Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sketchings - The Red Lory

Red Lory Sketch

I'm sketching the Red Lory today in preparation for another painting. Lories and lorikeets have been shuffled around a bit in taxonomy, but are now thought to be most closely related to budgerigars and fig parrots. Aside from their beautiful colors, I find lories particularly interesting because they're primarily nectar feeders - their tongues are like little brushes, perfectly adapted to grab up pollen and nectar.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sketchings - The Pacific Parrotlet

Parrotlet Sketches

I seldom share my sketches or drawings online. They're messy, raw, and imperfect. Even my more polished drawings I don't consider to be anything special enough to show off. I generally lump all of my drawings into a 'preliminary sketch' category, though most of the subjects don't find their way into a final painting or illustration.

But, I've decided that in an effort to keep my blog more active between finished projects, I will start posting some sketches and drawings as I work. In other words, soon you'll be so tired of seeing and/or hearing about parrots that you probably won't want to visit my blog anymore.

I have a bad habit of sketching on cheap 11 x 17" printer paper, which is what the stack above is. Not only that, I also often use cheap Crayola markers on said cheap printer paper. I occasionally think to myself "someday I'll be a real artist who can afford real art supplies..."

Parrotlets (Forpus, Nannopsittaca, and Touit species) are some of the most d'aawwwww-inducing parrots around. They literally look like tiny adorable baby parrots as adults, hence the common name. They're even tinier than budgies, making them the smallest parrots in the world, and are native to Mexico, Central America, and South America. Pacific (or Celestial) Parrotlets are the most common parrotlet in captivity and breeders have produced several color mutations. Luckily, parrotlets are relatively difficult to breed and expensive, preventing them from becoming popular enough to be subjected to the injustices that budgies and cockatiels frequently are (bred in the avian equivalent of puppy mills, sold cheaply as 'throwaway' birds in chain pet stores, etc). I don't know how wild parrotlet populations specifically are being affected by illegal bird trade/smuggling, but as with so many other parrot species it's probably safe to assume that it's not good news.

Anyway, I'm working on a small painting of Pacific Parrotlets in the wild so I'll post some progress soon.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Eight Elemental Amphibians (of Sally Williams) - Panel #7

Panel #7

I saved panel #7 for last not only because it's probably my favorite out of all of them, but also because the photos turned out so well, including non-blurry close-ups. I've given some thought as to why this one is (maybe) most successful, and concluded (at least in part) that I was thinking the least about how this one would fit into the piece as a whole as I was working on it. For the others I was trying harder to incorporate certain colors or elements to fit the theme. Creating an installation that works together as a whole and as separate individual pieces is never quite as simple as it looks in my sketchbook. But, I really enjoy working this way and I think I'm improving at it.

Panel #7 (detail)

Panel #7 (detail)

Panel #7 (detail)

Panel #7 (detail)

Well, now you've seen all eight panels of the finished piece (or if you haven't, just take a look at the previous seven posts, or at this Flickr set).

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Eight Elemental Amphibians (of Sally Williams) - Panel #5

Panel #5

I think I have enough acceptable photos of Panel #5 here that I won't babble on about it. The gold color, of course, is metallic.

Panel #5 (detail)

Panel #5 (detail)

Panel #5 (detail)

Panel #5 (detail)

Panel #5

I'll be posting the eighth and final panel in this piece tomorrow. I haven't yet received photos of the final installation in its new home, so if I don't soon, I'll work up a photoshop composite of the panels to give you an idea of how the piece looks as a whole.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Eight Elemental Amphibians (of Sally Williams) - Panel #8

Panel #8

For some reason, even though I took these in the same room with the same lighting as the other panels, the photos for panel #8 turned out terrible. Embarrassingly terrible, in fact. Wow, what I would do for an oversized scanner. There are predominantly dark colors present in this piece, but with a great deal of depth and richness and variety that doesn't show at all in the photos. Parts of the early underpainting that show through, like in the largest fish on the left, are iridescent so it shows mostly as glare here.

Panel #8 (detail)

Panel #8 (detail)

Hopefully you can get the general feel of the piece at least. I almost got rid of the fish since I edited them out of one of the other panels and I was afraid they'd seem out of place on just one. As I was analyzing all the panels together when they were nearing completion, I ended up liking the variety they added so they stayed.

Two more panels to go!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Eight Elemental Amphibians (of Sally Williams) - Panel #1

Panel #1

I think I probably struggled with resolving panel #1 the most out of all of them, but I like how it eventually turned out. It's the decorative elements on the top and left side that threw me and I almost painted them out several times. Ultimately, I wanted it to tie into the decorative elements in panel #4 so I kept them. I do think they're more successful in panel #4 than here though.

Panel #1 (detail)

Panel #1 (detail)

Panel #1 (detail)

Panel #1 (detail)

Sorry about the inconsistent colors in these photos. I couldn't seem to get the color corrections quite right this time. Photoshop skills are admittedly not among my strongest abilities as an artist. The actual tan color in the painting is similar to the tan in the first two photos in this post, the yellow is brighter like in the last three. The other colors look fairly similar to the original in all the photos - the bright blues vary a lot in the actual painting.

The little yellow frog is shiny and slightly iridescent, as are the other yellow areas. The blues are highly glossy.