A Pelican and a Pair of Gannets

water colour painting of a pelican on a calm sea

I did these earlier in the summer. The Pelican was a birthday card for my eldest daughter and the painting of the Gannets was a present. She lives in The Netherlands and despite posting these in plenty of time, the took three weeks to arrive – one of the ongoing delights of Brexit.

I thought it might be nice to share the process of getting to the final gannets picture. I used a grid on the reference photo for the first time and it was really helpful as I don’t have the confidence or draughtsmanship to just draw free style. 

I started with a small version to get a feel of the shapes as it is an unusual composition and then moved on to a larger painting that I really wasn’t too happy about.  These both had messy lines that I really wasn’t happy about so got going on another. I am sort of ok with the final outcome, but had to send it in order for it to arrive on time – ha!

One thing it has highlighted for me is the benefit of test sketches. It helps you get your eye in, and allows you to make mistakes before you commit yourself to a final piece.  I think I probably might even do another one, possibly a bit bigger.

The Pelican was from a photo taken in Western Australia by Shelley Pearson, a bird photographer in Western Australia. The gannet photo was one of my own.

One comment

  1. What a lovely birthday present your daughter received! I love your drawings and it’s a great idea to practise with a few sketches first, just like Da Vinci used to do, almost to the point of obsession! (I did enjoy the ‘Leonardo’ 2021 BBC series…). Happy sketching!

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