Last week, as part of my Animal Studies Drawing class, we went to VINS (Vermont Institute of Natural Science) to draw the raptors they had there. Aside from educating individuals about the environment, VINS is an avian wildlife rehabilitation center. They take in wounded birds and help them, if possible, get back into the wild. It is an incredible place to visit. I scheduled time to draw some of their birds one on one with the students. This allowed us an opportunity to draw the birds up close and in motion, which is a challenge. I found that through this level of observation, I gained a much greater understanding of how to draw the birds we saw. It was nothing short of incredible. I struggled and struggled to capture the birds in motion. It was wonderfully frustrating. When I went to draw after we left, I could draw the bird better without looking at references. It was imbedded into my memory more effectively.
Above is my sketch of one of the turkey vultures. The first is my original sketch, the second is my digital painting and the last is my first attempt at watercolors in a long time.