June 30, 2016
Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, Part 2
I end my day at Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary back at the visitor center, where a big spreading mulberry tree, with lots of ripening fruit, is attracting a parade of birds. I meet Sandy Selesky, whose lovely photographs often grace the pages of BIRD OBSERVER magazine. We watch rose-breasted grosbeaks, cardinals, waxwings, red-bellied woodpeckers and robins gorging on the fruit.
Nearby, a massive old white ash is attractive to birds that prefer an open perch. I get superb views of a wood pewee, than a handsome male bluebird. I start a drawing of the bluebird, and in the course of my work, notice a band on the bird’s right leg. The volunteers who monitor the nest boxes must know this bird well!
Remember the drawing of the Bullfrog and Spatterdock that I mentioned in my last post?
Here’s the sequences of washes I used to finish the watercolor back in my studio:
I often start a watercolor by mapping out the overall pattern of light and shade. Here, I used a neutral color mixed from ultramarine blue and vermilion. This mixture can be more bluish or more purplish by varying the proportion of the two pigments. By starting the picture this way, I’m encouraged to work all over the picture, rather than focusing on any one part. It also forces me to consider the composition, especially the overall pattern of light and dark. I allow this step to dry completely.
Next, I start to establish the local colors of the various elements, painting these colors right over my tonal washes from step 1 (in the vocabulary of watercolor, this is known as glazing).
The final phase of the painting adds the rest of the local colors, and makes minor adjustments of tone and color to bring all parts of the picture into balance.