The Art of Birds by Steve Cale 15 Mar 2012

 Talk by Steve Cale – The art of Birds   report by Colin Wright                                                   

 Our last indoor talk at the old Weston Longville Village Hall was given by Norfolk based artist, and Society member, Steve Cale. Steve started drawing birds when he was a voluntary warden at Minsmere some 18 years ago when his original idea was that if he sketched a bird it would help him remember the details. In a fascinating talk we were shown how he initiates a field sketch. Using only a 2B pencil and a shaped rubber we were taken stage by stage through a drawing of a Little Ringed Plover. He started by drawing with an arrangement of rectangular boxes to approximate the shape and pose of the bird. Various vertical and horizontal datum lines were then added and we watched as a technical drawing was transformed into the rounded outline of the bird. Emphasising the importance of detailed observation, particularly noting where the light falls on the subject, a few zigzag lines were added to delineate the feathers and the lightest and simplest of pencil lines used to represent feathers in the wind and reflections in the water. It all looked very easy (until I tried it at home).

After the break we had an in-depth look at drawing and identifying different Nightjar species showing how drawing birds and meticulous attention to detail helps the identification process. Finally a close look at various birds of prey which included a Dark Chanting Goshawk, African Hawk Eagle, Western Banded Snake Eagle, Zone Tailed Hawk, Black Shouldered Kite, and details of the Lander Falcon whose feather arrangement has been copied in the design of fighter aircraft. The final picture was of Steve’s paint palette which he uses in the field. It looked a bit basic but is all one needs to start a picture – he forgot of course to mention that one also needs talent. Lots more on his website about tours, art classes and a selection of his paintings. A fitting talk to wind up our use of the Weston Longville Village Hal

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