Bird Painting and Drawing Workshop

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Back in April, I came across a beginner’s workshop for drawing and painting birds to be hosted at the Indiana Dunes State Park Nature Center. At only 5$ a ticket for a four-hour workshop, I couldn’t resist and I purchased two extra for my MIL and SIL. I wasn’t sure how it could only be five dollars when we would be working with Kristina Knowski, who knew a thing or two about watercolor painting from the examples I had seen. And fortunately for my curious mind, she explained that right out of the gate! DNR got a grant through the Indiana Arts Commission to fund public outreach programs like this one. Cool! But Iphone photos only here:/

These are examples of her work that she brought:

Kristina gave us a short primer on drawing materials and techniques, then illustrated how she would approach drawing an owl. Each of our tables had one or two taxidermic birds – we had a Goldeneye duck. She set us loose to practice on a couple of newsprint sheets as she and the other artist helping, Aaron Melendez, walked around offering help. Getting the basic shapes on paper, proportionately, was the idea. Then the task was to get the right shapes and sizes onto the watercolor paper.

I drew my duck three times before I got it lightly on my watercolor paper:

We had a short break to eat snacks while Kristina then went over the materials and techniques for watercolor paints. For the example, we were all invited up close to watch her layer on washes. I was dreading this part – I do not have a happy history with watercolors. However, I do understand them better now – but I think if anything, I am an acrylics person. In acrylic painting, you paint the background and build up to the foreground. In watercolors, you paint the lights and build up to the darks on top of them. I don’t think well in those terms. And I just think I don’t like painting, though I am sure to try it again before I die.

Then it was our turn. I learned a couple things through the process, namely that my pervious mistakes in the art was simply because I was not waiting for washes to dry before adding another layer. Seems like a no-brainer, but coming from the world of acrylics, which either dry fast or light touches with a brush don’t upset the overall image much, this wasn’t something I had understood. So, had we been given more time, I wouldn’t have felt rushed to wash the entire bird, but instead could focus on each portion until it was right (that is a technique I think my SIL did, and her duck head turned out great!). I felt very rushed, and instead of focusing on learning the process, I was too focused on “finishing” the image. Doh! (I also attempted to force it into an acrylic painting, ha!) I was frustrated that I couldn’t add washes yet because it was too wet, but that the clock was ticking. A simple refocus of learning technique rather than finishing a bird would have fixed that frustration in a heart beat! It is weird to me that I looked toward the end rather than the journey, as usually it is all about learning for me. Oh well. And if you look closely, you may see I forgot to leave the white spot on the cheek. But no worries – I googled the bird to learn more about it later and apparently some don’t show the spot so it isn’t such a terrible mistake after all!

My sister-in-law is artsy too and hers really captured the the watercolor vibe (she also got to look at it head-on so it has a different perspective):

My mother-in-law went into thinking only of failure, but honestly I like it more than mine though SIL teases that she copied off of me:

At the end, Aaron cut our papers off the boards and we were sent home with our souvenirs and some extra knowledge about birds and watercolor painting. For five dollars, I’d do it again in a heart beat! Thanks to Kristina, Aaron, DNR, and IAC!

 

See more posts related to:

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Looking for more cases of the Crafties?
Another Felted Chickadee

Another Felted Chickadee

Using wool and a felting needle, I crafted my second little chickadee bird from a kit ordered through Benzie Design.

read more
Stitch Club: Pattullo

Stitch Club: Pattullo

As part of TextileArtist.org Stitch Club, Mandy Pattullo inspired me to create a fabric book representing my family in colors and textures. A textural fiber art and mixed media mood board, if you will.

read more
Stitch Club: Stone

Stitch Club: Stone

As part of TextileArtist.org Stitch Club, Sue Stone inspired me to create a woven background of fabric strips to which I embroidered a large rose.

read more
Stitch Club: Tull

Stitch Club: Tull

As part of TextileArtist.org Stitch Club, Emily Tull inspired me to create a set of three lips in different expressions.

