I had planned on doing the YouTube lesson that Matt posted about a month ago called “Drawing with White and Black Ink - Snow Bird”. It turns out that was my inspiration for a completely different drawing/painting.
I liked this subject but decided to use my own Chickadee photo because I liked the position of the bird a little more, with more visible wings.
My materials were different too. I just got my first ever order of Canson 300 lb. hotpress watercolor paper and thought this would be a good project to try it out. Therefore my background paper was white (not toned paper like Matt used). For the pen I decided to use something else that was a first for me: ZEBRA - Rubber 80 ballpoint pen (this is the one that our forum friend Maki uses). WOW, that pen is great for obtaining a variety of values - not just black.
All the white on my drawing is the original white from the paper, so I didn’t use Gelly Roll pens or Posca markers. For the background I used Daler Rowney - FW acrylic ink which I applied with a paint brush. Then used salt on the wet ink to attempt a texture that look a little more like it was snow (to coordinate with the white snow flakes on the birds head).
Finish painting is 8 x 8. What do you think about the snow flakes on the birds head. Maybe I should get rid of them. Any comments or suggestions are appreciated.
I love the fact that you’ve made me expand my vocabulary by using the thesaurus (google) to find more descriptive words.
Your chickadee painting is simply spectacular.
Hi Terri, thank you so much for sharing your absolutely lovely, elegant artwork.
Glad to know that you have tried Rubber 80. You’ve been checking the Member’s Minute and you probably remember Matt repeatedly says how “tiny and precise” the lines of my drawings are. Now that you’ve got the particular ballpoint pen, you should know how easy it is to achieve the tiny and precise lines with it. I think you can do a graphite-level subtle shading with this ballpoint pen in particular when you draw something big.
Anyways, as to your question about the snow flakes on the bird’s head, I, having not seen this bird, thought that it was a feather pattern of this bird. This is because the snow flakes are too organized. Then I checked some photos of Chickadee, and learned that they don’t have such a pattern on their head. I would prefer deepening the black part to tighten the scene and simply put some chunks of snow, instead of flakes. I would also add some snow on the branches to help the viewers’ better understanding of the scene. I might even change the shape of the snow into a hat to add some humor. Also, some red berries have been added to the digitally modified version below because I found some chickadee photos with red berries and thought that the red really worked well to make the scene appealing. The pretty unnatural vertical upside-down branch position is something I did on purpose considering the composition balance.
A bit of trimming might be required…
I also tried my favourite framing simulator with your work. I really like the wabi-sabi taste of this artwork, so I tried some muted colours for the mat, except, perhaps, the red. But red often goes so well with wabi-sabi taste artworks, so I could not exclude this choice.
Hope there is something you like. I am so happy to see something this serene in the beginning of a new year. Thank you again for that.
Thanks so much Maki for the feedback. So, this is what I think I will do. First off, this is currently an entirely ink drawing/painting and it needs to stay that way because it is going to be one of my entries at the county fair in early August. That means I can’t add any snow piles (even though I wish I had done that to start with) because white ink is not opaque enough to get the job done. The snowflakes do bother me since there is no other snow and it is confusing right now, so those I can easily remove by bringing these area to black, like the areas that surround them.
I do think that cropping to make this a horizonal (instead of a square image) will be a better composition. I need to put this in a standard size frame, which will be 12 x 12. I can have a matt custom cut for just $10 so that is affordable. I won’t pick out the matt color until I go to the framer.
This attached image shows the chickadee with NO snow flakes on it’s head and what the proportions would be with the horizontal matt opening and 12 x 12 frame size. It’s not perfect, but better.
There are 37 total pieces of fine arts if I enter all the categories at the fair, which is my goal. With this piece I only have 9 done. That means I need 28 more pieces in the 28 remaining weeks. I’m going to consider this one done and move on to the next project.
Thanks so much for your input Maki. If there are any more thoughts, I won’t be going to the framer for a couple more days. Thanks.
Terri with 2 r’s
Lovely as always. This bird is one of the beginning birds that I started with. One of my favorites to paint. And as well known, ink!! one of my favorite mediums. Again I say, lovely!
Teri with 1 r
Hi Maki -
I appreciate all the time you devoted to giving me a helping hand. It made a difference.
Thanks for always being so supportive.
Terri (with 2 r’s)
What an absolutely lovely chickadee! I love to draw birds too! They are my favorite drawing subject these days! Thanks for sharing.
Hi Emily -
Thanks for the kind words and shared interest in birds. I was president of our local photography club for a couple of years, and some of the members were into bird photography. They taught me a lot about bird identification and where to find the birds, and now I have quite a collection of reference photos to choose from.