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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Birds at the Bronx Zoo

I met with my sketching group in the World of Birds exhibit at the Bronx Zoo. I was especially excited about this trip because I was going back to a Stillman and Birn Epsilon book that I'd only done two sketches in previously, so it was like starting a new book. For awhile I got sidetracked and worked in way too many sketchbooks simultaneously. Finally, I exerted my willpower and narrowed the field, so in the past couple of months, I finished off three of them by consolidating my efforts in one book at a time.

It's been especially hard to let go of the last one I finished --- a Stillman and Birn Alpha hardbound book that I really loved. I did a lot of experimenting and mixed media-growing in that book, and liked what was coming out of it. I wasn't sure where this new Epsilon book was heading. But then I thought about the fact that I treated the Alpha book like a playground. It did well with a mixed media approach and I enjoyed that, so it gave me the chance to grow in that direction. It wasn't long before I remembered how much I love the feel of pen and ink and dry media on this Epsilon surface. I expect that I'll be doing a lot of drawing in the near future!

In the meantime, I prepared about 10 two-page spreads with acrylic washes and borders to see how the paper would respond in comparison to the Alpha. To my surprise, it did just fine. I think I'll not only be able to use a similar approach in this Epsilon book, but I'll like it even more for my dry media.

This page was a bit problematic because I didn't dilute the acrylic paint enough on the background wash, and the transparent watercolor did not want to adhere to the shiny smooth acrylic surface. I fought with the acrylic/watercolor combination a bit on this sketch above. The sketch was done with Noodler's North African Violet ink in a Pilot Plumix italic calligraphy pen. That is a washable ink, and I let it wash into the watercolor at will, and wrote in the species names with the same pen/ink combination.

3 comments:

  1. I'm going up to NYC next weekend, and you're inspiring me to go sketching at the zoo!

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  2. Definitely go sketch at the zoo! It's great!

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  3. All your Bronx zoo bird paintings are really nice. Great pages for your journal.

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