Two weeks ago I hauled myself out of bed for some early morning photography. I wondered whether to bother leaving the house as it was a dull cloudy morning; not at all the sort of light I had hoped for. However, once I was up I thought I might as well go. On the way to Point Walter (where coastal birds nest and feed) I drove through East Fremantle. As I passed the jetty I saw that the familiar wooden pier (which you have seen several times in recent drawings) was occupied by a crested tern so I stopped. It can’t have been even 6 o clock and the light was so dim that the electric lights of The Left Bank Cafe Bar Restaurant were still on. The crested tern kindly cooperated with me by varying his positions (and not flying away) as I took photos. I wanted to include the electric lights behind him as they looked quite festive.
The image below is the source photograph (uncropped) for “Early Bird”. Do you remember a few weeks back I complained about the ugly Fremantle traffic bridge which cuts across the landscape? Here it is. No wonder I do my best to exclude it from drawings.
You can see bright electric lights behind the bird. I had to sacrifice their brightness, dulling them right down and pushing them back so that the tern stands out in the drawing. If I had kept them as bright as they are in the photo, the tern wouldn’t have had impact or looked closer to you than the background. When I am doing a drawing like this I spend a lot of time pushing and pulling colours around. I pull the main subject closer by adding warm colours while pushing the background away with the use of cool colours. In other words, I am using colour to trick your eyes into believing there is depth of field. The final thing I did to this drawing was lift out the colour at the centres of the electric lights with a putty rubber. I pressed the rubber in quite hard and then lifted it off; most of the colour coming with it. Then I added a touch of yellow into the colour-vacated spaces. Before I made this change, the lights were too red. (See image below.)
You might disagree with my decision to take away the reds. While they were pretty, the background seemed too disjointed from the bird on the post…as if I couldn’t make up my mind whether I was being a realist or a naive artist. Possibly there isn’t a right or wrong and it is just a matter of taste?! My taste says, ‘Less is more. Reds must leave.’
As in last week’s Eye Catcher, I used Neocolor I wax pastels and Neopastel oil pastels as well as pencils for the current drawing. In this drawing I have used more pastels than I did in the last one. They help me to achieve soft focus in the background and give me a bit of creative freedom too.
Speaking of early birds, I am being an early bird by making my Christmas cards today. I have been deep in production; cutting and folding card (ouch – sore fingers from so much pressing on card), pasting photos of drawings onto the cards, gluing Christmas messages inside each card, writing names and addresses on envelopes. All this is happening now because I am going overseas next week. For this reason, there will be no more posts from me until after Christmas. I know I will suffer from blog post withdrawal but I will be gathering new material for future posts and future drawings from exotic new locations.
So I wish you, Dear Reader, a very happy festive season. Merry Christmas. I will be back to write stories and post photos of exciting adventures and cities in the New Year. Thank you for being my reader!!!
Return to Contents of Posts page Related page: Subject 6: Birds in a landscape