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Old Wednesday 6th January 2010, 19:30   #26
colleenc
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OMG Matt, how in the world did you do that so small, and how did you manage to keep the whites on the delicate wings....wow!
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Old Wednesday 6th January 2010, 20:03   #27
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very well done - such a delicate subject, so well controlled!
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Old Wednesday 6th January 2010, 20:38   #28
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Oh yes - really lovely. You must have had a very strong sense of what you were trying to achieve with a piece such as this - and an even stronger sense of having achieved it, now you have. Terrific.
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Old Thursday 7th January 2010, 03:24   #29
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Thanks for the comments, here is the rest of the series....

Typically I try not to "start with dessert"... the fun of painting the detailed subject. Instead, I try to really concentrate on everything together, especially the backgrounds. I usually cover the whole paper with a few washes before working on any one area too much. Having to preserve the white of the paper for the wing and eye highlights made me hold off on putting any real color on the actual dragonfly until other elements got established.
Super painting Matt, the greens are tremendous, difficult subject handled very well. The dragonflies wings are just superb in that pressed forward pose...
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Old Thursday 7th January 2010, 08:19   #30
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Absolutely gorgeous. I love the non-standard pose, as well as the delicacy of the wings (the dessert!)
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Old Thursday 7th January 2010, 15:37   #31
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Beautiful Matt!
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Old Friday 8th January 2010, 02:35   #32
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Thanks everyone for the nice comments.

Colleen, I typically work small these days so I can get a piece finished. Between work and 2 kids I need to tackle smaller projects if I'm actually going to finish them. A big benefit is that they are easy to scan as I work on them. Preserving the white of the paper... Sometimes I use liquid fristkit, but I try to avoid it as much as possible. I hate cleaning brushes and once in a while it wants to lift up the paper when I remove it. There was none in this painting.

Tim, I did have a pretty good vision of where I wanted to go with it and a lot of references to go by from field guides and dozens of photos I took this summer. In the background I really only had 3 leaves that I planned out and let the rest kind of develop as it moved along. I knew where I basically wanted the cooler dark colors to sit so the body of the meadowhawk would pop and took it from there.

I am taking a little vacation from the birds and doing a bunch of dragonflies and damselflies... which lend themselves well to the smaller format. Strangely, I've found that the insects, frogs, toads and salamanders are selling better than the birds in my area.
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Old Sunday 21st February 2010, 16:16   #33
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I developed a few step-by step watercolor demos of these paintings.
They can be found at:
http://blog.bohanart.com/2010/02/test2-birch-perch
http://blog.bohanart.com/2010/02/sor...ep-watercolor/
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Old Sunday 21st February 2010, 16:31   #34
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very nice links, the sora really pops, thanks for posting
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Old Sunday 21st February 2010, 16:46   #35
ARTHUR BISHOP
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some super work here.
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Old Sunday 21st February 2010, 18:12   #36
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Nice to see one of my favorite birds, the sora.
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Old Sunday 21st February 2010, 20:07   #37
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Great work Matty and great WIPs too - fascinating.
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Old Tuesday 23rd February 2010, 12:28   #38
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Thanks everyone. The sora is always a fun bird to see. It was nice to finally get the chance to paint one. I'll try to get up some more WIPs at soon.
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Old Wednesday 24th February 2010, 00:19   #39
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nice work
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Old Wednesday 24th February 2010, 17:50   #40
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Hi Matty, like both pieces, though mut say the Kingfisher is the one that steals my eye, lovely rendered branches and the comp. is great. Congrats on these...
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Old Friday 26th February 2010, 12:20   #41
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Thanks Nick and Buzzard,
I was happy with the way the kingfisher turned out. It has an odd history to it. A client liked 2 other paintings of mine, one with a kingfisher and one with a lot of birch bark . They wanted to have the two combined.

I tried to compose things so the branches would be interesting, framing up multiple islands of blue sky to keep some visual interest. Birches branch off very upright... at least the paper birch. The branch the kingfisher is perched on is probably at low an angle to be 100% realistic, but it seemed to fit the composition.

I think I still have the branches that I used as reference sitting around the studio somewhere.
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Old Monday 1st March 2010, 20:41   #42
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We were lucky enough to have 2 successful bluebird nests in the backyard this year. A total of 12 fledged.
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Old Monday 1st March 2010, 21:21   #43
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lovely drawing, how big is a bluebird? I imagine them being bigger than they probably are!
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Old Monday 1st March 2010, 21:35   #44
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Thanks Nick... they are medium sized thushes... about 7inches---18cm. They have big personalities. They are quite tolerant of humans. I can set up about 15 feet from the nest box and they will shoot in and our. In my experience males are more skittish though.
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Old Tuesday 2nd March 2010, 15:28   #45
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A total of 12 fledged.
That seems quite successful! Nice to have so many make it to that stage. Maybe they'll be back to visit you this year. Your drawing has a softness to it which seems quite suitable for these well-loved birds.

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Old Tuesday 2nd March 2010, 16:47   #46
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Wow, beautiful work! The step by steps are an amazing progression. Another talented artist on birdforum and another thread to aid in my procrastination! LOL!
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Old Tuesday 2nd March 2010, 17:37   #47
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Super sketch
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Old Tuesday 2nd March 2010, 21:51   #48
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Gretchen, we had a lot of success with this style of nest box that I made out of cedar and PVC. We had 6 eggs per nesting. The kids had a blast peeking in on them shortly after they hatched.
I'm not sure how many made it once they got out of the nest. We have a resident cooper's and sharp-shin that thin out the songbird population regularly. There are still a lot in the area. We have had as many as 6 at a time in the birdbath outside the kitchen window. Today we had 4.

Thanks Athur and Peter I'll try to post some more.
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Old Thursday 4th March 2010, 17:38   #49
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Here is another insect watercolor. Its a tiny damselfly from this summer's photos. These guys have been a load of fun to paint.

Spread-winged Damselfly
Transparent Watercolor
5.5 x 8.5 inches
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Old Thursday 4th March 2010, 18:05   #50
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Fantastic - from smeone who's tried to do dragons and damsels - this is superb. Great work Matty!
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