It is easy to get lost in a Pinterest board of exotic landscapes, animals, or cultures. I do like to paint things I have never seen in person or have had little close contact with. Often what is new entices the eye and can catch one’s interest in a way the familiar cannot. Especially things on the other side of the Solar System or Galaxy at least for me anyway.
But, don’t underestimate what you interact with every day. We grow our skills when we create based on what we see around us. Even the most mundane things in our world. There is beauty everywhere. The humble blade of grass holds the loveliest translucent shade of emerald green. An ant can be an amazingly complex being to study and recreate. My backyard is full of wonders. Accuracy in art is based on the close study of a subject. We are in a stronger position if we study what is near us already.
Reference Images I Took in My Backyard Today for Future Work:
Below are some small bug studies that were inspired by my backyard. For the bee and Firefly, I did have to fall back on stock images (the little guys just don’t hold still long enough) but seeing them in my backyard inspired me to draw them.
Little Bug Studies in Color Pencil and Watercolor:
I have many lovely friends living in my backyard from hummingbirds to squirrels. Squirrels are really something I should start drawing as I see them every day. For now, I have a few bird paintings to share with you that I have done recently. My watercolor work is not as strong as I would like it to be but I know if I keep painting the things around me I will improve. Art is not raw talent it is persistence.
Hummingbird Art Journal Entries:
I also have a family of Goldfinches living in my yard. The male loves sunflower seeds he will snap them out of seed heads while they are still mostly green. Growing sunflowers are a great way to attract birds to your yard. Below is a composite of a sunflower field not far from my home and the little seed raider in my backyard.
The Sunflower Thief in Oil Pastel on Watercolor Ground
Happy Art Journey,