In between bottle feeding the five goat kids out in the pen, I managed to work up a charcoal study of a cougar from a photograph provided by Grace Carpenter for an art challenge on a forum I read. Unlike the tulip bud I started yesterday, I managed to get this one finished before a jealous indoor kitty sat on it. Said tulip project has both paw prints and a butt print on it in addition to the dry pastel smearing. I really do need to remember to turn my works-in-progress over so the working surface faces down. Enough grumbling from me about yesterday’s aborted project – back to today’s drawing.
This is just my first sketch of it, mostly for the experience points, and also to see how well I liked the crop of the original photo. While I am mostly pleased with how it turned out, I think I want to try it in white pencil on black paper as that may be a bit easier to get the whiskers to show up like I want. I also need to work on the chin and lower muzzle a bit better, but I decided to upload it and make prints available from my Pixels store.
The amusing part of this story is I scanned the drawing and was almost ready to upload it when I noticed I had forgotten to add in the whiskers and lightest highlights. So, just for the giggles, here is the first scan, before I finished it up.
It may not seem like a lot of difference between the not-quite-done version and the final version, but I can see it and therefore cannot unsee it.
Now, for the geekiness that is me: This oversized house cat really is an oversized house cat, despite some of its other names like puma, mountain lion, or in this region Florida panther. It isn’t even in the panther genus, unlike actual lions, so I guess puma or cougar are the best names for it. Cougars are related to my jealous little feline monsters … and this is very similar to look on Stripe’s face this morning as I tried (unsuccessfully) to get her off yesterday’s drawing without smearing it.
A new art challenge has begun! This is a short seven days, with the theme of “liquid,” which to my mind cries out to be done all in watercolor for the medium. I have my seven reference photos picked out, cropped, and gridded … and all seven involve one or more flamingoes, which are wading shore birds so it was merely a matter of making sure they aren’t on dry land. I have been wanting to paint a flamingo for almost two years now, and have done sketches to get a feel for the bird’s lines. Now, it is time to paint some.
First up is a young bird, molting from the grey-purple chick down to the vibrant pink feathers of the adult flamingo. The wings change over before the head and neck, just like chickens. The brilliant rose pink is a perfect contrast to the blue-green I used for the water, with the distant shoreline a blurry combination of yellow ochre for sand, brown in the shadows, and three shades of green.
Flamingoes usually don’t come this far north, nor this far inland, in Florida, but down in the southern part of the peninsula they are believed to be starting to come back and be a part of the wildlife again. Personally, I love the thought of the American flamingo regaining its Florida native status.
A colored pencil drawing on toned paper, Blue Dragonfly shows a very common visitor to our property. The dragonflies don’t tend to hold still long enough for me to take a couple dozen potential reference photographs in hopes of having one turn out decent, so I found the reference photo over on a site called Morguefile, which has thousands of copyright-free photos for artists and graphic designers to use.
This year we have seen a new color variation of dragonfly – in addition to the blues, the greens, and the copper/rust ones, I remarked the other morning that we have now seen a black dragonfly with yellow segments on the tail. They also have some stunning earth-tone red eyes, about the same shade as the burnt sienna in my oil paints. Once I get a good enough grasp on the dragonfly body and wing shapes, I’ll try to draw one of those as well, but for this piece I decided to start with the most-familiar blue dragonfly.