Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Louisiana Waterthrush beside a rocky stream...

…Rick and I had just crossed over one of the many rocky streams that tumble down steep hillsides and into the Little Miami River when I caught sight of a bird bobbing up and down on a tree limb in the distance. I knew what it was without having to use my binocs—a Louisiana Waterthrush (Seiurus motacilla), but a quick look through the camera lens while snapping a photo confirmed its identify. What a find! We don’t get to see Louisiana Waterthrushes very often, so we were happy and surprised…

We caught sight of this Louisiana Waterthrush just after crossing the stream that leads to the heavily wooded, deep and dark lowland flats ("Middle Earth"). The sun had actually come out that day, and the whole woods had morphed into a steamy hot sauna. It felt good...

Painting 152. Louisiana Waterthrush along the Little Miami
(Oil Pastel, Sennelier Oil Pastel paper)

When we saw this bird, the heat of afternoon was building. It was the first day of sunshine in weeks, and when I got home and started to paint him, my mind was still filled with the heat of the sun. I guess that's why the painting quickly went to reds, oranges and yellows. I never know what will happen when I pick up an oil pastel and start to paint, because for some reason the results are representational and emotion-driven. Using the creamy colors is fun, and no sketching is required. I just start putting down color and let the bird emerge. The finished piece is always impressionistic with a grungy feel. Detail and accuracy are abandoned for color.

Painting 153. Louisiana Waterthrush in the Deep Woods
(Watercolor and scribbled color pencil)

I painted this guy several days later. By then the rains and grey cloud cover had returned (so no reds, yellows and oranges!). Seems my watercolor paintings are always a little more realistic and detailed, but this one is still very loose. It was fun to scribble over the top of the painting with colored pencil. I just recently started picking the colored pencils up again. I haven't used them for so long.

...a pencil sketch of a Louisiana Waterthrush as a study for painting 153.

I wish I had had a video camera with me to capture the way the warbler was bobbing up and down. He really made me think of a Spotted Sandpiper bobbing and dancing to some unheard forest rhythm.

16 comments:

texwisgirl said...

oh i love the soft greens of the 2nd one! you are SO talented!

Frank said...

I also prefer the watercolour rendition but that's just my taste.

Kelly said...

Thanks, Tex and Frank! Rick always prefers the watercolors too. Although I didn't ask him. I was just happy he actually knew the oil pastel was a Louisiana Waterthrush! Matty usually goes for the oil pastels...

grammie g said...

Hi Kelly..Yah!! a blog I can leave a comment on since comment blogger googleville is acting weird!!
I like the second one in watercolor
to ,but I can also say I like the first one to knowing the explaination of reasoning and emotional behind it!!
Either way great!!

Laure Ferlita said...

Nice work, Kelly! Love the raw emotion in the first and the fun take on the second!

Tammie Lee said...

oh I am happy for your sighting. yea. and i loved that you have done 3 versions so fun for me to see!

Montanagirl said...

Love the watercolor. What a find for you!

Elaine said...

You captured the bird's pose so well in both paintings. My personal preference is the watercolor, but then green is my favorite color.

Out on the prairie said...

It would have been fun to see the dance. Lovely find.

Michael Bartneck said...

reminds me of a shore bird with those legs..and yeah the water colors are very cool.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Kelly, Gorgeous pictures and paintings of the Waterthrush.. I like both the oil and the watercolors... Can't choose a fav.... The pencil one is great also... Thanks, Talented One!!!
Hugs,
Betys

Kelly said...

...grammie...yep...Google is having problems again! Sounds like the watercolor has won out by a landslide. I figured it would, because it's a little more realistic.

Laure...thank you!! :-) I have ideas for another painting of him, but I need to study him in the woods again. He hides too darn well!!

Tammie...thank you...I hope I get to see him again and maybe get a better photo to study him. I'd like to paint him again and take my time with watercolor.

Mona...thank you!

Elaine...right now, since it's summer, green is everyone's favorite, I think. If it were autumn, the first might be a few more people's fav, but when it's autumn, this guy will be long gone. He's one of the earliest warblers to arrive and one of the first to go. By August they are usually gone...

Prairie...it is fun! Bobbing up and down like a spotted sandpiper...on a branch, no less!

Michael...yes, I thought so too. The legs are definitely "leggy!" He's very cool...

Betsy...thank you...they all are just practice pieces. I'll be practicing for 5 years until I reach 500 paintings. Maybe I can squeeze them into 4.5 years... :-)

Susan W. said...

I can't choose a favorite, either. If you held a gun to my head, I'd pick the oil for the brilliant colors, but they are all stunning!

Adrienne in Ohio said...

I love how the heat of the day inspired the use of the warm colors in your painting, but I think I like the pencil sketch with your notes on it the most.

Kathiesbirds said...

As always, I love your paintings! What a find!

Shelley Whiting said...

I love the first one the most. The colors are very luminous. I love how the bird and the red background seem to glow. Very enchanting works.