I have decided to paint some more illustrations for the logbooks, which is slightly ironic as the point of the books was to use all the paintings I already had. I still love painting birds in gouache though, and as I now have thirteen titles, a few do crop up frequently so I’m starting by painting those I need more of first of all, however tempting it is to paint new species all the time! I’m quite excited by the bee-eaters that are currently hanging out in Norfolk so I might have to paint one of those next.
I start with sketching out the outlines of the birds using photos from Flickr, Instagram, stock images and field guides using a 2H pencil. I have always used 30cm square paper but the large sheets I get are 50 x 70cm so I now paint on to smaller pieces as I don’t tend to sell many, and on a practical note they fit more easily in to my scanner if they are smaller than A4!
I’ve got to do quite a few Wheatears, Curlews, Shelducks and Little Egrets, but I started today with these four:
I will finish rubbing out the pencil once they are properly dry and then scan them in. I am unsure whether to paint the Little Egrets on to grey paper, or simply paint in the legs and beak and then fill in the background in Photoshop, as I have to too that anyway to standardise the blue background for the logbooks. Seems a bit unromantic somehow but it’s an awful lot of white paint!
On a side note, I heard a Wren tick-tick-ticking in the apple tree yesterday, and wondered if there was a cat in the garden, so went to investigate. I was so pleased to see an adult Wren contact-calling its young, who all hopped through the twigs to pick up an insect-y morsel from their doting parent; I think I saw three fledglings. My garden is wonderfully abundant this year so I’ve no idea where they have nested but after the disaster with the Robins and Blue Tits I’m happy to see that one of the birds on my patch managed to produce a brood. I’ve had every few bees on the numerous flowers, but there are flies, beetles and what must amount to millions of aphids so at least they have had some food.