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Old Tuesday 21st July 2009, 09:47   #101
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superb exploration of everyday events, something as banal as a pair of mallards have taken on a new meaning - and you can get lost in Liljefors' paintings - so much atmosphere, I think my favourite has to be his Black-throated Divers, so simple yet perfectly balanced. It was reproduced in the first edition of John Busby's Drawing Birds.
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Old Tuesday 21st July 2009, 19:28   #102
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thank you Nick, I'm reminded of something I read in one of the Jonsson books when he encountered Liljefors, he became so influenced and he said the only way out was to paint through to the other side to find his own way. I just revere Jonsson's work and try not to look at the books very often because I don't want to be a pale imitation of the great one, I'd rather get to my own way no matter what that means, but don't think any artist can avoid being influenced by a master. So taking the same road, just letting it be as it is and keep painting....but the tonal possibilites are really interesting in this path Liljefors set out in the little painting. He also did a small watercolor of the idea, and a photo of the duck on the string Tim mentions, that all have this shadow quality.

Thanks Mike.....I like the wildness of adverse conditions, but physically find it limits what I can do...I keep my car close tho so I can get a place to work, with sand blowing in my eyes and the sketchbook buffeted by the wind, drawing is harder...fortunately the bay of the area is more protected so I can always go there.

Tim, that book really gives a good read about his life, not so much about how he worked. He did keep a lot of animals as pets and one pond where no one could hunt, so he had models to work from. The most shocking for me was for the Goshawk and black grouse piece, he saw the event, shot the hawk and birds and strung them up with wires and painted as he says "just like a still life" in the outdoor light. I know, different times, but sure makes me feel good about using my camera. He also predicted the camera would be the tool of the future for artists as even in his time the animals were being impacted by habitat etc of mankind.

Added color to the oc sketch, I wish I could take credit for the design Tim, but that is just how they lined up on the rocks, I simply copied it down.

and another attempt at flight sketches, from the gulls...
It is getting easier to sketch the landed birds as Mike says, thanks for reminding me, but the flight thing is still really hard.
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Old Tuesday 21st July 2009, 19:43   #103
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Very, very beautiful.

quote=colleenc;1535619]. . . I wish I could take credit for the design Tim, but that is just how they lined up on the rocks, I simply copied it down.
As Eric once said - 'I prefer to do them as they are . . .'
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Old Tuesday 21st July 2009, 19:48   #104
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yes, very beautiful and very natural
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Old Tuesday 21st July 2009, 22:15   #105
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Colleen,

I can't keep up! Before I could comment on the sketches of oystercatchers and yellowlegs you've added color to the oystercatchers. All look very good, especially the oystercatchers watercolor! It makes me want to get out and get to work (but things like jury duty to day and work on other days make it more difficult than I'd like).

A few posts back you mentioned blustery summer in that part of CA. Many years ago I lived in the Bay area. I'm not sure what was worse: living on Great Highway next to the ocean in San Francisco, where it always seemed cold, gray and wet, or living in the sunny Mission area and then taking 3 buses over to the Richmond area to work where it seemed like winter, all fog, rain, dampness, cloudiness and cold. I went from sunny summer weather to cold, wintry weather to start each day. Such are the wonders of summer in that area. I assume it's the ocean fog that causes the same problem around Bodega? I know I went there once or twice but just don't remember much now.
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Old Wednesday 22nd July 2009, 07:46   #106
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thanks Tim and Nick, that is a high compliment, sometimes I get lucky:-)
Ken yes, Mark Twain said the coldest winter he ever spent was summer in San Francisco! Bodega was fogged in, you guessed it....back home 25 miles away it was sunny and warm.

Went to Howath Park at sunset, to check out my new ideas, and paid a lot more attention to the colors. Also did a field study of a couple of mallard females, these are my first ducks....and a small field study of the sunset shadows as I call them.

I'm getting to be a little friendlier with watercolor, at least in a small size.
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Old Wednesday 22nd July 2009, 10:07   #107
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I see we have a female version of tim......
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Old Wednesday 22nd July 2009, 17:02   #108
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I admit a lot of whatever works esp in watercolor is due to studying Tim's work, but I'm a long way from the mastery he has and the knowledge of birds, which I will never catch up with. My sketchbook is small 6x8 " so it is easier to do than the large ones he uses...I'll get there eventually tho. Thanks Mark, that is an amazing compliment
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Old Wednesday 22nd July 2009, 17:21   #109
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you beat me to it, I love this style of colour sketching, and yer right Tim does it soo well. somthing to aim for in the darkness of learning...
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Old Wednesday 22nd July 2009, 18:08   #110
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Here is the little watercolor from Liljefors, that is the sketch for the larger painting, called "Evening, Wild Ducks" in the book "Peerless Eye"( maybe Tim can post that painting since he has the book, I have "In the Realm of Wild" a catalog for a show at the American Museum Natural History in 1988. ( Why is it that if one paints animals only natural history museums are venues...not art museums if anyone deserves this it's Liljefors) In Peerless Eye, this sketch was a brighter aqua green.

this paperback was very dear,($54) the cost of "Peerless Eye" on Amazon is $240 so that was one I got from across the country from the interlibrary loan system here.

