Drawing birds in the field

Birds have long fascinated me as subjects for art, but I painted from photographs, not observation. About four years ago I bought a telescope and started to draw from life.  I had been taught to use a microscope – look with my left eye and draw using my right – so this is what I do.  I am experimenting with techniques.

Most straightforward is a simple pencil sketch, sometimes with a splash of watercolour over it.

I am picking the water birds abundant in the West Midlands.  I’m interested in movement and shape, not in rarity.  Drawing with ink directly into water pooled on the paper sometimes works.

These common birds show a range of interesting behaviours.  Preening creates a fascination of surfaces.

Working fast in colour to capture the moment is challenging.

Two major challenges for me are, first, to get a sense of the animal moving through its environment.  The second is to rapidly sketch the patterns made by birds moving and roosting in groups.

Other field sketches of birds have been included in previous posts:








I am applying for a course to develop my field drawing skills.  Fingers crossed – oversubscribed and many good artists applying.





6 responses to “Drawing birds in the field

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