Quick journal sketches

Detail from my Hummingbird project journal.

No painting this week! OK, so I don’t have paper on which to paint but that is no excuse! In fact I have been involved in other admin stuff so didn’t even do any acrylic painting, but that also is not an excuse. It’s probably the pandemic getting me demotivated.

That said, I have started a couple of projects in my journals. One is to paint some marine life to put into a book, no rush but I now have a deadline set for August completion. The other is a personal project which involves documenting details (eg eye, feet, feathers etc) of Hummingbirds and Tanagers to create a reference for when I paint these beautiful birds. Whenever I can get hold of large sheets of watercolour paper I intend to do large-scale portraits of a couple of species and to see how these develop.

Something of interest that came out of my research of hummingbirds, in particular the Swallow-tailed Hummingbird, is that there are five sub-species of this particular bird. I have seen two sub-species but the one that occurs where I live, and which is a daily visitor to my garden feeder, is Eupetomena macroura simoni. It is a slightly bluer version of species.

There are two things I usually do before painting any bird: get as many reference photos as possible (the majority being ones I have taken), and get as much information as I can research about the bird so I can incorporate a bit of its character into the painting. At least that’s the idea, and probably easier to do in larger scale paintings.

I have spent a bit of “coffee break” time doing quick sketches in my journal that may be converted to projects in the future. I am still thinking about whether to have these done as watercolour landscapes or in acrylics. No rush.

Some of these were watercolour sketches while a couple were pencil only.

All of these were taken from photographs from my last visit to Venice, a city I know very well as my mother used to live close by. The first two are of San Giorgio di Maggiore (a favourite subject of mine), the third, fifth and last are of the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, and the fourth is of the Rialto Bridge.

I find that doing these sketches helps me to think about the treatment of the subject and to identify the details that should or should not be included in a landscape.I have to admit that I always have difficulty with the facade of the basilica of San Giorgio as it is marble that is white in bright sunlight, or creamy at other times.

Not a great week for me but maybe later in the month things will improve.

Thanks for following. Please feel free to comment or ask questions – I try to reply within 24 hours.


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