Saturday, January 8, 2011

Birds at the Bell

Thursday night was sketch night at the Bell Museum. This month's theme was birds. There was a variety of stuffed birds, skeletons, eggs, and parts available to draw from. There were about 20 people there this month, which I think is the largest group I have seen so far. Yeah, sketch night is growing! I look forward to these nights every month, where I get to go and sketch with a group of other sketchers for two hours uninterrupted. It is also great to see what other people draw and the approach or medium that they use in their sketches. I strongly encourage anyone out there to find a group of people you can meet with and draw. It is great practice and it is always encouraging to meet with other artists and exchange ideas.

I have been working in the Strathmore sketchbook that I altered and prepainted on New Year's Eve (follow link for photos and information on the process). I choose to use a longer accordion style page for Thursday night, so I could group all my birds together as one spread (photo above, book standing).

The woodcock drawing closest to the spiral binding was the first drawing of the night and it took me the longest to do, about an hour and fifteen minutes. I got really caught up in all the tiny feather detail and by the end of the drawing I was sort of bored and frustrated with speckles and feathers and ready to draw a few things with less details. I did not intend for the drawing to extend through the wire binding but I gauged the beginning size for the base and bird feet incorrectly and through the binding the bird's beak went.

I moved on to a pile of parts and got three drawings done in the last forty-five minutes of the night. The head and the leg/claw combo are both from an American bittern. The egg is a crow's egg.
All of my drawings begin with a sketch using a Sharpie pen, followed by some watercolor, and finished up with additional details with a second round of Sharpie pen.

The journal page spread flat. When folded closed, only the woodcock shows as a page. Being the beak of the woodcock extends to the next page, I may try to continue with another bird or something bird related on the following page.
Looking forward to next month - plants and fungi.


  1. Oh wow! These are just amazingly beautiful, Suzanne! And I like the beak heading into the next page; a unique way to bring the eyes onto the next page, really.

  2. Suzanne, I love your sketches and am so glad you could come to Sketch Night. (It was the largest group so far. I don't know if that's because it was birds as a topic, or because it's growing, or both, but if it's birds as a topic, well people can come every time and draw birds—I'll never complain.)

    Great to see how you are working in this Strathmore journal. And the woodcock is marvelous and worth the time you spent.

    I've put up other items sketched at Urban Sketchers—Twin Cities

    The list of images starts with a link here to your drawings.

    See you soon! Roz