Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Salato Bird Oil Paintings.

Cardinal sketch, oil 2011.

Tufted Titmouse Sketch, Oil 2011

These are three small 12X14 one day oil paintings of some local wildlife at the Salato Center.
I recently had a discussion with extraordinary wildlife artist Charles Alexander in which he gave me some great advice on many things but one I spurned into immediate application was to only use my own reference photo's. This at first seemed like some hard advice to follow, It's not always easy to get photo's (especially good photo's) of critters you really want to photograph. This can result from expense of equipment, to time involvement, to access to locations, all of which are challenging for me. So to make up for what I currently lack in free time and extra cash for a safari with a Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM with extender, I had to improvise and compromise.

As it turns out, I am quite fortunate to live in a state of the union with a bountiful abundance of natural beauty and a great Fish and wildlife service system. Salato center serves as a Visitors Center for the States Department of Fish and Wildlife and is located only 30 minutes from my home in our grand old capital Frankfort.

The photo's I ended up using for these paintings came from just walking around hand held in the parks excellent trails and also from their exquisite indoor bird feeder viewing area. I attended the Backyard Bird Count event there and I think we listed over 20 species, although I didn't get excellent photo's of all the birds.

What I am beginning to accept is that to be a real wildlife artist, you must also be (or have access to) a real wildlife photographer. Working with any budget, I am putting to the test this theorem of using my own reference photo's, the Idea of which I like because it requires you to actively seek out your subject. you are forced to get to know them, study and document them, and this can only serve to improve your work after gaining a familiarity with them.

1 comment:

  1. The cardinal looks very good at the small size. When viewing the higher res image - I see that the focus on the bird would be better with sharper edges. Contrast should be stronger on the bird and the foreground branch (watch the brush strokes here so they define the shape correctly) and weaker every else.

    The tufted titmouse image might need some creative editing on the branches of the nest. Too much obscures the bird. The bird looks a little flat - needs some volumetric rendering to make it look real.

    These are good - my comments maybe are off base for a "sketch" but these are issues I see. I hope you stick with the natural media, Stevie.