Here is a quote from Liljefors book of the same name,
"The first few times I met a wild animal in the woods and fields, a hare on the path or a greyhen moving cautiously along the tussocks, made an indelible impression on me--this absolute antitheses to the tame.

Their colors were as if they had sprung directly from the moss and the lichen on the stones, their light, delicate movements like spirits lacking physical weight. When they were still, they were almost invisible, or they made one believe that one's eyes were fixed on a dry root of a tree. It was like sorcery. The perfect shape of their bodies, with their firm lines, their assurance in every situation imbued them with a striking air of superiority and a distinguished air when compared with other beings." written in 1934
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Old Wednesday 22nd July 2009, 20:03   #111
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Your wish is my command and pleasure.
The painting is known as 'Panterfallen' (Panther's skin) - apparently a reference to the patterning on th water surface. I'm sure the painting is also reproduced in '100 Wildlife Artists of the 20th C' (or some such title) by Nicholas Hammond - ex-ed of 'Birds', RSPB.
Concidentally, on the very next page of 'Peerless' is the sublime Black-throated Diver painting Nick refered to earlier.
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Old Wednesday 22nd July 2009, 20:16   #112
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Thank you so much Tim,
He named it Evening :Wild Ducks, but as it fit with a movement in art and design called jugenstile(sp) which was part of the Art Nouveau movement it came to be known as you have correctly called it. One of the revelations about Liljefors to me was how he was at the advanced edge of painting of his time and how much he paid attention to the current art scene during his major time painting. He is also IMHO one of the greatest cat painters, domestic cats, ( one of my great loves) simply awesome and unmatched in all of painting history except maybe Steinlien. All I've seen are of one particular cat that seemed to be extraordinary even for cats, but how he handles paint to express the exact form and fur, with the most spare and simple of strokes is amazing.
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Old Wednesday 22nd July 2009, 23:00   #113
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starting to study gulls now, will have some sketches to share later.

Decided to try another oil of Bodega Head. I am not now nor have I been a landscape painter, but I'm being forced into it with the birds. I find it totally confusing, like is the painting about the birds or the water or the rocks or the light? How do you balance everything, not to mention how do you paint the objects. I've never painted the ocean, and this viewpoint is completely new.

In this one I've worked hard on the composition, with strong diagonals in two directions, completely differently colored rocks, wildflowers and of course the birds. I am not able to paint the animal and the background separately as some do, I'm always adjusting everything, so I paint it all together, this gives me cues for values, different chromas, and how the edges come together. I start bright because continued work always brings down the chroma of the colors, and if I start where I think it should end, it always comes out dull and lacking contrast. This is painted on top of another work I just put a coat of white paint on, so it will sink in some and I'm allowing for that too.

So now the initial lay in is done. It makes me appreciate Liljefors more and more, he always has integration even when the bg is very abstract and the subject is very realistic and even when the bg is 90% of the surface and the subject 10% everything is always perfectly balanced....I didn't notice this until I really began to study what he did and try it for myself.
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Old Thursday 23rd July 2009, 06:52   #114
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Went to Howath Park lake to paint onsite and while there this wonderful snowy egret came right at the end, I grabbed my camera as he came flying in scattering ducks right and left, like I'M HERE!...he started fishing right a way.

This was great after two months of watching them at the roost I got to see one in action. Here's what's funny, besides the foot waggle to get fish I had read about, this one also used his beak, stirring just the tip in the water to lure the fishies at first I thought it was taking a drink, but oh no it just kept up til all of a sudden Lunch!, more efficient than the foot thing, fish comes up and right into the mouth.......here is a pic...I think the snowys are my favs of all the egrets...not as elegant as the greats, but just whizzy caffineated birds all action.
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Old Friday 24th July 2009, 05:24   #115
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What an exciting day! My first scope came, a Bushnell Spacemaker, I decided to start cheap for $125 I got the angled eye scope with 2 eye pieces, one is zoom 15-45, a little car tripod, a soft case, a hard case and a cover for the scope that velcros on to protect it I guess, it also has a pull out lens hood...unbelivevable for just 125. Since I'm not used to a really good one it seems quite adequate, I mean I can see the detail, there does seem to be ghost images in really bright light with reflections, but tonight in low foggy light it did fine.

