Field sketching and illustration (3 Viewers)

ABCY 1

Well-known member
Hi Chosun, thanks for your kind words and thanks for posting.
Great to see your sketches; there is a lot to be gleaned from photos and the process of drawing is always rewarding - it helps me look at familiar species with fresh eyes. Raptors in flight are a challenge and you have nailed the Wedge-tail.

I loved your photo of the Fairy-wren at full stretch, they have unexpectedly long necks and legs. Add the ability to flatten or raise feathers and they are can look quite bizarre, not at all like the images in the guides.

We have a common interest in Zen Ray binos by the way. I have the 9 x 36 ED 2 which drive me mad in many ways (short eye relief, glacially slow focus, narrow FOV, small sweet spot) but I hang on to them for the quality of the image once you do have it centered and focussed. I mainly use Zeiss Conquest HD 8 x 32 these days, which I see you hate for their colour balance!

I don't know where Central West NSW would be but I was recently out at Griffith and Leeton in my ongoing futile search for an Australasian Bittern. At least I heard one this time.

Cheers, Peter
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
Thank you Peter for your very kind words about my beginner's sketch !

I did try to capture that effortless glide across the sky and particularly the head articulation. I also tried to build up the eagle out of it's anatomical parts rather than just copying a shape or a line. Well that was the intention anyway :-O I'm under no illusions that I'm Humphrey Price-Jones, who does Wedgies particularly well.

I think that having a good idea of the anatomy as has been discussed, is quite helpful. I'm trying to get my brain out of Flatland and imagine 3-D shapes, surfaces, and rendering, and the changing lines with aspect and perspective.

I can imagine that for a proficient artist, that watching raptors and being able to capture a particularly beautiful wing position or maneuver with a couple of deft, life-filled accurate lines must be wonderful.

I'm glad you like the wren photo - even though I had to crop his legs out, they too were really extended like your drawing. Really quite amazing - I've never seen anything like it before or since.

Lol - the Zen-Ray appreciation society is a pretty small club. If it's any consolation the upgrade from ED2 to ED3 was quite substantial. My old 8x43 ED3 is still going strong after nearly a decade. The focus is one turn fast which I love. Any shortcomings I've learnt to live with so that they don't even annoy me anymore.

My penchant for a completely neutral colour rendition comes from the changing beauty of nature. I once saw a 'red rainbow' - all different shades of the reddish, orange spectrum - beautiful ! There was the tiniest sliver of teal in the middle.

The Central West NSW is out Mudgee-Dubbo way - Central Tablelands and Central West Slopes. If you look under my avatar there is a location pin. Actually the tree spirit of my avatar was on a small creek near there. Here's a better photo of it.
https://www.xeno-canto.org/contributor/ITAPZLBJQS

It is Grassy Box-Gum Woodland that I was rehabilitating on a small property. Some of the later pictures in my gallery are from there. I was there for nearly a decade, and recorded ~150 species there - often in response to seasonal, or one-off weather events. Ah .... the cycles of life :)

I have seen some amazing things there - from the Little Eagle that caught a rabbit, while hunting perched in a 20ft high Yellow-Box tree that I had planted ~7 years earlier, to the family of Black-shouldered Kites that fledged 10 chicks in a row over 3 back to back clutches in a run of good seasons. I think the poor male ended up in a retirement home - he must have been exhausted with all the aerial transfers to a sky full of mini-teradactyls !

Probably the best thing I saw there was a Brolga, that visited a temporary loungeroom-sized puddle for a few hours one morning, after 100mm of overnight rain and short-term flooding. Once in 10 years. A long way from any recognized wetlands. Incredible ! That's what the whole Murray-Darling basin would have been like.







Chosun :gh:
 

BryanP

Well-known member
Hi Peter and all,
I was dimly aware of the long European tradition of bird artist/scientists but never spent much time studying the history other than happening across examples. Thank you for the list I’ll certainly be digging into it.

“This is another area where I feel the lack of formal art training; my pictures are designed to look ‘right’ to me but don’t always work, and sometimes I’m caught out by errors in the planning stage that only become apparent to me well down the track”


Its interesting that you are focusing on improving the “art” aspect of your work while I obsess about the science. We both aspire to that in which we had no formal training. I am grateful that my own art training has made the ability to build structure, planes, volume and weight fairly straightforward. Now if I can just get the science right.

“Just thinking about a 7 x 18m canvas gives me vertigo.”


