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Old Saturday 6th March 2010, 10:28   #51
mattybohan
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Thanks Tim! They are are challenge to paint, but rewarding.

Time for another bird... This is a 10x 14 inch transparent watercolor of a Burrowing Owl.
A step by step WIP can be found here:
http://blog.bohanart.com/2010/03/bur...-step-by-step/
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Old Saturday 6th March 2010, 17:14   #52
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Great step by step, you explain and show things so well. I really like the color harmonies in this.

One stupid question. Is this a one legged owl? If not then, at least for me viewing it, I'd like to see a bit of the toe of the lifted leg or something to keep me from continually going back to the space where the other leg would be. I know they stand on one leg, but my mind keeps trying to fill that space in.

Its a fine work and beautifully descriptive
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Old Saturday 6th March 2010, 18:00   #53
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lovely painting,watercolour is a complete mystery to me so it's wonderful to see it handled so skillfully,enjoyed viewing the wip's.i have an unopened set of watercolours and gouache in the studio bought on a whim some time ago,i really must give them a go!
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Old Saturday 6th March 2010, 20:10   #54
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Thanks Colleen and Clive.

Collen, for one reason or another burrowing owls seem to sit up on one leg like this when relaxing. The leg is often completely hidden under the covert feathers of the body. THey pull the foot up and fluff the feathers over it and it all but disappears. Our parrots do this all the time preferring to sleep on one leg. Kind of neat.

HEre are a few links showing owls in the pose. One has a small glimpse of the foot, usually it is covered up.

http://www.penick.net/digging/images...wing%20owl.JPG

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3609/...7447838dfb.jpg

http://cache1.asset-cache.net/xc/329...3FEF406871B787

Clive you need to crack open the watercolors. Obviously, you have complete command in the world of graphite, but it might be fun to see what watercolor offers.
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Old Saturday 6th March 2010, 21:25   #55
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Thanks Matty for the links, I've never seen one live.

I know they and other birds stand this way, so for the bird lover it's just perfect, I mostly was observing from the feel of the composition on the eye and mind of a less knowledgeable observer like me. Wasn't suggesting a need to change anything at all, it perfectly describes the moment I'm sure. Just a comment to consider if you do something again.
It's a different balance compositionally for the heavy owl say, than an avocet or egret or flamingo who I've also seen this way.
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Old Saturday 13th March 2010, 12:57   #56
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I did a WIP on the burrowing owl recently and thought I'd post an accompanying step-by-step of just the breast feathers close-up. The area of detail is about 2.5x4 inches.
http://blog.bohanart.com/2010/03/bur...-step-by-step/
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Old Saturday 13th March 2010, 17:22   #57
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amazing patience, and done with a big brush I'd have to use a 0 to begin to get that.....do you have a brand you esp like? thanks for the link, explains the process well.....
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Old Saturday 13th March 2010, 18:08   #58
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Hi Collen,

I often get that comment about the brush size that I use being large. I've found that by using really high quality brushes you can get away using a bigger brush that keeps a really sharp tip. Then you have the benefit of it holding more pigment and being able to change your width of your stroke as you go. I'd say its 90% brush and only 10% technique.

As for the specific brushes, for anything #6 Round or smaller I pretty much only use W&N series 7 sable brushes. You can use a significantly larger brush with these than another type of brush. They hold a lot of pigment for their size and deliver an amazingly crisp line.

If its possible, its good to test a brush before buying it. Not all are created equally. A good art store will have some water available to test a watercolor brush. They all look really sharp in the store, as they are starched at the factory. Once you wet it you can tell how perfectly the tip forms. I've bought them online as well, from places like Cheap Joes, and typically the quality control on the series 7 brushes is very high so you can get away with it. I haven't gotten a bad one that way... BUT it probably is a matter of time. I guess that is the peril of the shopping online rather than a brick-and-mortar shop.

I've used some synthetics and blends and they are OK, but they don't hold up as well long term. They never hold the pigment as well either. The stiffness/springy-ness (if that is a word!) is distinctly different from the pure sable. I think you could used to that. It is just a little harder for me to vary the stoke weight on a single stroke of the brush.

The W&N red scepter series is a synthetic blend. Those are pretty good new if you want a compromise of price and quality. Again they tend not to hold up as well. I fluctuate on how much my conscience bothers me about using sable for brushes.

When I was in art school a prof said to buy high quality sable brushes that they are worth the investment since they will last virtually forever. I'm diligent about washing my brushes but they still wear down quickly. I do almost all my small detail work with fresh #2 brushes. They wear out pretty fast.

