Tone drawings I: guillemots and razorbills

20130620 St Abbs Guillimots 1c

On the Seabird Painting course, I was struck by the seeming effortless ease with which accomplished artists are able to use tones to build the forms.  Washes merge and blend and separate to make lines and contrasts.  However limited my own efforts appear by comparison, the only way forward is to keep trying.

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What joy it would be to have that skill and mastery of the medium and apply it in the field …

20130621 Guillimots at St Abbs 1a 20130620 St Abbs Guillimots 5 again

15 responses to “Tone drawings I: guillemots and razorbills

  1. I think your birds are excellent, perhaps your being too hard on yourself. What I think your describing with these others is the way of seeing the bird, your drawing or painting a bird, they are laying paint down, with some knowledge, and then seeing the bird in the paint, then pulling out the image, not accidental, takes great skill, but maybe thats what your seeing the others do. Just a thought.

    • Thanks. I really appreciate your comment.
      I am not fishing for compliments though. What I said is true. I was just astounded, standing watching the paint moving onto the page or looking at the results later. This was not just the tutors (google Darren Woodhead for example) but other students too. But you are right also. I asked Darren what might have seemed an intrusive question – with his extensive experience, is he truly painting the bird he sees or using that bird as a vehicle to paint the bird in his head? I am sure that that experience built over years in the field, helped by handling the animals and observing carcasses, is as integral as the paint to producing the picture. The lead and founding tutor, John Busby, said as much. He struggles now to find a fresh approach to drawing in the field such is his familiarity with the subjects and this resulted in his concentrating on birds’ reflections in the waves.
      I am not denigrating my efforts – what I have done here is an advance on what I have done before. However, the only way forward is to keep at it.

  2. Like all these things technical skill develops over time and with practice and you are definitely moving down the right path. It would be wonderful if we could instantaneously get the right effect, but then that could take away the enjoyment of why we paint in the first place.

  3. I think your bird sketches wonderful and am amazed at how well you can sketch them with just few pencil and brush strokes. Best of luck on getting even better.

    • Thanks. I really appreciate this. I am tempted to say, if you think these were good, you should see what the other students were producing. I felt like a 5 year old at times. However, we each have our own voice in addition to what skills we possess. It is a source of great joy to first loosen up and then capture these feelings of wildness and movement on paper. So thanks again.
      Good luck to you too.

      • It is so easy to negatively compare yourself to others and yet, you are right, we all have our own voices and with time, practice and patience they’ll become louder and clearer. Your sketches remind me that I want to practice more.

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