Thursday, January 5, 2012
Learning from Sketching
It seems like every winter I spend a lot of time going through photos I've taken, looking for a subject for the next painting or print, but also seeing something new about a bird that I hadn't noticed before.
I don't advocate using photos in art. I think you learn so much more and get so much more engrossed when you're working from life or from sketches from life. But photos do have their use.
At this time of year I often find myself trying to do detailed sketches from photos. The purpose of the sketch isn't great art; it's to learn how the bird is put together, to just look at it more closely.
Recently I've noticed the difference in sparrow bills, more from photos than life since I don't really see a great variety of sparrows on a normal day. And Song Sparrows always surprise me with the large size of their bills. So I decided to do a number of sketches trying to concentrate on that.
Today's sketch is at top. After I'd done the pencil sketches I decided to try adding watercolor.
Yesterday's study is above. I originally intended to put another sketch on the right. But once I added watercolor to the sparrow on the left I found myself thinking that the only way to make it look halfway decent as a picture, even though a picture wasn't my original intent, was to continue the scene all the way across the page.
These might have looked better left as pencil sketches. But I also want to improve my realistic portrayal of birds in watercolor so it seemed worth trying to add watercolor to them.