I’ve been practicing pen and ink portraits lately. I find them uniquely challenging. Some I’ll post and some I won’t, but this one of Marilyn Monroe I decide to post. I’m fairly happy with it, but I didn’t nail it. I didn’t quite capture her essence the way I wanted. I liked the photo reference for the high contrast, which is conducive to pen and ink. Subtle shading is trickier than with pencil or paint. I have a tendency to overwork the piece. It’s been a pretty steep learning curve. Comments and critiques are appreciated.
I realize this isn’t as wildlifey or woodsy as what I normally do, but it’s good to mix things up. Besides, there’s people in the woods too. Although, I’ve never run into Marilyn in the woods, but that would make a heck of a blog post!
This skull intrigued me with its bleached bone and hard shadows. I wondered what happened to cause it to be here. It was wild and dirty, and crying out to be drawn. So draw it I did!
The bear skull sitting on the running board of an older D6 Cat.
On our way into camp we often stop in a particular landing to give everyone a break from the ride. A D6 Cat tractor was parked there for several months. A local logger had been using it for road repair and erosion control work. During one stop at the landing we found a bear skull. It wasn’t a large skull, probably from a young bear or a sow.
The Cat was parked in the landing for a few months. The skull is sitting on the floor in the entrance. Can you see it?
I couldn’t resist placing the skull in the tractor for the loggers to find. It sat there for weeks undisturbed. Until one day, while we were coming through, it had disappeared. Somebody or something must have taken a fancy to it and packed it off. When I first saw the skull I wondered what it’s story was, but it seems that it’s story may not be done. I wonder where it is now.
I’m continuing to work on the painting for the forestry education art auction. Here is the latest update. The inking is done and I’ve cleaned up most of the pencil lines. I find the pencil lines are very difficult to remove once the paper has been soaked.
The paper has been soaked and stapled onto the frame. Now mounted, it will be ready to paint as soon as it dries. It looks a little mottled from the moisture, but that fades as the water dries.
Nothing left to do but splash a bit of color on it! Hmmm? I wonder how the competition is coming along. Gee, I wish Mary, of Sneaking Bliss, would give me a little hint!
Fawns are often killed by black bears in the Spring. Right after birth, fawns know instinctively to lay perfectly still. They have almost no scent. If the fawn doesn’t move a muscle and the bear is up wind it my not see the little deer.
I have you folks to thank, or blame for this pen and ink. It’s the third version of this fawn. You can see the two previous versions in the post Wild Wednesday Fawn Redo. First was a sweet vignette, which Mary told me was lacking. So I added more detail and asked if you all preferred the simple vignette of the more complete fawn. I received lots of great feedback and the majority liked the additional detail. If more detail is good then a lot more should be great. Truth is, I kept adding more and more because I had a vision. That’s when the bear came along to add some drama. The first rendition was lackluster. Now it tells a story, so thank you Mary and all you folks who commented before. Listening to a good critique only makes us better artist and writers. Even if I grumbled about it at first.
On a side note, if I’d known it was going to morph into this final drawing, the composition would have been different. However, I think it works okay. What do you think?
In Head to Head Bliss we saw Mary’s work in progress. It’s an original watercolor submission, “Food Chain”, for the Sierra Cascade Logging Conference Forestry Education Dinner/Auction. Now for her competition. This is my work in progress
This is a multi-media piece called “Uncle Sam.” Uncle Sam is the name of the little locomotive in the picture. I made a print of my original pen and ink onto 140 lbs watercolor paper. I expanded and enhanced the print with additional pen and ink.
Next I did a two-tone watercolor painting with sepia and raw umber. The goal is to create an original piece reminiscent of an old sepia tone photograph. Both pieces are being framed right now. Stay tuned for our final pieces!