To test it out I was going out to Bodega Head, packing up all my gear, winter clothes and the new scope I took off. Before I got anywhere near the head, right at the beginning of the bay, I really was graced with an amazing sight. Less than 50 feet from the roadway, I spotted about 30 white pelicans, 3 smaller brown ones, blue herons and 6 or 7 great egrets along with tons of gulls and a godwit. The SARDINES had come in close to shore an it was a feast....for the birds and me. I took my little sketchbook, my little camera, my little stool and the new scope and plunked myself down, it took about 15 min to get the hang of the scope What a treat! I watched, sketched(badly as usual with a new bird) photographed and just basked in the sheer wonder of it all. Colder than heck, but didn't notice except for my hands...
here's a pic, but the herons and egrets are not in it...One time I saw a pelican get a fish, a gull stole it, another gull got that, and finally a blue heron took it away from that gull and gulped it down
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Old Friday 24th July 2009, 17:39   #116
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lovely to see the birds in their habitat. you seem to be having great fun.
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Old Friday 24th July 2009, 17:59   #117
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It's beyond fun, and in the realm of pure joy, just to be out there alone, none of my everyday life and all the usual lists of stuff, just me and the birds and the light, and so much to see and learn and inspire me to try
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Old Friday 24th July 2009, 19:02   #118
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Congratulations on your first scope, Colleen! It sounds like you're enjoying it quite a bit.

My 5 year old scope is a used Spacemaster that I got on ebay for $165 at least 5 years ago. It only has one lens and is straight. To get an angled one for $125 with two eyepieces and car tripod seems like a great deal.

I'm having trouble drawing and looking through the straight scope so I've been looking to upgrade to an angled scope. But outside of the difficulty I've had drawing with it it's served me fine over the years. Every time we take it out on a trip I tell my wife: "I can't believe what a good deal this was for $165!!" Though I have to say there were a couple of British birders, and I know that there are a whole lot of them here, who borrowed it to look at the Piping Plovers at Cape May. "This isn't much better than my binoculars!!" one said. Oh well. It's worked fine for us!

Have fun.

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Old Saturday 25th July 2009, 03:13   #119
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HI Ken
I took it out today again, and I'm getting the hang of it. I've looked through good scopes and there is a difference, chromatic edges etc, but for now and for what I need for drawing it's a dandy. I got it at opticsplanet.com they are good people for customer service and gave me good advice.
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Old Saturday 25th July 2009, 10:22   #120
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You're certainly not short of inspiration C! Particularly like the oil of the Stilt.
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Old Saturday 25th July 2009, 19:18   #121
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thanks Deborah, have to say the birds are so inspiring I already have more ideas to paint than I probably have life left to do it... I could spend a year or two just mastering the egrets

Here is a duck page, my second try at these, mallards, some in the direct wc style, still missing it but got a little closer. I've noticed this as a pattern, first drawings of new birds OMG...second ones settling in but missing the small little changes that make it really be that bird, third to 10th, seeing something new each time and adding to the picture, and finally its "in my hand"... enough observation and practice has happened that the basic forms are known without a struggle and I can really begin to respond to what I see.

On this page is also a juve green heron, a partial chipmunk, and a red nappped sap sucker ( looked it up at home) and in this sentence is contained the pure joy that comes from being a new "birder". Suddenly one pays attention to everything around one at that time and things I would have missed completely because I was looking at the view or the "subject" come into play and expand the moment to timelessness, and one forgets all the "stuff" that usually fills our heads and prevents this.
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Old Saturday 25th July 2009, 19:28   #122
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Sometimes have a problem getting attachments on this was supposed to go on the last post

"Also a flight page of gulls, filled in with wc sky,

The last is a wip of a pastel on the sunset shadows theme, there are now 3 ducks in it, about half way done here. Got to love those pastels that leave such velvety darks. "
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Old Saturday 25th July 2009, 22:39   #123
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Ok - you've got me. The pastels are superb (in the right hands - and these are definitely in the right hands).
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Old Saturday 25th July 2009, 23:47   #124
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Oh ho Tim, thats sweet music to my ears, I think I told you I'd get these words out of you eventually...on another thread somewhere here my direct quote "I'm going to make you eat your words about it,( pastel ) just wait till I get a better handle on the birds" I wrote that June 9th :-)

Course without your shining example, I wouldn't be where I am today....also notice that there are very few pastels chosen for Birds in Art shows, so many artists must feel as you do.
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Old Sunday 26th July 2009, 16:55   #125
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Yep, pastel's definitely better in your hands than mine Colleen!
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