“Rock/Candy”, my two-person show with colleague Kendra Bidwell-Ferreira, came down on March 31st. It was a very colorful and fun exhibit, and I’m a little wistful to have it in the past. But I have been working hard all along on this new drawing, pictured above in a very initial stage. This is quite a large drawing compared to the sizes I have been working on in the past couple of years (it’s about 22″ x 28″) and I thought it would help me to start out with the hawk’s head staring out at me, inviting (or taunting ?) me to keep working on it.
This initial photo shows the head, as well as some tree trunks in the distance that I quickly sketched in with Caran D’Ache Watercolor Pencils. I did this to help me to define the parameters of the composition. The hawk has a squirrel in it’s talons, and I’ve placed it atop a snow-covered wood pile, with some tree trunks and foliage in the background. I’m working from photographs taken in my yard, and some of you may recognize the hawk and squirrel photograph from my blog pages “Scenes from my birdfeeder #2″. However, I wanted a more interesting setting and chose to place the hawk on snow-covered wood, similar to the setting of “Winter Throne”.
The photos below depict the development of the hawk’s tail. In some parts of drawings I first execute layers of Caran D’Ache Watercolor pencils to help establish background layering and depth of color (usually in the darker areas). (Please excuse the re-appearance of the hawk head photo. I can’t seem to delete it without deleting it from above as well!)
The photo on the far left shows the tail with the initial layering of dry Caran D’Ache Watercolor pencils. The photo in the middle shows the same area now blended with a wet brush. This step aids in the build-up of color and provides me with a “road map”, so to speak, of how I want to develop the area. The third photo shows the tail nearing completion. I’ve also started to develop the squirrel’s body, and have been working the three areas (hawk, squirrel and surrounding snow) simultaneously, as there are so many blurred borders between them. It was a challenge to take on, but I’m nearing completion of this area and will be posting an update next week. Then it’s on to the wood pile. . .
Thanks for reading, and happy spring! ~Debbi
My husband and I recently went on a nine day trip through parts of Ireland, and one of the absolute highlights was staying at the Dromoland Castle in Newmarket-on-Fergus and participating in a private falconry walk. David Atkinson runs the Dromoland School of Falconry, and has an amazing array of birds of prey available for walks, educational talks and more. More can be learned about it at: Dromoland School of Falconry. These photos show the castle, David walking through the grounds with Bruce, and Bruce the Harris Hawk standing on my gloved hand. It was such a thrill to have Bruce alight on the glove. David would make sure to put a chicken leg on the glove (or some other poultry body part) and Bruce would eat the tidbit the moment he landed. He was so quick I never got to see him actually eat it. We also got to see several Peregrine Falcons, a Great Gray Owl, a Barn Owl and a Long Eared Owl.
We spent the last three days of our trip in Dublin, which is a wonderful city and easy to walk around. One afternoon we came across this store, Read’s, and since they have colored pencils prominently displayed in their street window, we decided to take a look inside. Wasn’t it a thrill to find the Derwent Graphite Soft tin with my drawing on it sitting the shelves. Please indulge me, it’s quite a hoot to see a little bit of one’s artwork in a foreign country!
Finally! I can’t believe two weeks has gone by since my last post, but it really has been a busy time. We had a wonderful week of scuba diving in Curacao and man is it hot at the equator in August! There are so many wonderful birds down there on the island including Venezualan Trupial, Yellow Orioles, Brown Pelicans, Brown Footed Boobys, Yellow Warblers and my new favorite island bird, the Bananaquit. These little birds, called “Honey Bears” by the locals, come up to your dining table and try to fly away with sugar packets, drink your orange juice, or scrounge fruit off your plate. We took to feeding them (for photographic purposes, of course!) and as the week progressed we found that a nice piece of watermelon with some raw sugar on top was just the trick for attracting lots of birds. Check out the photos below.
Okay, one more vacation photo, just one more. . . . promise. I couldn’t resist putting this guy on here. My son found this iguana resting in the shade of it’s self-dug hole in the midday heat.
On to my drawing, which I finished today. I really like this one, but like most things I work on, I feel too close to it right now to see it clearly. I am really enjoying developing this body of work, which is surprising to me, as I originally thought of doing perhaps one or two rock drawings.
I’ve already started the layout of the next piece, which will be much larger than the previous drawings in this series. I’ve been keeping them to approximately 9 x 12 inches in size, either horizontally or vertically. I’ve decided to work larger on this particular drawing, and am starting out with dimensions of 15 x 20, although it may change some with the cropping for framing. I going for a more dramatic presence and lighting with the new piece, and I think increasing the scale will help accentuate that.
I’m back from a week of warm weather in Tobago. We stayed in an inn on a very quaint bay called Speyside, very quiet and undeveloped. But don’t try telling that to the birds! Ruddy Turnstones are shorebirds, and I’ve never seen them behave quite like they did at this inn. First they would terrorize breakfast eaters, as caught below on camera. Then after a full meal, they would bath in the guests footbath, and then drop off for a short nap in the sand. Of course, they had to be back at work for the lunch crowd!