Sunday, April 21, 2013

In Celebration of Our First Hummingbird Here in WV

Last week we put out our hummingbird with sugar water and the others empty until evidence we needed to fill them all.

Today our first hummingbird appeared!!!  :-)

And also today is the first I've opened my new Stillman & Birn Zeta journal.  It's ironic I chose to do a watercolor sketch of a hummingbird for the first page same day as one actually shows up.  It was while finishing up the sketch my husband calls out "hummer alert, hummer alert." 

Some of you may remember this sketch I did months ago strictly in pen and ink in the handmade journal one of my friends from Africa sent me years ago.  The paper in that journal is brown made of animal dung plus whatever else goes into it.

Steps painting the hummingbird in my new journal:

1)  With HB mechanical pencil, worked a light sketch of the hummer sitting behind a rock on the bannister of our porch;
2)  Rock first, applied water and then dropped in a variation of Fr Ultramarine and Bt Sienna;
3)  While damp, spattered some paint;
4)  Hit the damp wash with a light spray of plain water and allowed to dry;
5)  Worked the hummingbird same way with water first and dropping in color.  Used a darker tone of the rock color mixes plus Aliz Crimson and Holbein Bamboo Green;
6)  Added the suggestion of the wood bannister with variation of the rock color mix leaning towards brown;
7)  Spattered again on wood and also the rock;
8)  After all was completely dry, used a dip pen and Noodler's #41 Brown for the wood and my Pilot Prera with Lexington Gray ink just in a few areas for added detail.

This new Stillman & Birn Zeta paper is everything I hoped it would be!!!  I love the Epsilon but had wished it was a heavier paper for how I work my watercolor sketches.  The Zeta is just that!!!  It's like painting on hot pressed watercolor paper with wet washes taking a while to dry giving ample time to work wet in the colors I used lifted easily.  Glazing or laying additional washes on top was a breeze. 

With the Zeta, I should be able to paint on both front and back of the pages and scan without problems.  I look forward to being able to do that for 2-page spreads in the future :-)


Melissa Fischer said...

I like your sketch very much and I really enjoyed reading and seeing your step by step. Thank you for posting that. And so cool about the hummingbird showing up after you sketched him! I love coincidences like that. :)

larry said...

Great sequence, Susan. I think I should print your sketch and try to do the wet-n-wet sequence you describe. I'm still pretty much lost when it comes to watercolors. Thanks.

Cheers --- Larry

Susie said...

Thank you for this helpful post. I'm a forever newbie to watercolor, been using it for years and just don't make much headway....but I love the stuff.
And here in New York state I've been thinking if I should put out my feeders on my usual day, April 23 (tomorrow and my son's birthday) or wait till the end of the month.
Reading about your hummingbird showing up, I think I'll do it as per usual.
Lovely blog you've got, thank you.

Susan Bronsak said...

Thank you Melissa, Larry, and Susie!!! I so appreciate the comments.

Larry........I would venture to say that this is best done in the comfort of your home. I'm sure some do it out on the field but I'd think it would be a challenge I personally wouldn't want to deal with.

I DO love painting wet in wet. It's just fun watching the colors merge and do their own thing. One of the wonders of watercolor I'm passionate about. That wet in wet I work is normally an undercoat I later add glazes or dry brushing over for added detail. It's fun to just sit and play with the least for me.

I learned first by painting nothing but rocks and simple buildings.

Susan Bronsak said...

Suzie........hope those hummers show soon for you too. :-) We normally see about a dozen maybe more. My sister in Texas is the lucky one. She has several dozen at one time around her feeders. Is amazing to watch!!

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