Forum Role: Participant
Active Since: January 27, 2019
Topics Started: 0
Replies Created: 19

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Viewing 19 posts - 1 through 19 (of 19 total)
  • Patricia
    Participant
    patofvta
    I can really see a difference in my first assignment to the second of the Yellow Warbler.  It had been a very long time since I had sketched anything and I remember how long it took me to complete this first one.  I am much looser and in my approach now and like to see if I can complete a whole composition.  I can actually see the markings and understand the placement on the anatomy of the bird.  I used wet on wet for the back ground but had issues with the paper drying to quickly, so I glazed over to adjust the result.  I think I really appreciate reviewing the techniques, I have my sketch book with me most of the time, and I plan outings to practice.  I have a number of ideas for using the Nature Journal to record some of the birding I did this year.  This class has motivated me to fill my time, use my energy, and effort to focus on the world of birds while learning to adjust to retirement during a pandemic.  Thanks much! Pat20201204 yellow Warbler
  • Patricia
    Participant
    patofvta
    Great Tail GrackleI am challenged when I go into the field to sketch and paint.  I over pack just in case I want other equipment.  I have a small field kit for just painting, but, I have a bag with all the possible equipment I may want depending on how far I will be walking to get to the location.  if I can paint from the car, I have a chair, I usually like to have my camera, cell phone, binoculars, water, and snacks, in addition my sketch pad and paints.  I usually make the choice between my painting/sketching or photography and birding.  It takes effort to focus on a composition in the field, but I do like making notes.  My journaling will most likely be worked as a memory project where I will develop a theme and use a combination of all the material I have done on site.  I have attached 2 paintings using my photographs and 1 of a landscape on site. Pat20201005_SB SeascapePacific Loon final
  • Patricia
    Participant
    patofvta
    Activity 1.  I have some settling ponds that are down by the Harbor and an estuary of a small river that does not flow year round.  Even though these two locations are only a mile or so apart both areas have habitats quite different.  When I am at the estuary, I am likely to see a lot of shore birds like Willets, Sanderlings, Marbled Godwits, Long-billed Curlews, Sandpipers, several Gulls, Brown Pelicans, and during breeding with luck Snowy Plovers and Least Terns. The settling ponds have lots of waterfowl like Mallards, Gadwalls, Ruddy Ducks, Canadian Goose as well as a wide variety of migrant birds.  Western Grebes, Eared grebes, Pied-billed Grebes, Clark’s Grebes, and American Coots are often sited.  There are Great Blue Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Great Egrets, and Snowy Egrets year round.  There are lots of scrubs and bushy trees so that brings Tree Swallow, Belted Kingfisher, Black Phoebe, Say’s Phoebe, House Sparrows, Song Sparrows, American Goldfinch, Brewer’s Blackbirds, Red-winged Blackbirds, and Great-tails Grackle.  I am amazed at how close physically two habits can be and some birds will be visible in both, but mostly the food for the different species seem keep them apart.   Activity 2.  I checked out the Arizona hotspots for Roger Road and the species list had a large amount of water fowl and birds that marshy areas, I would expect to see a pond or lake with bushes and trees.  I also saw smaller numbers in migrating birds.  I looked up the location and my guess was right on.  I checked out the Mr. Lemmon and with the number of mountain birds, birds of prey, and species that like mountain elevations, I expected wilderness with Conifer and Pine trees.  I looked up the location and was two for two. Pat
  • Patricia
    Participant
    patofvta
    Activity 1. I saw a good number of American Crows on the beach, they were tossing seaweed about and then digging into the sand.  I had not noticed this behavior with beaks in the sand and quarreling over the spot too.  I knew it was foraging for food but what kind?  My friend knew that we had a grunion run and the tide came in as far as the seaweed.  They were eating the fish eggs. Activity 2. This was the first time I watched a bird feeder cam, what a treat to see so many East Coast Birds.  It can be addictive and so very busy.  I was trying to ID the birds and then realized that I need to record the eating behavior.  So I noticed that the Eastern Phoebe comes to the feeder and takes a seed and is gone.  Mourning Doves feed off the fallen seed and often had a several birds that pretty much ignored the others.  Blue Jays would come and go eating 1 to 5 seeds, they were constantly checking the activity.  A Common Flicker takes a seed and goes elsewhere to eat.  The Tri-colored Blackbirds came in a group of 5 to 6 and got down to the business of eating.  And a few Brewer Blackbirds came in very aggressive and succeeded in getting some of the birds to leave until they were gone. Activity 3.  In the morning, I have a regular greeting from the back yard birds.  I have not been able to indentify all the species I hear.  But I can tell the following by sound;  American Mocking Bird, Humming birds (now Allen’s or Anna’s), Titmice, Finches (Lesser or House), American Crows, Acorn Woodpeckers, Red Shoulder Hawk, Red Tail Hawk, Mourning Doves, and Black-headed Phoebe. Pat
  • Patricia
    Participant
    patofvta