We’d stretch the canvas on a plywood floor covered in plastic sheeting.. There’s something freeing about being able to walk around on a painting. We would often use mops and soft nylon scrub brooms as brushes. The vertigo kicks in when having to climb tall ladders to get an overview of the work.


“Thanks you! I am a fan of Bateman’s work. He seems to get straight to the right values in his painting, something I struggle with coming from my watercolour background. I looked hard at the ways he paints snow before getting into my Monal painting. In fact my first view of the species was in a shaded gully full of snow-covered conifers, but I felt that was beyond me to paint”


In the all day classical painting classes my second drawing master in LA presided over we learned to start an oil painting like a water colour but in oil with a medium providing the transparency rather than turpentine which by itself breaks down the chemical bonds if used too freely.
He made a convincing case for any shadow in a painting to be executed in many thin layers of pure browns and ochres with no white added. While highlights and lighter tones were built up in solid opaque paint. Perhaps you are aware of this method. I was not and it was an eye opener for sure. Seems to work just as well in digital painting as in oils.

“Just by the way, what do you think of David Hockney's suggestion the Ingres used a camera lucida extensively?”


I suspect Hockney was merely speculating but nonetheless I disagree with him on this. I recall discussing his comment at the time with my first drawing master in Winnipeg and he maintained that if Ingre did use Camera Lucida his students and assistants would have been aware of it and they certainly wouldn’t have hesitated to use it when they themselves eventually came to teach Ingres methods. I was 6 generations of drawing masters away from the methodology Ingre developed and I don’t think its use would have been ignored by any of those students and assistants, his process was very well sorted and produced tangible results but I don’t think there was any magic involved.

In Canada the word Commonwealth means former colonies of the British Empire that are now a loose conglomerate of sovereign states which is how I took your meaning. I was unaware of its use in the context of Australia. So I guess the CSIRO is off the hook for any nagging I might do on behalf of the project.

Your paintings and drawings from post 31 are of course superb and I hope will help me make the argument to my project partners (who voted it down once before) to include silhouettes of the different shapes a species can exhibit.
The plate showing the various moults and stages has a wonderful visual conciseness. All the information is there to help with field work and id but is rendered in a satisfyingly spare way. I don’t just see a plate but art.
The work shown in post 38 is quite bold and takes a successful risk with composition. You’ve succeeded in imbuing it with the Oriental aesthetic you mention. It has much to say about one single moment in a single place.
I have a personal thing these days about the over use of saturated colour and appreciate the constraint shown here.
It also has a very nice use of negative space which the Japanese excel at. These days I think the phrase “negative space” is slowly being replaced by the digital artist phrase “white space”. Not an entirely apples for apples replacement but there it is.
The scratchboard drawings in post 39 are accomplished. I particularly like the Treecreeper for its brevity.

Rather than clog up this thread topic with paintings and drawings whose subjects are other than birds I’ll provide a link to my gallery. The mythology set is in there somewhere.
https://www.bryanpollock.com/browse

I have a small group of monochromatic drawings I will occasionally add to that are loosely based on personal encounters I’ve had with individual birds so I include one of my favourite moments.
The second drawing is from a colouring book my project partners currently have me working on.
The third painting is an example of what happens when I take one of the finished paintings from the books and rework it with a more arty approach. The hard bit with this exercise is avoiding affectation.
Cheers,
Bryan
 

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BryanP

Well-known member
I absolutely love that second sketch Bryan!

Thanks KC,
There's 19 more where that came from since the colouring book has 20 drawings.
Its been an interesting exercise since a drawing for a colouring book has different design requirements from what I usually deal with.
Cheers,
Bryan
 

ABCY 1

Well-known member
Hi Chosun (Post 42)

Thank you Peter for your very kind words about my beginner's sketch !

I did try to capture that effortless glide across the sky and particularly the head articulation. I also tried to build up the eagle out of it's anatomical parts rather than just copying a shape or a line. Well that was the intention anyway I'm under no illusions that I'm Humphrey Price-Jones, who does Wedgies particularly well.


I’m a fan of Humphrey Price-Jones’ work, he manages to get a decorative design thing going alongside showing structure and detail.

I think that having a good idea of the anatomy as has been discussed, is quite helpful. I'm trying to get my brain out of Flatland and imagine 3-D shapes, surfaces, and rendering, and the changing lines with aspect and perspective.

There are some bits of bird anatomy that baffle beginner artists; it’s good to take a close look at a chook (chicken to non-Aussies) to get the basics sorted. The bits of leg we typically see on a small bird are equivalent to our foot and toes, with the lower leg and knee often hidden under feathers, so the leg seems to bend backwards.

