Painting birds is so joyful for me so I wanted to revisit the varied thrush but this time in oils. This piece was not painted alla prima. I let the first layer dry and then was able to scratch through to some of the bright under-painting where I wanted. Check out near the bird’s claws for example. I was quite pleased with the balance between representing something real and having an abstracted feeling. There is a very free feeling in that colourful background.
Here is Tom’s poem that goes with this painting. He actually wrote this one separately from the painting but it turned out to be perfect for it!
Branches glow like ladder-rungs up, up the trunk in springtime sun: a thrush alights upon the bark, it’s orange breast a joyful spark of colour after winter’s grey that ushers in the brighter days.
I had so much fun painting the first “Crow and blooms” that I decided to do another! An incredible burst of rhododendrons is gracing the neighbourhood so they form the backdrop for this crow.
Tom wrote a curious and thought-provoking poem for this crow!
I think perhaps you have assumed
too much about the world at large
so look upon the blousing blooms
and tell yourself, “I am in charge
of everything I can control
and nothing else: the dice may roll
and come up seven, eight, or two
and with that truth I’ve naught to do.”
But when the dice are finally done
then how I ride the winds of chance
or bide my time upon this branch
will be my choice, for lost or won.
For though the wind blows where it might
I will yet rule my turn of flight.
A while ago I tried to paint this little guy with oil paint but so far it just isn’t working. I am fairly happy with this watercolour, however. I used a photo as inspiration seen here from a blog with a lot of inspiring wild life and wilderness images whose author very kindly gave me permission to work from the photos. Thanks so much!
UPDATE: New awesome poem from Tom! Thanks!!
Tweedle dweedle squee-wee-wee!
Spring is here and I am free
to sing of song of joy and call
to mates and rivals one and all
that I’m the best and brightest bird
that the world has ever heard
for if there were a better one
I’m sure I would have heard of them
For some reason, I was thinking during the week that the next bird in the series needed to be a crow. When I started to look for interesting photos for inspiration, I was reminded of the rhyme “one crow sorrow, two crows joy…” and so of course decided to do two crows – more of a challenge too! I actually did a computer doodle on that theme some time ago (2011!). In any case, I found this fabulous photo (scroll down – it’s the eighth photo in their post) and got to work.
This time, I left the drawing strictly black and white with just a bit of pencil shading – which seemed right for the subject. I had originally thought that it would be 3 1/2″x 5″ like the last doodles I posted but the crows took over the page and spilled onto the margin. Once again, inspired by “Zentangle”… I am pretty pleased with the effect.
UPDATE: New poem from Tom just right for the image as usual – thanks Tom!
We’ve gotta stick together, Bud,
upon this cable’s span
clinging ‘gainst the gusty winds
that blow from Autumn’s fan.
I’ll lean on you, you lean on me
we’ll be OK together
no matter what tomorrow brings,
nor even what the weather.
You’re lookin’ slightly hollow there
your wickerwork’s askew
but stick with me and sure as eggs [*]
you know I’ll stick with you.
Then in the Spring we’ll fly away
and build us nests of gold:
fresh straw and twigs, the very best,
for Fortune’s with the bold
and who is bolder than we two
who cling to this thin wire
up in the sky while groundling folk
stand firmly in the mire?
It isn’t always pleasant here
but ain’t the view just fine?
And when you’re famous-rich I’ll say
you was a friend of mine!
Since my last post I have been pretty busy but at least three weeks of that was a busy vacation! That’s the best kind of busy 😀
Last fall, I was playing around with something called “Zentangle”. It was pretty fun but didn’t ever seem me. Last weekend, I decided to try the technique out on something real instead of an abstract form. The swallows above are the result… with a fair amount of “cheating” – that is I didn’t really follow the rules. Anyway, I was fairly happy with the result so I decided to do another this weekend and that is the owl below.
It is really fun to express the form and even emotion using patterns instead of rendering the birds in a truly realistic way. These are both done with ink on paper and are about 3.5″x5″. After the ink was done, I did some shading with pencil for volume and a hint of colour with water colour pencil. I didn’t use any water on them though because the paper isn’t very thick and would have buckled.
I found the photo of the owl here. It’s small on the page but you can click to make it larger and see where the inspiration came from. I know owls are fierce predators but they are awfully cute too!
UPDATE: New poem from Tom in the comments! Delightful! thanks!!
“I’m feeling something abstract here,
upon this strand of wire,
as if the Artist had no fear,
was willing to acquire
a method new, a novel set
of rules to break and bend
with pencil shading, ink of jet–
it seems just slightly zen!”
“O, I say… do you not see
the pattern weaving deep
within the fabric of the world
where silent truths still sleep?
What a pity, for in truth
there’s beauty undiscovered
by all who see just surfaces
and think they have uncovered
all there is to know and see
through all of space and time
but those who know the pattern’s there
they see the world sublime!”