    I tried all three techniques.  I was interested in how far I could push the brush and paper with these techniques.  I did three small painting using only one technique at a time.  Wet on wet is very loose, can be a little out of control, and I had to let the paper dry between areas when I did not want the paint to blend.  Also found that if I did a large painting the paper buckled a bit.  Wet on dry was the easiest way to paint with the sketch book and the nylon brushes.  I personally love dry brush but found it difficult because the amount of water on the brush or wet paint on the picture resulted in a combo.  Next I decided to use all three on one painting.  Had a false start as the watercolor paper was hard to get wet enough with the nylon brushes, it began to form little particles of loose paper from rubbing the surface.  I then started over using 140 lb. paper and was afraid I would ruin the nylon brushes so I switched to real watercolor brushes to complete the same picture.  My conclusion is to use the nylon brushes in the field for quick sketches and perhaps when creating a journal page.  This is an excellent match of all the tools.  However, if I want to create artwork to frame in a larger format, I will stick to the heavy paper and natural hair brushes.  I really like the palette and the transparency of these colors.  Also it pleases me that it is possible to incorporate these techniques into the journal.  Since most of the paintings will be on a smaller scale, it is always good to know it is possible to use whatever is needed to complete the sketch. PatTech x 3Yosemite turnout
  • Patricia
    Participant
    patofvta
    Activity 1. I used my afternoon sit spot by my water fountain to count birds and submitted my list to ebirds.  I have explored the Bird Cam, Merlin, and All about Birds.  I have used my field guide mostly to identify birds.  I have used the Merlin Explore but have issues when I try to use Merlin in the field, it can’t seem to provide anything.  So far I have not been able to get one ID correct or use a picture to ID any species.  Sorry, not impressed with Merlin.  All About Birds worked well on my phone and on computer.  I have been exploring and so far have been successful using except when I need a bird ID because it automatically sends me to Merlin.  Seems to have an issue with my location, not sure why it’s not working.  Activity 2.  The Merlin “Most Likely” works while I am sitting at home but I get all the birds in my town, which includes over 200 birds.  I rarely see shore birds at my house even though I am only 3 miles from the beach.  Not sure if I can reduce the location in some way to get birds that are most likely to see at home.  Activity 3.  I have been very impressed with All About Birds and have been able to find 5 birds that pass through my area.  All are new species for me this year, Black Turnstone, Black Eyed (Oregon) Junco, Elegant Tern, Snowy Plover, and Least Tern. Question:  Is there a way to get to All About Birds while using the Ebirds app while counting what I see?  I have to use a browser to get the web site. Pat
  • Patricia
    Participant
    patofvta
    This was not my first experience with watercolors but it was with this new palette and the new brush.  I wanted to really get to know how my palette, brush, and paper work together.  I pushed the limits but was very pleased with it all.  I first created a page of all my original colors then adding all the tints (white, gray, and black), then I mixed all the compliment with each of the types of colors.  For instance, I have 3 yellows with 1 purple, 4 oranges with 4 blues, 4 reds with 4 greens.  This provides a couple of good reference charts so I could find the closest match and what to use.  I decided to practice by paining the two pictures provided.  Then I selected a photograph I took in May of a Great Blue Heron just as it ruffled it’s feathers on top of the nesting tree.  My challenge is the detail of execution.  As a landscape painter, I do a lot of marks to indicate rather than exact markings, but with birds and such specific makings I get lost in the details.  I need to nail what causes birders to recognize what I paint.  I can however see that if I use shape for distant elements within a landscape the birds have a great shot at revealing the species.  Still think I will need to get better at defining the parts of the birds. PatGray crowned Rosy Finch NJWasatch Mountain NJ Great Blue Heron NG
  • Patricia
    Participant
    patofvta
    1. I can always identify Brown Pelicans and Turkey Vultures.  I can often identify family of species with shapes like Finch, Sparrows, Seagulls, and Hummingbirds.  2.  I found three birds with black color; Black Phoebe is black with a clean white belly; Red-Winged Blackbird is black with red shoulder patches; and Brewer's Blackbird which is glossy black with purplish head and greenish sheen on the body.  3.  I went to the Harbor Ponds and found three birds searching for food;  Mallard Duck hunts with its bottom up head in the pond;  Common Loon is frequently diving for fish and travels about;  and Ruddy Ducks dive to the bottom of the pond to feed on the vegetation.  4.  This weeks favorite bird has been visiting my fountain on a regular basis throughout the day.  It is an American Goldfinch, his size and shape is a small finch, with a small head, long wings, with a short notched tail; color pattern and marking is bright yellow with a black cap, white rump, and a little edge of white around his wings and tail; flight pattern is active and acrobatic like a roller coaster; habitat is across the street from me in the neighbors back yard shrubs.
