Quick update shot of progress so far with the eagle study.It's my wedding anniversary today so i've cut short my working day and am going to take my long-suffering wife out for a slap up meal tonight.
Monday, 27 July 2009
After a good degree of fiddling the head of the eagle is now complete and i have started to move onto the body feathers.At the risk of sounding monotonous these are completed in exactly the same way as all elements of my drawings by layering,layering and more layering.I find that the only difference when portraying feathers as opposed to fur is that i use sharper pencils as i'm working on smaller areas at a time and dont tend to use quite so soft grades of pencil.In portraying the feathers i also use direct marks in helping to give the impression of the individual vanes of the feathers.Working on feathers is quite time consuming compared to drawing fur for me as i tend to work on each feather,layering until completion,then move onto the next and so on whereas with fur i can layer the whole area in one hit,saving a lot of time.
Saturday, 25 July 2009
Working on the feather detail on the eagles head today.This is by far the most difficult part of this particular picture especially describing the smaller feathers around the throat and ear coverts.As usual i'm using layering initially and then making more direct marks using B and 2B grades of pencil.In the photo you can see that the throat feather depiction is almost complete and the ear coverts have a couple of layers of pencil applied.
Thursday, 23 July 2009
Seems like ive been layering the background to this image forever,i started as usual with an H grade pencil and have used every grade upto and including an 8B layer after layer,i just kept going as i wasn't happy with it untill i got it really dark.I'm hoping i havn't gone too dark as i'm in unknown territory here with such soft pencils but i just thought it might add a little drama to the image.Anyway having finished the background ive now moved onto the eagle itself and completed the beak and eye before moving onto the feathering which ive begun to gently layer with H and HB grades so far.Just as with my previous partridge picture i aim to show with great detail all the plumage of the bird and so i anticipate this taking a while.
Monday, 20 July 2009
Busy layering away on the background of this piece.I've gone quite dark on this one in order to try and add a little drama as it is going to have strong lighting applied to the head to make it really stand out.As ive got this image on my small board it may once again be usurped at some stage by another drawing on the large board especially as i seem to be brimming over with idea's at the moment and i'm marginally more excited with some of these idea's than with the eagle study.That's not to say that the eagle wont be a worthy drawing it's just that it may get very tricky if my mind is already thinking about another image.But for the time beeing i persevere.....
Saturday, 18 July 2009
Finished up the partridge today,i'm calling it Winter Chill-partridge.Also just received the scan for Resting Up-greylag geese so i'm posting this as it's a lot better quality than my own photographic efforts.i have a golden eagle image on my second drawing board at the moment,although i'm not sure whether to carry on with this one right now as i'm quite keen to get some of the images down on paper that are sticking in my mind after recent birdwatching forays in the last week.
Friday, 17 July 2009
Monday, 13 July 2009
Slowly but surely the partridge is progressing,i'm trying to portray it in a detailed manner without getting to bogged down in the details,but sometimes there simply is no quick way to portray the complex feather patterns convincingly especially when working in graphite if the end result is to look anything more than just a sketch.I've started as usual by laying down a light layer of h grade pencil on the back and rump of the bird then overlayed with h grade again but this time leaving highlights where the feather pattern is lighter in tone and ive gradually darkened the piece working through h,hb and b grade pencils to build up tone and shape to the body with feather markings added in b and 2b grade pencils.at this point the feathers are almost complete with just the rump and tail feathers to go and then i can move back to the background firstly darkening the toned area at the top left of the picture and then adding background and foreground details between the snow in such a way as to make the bird stand out nicely whilst still looking believeably natural.
Friday, 10 July 2009
Another day's work in the studio has got me this far with the partridge.I cut my day short as the weather forecast for the next two days is for rain and as it was such a nice day outside i decided to abandon the studio until this evening.I grabbed my camera and headed off on my mountain bike along the estuary of the river hamble untill i got to southampton water seeing and photographing bits and pieces as i went.The tide was high and so most of the birds were roosting or had headed into the marshes that border the river but nonetheless i got some interesting shots and more ideas for future images.The river is a constant source of reference with much to be seen throughout the changing seasons.right now the bird numbers are fairly low as most of the waders have headed north to their breeding grounds but we do have some breeding here,most notably the oystercatchers on their favourite shingle spit.Came across a lovely little egret feeding in the marshes amongst some lovely plants unfortunately i havnt a clue what they were but it made for a nice photo,also about today were the ubiquitous black-headed gulls,a common bird but still my favourite gull and tucked away on a freshwater lagoon waiting for the tide to recede were a handful of godwits and oystercatchers unfortunately a little too distant for my camera.In winter the river around warsash where i live is absolutely packed with waders of all descriptions but not quite so comfortable on the mountain bike!
Wednesday, 8 July 2009
This year,for the first time in years i have entered and had accepted two pieces for the 2009 national exhibition of wildlife art.In the past this show has been a successful one for me and so i hope to do well this year.the two pieces i have in the show are 'Red squirrel' and 'On thin ice-moorhen',the latter you may remember from an earlier posting.the exhibition runs from the 17th july untill 2nd august and is based at The Gordale gallery,gordale garden centre,the wirral
Still struggling to get enough time in the studio over the last couple of days to make any significant progress on this piece,although i'm hopeful of being able to crack on with it for the rest of this week.The plumage of these birds is extremely complex and very cryptic and not the easiest to portray,but it's coming along slowly.As you can see i'm also going to have to re-layer the background to darken it a little as i have done around the partridge head,here i have just added another layer of HB grade pencil,so there are now four layers,two of H grade and two of HB grade pencil.Better to have to add another layer at this stage than to have gone in too heavy at the outset!.
Saturday, 4 July 2009
Managed to grab a few hours in the studio today and started to work up the background of my partridge drawing.When portraying snow i like to use a blending stump and torchon,lifting graphite either from surrounding areas of detail or from a patch of graphite ive scribbled onto a spare bit of paper,it gives a nice smooth result and is quicker to achieve the desired result than using the pencil directly on the paper.It shouldn't take long to complete the background as most of it will be snow because i want to concentrate on the complex plumage of the partridge which serves to make it so cryptic to spot in field margins.
Friday, 3 July 2009
At last i'm able to post images of my two latest projects.i sketched out the images a while ago but life got in the way a little and progress was very slow.however whilst there isn't a great deal to be seen at the moment ive been busy layering away on my backgrounds.i think the partridge layering is about complete and i'm ready to start on the background proper,the eagle's background needs a little more yet.the partridge image is going to be set in snow as i want the complex plumage to show up well,they're such lovely little birds and these days i find it increasingly difficult to find the proper english partridge in my neck of the woods.I'd love to be able to say that i'd photographed the golden eagle in the wild but my image is based on a falconers bird that i met at the hampshire county show,ive only ever glimpsed golden eagles in the wild around the west coast of the scottish highlands.