I can imagine that for a proficient artist, that watching raptors and being able to capture a particularly beautiful wing position or maneuver with a couple of deft, life-filled accurate lines must be wonderful.

If only it was that easy! I really struggle with birds in flight and am never entirely happy with the end result which should look effortless of course! I think Lars Jonsson does a brilliant job of showing birds in flight.


My penchant for a completely neutral colour rendition comes from the changing beauty of nature. I once saw a 'red rainbow' - all different shades of the reddish, orange spectrum - beautiful ! There was the tiniest sliver of teal in the middle.

I’m still coming to grips with appreciating and painting colour, as an illustrator I’ve been bogged in structure and detail too long.


The Central West NSW is out Mudgee-Dubbo way - Central Tablelands and Central West Slopes. If you look under my avatar there is a location pin. Actually the tree spirit of my avatar was on a small creek near there. Here's a better photo of it.
https://www.xeno-canto.org/contributor/ITAPZLBJQS


That’s a handsome tree, and good to see it with some water around. I have been birding around Munghorn Gap near Mudgee; nice spot.

When I used to work in the desert (WA Nullarbor) we saw a couple of Pink-eared Ducks try to land on a tarpaulin that was glossy with heavy dew in the early morning. They must have thought it was a puddle - open water gets noticed fast, and life really booms after rain!

Cheers, Peter
 

ABCY 1

Well-known member
Hi Bryan (post 43)

This has turned into a long and fascinating conversation: with your latest post I think we are starting to circle back towards my original post on field sketching. Some responses to your post:

Its interesting that you are focusing on improving the “art” aspect of your work while I obsess about the science. We both aspire to that in which we had no formal training. I am grateful that my own art training has made the ability to build structure, planes, volume and weight fairly straightforward. Now if I can just get the science right.

I must say I envy you, but maybe that’s inevitable given my background. It's so easy to over-do the science in compensation for lack of artistic skills, there is a temptation to go straight to detail and over-explain the subject.



We’d stretch the canvas on a plywood floor covered in plastic sheeting.. There’s something freeing about being able to walk around on a painting. We would often use mops and soft nylon scrub brooms as brushes. The vertigo kicks in when having to climb tall ladders to get an overview of the work.

I have been tempted to stamp on paintings in the past. Your kind of industrial scale work must need a very clear idea of what you are painting before you start.


In the all day classical painting classes my second drawing master in LA presided over we learned to start an oil painting like a water colour but in oil with a medium providing the transparency rather than turpentine which by itself breaks down the chemical bonds if used too freely.
He made a convincing case for any shadow in a painting to be executed in many thin layers of pure browns and ochres with no white added. While highlights and lighter tones were built up in solid opaque paint. Perhaps you are aware of this method. I was not and it was an eye opener for sure. Seems to work just as well in digital painting as in oils.


This sounds a bit like Grisaille painting, which I’ve read about but never been game to try. I really need to lock in to some established techniques instead of fiddling.

“Just by the way, what do you think of David Hockney's suggestion the Ingres used a camera lucida extensively?”

I suspect Hockney was merely speculating but nonetheless I disagree with him on this. I recall discussing his comment at the time with my first drawing master in Winnipeg and he maintained that if Ingre did use Camera Lucida his students and assistants would have been aware of it and they certainly wouldn’t have hesitated to use it when they themselves eventually came to teach Ingres methods. I was 6 generations of drawing masters away from the methodology Ingre developed and I don’t think its use would have been ignored by any of those students and assistants, his process was very well sorted and produced tangible results but I don’t think there was any magic involved.

You would certainly know more about Ingres and his approach than I do. I see Hockney lists Holbein as using a camera lucida, and having seen the original drawings for some of his portraits I find it convincing – they are very clean and precise, and never very big. I don’t see it as diminishing the skill involved in painting.

In Canada the word Commonwealth means former colonies of the British Empire that are now a loose conglomerate of sovereign states which is how I took your meaning. I was unaware of its use in the context of Australia. So I guess the CSIRO is off the hook for any nagging I might do on behalf of the project.

