The great thing about teaching art is that as I am demonstrating techniques with my students, I myself have periodic “Aha!
moments where I think of something that I just have to try in one of my own projects at home. I’ve been doing a lot of watercolor classes with all different ages lately, and really wanted to incorporate “wet on wet” watercolor application that allows for a free-flowing merging of colors in which the materials almost have a mind of their own. I tend to work more “exact” for the most part with every little bit planned out before I begin. I still didn’t want to have to lose the attention to tiny details that is something that is really fun for me in art. I’d been doing a lot of pieces lately that were inspired by concepts, and wanted this time to start by being inspired by color, plain and simple. I love drawing birds, and have become quite a pro at quick-sketching them because many of my Express Yourself Artshop students (a program for adult artists with disabilities that I work with) in my painting classes are very attracted to birds as a subject matter, but need some help with the pencil outline to guide their work. I set to work collecting images of colorful birds of all types. They almost look dressed up, don’t they? For this new series, I’m incorporating interesting birds and their natural environment with fashion and costumes inspired by the birds’ colors and forms. I did the detail work in the birds themselves and the branches with prismacolor markers, a new obsession of mine. Where have you been all my life? Yes, they are pricey, but well worth the investment. With art supplies, I have to say it really rings true that you get what you pay for.
The bird that inspired this piece is the Paradise Tanager. I have a bunch more bird/dress pairings saved in a folder on my desktop and am antsy to start with some of those (I’m saving my favorites for last), but I have some commissions to get to first so it may be awhile.