Friday, March 13, 2009

Two Versions of a Squirrel

Watercolor and Pen & Ink

"Squirrel Magic"
Digitally Enhanced Photo

I believe we do not have to settle for one creative outcome when we look at an image. I took a photo of a squirrel and was really thrilled with its pose. Paws clenched to belly, staring at me, how could I resist? Originally the background was white with black stripes streaming down. As I stared at the photo, I imagined stained glass, a sacred background emerging. So with that in mind, I added a rainbow coat of colors to the squirrel and touched up the background, which already had the lines to follow. It has a nice pastel effect now, almost Easter-like and is now ready to adorn a children's illustrated book. Ah, I can dream, can't I?

The top squirrel painting was done yesterday. I had a hankering to do some hands-on creating with watercolor and wanted to see if I could tap into a more realistic animal rendering. So I stared at the original squirrel photo, who was looking at me from the computer screen, and began drawing on the paper. I started with the eye, which I always do, and proceeded from there. The paws were such a challenge for me to draw as I seem to have trouble with human hands and feet, and now animal appendages seemed a struggle as well. I think that's when I gave up on being so realistic and true to form and just went into "my zone". Purples, reds, oranges, and several other colors emerged on the squirrel, satisfying my colorist personality. The pen and ink was an afterthought, as I wanted to depict some fur lines here and there. Soon the pen had a mind of its own and squiggles and doo-dads leaped onto the paper. The bottom I'm not sure about. The original photo did not indicate any forms below the body so I just dragged some color and ink down and left it at that. I may decide to crop off more of the bottom so it doesn't look so unrealistic. Yet, I feel it adds more of a fantasy touch to the image, my own creative mark. So I've got mixed emotions. Would welcome thoughts and comments from you about the two images above.

Anyway, I think I'll continue to find photos of animals I've taken in the past and create from them, either digitally or with hands-on painting effects. Coming to the conclusion that I generally love all creative mediums, I'll pick and choose depending on my mood. And as the flowers are taking their sweet old time to emerge from the ground, my camera and I will continue to wait patiently for Spring!!! I think the squirrel was happy with the attention I gave him, though.


april said...

I love your squirrel! I love your squirrel photograph too and the colors you have added. Such a warm feeling, like he's enjoying the sunrise in the morning. Glowing.

Marjorie said...

You've been busy! I love the colors in the squirrel photo and your sketch is great. I like the freedom of the lines. And love the parrot too! I'm finally finished with my large order so have more time now until I start the next project!

Doris said...

The squirrels are great! I anticipate more watercolors, they are lovely!