As I said, no harm asking! And if you want another option, Natural History Publications (Borneo) seem to take on projects from a range of countries, e.g. A Guide to Australian Grasshopper and Locusts. Their website has a contact us tab that lists “pubiishing with us” https://www.nhpborneo.com/

Rather than clog up this thread topic with paintings and drawings whose subjects are other than birds I’ll provide a link to my gallery. The mythology set is in there somewhere.
https://www.bryanpollock.com/browse


This link seems to take me to a blank page, no error messages, nothing

I have a small group of monochromatic drawings I will occasionally add to that are loosely based on personal encounters I’ve had with individual birds so I include one of my favourite moments.
The second drawing is from a colouring book my project partners currently have me working on.
The third painting is an example of what happens when I take one of the finished paintings from the books and rework it with a more arty approach. The hard bit with this exercise is avoiding affectation.


I like all three of your attachments. So good to see a colour-in bird that looks like the real thing – how hard can that be to organise? It helps build a bit of respect for nature. I especially like your monochrome of the Petrel (?) which perfectly captures the excitement and discomfort of pelagic birding. This brings me back to my original post on field sketching, catching that particular moment and experience. For interest I’ve attached my little field sketch that led me to make the snipe painting I posted recently.

cheers, Peter
 

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KC Foggin

Super Moderator
Staff member
United States
Thanks KC,
There's 19 more where that came from since the colouring book has 20 drawings.
Its been an interesting exercise since a drawing for a colouring book has different design requirements from what I usually deal with.
Cheers,
Bryan

Well if they come out as beautiful as your Hummingbird sketch, I cannot wait to see them ;)
 

BryanP

Well-known member
Hi Peter,
Yes we are circling back, so much so that when next we go out birding I’ll bring the iPad and pencil and give some field sketching a go. I’m not going to hold my breath as to its being the tool of choice for field work but it might be interesting to find out the shortcomings first hand.


“I must say I envy you, but maybe that’s inevitable given my background. It's so easy to over-do the science in compensation for lack of artistic skills, there is a temptation to go straight to detail and over-explain the subject”

Its also easy to overdo the art end of things as well as there’s a temptation to wallow in the qualities of the medium a bit too much. Too clever by half as my drawing master would say.


“I have been tempted to stamp on paintings in the past. Your kind of industrial scale work must need a very clear idea of what you are painting before you start”

One did have to have everything all worked out before hand unless it was one of my own set designs then I tended to explore and experiment a bit. The average 7x18 meter canvas drop would eat up over 20 gallons (90 litres and at 120 us per 4 litre pail a little theatre company would be miffed if you messed up.
A side note, we learned about the organizational structure of the atelier system while I was going to art school in LA. This system of course died out in the early 1800’s but when I entered the theatre world I was shocked to see it virtually intact right down to small details. It even had a natural apprenticeship system in place
The instructor in LA also insisted that the Renaissance masters of these ateliers did not indulge in angst or navel gazing nor did they wait airily for inspiration. They were business folk who had contracts, commissions and clients who expected prompt delivery. Except for DaVinci, all bets are off with that guy.


“This sounds a bit like Grisaille painting, which I’ve read about but never been game to try. I really need to lock in to some established techniques instead of fiddling”

It does start out like grisaille painting. As the painting begins to gain more and more translucent layers as well as the opaque areas a natural cohesiveness sets in. The nice thing about this kind of method is its much easier to keep the painting visually fresh and open while still investing heavily in any amount of detail you wish to include. Rubens was the master here but even Velasquez and David indulged in this method.
“You would certainly know more about Ingres and his approach than I do. I see Hockney lists Holbein as using a camera lucida, and having seen the original drawings for some of his portraits I find it convincing – they are very clean and precise, and never very big. I don’t see it as diminishing the skill involved in painting”

I think in Holbein’s case Hockney is correct. I recall reading a paper about it years ago. I agree it doesn’t diminish the skill involved.

I will give Borneopublishing a go, thanks for the tip.

“This link seems to take me to a blank page, no error messages, nothing”

Hmm, interesting. Tried the link here with several devices and browsers and it worked.
Try this then, https://oneeyeblink.smugmug.com just tap portfolios.

“I like all three of your attachments. So good to see a colour-in bird that looks like the real thing – how hard can that be to organise? It helps build a bit of respect for nature. I especially like your monochrome of the Petrel (?) which perfectly captures the excitement and discomfort of pelagic birding. This brings me back to my original post on field sketching, catching that particular moment and experience. For interest I’ve attached my little field sketch that led me to make the snipe painting I posted recently”

