Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sandpipers and Warblers

The Great Backyard Bird Count last weekend put my studio work on hold though it did have the positive effect of getting me to do a fair amount of field sketching. Now that I'm back in the studio though I keep searching for the subject of a new linocut. I got a new baren and a new type of printing paper over the Christmas holidays and would like to put them to use.

But linocuts are always a very roundabout process for me. At some point in the middle of sketching, or painting, or looking at old sketches and paintings, maybe even photos I'll suddenly get the bright idea that I should make a lino based on whatever I'm looking at. But sometimes I can look and look, sketch and sketch and just not come up with an idea. That's the case right now.

As i looked through some old photos of a Least Sandpiper in the muddy fields near Magee Marsh in Ohio last May I decided to do the ballpoint pen sketch at top. I can't imagine I'll ever use it as a lino but I think it's valuable on its own. The sandipers were almost invisible in the dark mud and the small stream of water created by heavy rains. I tried to get that across in the second work at top, an ink drawing with watercolor on top. I thought maybe it could be the basis of a lino before I started. But the end result leaves much to be desired. I can't see it as a lino at the moment.

I'd also done some new warbler studies in ballpoint pen before the Great Backyard Bird Count. But I never got around to showing them. Tbey are above, male and female Magnolia and Canada Warblers.


Ellen Snyder said...

Ken, I really like this set of sketches, and you say done just with a ballpoint pen! The warblers are so sweet and I always have a soft spot for sandpipers. I think I like the sharpness of the pen more than the watercolor in this selection. Nice work. Ellen

Ken Januski said...

Hi Ellen,

Thanks! Yes I was shocked to learn recently what could be done with a ballpoint pen. I never would have guessed until I realized that some work by others that I admired was done in ballpoint pen.

I think you're right too about the watercolor. This one just didn't work. I've had that image in my mind for about a year now, of the Least Sandpipers almost invisible in the muddy field and newly created stream. I still foresee a painting at some time in the future.

Hard to believe but it won't be all that long before shorebirds and warblers start arriving. A few people have seen killdeer over the last few months though we don't generally see one until early March.