Arctic Loon (water test 1)

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This is a test. This is ONLY a test. In the even of an actual water emergency you would be notified by the proper authorities… I printed out a reduced version of the Arctic Loon and began PRACTICING with water ripples on the printout. My goal is to suggest water with the minimum amount of pencil, using the white of the paper as the pale areas. I like where this is going, but I have more tests to conduct before I decide how to tackle this very new challenge. Suddenly there are reflections to deal with… and underwater webbed feet. Oh, heaven help me….

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Short-eared Owl (initial work_

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I decided to tackle another Owl… This preliminary work on a Short-eared Owl portrait is based on my photograph for a change. As with the Arctic Loon, I’m daunted by the complexity of the pattern on this bird. Hopefully, I’ll find a way to simplify the process—and the finished product. At this early stage I’ve defined a few major feather groups and the darkest areas of shadow. 

Arctic Loon (back pattern completed)

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The juvenile Arctic Loon portrait advances a bit. I’ve added the back pattern and completed much of the above-surface area of the bird. You may notice I’ve intensified the outline around the subject. Contrary to much advice I’ve read, I like defining the structure of the bird with a strong outline. Maybe it’s because I imagine how these images will look when reduced to field guide image size… Anyway, when I look at it again in the morning, I’m sure I’ll have doubts about what I’ve done. Still ahead is the below-the-surface (legs primarily), and the ripples of water. This has been a long project for me…