I get a lot of birds in my backyard and I love to look out the windows and watch them. The doves are one of the species that I often see and have suspected that they never leave. One day a group of them were perched on the power line and Todd took a photo from my work room window. I loved the photo, so I turned it into a pyrography project. This blog will discuss the artwork and show the progress of its creation.
If you’ve read any of my tutorial blogs, you know that I almost always lightly burn in the traces lines of the artwork. So the photo shows me doing that step on Dove 1.
Each bird took me around 3 hours to burn and this included the section of wire that the bird is perched on. I pretty much worked left to right finishing one bird before moving on to the next. The first bird was in the process of preening the tail feathers, so they were nicely fanned out. Below are a few progress photos of Dove 1; the far left bird.
The next dove, Dove 2 as I call it, was the first dove I worked on that had some ruffled up feathers. The wings were slightly fanned out and, so, some of the marking were visible. This dove (guessing it’s a boy) also had thin pale bands that edged most of the wing feathers. Previous bird artwork with that type of marking has never turned out well for me as I always think the feathers look like they aren’t lying flat. I was pleasantly surprised that this one turned out. Practice makes perfect and while I’m nowhere close to perfect, hopefully I’m getting closer. Below are the progress photos of Dove 2.
Dove 3, the middle dove, had very ruffled up feathers on its back, so that was a little challenging and fun to work on. This bird also had the pale thin band along the edge of the wing feathers, but most of the wings where hidden from view. Overall, I was pleased with how the bird’s plumage turned out. Below are progress photos for Dove 3.
The fourth dove had a lot more color variation than the other doves. This one had some pale feathers on the wings and I had to resist the temptation to darken them up. Dove 4 had a lot going on with the feathers with lots of different directions and different states of ruffling that made it a bit more challenging than the other birds. I kept re-working this bird and finally made myself stop as I was just nitpicking it to death.
The last dove was the only dove whose face was fully visible. He, or she, was also the only dove that wasn’t preening. I’m sure that he was looking into the window trying to determine if he was in danger from Todd taking pictures. The doves are one of my more skittish birds. I do have a couple that I keep year round and they are a little calmer, but they still quickly fly off to the safety of the evergreens if I go outside.
One thing I find interesting is how the lighting can influence how my art looks on the computer. Below are two pictures of the same artwork but the left one was taken with only fluorescent lighting illuminating it. The right one has some incandescent lighting on it. The fluorescent only picture looks like a black and white photograph.
I personally prefer the warmth that the incandescent lighting gives the artwork.
This is the source photo for my artwork. You can see how I simplified the subject matter by removing all of the background stuff. I had pondered leaving the trees, but always knew that the phone line absolutely had to go. The phone line is distracting in the photo and it would look stupid in the artwork. Anyway, as you can see, I didn’t produce an exact replicate of the photo (my skill level isn’t that good yet), but it’s fairly accurate. Overall, I thought ‘Doves on a Wire’ turned out pretty well.
This was a fun piece of art to work on, especially since, from the window by my art table, I could see some of the doves in my backyard. That can also be a distraction when I’m trying to work, but I enjoy it regardless. I had debated with myself about putting in a background, but I think I like the simplistic look that keeps the focus on the doves.
Lastly, to answer a few commonly asked questions, the artwork measures 10 x 17 inches (24.5 x 43.2 cm), was burned on bass wood, and it took me 15 1/4 hours to complete.
That’s it for this blog. As always, I love to hear from you so feel free to leave a message.
Until the next blog,