read more
Stitch Club: Vickery

Stitch Club: Vickery

As part of TextileArtist.org Stitch Club, Susie Vickory inspired me to create art from otherwise plastic garbage.

read more
Nameplate: Daniella

Nameplate: Daniella

I embroidered my friend’s name onto a little placard, and decorated it with a thread-painted monkey and some tropical leaves.

read more
Stitch Club: Comeau

Stitch Club: Comeau

As part of TextileArtist.org Stitch Club, Merill Comeau inspired me to create a flower representing an emotional response to something that has occurred in my life.

read more
Stitch Club: Lyddon

Stitch Club: Lyddon

As part of TextileArtist.org Stitch Club, Debbie Lyddon inspired me to create three vessels to contain objects with meaning.

read more
TA Stitch Challenge #7

TA Stitch Challenge #7

The last Textile Artist free stitch challenge was put on by Christine Chester, who challenged us to use a single shape in different ways with whatever stitch we chose. I chose a simple straight stitch in a four-box grid “snowflake” design.

read more
TA Stitch Challenge #6

TA Stitch Challenge #6

Textile Artist Community Stitch Challenge week 6 was hosted by Anne Kelly. Inspired by her boheme style and mirrored image floral challenge, I crafted this tranquil floral arrangement with a quirky bird.

read more
2020 Site Redesign

2020 Site Redesign

I’ve redesigned my blog and finally brought it into the 21st century with responsive web design and other perks!

read more
The Long Nap

The Long Nap

You can stop here if you don’t wish to read anything sad today. It’s already bad enough with COVID and protests, I know.

read more
Inkwash: Chickadee

Inkwash: Chickadee

I've tried watercolor before with frustration (I'm still too impatient) but I hadn't tried using an ink wash so that's what I set out to do this week! This bird wasn't featured in the ABC newsletter (mentioned last time) but I had already sketched it out from before;...

read more
Lady Pole’s Tapestry

Lady Pole’s Tapestry

I've been watching Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell and just have to point out that in episode 3, there is a lovely stumpwork tapestry piece. It isn't often that embroidery makes its way into a storyline more than a background activity! I paused the show and...

read more
Sketch: Barn Owl

Sketch: Barn Owl

I haven't been very diligent about exercising my pen and ink skills, but that doesn't mean that I've given up. I recently signed up for the newsletter from the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) and got my second issue today. I began what will hopefully be a regular*...

read more
Everything is better … 2

Everything is better … 2

Shortly after making my first "Everything is better with" sign, I put this one in the queue. I gifted it to my sister-in-law, who contributed "sunshine" to my list. I wanted this to be light and "sunny", so taking inspiration from the sky, I chose a light yellow...

read more
Woolly worm on a leaf

Woolly worm on a leaf

At one of my guild meetings, I picked up a small dimensional embroidery kit by A Candle In The Cellar, aptly named "woolly worm on a leaf". I put it away for a time because at a glance, it looked like it used bullion knots to make the worm and I wanted more practice...

read more
Everything is better …

Everything is better …

I've been tossing around this idea to make a couple of "Everything is better with ___ " signs so I asked around for some input and have a nice list to start with. This doesn't mean I will actually make them all, but if there is something you think that fills this...

read more
TA Stitch Challenge #5

TA Stitch Challenge #5

The challenge this week at TextileArtist.org is hosted by Emily Jo Gibbs. She works with appliqué and suggested we find an interesting stick - well my yard has more sticks than you could shake a forest at! I spent a short time outside looking for just the right one -...

read more
TA Stitch Challenge #4

TA Stitch Challenge #4

Richard McVetis led this week's stitch challenge over at TextileArtist.org. The concept is easy: couching stitches. I didn't have a lot of time this week for this project so I didn't stress myself much over trying to make something super cool. Instead, I did what he...

read more
TA Stitch Challenge #3

TA Stitch Challenge #3

This week's stitch challenge was presented by Emily Tull - I've come across her work before because she does amazingly expressive threadpaintings! I must be honest here: I found the challenge too challenging, haha! What I mean is that Emily showed a very energetic eye...

read more