Tree sparrow

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Tree Sparrow #4, Stillman & Birn Beta sketchbook, 7″ x 7″

Another bird sketch – not entirely sure what it is but I think it is a tree sparrow or something similar. I don’t know too much about birds, in fact, I don’t really know anything at all worthwhile about birds and I find the whole issue of bird identification quite bewildering. Nevertheless, I am finding that they can be quite fun to try and sketch once in a while.

I was aiming for a much looser and expressive feel with these sketches. The result is certainly looser than my previous attempt but still a long way off from what I had envisioned originally. I might try and blame the paper for my failure to get the result I wanted but I think the problem is mainly me.

I actually made a couple more sketches of this bird, although those were so horrendously awful I decided they will stay hidden in my sketchbook forever. What you are seeing here are actually the third (below) and fourth (top) sketches. I do find there’s a lot of value in redrawing and repainting the same subject again and again. The repetition always leads to improvements and even if they are only incremental refinements, one is still learning.  At some point you have to call it quits, even if only temporarily, and in this case, after four iterations I’d had enough – I figured it was time to move on to other subjects and try something different.

In this first sketch, I used mainly a Pentel brush pen and a Pigma Micron. The brush pen lends itself to expressive mark-making though I do find it quite difficult to use effectively.  It’s a matter of control, the marks I make often end up completely different to those I intended. The bottom sketch was made using a Pigma Micron 01. Paints were mainly W&N Cotman; Sepia, Burnt Umber, Yellow Ochre and Cobalt Blue.

 

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Tree Sparrow #3, Stillman & Birn Beta sketchbook, 7″ x 7″

Simple landscape…

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Simple landscape, 140lb Bee Paper, 6″ x 9″

Okay, so this is a very straightforward subject matter – a tree, a field and some clouds – kind of boring even. It’s based on a scene that I pass by fairly regularly. For me, it was more about the practise – as I haven’t been doing much of that lately and I do need to try and put the effort in – but it was also about trying to make the boring, a commonplace everyday sight, interesting. Now clearly, I didn’t succeed in that here but I don’t think it’s altogether bad – in fact I feel there’s the basis of something better here if I can get my technique to the point that I can execute it properly.  Not much more to say about it – the tree worked well, the distant clouds are okay. The foreground, however, doesn’t feel quite right, it’s a little messy, as if I hadn’t made up my mind what I wanted to do with it – which I hadn’t.