I wasn't blessed with the ability to work fast and loose. I'd imagine that the brushes would hold up a lot longer with that enviable style.
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Old Sunday 14th March 2010, 11:00   #59
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Superb WIP Matt and many thanks for the illuminating reply to Colleen's Q.
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Old Sunday 14th March 2010, 12:07   #60
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Thanks Tim... and if anyone else has brushes they like I'm all ears!
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Old Sunday 14th March 2010, 18:01   #61
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Thanks Matt, I've tried several brands with Kolinsky sable, and none of them hold a point right, so after your post I believe I'll go back to Series 7 as I used a long long time ago when I tried watercolor before.....thanks for the post it's a great help.
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Old Sunday 14th March 2010, 18:11   #62
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In case it saves anyone a little time/cash, I tried Utrecht's and Dick Blick's sable brushes and found both to be "sub-optimal"
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Old Sunday 14th March 2010, 19:05   #63
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don't buy the Jack Richeson kolinsky's either.....



http://www.jerrysartarama.com/discou...Brush-Sale.htm

I just ordered some Creative Mark kolinsky "guaranteed not to split" Which is my complaint with the Richeson....they are 2 for 1 this weekend, (#4 is 2 for $17.50 and #2 is $7.50 for 2 .....plus shipping)

I ordered one Series 7 WN #4 to compare which is also on Super Sale at $11.50 ea I'll post the results when I paint with them. If the creative mark works it does cost less, if it doesn't I'm returning it
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Old Monday 15th March 2010, 11:08   #64
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Lovely, intricate work Matt, it's quite reminiscent of the way I used to work when I was doing detailed painting in watercolour. Fascinating to see the technique and the obvious control you have, big brush or otherwise!

Mike
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Old Monday 15th March 2010, 22:13   #65
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Enjoyed the WIP Matt. This is a style I could never work in since I just don't have the patience or skill. But it was very interesting to see how you tackle such a complex project.
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Old Tuesday 23rd March 2010, 20:36   #66
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Delighted to find someone else who believes in using big, high quality brushes. Can't get on with those tiny ones that run out of paint mid-stroke! Keep trying to persuade my students to buy one really good brush instead of lots of cheap ones that collectively end up more expensive.

I also like W&N Series 7, but have discovered Isabey Series 6228 too. Harder to track down but well worth the search. Art shop owner told me the Da Vinci ones were best, but I couldn't get on with those.
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Old Thursday 25th March 2010, 12:15   #67
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Jackie, I agree completely. I'll check out the Isabey 6228!
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Old Thursday 25th March 2010, 12:22   #68
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Although this is an older painting I thought it would be worth sharing as a Step-by-Step since it had some unusual surfaces to paint.

The client wanted five male hummingbirds at the feeder. Perhaps not the most realistic scenario for these aggressive and territorial birds, but why not? We settled on Blue-throated, Costa's, Violet-crowned, Black-chinned, and Rufus Hummingbirds. It is an 18 x 24 inch transparent watercolor on Lana 140 lb HP Paper.

WIP can be seen here....http://blog.bohanart.com/2010/03/cok...ngbird-feeder/
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Old Thursday 25th March 2010, 12:46   #69
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Fascinating use of digital media - another great WIP Matt, excellent.
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Old Thursday 25th March 2010, 13:38   #70
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Thanks Tim, I usually don't do much with the computer for the watercolors. At the end of the day I want a change from drawing on the screen. In this case I needed some good reference for that feeder, so I had to get creative.

I always scan finished work in, especially if it is going to a new home. I've been trying to be better about scanning things in while working on them. Occasionally I'll experiment in Photoshop on the scans done part way through if I'm not sure where to go, but not often.
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Old Thursday 25th March 2010, 15:26   #71
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real virtuoso painting on that feeder, and what an amazing use of the computer, looks like it would take a lot of knowledge of complicated programs to do it...I've never seen a feeder like this....

Really awesome patience...even the writing on the bottle, jeeze..
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Old Thursday 25th March 2010, 15:40   #72
nickderry
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great to see the build up to this
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Old Thursday 1st April 2010, 03:35   #73
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Colleen,

Yeah, I certainly wouldn't want to learn Lightwave 3D just to make a hummingbird feeder! I use it all the time for the "serious" paying work, so it was faster to do that you might think.
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Old Thursday 1st April 2010, 03:41   #74
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Ok, its not a bird this time, but I thought folks might be interesting in something with fur for a change! The chipmunks are out of hibernation in mid-michigan so I thought its a good time to show a watercolor and an WIP to match...

Eastern Chipmunk
Transparent watercolor on Arches 140lb HP paper
10 x 14 inches
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Old Thursday 1st April 2010, 14:03   #75
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handsome chap he is too. I want to call him Alvin.
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