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kerry buck artist blog

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Bird watching

A work in progress

So, I have been watching a barn owl quartering the fields – a view from my living room window, how lucky am I?- and building up enough gusto to start on another big collagraph plate. I thought I would post this as a ‘work in progress’ and I will update it as I go along. So I started with a tiny thumbnail which I took straight to the plate and worked up as a sketch.

owl 1
From the thumbnail straight to the plate

The next step was to decide how to use tone to build the image.  I decided to cut the owl out;  peeling the smooth surface of the card away to reveal the texture of the under-layer. This would print as a dark owl shaped silhouette and I could add lighter tones with hammerite. It was necessary to redraw the owl so that I knew where to paint!

So here you can see the plate and the proof with the hammerite highlights. It was necessary to sand some of the hammerite back because it raised the rough texture of the card but I quite liked the way this added to the textures of the feathers.

There is still more to be done. This plate is at a dangerous stage – it looks as though it is going to work well but, I have to add more highlights to the body and it could go badly wrong.

So keep your fingers crossed and I will post the finished print when I can…if I don’t then I am probably sulking about the temperamental nature of printmaking!

owl4

Orford Ness Inspiration

So, Hubby and I went to Orford Ness for a weekend with the scary camera. I generally twiddle things and press buttons until I get a shot I like – my photography teacher called it ‘instinctive’ – I think she was being polite. Hubby, who is far more analytical, is getting into histograms and actually expects me to know what the twiddling will do before it does it. I suspect he will make a better photographer than me in the long run.

A day was spent stalking Little Egrets and Herons, we also saw Stonechats but they refused to sit still and consequently came out blurry. With much excitement, we watched a tiny black dot circling over the reserve which may or may not have been a Marsh Harrier…of course it is just as likely to have been a pigeon. I do not pretend to be a very knowledgeable bird watcher and I could include on our spotting list some ‘little brown ones’, ‘a red legged one’ confirmed by a bearded fellow with a huge telephoto lens to be a Redshank, and a little creamy orange one with a white eyebrow which turned out to be a Wheatear. This was confirmed by my friend Gwyn by dint of a behavioural description and the photo posted below. I guess this makes me a retrospective bird watcher – I take a photo and ask someone about it later.

I am learning though.

On returning home we played with Adobe Lightroom and discovered that some of our pics were not too bad. I have to credit Hubby with the Little Egret  – I think this beautiful creature will be appearing in a new collagraph print soon.

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