Saturday, November 25, 2006

Getting the detail started

This first pic is of the hummingbird tail, blocked in with a few coats of oil and nothing more.
I decided to start carving out the tail feathers with the specimen under the microscope and the black line drawing overtop of the block in began to take shape. Little shifts and adjustments in form is a very interesting way to develope your painting and take it to the next level.
This is the final pic of shift and base color correction, before I proceed with the microscopic details as I see through the microscope. I find this part to be the most fun, but the most challenging is still to come. Look at the difference between the first tail pic and the last...quite a difference!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Progress of current painting

I have just finished the second coat on the painting and have one more to go before I start the layers of microscopic detail. He appears very dark at this stage because the undercoats need to be this way in order to pull off the iridescent qualities in the layers to come. I am not used to painting this way, and I'm finding it to be quite a challenge to this point. The lighting and shadow are also difficult as I am making it up as I go along based on the vision I see in my mind. This is typical of all the insect paintings I have done, and takes several layers and tweaking to get it right, which I don't mind, I just end up using more paint and it takes a bit longer.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Progress of the hummingbird painting

I thought I would post a progress pic of Achilles, the 6' x 6' ruby-throated hummingbird oil painting that I'm currently working on here in Tucson at the Desert Trails RV Park. James and I are currently staying here before our next exhibit at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum . The people here in the park are wonderful and love stopping by to watch me paint and take pictures of the painting in progress. Most of my visitors are retired grandparents and travel to this particular RV park every winter with their motorhome and love to laugh and have good eats. They are our kind of people! This is my first large painting of a vertebrate since Project InSECT started nearly 4 years ago. Although I will still paint the hummingbird just as I do the insects, with a microscope, the 2 different subjects have a lot in common to me through the eyes of an artist and scientist you will see as the painting evolves. My challenge on this painting is the iredesent hair like feathers which I look forward too in the coming weeks.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Crazy Signs in the Desert

I had to shoot this photo of James peering under this crazy sign as we are in the insect business. What's funny is they say poisonous insects inhabit the area (here in the desert) and show a picture of a scorpion for an insect. We've been told over and over again, that scorpions and spiders are in fact arachnids, not insects, from our public fans and visitors. So I find it peculiar that when everyone is so up in arms to be politically correct about everything, the State authorities who made this sign didn't get it right either.....all we can do is the best we can to teach people what we know and be politically incorrect from time to time...especially when dislexia hits. That's all I have to say about that! So over and out until next time.

Creation of a hummingbird painting

I thought I would share with you the pastel layout of the very large hummingbird painting I have started here in Tucson. I have named him "Achilles" and chose to paint a hummingbird on my few months off for a few reasons. First, because I was given a dead specimen of a Ruby throated a few years back and am able to view it under the microscope just as I do the insects I paint, second, because of the irredescence challenge as I face with many of the insect subjects, and third because a large part of a hummingbird's diet is insects. Most people, unless they are ornathologists or birders don't know this about hummingbirds. I have had the opportunity to watch many species in the wild over the past year in my travels, have photographed them and also been able to obtain information from the specialists. So this fall, I am painting "Achilles", the name does have special meaning, as I will reveal over the next months of progress the story of "Achilles and Hector", as the image completes itself....stay tuned.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Landing in Tucson Arizona

Hi Everyone,
James and I have made it to Tucson, Arizona...where the cacti and sunshine are plentiful. We have been here for a month and love it. Getting ready for our gig at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and learning a lot about the Sonoran Desert in the process. The sunsets are beautiful here and the wildlife is amazing. We have several great horned owls that take up residence right out side our RV in the trees and howl right at sundown. As for current paintings between now and February, I am painting a 72" x 72" Ruby-throated hummingbird with all of the microscopic details and plan to enter it into an international competition in 2007. Our campground here is awesome... and the people are great.....with great stories to boot. Mostly all retired, they are all like our grandparents and excited about our project.
As for the bugs, I have captured many great insects on the camera some of which I am to include in this blog. I have spent hours since arriving here getting my photo files in order, as I must confess, they were as disorganized as a marching band out of tune and rythm. So with that said it is time to post some new photos....and photos of my new painting (the hummingbird named Achilles) coming soon. The picture above is a skipper butterfly I caught landing on a flower and the one below is a damselfly I caught sunning himself on the grounds of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and boy did I have fun taking pictures on this day. Bugs where everywhere! I captured 433 pictures of the desert invertabretes in just 2 hours! Watch for more to come! And painting live on webcam as that is beginning Feb 3, 2007. Until next time....