Thanks for the comments on the attachments. The Petrel encounter was a memorable experience for sure.
The organizing bit for the colouring book is pretty straightforward. You have to work up a theme or topic, pick the birds and come up with a style along with a cover of course. The drawings are taking longer to do than I first estimated so not quite a cakewalk.
I really like your little Snipe sketch, it has freshness and charm in spades. It got me thinking about how a painting is invented. I’ve been known to do dozens of what I call box sketches to design a painting but everyone has their own way of cooking these things up.
As a side note, sometimes the best design for a painting is the first doodle and not the last one. One is often working with subconscious impulses at the early stages that can be more on target than the last set of sketches which can sometimes be a bit strained.
Cheers,
Bryan
 

BryanP

Well-known member
Well if they come out as beautiful as your Hummingbird sketch, I cannot wait to see them ;)

Thanks again for the kind words KC.
Heres another one then for fun, Yellow-crowned Euphonia. In this case I based the drawing on the painting for the field guide.
Cheers,
Bryan
 

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ABCY 1

Well-known member
Bryan, post 49

As a side note, sometimes the best design for a painting is the first doodle and not the last one. One is often working with subconscious impulses at the early stages that can be more on target than the last set of sketches which can sometimes be a bit strained.

I think you have nailed something critical here, something I failed to express in my ramblings about the value of field sketching. The initial impression that makes you want to hold on to an experience is probably the critical one, and if you can define it you'll know what you want to paint. Getting from there to a successful painting is the challenge, and it's hard not to get sidetracked. Trying too hard is a common problem.

Cheers, Peter
 

ABCY 1

Well-known member
...so why not photography?

At the risk of talking to myself, I’ve enjoyed the way this thread has evolved and would like to keep it going to find out more about how other artists work. So one more question in the hope of stirring things up:

Given what modern photography can achieve, why bother with art?

Many very competent artists are also very competent photographers, and it’s a rare bird illustrator who doesn’t use photos for reference. Why go to the trouble of creating artwork when you can take the perfect photo, or edit the less perfect one?

Over to you!
 

BryanP

Well-known member
Hi Peter, post #52
A broad topic indeed that could take a lot of pages in this thread to parse.

I would agree that thanks to current tech the lines between photography and painting can be blurred.
Painting by its very nature has always been what I call an essentially additive pursuit whereas photography has alway been mostly subtractive.
That has changed now with photographic artists working in ways similar to painters by being able to include and modify objects and shapes randomly. Witness the proliferation of the contemporary (and fun) surrealist collage art movement where one can ask is it a painting or a photograph and does it matter?

I think painting in this day and age is becoming more about selection and choices that exist outside of the needs of statement. I see little searching, inquiry or discovery in much of the accomplished photo based painting (nature or otherwise) I see. Couple that with the general ease with which these results can be achieved and it can sometimes turn into one big meh for an educated viewer.

On this topic of blurred lines there is a Australian bird photographer on Instagram by the name of Greg Oakley whose bird photographs I admire. His work is unashamedly in the tradition of the classic bird portraitists of the past. I would slot his photographic efforts more squarely at the painting end of the spectrum. Its far removed from what a nature photographer working in the rain forest might produce.

So my take is conceiving and designing a painting from a blank page is still firmly in the “Painting” camp. Folks at the photographic end have a lot of options and tools available to them and it does blur lines but that’s ok.
For me starting from the“additive” end of the spectrum is still plenty valid with the extra bonus of usually being pleasurable.


Cheers,
Bryan
 
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ABCY 1

Well-known member
Hi Bryan, and thanks

A delayed response to your Post #52:

I like your use of ‘additive’ and ‘subtractive’ for art and photography and there is plenty to discuss there. The intention to observe with the aim of sketching and painting something is distinct from the intention to “grab everything” by taking photos, which sometimes seems to me like abdicating observation in the moment. The drive to document sightings means there is a strong incentive to take photos for the record. This isn’t to say that photography is just about mindless grabbing to look later, clearly some photos are art, or become art through post processing.

I’ve come to the conclusion that artists are a funny lot, but so are photographers, and a hard distinction between the two approaches is arbitrary. When I did my illustration training the fine art students (including some photographers) and the illustrators (also including photographers) went to the same seminars but sat apart, each scorning the other. At least some artists felt that having to learn their craft or explain their ideas interfered with the purity of their vision, some illustrators felt undervalued as mere technicians. I think illustrators and photographers have plenty in common, though we seem to be inherently tribal.

A Venn diagram of art and science does have a zone of overlap but we could argue about how big that should be, and where photography would sit. Personally I’d love to get away from detailed realism, I just can’t seem to loosen up once I get past the sketch stage. Bird illustrators who manage this and still turn out lifelike images are rare; Eric Ennion, Lars Jonson and Larry McQueen come to mind. I know there are bird photographers who succeed in taking images that are not about detail.