  • Patricia
    Participant
    patofvta
    I am using all the drawing skills you have introduced.  I can see progress and improvement in seeing and capturing more detail.  I am using negative space along with proportion and relationship of shapes and lines and feel it is coming together for me.  I painted when I was younger but didn’t seem to have the time to work on it too often.  I retired in April 3 weeks after the stay at home order.  I have very much enjoyed sketching and working on my art again.  I am having so much fun and I am sketching on a daily basis.  I think this is the most helpful impact, just taking the time to sit and try to capture the birds or whatever I see. Pat20200823_115134 Marsh Wren
  • Patricia
    Participant
    patofvta
    This was kind of fun, although it took me quite a while to complete.  In the beginning, I saw shapes and lines.  I began with a quick very rough outline of the branch and the bird shape so I would have a proportion that approximated the space on my paper.  Then I started with the same part of the branch you did in the video and it was line to the break, then the shape began to have a relationship piece by piece, then it was all about shapes and trying to see beyond the line break how they came together or disappeared in to a new shape.  Next I did the outline of the bird’s body to the beak, I got lost in the cap and the beak.  Had to go down to the right leg up and it was it was shapes, lines and relationships from there to the end. Pat20200818_104147 Upsidedown Song Sparrow
  • Patricia
    Participant
    patofvta
    20200815_093617 Proportion 120200815_093638 2 Proportions I have been pleased with the measuring technique and have selected two places for my sit spots. I have a water fountain and the birds like to visit but are not sure about me.  So over a period of time I have been sketching them or the fountain when I was lacking birds.  I also starting taking photos when I can catch them so I could get the various angles and markings on the birds.  One afternoon I sat at the beach and was open to any and all subjects.  I think birds are a challenge because they move so much and in so many directions, children are tricky too.  I have found that proportion is relative to other subjects, so mostly I am just working on getting familiar so I can see and capture the different perspectives.  This is actually leading me into an idea for a composition with the fountain.  I just need to have more birds bathing and splashing.  I might get a journal page yet. Pat
  • Patricia
    Participant
    patofvta
    Activity 1.  I really enjoyed the Wall of Birds, but there are so many birds I decided to start with South America and just check out every bird. So far I especially like the marvelous Spatuletail Hummingbird because of color, the special tail, I would love to see them present when mating.  I was impressed with the Three-Wattled Bellbird, never seen or heard of such a bird.  I enjoyed the Long-tailed Manakin and would like to see them doing there leapfrogging flight.  Activity 2.  I went to the beach and I saw Brown Pelicans, Heermann’s Gulls, Western Gulls, Great-tailed Grackles, Rock Doves, and Tree Swallows.  Activity 3.  I have too many favorites and it changes depending on my encounter with the bird or birds.  I have a fountain out in my front yard, and I often sit out trying to sketch the birds as they visit the fountain.  I have House and Chipping Sparrows, House Finches, and once in a while a pair of American Goldfinch as well some Anna’s Hummingbirds.
