /photographer the camera against scope situation,sold my scope hence must fall into the former.Have all the artist gear sitting comfortably at home,still thinking you see.
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Old Saturday 26th July 2014, 21:45   #3
PeteArtfullHealth
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George, That's really honest of you but I suspect we are not alone. I practice Clinical Hypnotherapy and am working on myself to just change to doing and not thinking all the time. Not so easy but when you talk to other arty types actually doing anything outside in the public eye so to speak is a big hurdle. I have started doing some work outside, not yet with birds, and not yet with the full painting pack but I am determined and anyway I just need to hypnotise myself. Lets see. Anyone else want to confess, or give us both some tips please.
Thanks George.
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Old Sunday 27th July 2014, 18:14   #4
Oskar Moilanen
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I've been working on paintings from my own field sketches in recent times. It can sometimes be really distracting for me to sketch if I have other people in vicinity, often I can sketch but I really have to put my mind to it. Silly as it may seem (we're all human I guess) I don't want to care what others think of my sketches if they view them while I'm out and about, but sure as hell it puts a bit of a threshold on my sketching. So I just try to ignore my feelings on that subject, I would just love to be a person who just didn't care! (Wouldn't that be great?) Or not?

As part of the equipment I use while sketching is a bound sketchbook from Daler-Rowney in A4 size I think, and some sketching pencils and a spotting scope. The best tip is just to ignore your critical voice speaking inside you, just let the pencil draw what you see what you're looking at.

Just to sum it up. Take what you have, ignore other people and go into the zone. AND; Ignore yourself, ignore your critical mind and just practice yourself while putting what you see on paper. The critical mind becomes the tool afterwards, that is when you look at what you've drawn (or painted from the drawing/sketch) and try to decide what you want to do better the next time you try.
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Old Monday 28th July 2014, 08:29   #5
Andy Hurley
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As a beginner, I photograph birds then sketch from photos at home. Behind closed doors. Where no one can see. I'm not nearly good enough to sketch live subjects in the field yet. The thought of people coming along and looking at what I am doing puts me off too.
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Old Monday 28th July 2014, 17:27   #6
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To boost your confidence, try videoing the bords and then drawing from them at home...and try to do so without hitting the pause button too often! Playback in slo-mo is also very useful, esp in HD. I find this method alot more helpful than from photos
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Old Monday 28th July 2014, 22:32   #7
PeteArtfullHealth
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Thanks guys all helpful hints, especially as I have a good video recorder and big screen at home. Lets give it a go.
I can help with a lot of the self talk, distractions etc. Doctor heal thyself. Ok I'll do that too!
Mmm some work to do.
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Old Monday 28th July 2014, 22:46   #8
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Having re-read my post, try videoing birds instead as they're probably more active than whatever a bord is......
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Old Monday 28th July 2014, 22:54   #9
Mackem George
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Its that wine Adam gets to you when your thinking?
GEORGE.
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Old Monday 28th July 2014, 23:48   #10
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Wine?? Woman's drink!
Now, where have I put that Bacardi Breezer.......
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Old Sunday 10th August 2014, 22:10   #11
PeteArtfullHealth
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Andy
Try wine or bacardi or both and I'm sure you wont care much what others think.
Doesn't look like anyone does any artwork in the field or perhaps they are guarding their secrets?
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Old Thursday 21st August 2014, 17:50   #12
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Why I asked!

I am doing more birdwatching and more painting and am frustrated with, my equipment, and my skills outdoors. Having looked at some of the forum input under art and digi-scoping, I find myself asking what and how questions. Here they are...

What do I need to be able to get decent pictures of birds using the telescope and other equipment I already own. or Do I need to spend some money. Ah!

My equipment includes:
Acuter DS 80 scope.
I have a good Panasonic HDC-TM700 video camera with good zoom, invested in a sturdy tripod and machine head so that I was able to get smooth panning. I am happy with this for video, however the reach is limited. The Tripod and machine head added a lot of weight.
I have a canon EOS50D with a Tamron zoom lens, again I find reach is limited.
I have tried digi-scoping with the EOS but not much success due to weight and stability.
I have a compact but that has a large zoom and does not work with the support or scope.

How do the artists in the forums produce such detailed artwork after a brief visit to their destinations. Do they take pics, are they genius at drawing accurately and fast with moving targets, whats the secret guys. Do I need more equipment, more skills, both or is their a big secret? Some suggestions please... Thanks
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Old Friday 22nd August 2014, 11:11   #13
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Think would start with equipment seem to establish myself if you go scope way awkward double up up with cameras.My view a good pair of bins allows stills camera gear to come into its own,you indicate you have the CANON 50D, matching that with the canon 400mmLWHITE f5.6 would get you into the heart of the action.The 400MM L is a great lens especially light to carry around,this amount of gear allows you to move around ok or stay in hide.Myself had a scope moved it on Also had the canon 400mm L moved it on obtained 300mm L IMAGE STABLISHED WHITE helped to steady the hands [declining years].No doubt others will indicate there for/against.Regarding the sketching /painting aspect still thinking.
GEORGE.

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Old Friday 22nd August 2014, 22:22   #14
solitaryVSong
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteArtfullHealth View Post
Hello
I am new to the forum and suspect this has been answered elsewhere but where? Anyway you may all have different views and methods.
My question is when you go in the field birding and getting information for your artworks, what equipment do you take and use, and what is your methods for getting the data that you need?

Pete,

I'm going to answer this question as well as some of the ones you asked on my own thread, The Abstract Bird. You should take what will encourage to go out and work and not discourage you from leaving home.

