Finding time to work on my mosaics became next to impossible since I began work at Wild Birds Unlimited. However, I needed something to do when hanging with my son at my ex's. I used to grade. Last year I was revising old teaching materials to keep on this website, and even last fall I was working on a presentation for TCA. But I needed something else that didn't involve Latin.
One day while listening to a friend reading from her novel on a zoom, since I wasn't home and couldn't work on a mosaic while she read, I decided to draw. I have done this before when she read, usually when I am in England and this is happening in person. But I never took it seriously. It was more always training to learn how to "see" properly--relationships, shapes, proportions, etc.
I was pleased enough with these drawings and started carrying art supplies with me. I soon invested in some quality colored pencils.
There is a simplicity to the shape of a bird that makes it suitable to draw. And I find it amusing to recall that one of the first drawings I remember giving to someone was of birds from a big book of birds. It was a gift for my grandmother who always kept bird feeders. And here I am drawing birds now.
Some birds turned out better than others. But with each bird I gained experience. I was finding photos of birds I liked online and then saving them to my phone to draw later.
Besides learning how to layer and blend colors, I was also learning about different kinds of bird feathers. I wasn't satisfied with just a white background though, and contemplated what I could do.
I discovered small sized colored paper of archival quality that I believe is designed for a Cricket cutter/printer. I began with a pack of different shades of green.
Then I decided to try some blue paper for a pair of cardinals. The male I did mainly sitting on a hospital floor when my mother was dealing with acute appendicitis. But that's the point: these drawings are small enough that I can do them anywhere. It's very relaxing.
As an experiment, I had seen a photo of a swan diving. I liked the play of shadow and light on the water that comprised the splash and wanted to see if I could recreate it. Thus, here is a swan. I am pleased with the result.
After the cardinals and swan, I wanted to go back to hummingbirds. Although some of my early birds were not local, I decided more recently to try focusing on birds that could show up at my feeder. Thus, while awaiting the return of black-chinned hummingbirds, I decided to try drawing a couple.
When I choose a photo to draw from, I am looking for something expressive in the face or body position. In fact, the first color that I put down after a base of white (so that the color will pop from the background and not combine with it) is on the face. I like the eyes and the balance of the beak as it flows into the facial features. The bodies still need work, but I'm getting there.
And my most recent drawing, a Bewick's (pronounced like the car, Buick, I believe) wren, because I have one at my feeder.
I'm very happy with this one. And I should think about what I'm drawing next but instead I think I will finish my taxes.
Most of the birds on colored paper are now in frames and on my wall. Maybe when I get too many of them I will start selling them, but I really need to talk to a professional first to make sure I'm not doing anything wrong. For instance, I should probably use a fixative on these but have never used one. The frames I'm using are also pretty cheap but provide a clean, matted look.
Oh, and I'm finally rounding a corner on my mosaic owl. I'm pretty sure I'm going to add more color to it--more leaves and branches--but the owl itself is done. It's not as good as I would like it to be, but much better than not being done at all.