Sunday, September 09, 2012

Grandpa was a Painter, Not a Fighter

My mother mailed me this lovely pen and ink drawing, made by her father during his military service in World War 1. My grandfather, Robert Birrell, was a Scotsman who served in his Majesty's armed forces. 

You can see his signature and notation of the location here --

But this is a bit of a mystery -- he clearly had a sense of humor but I'm not quite sure what this means -  Hotel  Dal Blai?   
Any ideas? 
Please let me know........

Friday, September 07, 2012


 Nightingale, of course.

 I've been laboring over this little creature for several weeks and still need to change it up a bit.

Let's take it from the top: first, the clusmy sketch on the 36"x24" canvas.

Then the obligatory hot mess.

Then a little less of a mess. I rather like it at this point but am thinking my client may want more detail and clarity. Hmmmmm. Except for the fact that some of the charcoal grid is shining through, does this (below) look too unfinished to you?

So I added some more interesting patches of color and textures to the background.

Then I left it alone for a while, not sure what to do next.

When I returned I plowed through my color palette and tackled the detail of all those small wing feathers.

I started really veering into the blues for the bird body -- not sure If I like it. I may need to head back to the grays.

Close up - 

Ok, that's all for now. Sometimes I can see what's right and what's wrong only after taking a photo -- why that would be, I don't know. Maybe a more technical "eye" on the subject is more objective.

Think I will be making our little Florence Nightingale much more of a cool-gray character rather than such an intense cobalt or cerulean blue. 

More to come!