In the hope of getting some discussion going I’ve attached a painting I did of the eye of a Satin Bowerbird (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus), treating it as a landscape. I started from my own close-up photos of a bird captured for banding/ringing, devised a way to map my drawing of palm fronds to make a reflection on the curved surface of the eye, simplified the details of the feather tracts, invented the lighting and rendered it all in oils on canvas. This painting clearly uses elements of both photography and art, but I’d argue the end result is art, whether it works or not.

cheers, Peter
 

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BryanP

Well-known member
Hi Peter and all,

”I’ve come to the conclusion that artists are a funny lot”
Funny lot is an understatement. They can at times wallow in closed loop thinking and hilarity usually ensues.

Regarding “fine artist” and “illustrators’ and the subsequent tribalism,
Its true that there was a time illustrators were looked upon as lesser beings but I think that has changed some in the past 20 years. It was very prevalent thinking in art schools between the 50’s and late 70’s and was usually a manifestation of mere snobbery combined with an opportunity to feel somehow superior to someone. I would suggest that viewpoint is dated as it seems the pendulum has swung back to the skills based end of the spectrum.

“A Venn diagram of art and science does have a zone of overlap...”
My take is the Venn diagram overlap would also be subject to the goals of both but its the mostly the art side and its subjective nature that would determine the size of overlap. Bird artists who are interested in “art” won’t overlap much whereas illustrating for a field guide or contributing to a paper would have a large overlap. Science has clear goals and shouldn’t make any concessions to art unless that art helps advance the science in a concrete fashion.

“I just can’t seem to loosen up once I get past the sketch stage”
To help my art students and theatre apprentices loosen up one lesson I would assign them was to start and finish a full blown painting with a hard time limit of say 3 or 4 hours. This time frame usually made them uncomfortable which was partly the point. When time was up the “finished” work had to be presentable and convincing. This lesson was remarkable for helping student focus on and aim for the essentials. The results of those lessons usually had a wonderful freshness that would usually disappear with an open ended time frame. The renaissance masters knew this, they had deadlines and understood them well and they didn’t hold with overworking a piece.

When I was studying under my painting master in LA we had an all day class where we did the standard art school practice of copying an old master painting. With input from the instructor we would decide on which work to copy. Only after we had made our choices did he surprised us with a set of 3 novel conditions.

One, We had to research and gather if we could the materials that were prevalent at that time and region and which were most likely used in the original painting. This included whether the original work was painted on hardwood panels or on linen along with the ground materials. The paints we used we had to make from scratch according to the materials and availability at the time the original work was painted. We even had to research and acquaint ourselves with the kind of brushes and mediums the artist used.

Two, we of course had to paint that painting in its original size.

Three, and this one was the kicker, we had to finish the work in the same amount of time as it took the master to finish the original.

As mentioned our instructor had quietly “encouraged” us with our choices, me a Vermeer and a classmate a Rubens. When the caveats mentioned were sprung on us afterwards the reason for his encouragements became evident. I would have been more comfortable with the Rubens and my classmate the Vermeer as they both were respectively outside of our comfort zones.
The Vermeer was roughly 25 x 30 cm and took me almost 8 months to paint. The Rubens was 170 x 120 cm and had to be finished in 3 days. Rubens worked fast and Vermeer was methodical and took his time. Both paintings drove both of us nuts but it was a fantastic lesson. Not sure where this anecdote fits in the discussion but there ya go.

At the risk of gushing Peter your Bowerbird painting is remarkable, I don’t think you need to worry it is unquestionably art. Theres no overworked preciousness about it which can happen with this kind of art. Well done! I’m also curious about its dimensions?

To re-visit the original topic of this thread I include a little throw away “field” sketch that I drew on the ipad today. Took just under 50 minutes to the stage shown a fair amount of which was spent waiting for the little buggers to re-appear. Its of our feeder next to the patio so technically still in the field? Outdoors at any rate.
Thanks to this thread I’d been curious as to how well an ipad would adapt to use outside and as we haven’t been birding for a while figured I’d give the denizens of the feeder a go. As long as I was in shade it seemed to be surprisingly ok. My self imposed rules for this experiment was to only allow the 6b pencil and wet acrylic brushes, only one layer and only plein air, no revisiting in the studio so to speak. To be fair the banana feeder is really close to the tiny patio (just over 1 meter) and the birds are used to our presence so it made drawing them pretty easy. It was fun and I’m hoping to take the iPad next time we go a roaming.
Cheers,
Bryan
 

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