  • Patricia
    Participant
    patofvta
    20200721_135944 Conture DrawingGesture drawing was very helpful in the field.  It took some time to begin to see the angles of the wings, to figure out the movements, what they did to take off and to land, but the more I practiced the easier I could see.  I was pleased with the fore-shortening when the Gull flew toward me.  My best experience was when I parked and just sat there and focused on the birds for an hour.  I needed lots of the birds so I could start and stop until I saw a repeated patterns.  I picked gulls because I have a problem identifying species. I noticed that flying posture can be totally different between species.  I also could identify classes of species very quickly from a distance.  I felt it was almost easier to be at a distance to capture gesture because if I could see detail I would slow down and try to record the detail over the gesture.
  • Patricia
    Participant
    patofvta
    Contour Drawing by itself is not my favorite, however after I completed the exercise, I used the contour to complete the subjects and I was surprised at how well I was recording the blank space.  This helps a lot with getting the prospective as it really looks and capturing some very good detail.  I hope the focus on my subject will result with being able to capture the bird's movement faster.  If I can get the outline I should be able to fill in the detail.
  • Patricia
    Participant
    patofvta
    20200714_110647 (1) I have tried the comparison study,  I compared two trees in a barranca park, I started with the bark, tree, structure, color, leaves, and needles.  I had about 30 minutes to complete the assignment.  I did experience a bit of trouble with my spacing in my sketch book.  Also need to sketch darker and with a better plan, will need more practice. I wondered why these trees were planted in this park.  I noticed that there were a wide variety of very tall trees and many species of birds.  I think that bird diversity for habitat played a key role with the many choices of trees planted.  And the needles seem to draw small bug eating birds to the ground under the conifer pine trees.
  • Patricia
    Participant
    patofvta
    I went to a canyon park in the foothills near my home in southern California. I see lots of birds there and usually hike, but today I found a sit spot. Today we had a typical June Gloom all day so far. The wind kicked in and blew the gloom away, sunshine, breezy and cool. I hear people sounds, cars in the park, doves cooing, and lots of birds sounds. I noticed I could hear each gust of wind as it moved toward me, the trees would shake and then it was gone, it warmed and the birds started chattering . After several waves of wind, it became a wave of birds. They came to me. I started taking photos. I get a little over simulated with all the choices. I am a quick spotter, but have a challenge knowing the species. I always have to research to make sure of which type sp. I am just beginning to know the small birds in my neighborhood. I may even have a shot at drawing from life, if the birds come to me, I really like that! Can it be that simple? Spend several days hitting different spots, really like this assignment.  I had issues capturing the birds with sketch but I am beginning to draw faster and the birds are coming closer the more I sit.20200710_132532 Arroyo Verde Park sit spot   20200710_132603 Sit Spot Casitas lake
  • Patricia
    Participant
    patofvta
    I tried using the marks and very much enjoyed the exercise and it was fun to walk around looking for objects.  I found it challenging to complete my drawing before the light changed.  I realized I was chasing shadows a few times.  I walked around the neighborhood squinting at everything, I looked like I needed a new pair of glasses.  I took my glasses off and I get the natural blur so I can see the lights and darks without squinting.  I just have draw blind!  I need to work on seeing the shadows and getting the right proportions. Pat20200614_162517 (1)
  • Patricia
    Participant
    patofvta
    I thought using a photo was much easier to see the detail and capture something because the subject is frozen.  It was a challenge because I do not know bird anatomy very well, had to sketch what I saw without knowing the parts.  The photo has so much detail that it seems nearly impossible to capture the likeness of a bird without suffering lots of ugly's in real life.  I may spend some time practicing sketching other pictures I have taken of birds to get more familiar with the parts.  Hard to describe where the color is without the vocabulary.   Seems like using photos and sketching in the field will benefit creating the Nature Journal. Pat20200606_162043
    in reply to: Jump Right in! #711512
  • Patricia
    Participant
    patofvta
    6/4/2020  Hi! My name is Pat.  I recently retired 4/3/2020 and have from now to the rest of my life to do what I enjoy.  I have been a beginner birder for several years.  I am a watercolorist and photographer.  I remember how much better I see when I take the time to sketch the subject.  I had it on my bucket list to get more invloved in ebirds and this seemed like the perfect coarse.  It brings several areas of interest together and I am hoping will inspire my creativity, help me to better identify the species of birds, and provide a journal of my adventures. Pat
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