For me that means keeping things very light. I've found that if all I need to sketch when I go out is a sketchbook in my back pocket and a pen then I'm much more likely to go out and to sketch. The first photo below is a Moleskine large sketchbook, large being about 5x8 inches I think. I've used much bigger sketchbooks and find that I rarely use them in the field, or if I have them I spend much more time birding than sketching. Plenty of very good artists have shown work on this blog that is done in much larger sketchbooks. So working small doesn't work for everyone. At some point I'll probably go larger but for now I know it's best to work small.

The next photo is the open Moleskine sketchbook. On the left a Wood Duck, hardly recognizable House Sparrow and a Hairy Woodpecker, all except the House Sparrow done in the field a few days ago. On the right are sketches from today, mainly Least Sandpipers and one Great Blue Heron.

These of course don't show the details that you ask about on my thread. I really don't care about portraying details much. Often they're at the expense of liveliness. But I also want to understand the structure of what I draw. I use the field sketches like those above to keep learning about the structure of birds. Today for instance I learned for the first time that there is a light V on the mantle of a Least Sandpiper. I think things noticed in the field by seeing them and sketching them stay with you.

I also take photos at times, and very occasionally videos, with my little and light Panasonic Lumix FZ28 camera. A photo from today is below. In them I can find some of the details that I don't see in the field or don't get down on paper. But details, at least to me are worhthless if you don't have a sense of life in your pictures. I think that sense of life is best gained by field sketches.

Often as today after I've sketched a bird like the Least Sandpiper I'll try to reinforce some of what I saw by doing a drawing or watercolor based to a large extent on a photo that I took. Sometimes I'll combine it with field sketches from the day. Below you see today's one hour attempt. ICK!! It didn't work. Oh well. Tomorrow I may try again. I really did it more to show you my process than for any other reason.

All in all a sketchbook in my back pocket, a pen in my front pocket, a light point and shoot camera and good quality binoculars are all I need. As a bonus my camera will also shoot video and so occasionally I'll try to take one or two. But I'm able to do all of this with just a few pounds of gear.

Because it's so easy to pick it up and head out I do so often. If I had to load up a bunch of photo gear, maybe video gear, perhaps large sketchbooks and possibly a paint box I'd rarely get out.

I think the most important decision you can make when starting is: what will encourage me to get out and see and draw birds. My guess is that for most people that is a very light package of gear. It's of course always possible to get out with photo gear and take a lot of photos. But the question is whether most beginners will then be encouraged to work from the photos that they took. My guess is that most people take the photos but then don't make any art based on them. So for me it's a perilous path. Of course not everyone wants to draw or make art. They may be perfectly happy with their photos. But if you want to draw and paint birds I'd try to get out with as little gear as possible.

As for other inspiration I'd recommend three books right off: John Busby's Drawing Birds, Tim Wootton's Drawing and Painting Birds and John Muir Law's Law's Guide to Drawing Birds. The first two are the most inspirational. I think they show you how exciting art featuring birds can be. The Law's book I avoided for a long time because I never like the work I saw from it. But I heard so many good things about it I finally bought it. It is much more of an instructional manual than the other two. But there are a lot of helpful ideas in it, even the seemingly simple idea of starting off all your bird drawings with just two circles, one for the head and one for the body. It works much better than you might expect. For inspiration though look to the first two books.
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Old Saturday 23rd August 2014, 10:59   #15
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Hi Pete! Just found the time to reply... First of all I have to say that its not the material which makes from you a better artist, but hard training, and I mean a lot of life sketching or even "youtube" sketching if you don`t have the chance to go outdoors..You don`t have to start with wildlife , just sketch everything from various angles , different light conditions etc..I`m working mainly as a book illustrator but beside that I`m portraying regularly also humans from life ...see examples attached.. Regarding my equipment and working methods now..I own a zeiss diascope 85 spotting scope, and working outdoors using mainly Bic pen and various other pens like Faber Castell Pitt artist pens for black and white and watercolours for coloured studies.I`ve been using various media in the past because I didn`t feel confident to use watercolours in the field, like pencil, charcoal, coloured pencils of Faber Castell polychromos or Lyra,Acrylics and Copic markers or even mixing media like sketching with a pen , colouring with Copic markers and adding highlights with coloured pencils. The only other optical equipment I`m using currently is a Sony HDR-CX115E camcorder. As Adam mentioned before, I`m able to capture on film behaviour and situations which are impossible to get otherwise, and study them at home..Uncomparable help to every artist...Attached also studies based on video footage. As you already have seen I`m a regular zoo visitor 17 years now and meanwhile there are several hundreds of studies sketched or painted on location there..Don`t hesitate to ask if you have more questions!
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Old Saturday 23rd August 2014, 11:02   #16
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..and a second portion...I have to mention that all of the pictures in my first post are based on my own video footage while only the Harpy eagle of the second post is a "video " based painting..
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Old Monday 25th August 2014, 10:00   #17
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Hi Pachalis , your standard is what we all aspire to. I don't think theres enough years left for me , but what you say is true practice try the medium that suits your style . Most of all enjoy and disregard the one looking over your shoulder the minute you bring out the sketch book.
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Old Wednesday 27th August 2014, 20:34   #18
PeteArtfullHealth
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Thank you all so much for your time and input, wow. I will look at the books you suggested and will just get my but of the chair and get some fresh air. With the sketch pad. I agree about the tripod and weight of the equipment. I geuss it does not help being enthusiastic about taking pics as well as doing art, as its so easy to just snap away and hide the sketch pad. Thank you all this has been very helpful. I will soon put up some of my work. Not great but I'm sure it will improve.
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