New Watercolor Prints
Last Saturday, I spent the afternoon painting at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona. It is an amazing place to see all kinds of desert plants, but unfortunately I can't tell you what kinds of plants, because I wasn't paying any attention to the plants. Although I find flowers pretty, plants aren't really my thing - I'm sure my botanist Grandfather is rolling in his grave hearing that - But, animals - animals are my thing. And the Desert Botanical Garden is a great place to see some native desert animals.. like the Round Tailed Ground Squirrel, or the Harris Antelope Squirrel...
...and a great place to see native birds like the Gambel's Quail, Roadrunner, and even some non-native birds like the house sparrow.
Painting animals from life is not exactly easy, because they never stand still. It is recommended you learn a bit about the anatomy and movement of your subject before you enter the field - and way before adding water, paint and a brush. I am no expert at painting animals from life, but I have been practicing a lot recently. My practice method is not drawing the animal in detail, but instead capturing their gestures in watercolor. With gesture painting (same principles as gesture drawing in learning how to draw the figure), you can get a better understanding of the creature's movement - which ultimately helps me when I'm in the studio painting from photographs.
So last Saturday, I was doing some gesture painting of Quail, House Sparrows and my favorite this week, the Harris Antelope Squirrel. Now, because the animal moves... and really doesn't stop moving... ever... with watercolor gesture painting, you get blobs of paint that kind of resemble a distorted road-kill version of the really adorable creature you are trying desperately to paint...
But sometimes, you can get some really interesting results. And those blobs and layers of watercolor paint can catch the essence, the life, the energy of that really adorable creature you are painting...
And sometimes, you can take those gestures, and with a little digital magic,