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Old Tuesday 12th January 2010, 16:11   #1
mosca
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a couple of birds

Hello everyone.
I've not posted here for a long, long, long time but have silently been watching some of your blogs and new posts. All have been very impressive.
Some of you helped give me tips and advance when I started drawing birds, that was very much appreciated, so thank you.
Anyway here are a couple of fairly recent pictures I hope you like them and I hope the link works.
Tips and feedback always welcome :)
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Old Tuesday 12th January 2010, 16:18   #2
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very nice!
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Old Tuesday 12th January 2010, 16:52   #3
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WOW!!! very nice mosca....
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Old Tuesday 12th January 2010, 16:55   #4
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Hello again Philip. These are absolutely terrific -do I detect an even softer approach to your work? particularly around the face of the goldfinch.
I know another graphite artist who'll enjoy looking at these!!!
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Old Tuesday 12th January 2010, 16:59   #5
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Absolutely beautiful.

As you ask for tips and advice and I'm not qualified to give either, how about a request or a suggestion? I think that including some background, even a hint of one would make these even better.

Mike
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Old Thursday 14th January 2010, 07:39   #6
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Thanks very much everyone and the advice too.

So much to learn but a great path to walk. :)
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Old Thursday 14th January 2010, 16:29   #7
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very fine work, I would love to see these with more background, great as they are, adding that element of where they live creates something even stronger.
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Old Thursday 14th January 2010, 16:42   #8
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very nice pair of drawings,i particularly like the goldfinch as it has a bit more solidity and depth to it! i agree with nick that some sort of background would add a great deal to the images
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Old Friday 15th January 2010, 16:44   #9
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Lovely drawings mosca, particularly the goldfinch. I'll add my vote for a touch of background just to give a bit of context.

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Old Saturday 16th January 2010, 03:00   #10
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very fine work, I would love to see these with more background, great as they are, adding that element of where they live creates something even stronger.

Well said. The drawings are really striking but seem like they'd be even more so if they had an environment to live in (not that I can claim any skills in that department!).
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Old Saturday 16th January 2010, 11:48   #11
ARTHUR BISHOP
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love them , go which way you want.
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Old Saturday 16th January 2010, 16:33   #12
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Wow, that Goldfinch is stunning... it looks so alive I almost feel I can touch it!
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Old Saturday 16th January 2010, 18:51   #13
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Thanks again for the comments.
I do like the simplicity of the birds standing on their own in the white space as I think it brings out the qualities rather than the limitations of using just pencil. As they are not in colour I was worried that they might be just too grey. Still there is only one to find out so when my current drawing if finished I will draw the bird in their natural habitat and see how it looks.

Anyway here is the Ring Ouzel I'm working on at the moment.
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Old Saturday 16th January 2010, 21:03   #14
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very good pencil drawing,you obviously have the skills to create plenty of tones and so a background is the obvious next step.if it helps checkout the wildlife in graphite thread.
beat wishes
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Old Sunday 17th January 2010, 16:50   #15
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I'm chiming in as another for some background....at least a suggestion of some tones behind the bird. There are plenty of ways to keep the bird standing out besides just blank paper. Since you have given them a perch which is just arbitrarily stopped, you are on the way. It does not have to be detailed, but some tonal changes behind them will give you an opportunity to suggest the bird is round, and catching light, creating shadow( as in the two birds) and give the bird a space to live in, a hard edge ending abruptly against white will always suggest flatness, currently at odds with your beautiful realism. If the birds are to be reproduced on something, the hard edges will be great, if you want instead to have them complete as a work of art maybe it's time to reach beyond what you currently do so well.
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Old Sunday 17th January 2010, 18:31   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mosca View Post
Thanks again for the comments.
I do like the simplicity of the birds standing on their own in the white space as I think it brings out the qualities rather than the limitations of using just pencil. As they are not in colour I was worried that they might be just too grey. Still there is only one to find out so when my current drawing if finished I will draw the bird in their natural habitat and see how it looks.

Anyway here is the Ring Ouzel I'm working on at the moment.
Very strong drawing Mosca! I can understand your desire to have the bird stand out against the white paper. But my guess is that eventually, even if not with first couple drawings, you'll see how much a background even if very simplified can add. In any case I look forward to seeing your experiments with this.
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Old Sunday 17th January 2010, 18:52   #17
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Excellent work, particularly the goldfinch which is stunning. Like others, I think your drawings would be even more impressive with hints at least of suitable background.
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Old Wednesday 20th January 2010, 09:30   #18
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Thanks very much everyone.
The comments have been very helpful indeed. :)
I quite like the sterile detached look of the white background but if I want to get better at this type of pencil drawing then I really should look at it from all angles. If they don't work for me I can always go back. Also I would like to exhibit and sell them if I can and a background will probably be more popular.

Clive your site has been very helpful. If I can I might ask you a few questions on the materials you use?

I have now finished the Ring Ouzel picture. I will leave it without a background (as was originally intended) but the next will definitely include a background.
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Old Wednesday 20th January 2010, 15:35   #19
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Mosca, keep up the good work!
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Old Sunday 24th January 2010, 23:10   #20
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lovely Ouzel, esp like the very rich darks that make the light pop
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Old Tuesday 23rd February 2010, 15:13   #21
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Well I have had a go at a background and I think the good news is that it can get better

I will plug at it and hopefully get better, though I do still like the emptyness of a white background for some pictures.

Anyhoo let me know what you think? Also maybe some of you backgound afficionados (sp) could give me a few pointers

All the best

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Old Tuesday 23rd February 2010, 16:36   #22
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Very striking Mosca, as was your last work.

I think for me it's not so much a question of background as it is of environment. That is the bird lives in certain surroundings and showing them, even if just partially, helps in the overall drawing or painting.

But I can see why you like your stark white backgrounds. It does make the bird standout.

If you do continue to think about using background there are a lot of backgrounds, from very detailed where the background is as important as the bird almost to something very spare and stark and everything in between. I've run into the work of Thomas Quinn recently. He's an example of someone who uses a pretty sparse background. And Clive on this forum is a good example of more complex environments I think, though I don't want to speak for Clive. For myself I guess I tend toward the slightly impressionistic though I'm not sure how well that would work with your detailed style.

In any case that is my 2 cents on it. I'm sure others will have a variety of ideas.
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Old Tuesday 23rd February 2010, 17:20   #23
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love you work, with or without backgrounds....mark
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Old Tuesday 23rd February 2010, 19:27   #24
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Well as you can see, bg will be a whole world unto itself, and will take the same kind of practice that brought you to the mastery you have in the birds.

It will take a lot of observation of value, for instance you have the same values in the sky as the water, and they are usually very different from each other depending on the light and time of day. Water reflects the sky and land around it etc.

One of my favorite and most useful books on all this is Landscape Painting by Birge Harrison, written in the early 1900's when artists really had great training. This book can be downloaded free, as a PDF. He was an artist, but more important a teacher for 25 years so he knows how to inspire and instruct. It is a delight to read, and really opened my eyes in observation. In the end we will only be able to paint what we can see, but to see it in the first place is the sticky wicket. He really helps one see.
http://www.archive.org/details/lands...ntin00harruoft It's a great read.

I'm sure you'll also find other artists who you like and see how they work this issue, there are lots of ways to go about it asKen says, maybe for you, it might make sense to start with a vignette, the kind of thing that suggests the immediate background by the bird and fades out to white as you move away from the subject. This style is a tried and true for bird artists. Or try Menaboni's Birds for an example. This would allow you to enter the bg area gently and give you a balance of style closer to what you are used to using.

Later you could branch out into a full background, here are a couple of Menaboni I pulled off the web to show you what I mean. This is just offered as a suggestion to consider.
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Old Tuesday 23rd February 2010, 21:20   #25
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I love pencil, and I love these drawings, Mosca, especially the mallard. I was recently told that Jonsson reckons that nobody has 'caught' mallard as good as it could be. This is not surprising, given the man's passion for painting what may very well be 'everyday' birds.
I assume you are using several grades of pencil here. Is there any particular paper that's needed for this kind of detailed work?
Pencil's the medium I feel most comfy with, well it's the only thing I've used so far in these early years! I do a few illustrations for the local bird report but I'm limited with the tones I can use due to the quality of the reproduction in the printing process. Does anyone know of a way around this? As a small club (huddersfield birdwatchers') we don't have a large budget for reports, but the quality is surprisingly good.

Cheers

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