Michele Clamp Art

Birds

Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

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Rose-breasted grosbeak. Michele Clamp. Watercolor 14”x11”

Rose-Breasted Grosbeak
250.00

14”x11”/20”x16” with mat.

Always love the color combination in these birds. A mixture of bold and subtle contrasts.

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Haven’t done a bird in a while and fancied something with some strong contrasts. This one never disappoints.

Some intermediates

The drawing. For once I carefully measured the length of the bird with respect to the body - 5 bird heads high.

The initial washes. Very light and I make sure I splosh through the edges to give a fuzzy underpainting. I only take care to avoid the eye area where I want to keep the white paper.

The next layer of the bird. A lot of this will be the final layer apart from the finishing darks. It often looks a bit meh at this stage.

Almost there. The feet and the branch are in and I’ve darkened up the head and put detail in the eye.

Done. A little light shading around the shoulders to bring out the white and a little touch of white gouache in the eye to bring back the sparkle.

Outstretched Penguin

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Outstretched Penguin. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 20”x16”

Outstretched Penguin
450.00

20”x16”/28”x20” matted.

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The nice thing about painting is that you get to choose what to paint. And sometimes there’s no real rhyme nor reason to it - you just fancy painting a subject in a certain style. And so here we are with a penguin. Just a penguin. I wanted him quite large - this is 20”x16” and I consciously tightened up the painting to give a smoother, more finished feel. I originally wanted to put more texture into the white fur with splashes and backruns and maybe some salt but that idea was jettisoned pretty quickly. Very enjoyable doing this one. The large size really helped - gives me some elbow room to push the paint around. I think I’ll be doing some more along these lines.

Inca Tern

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Inca Tern. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 11”x14”

Feels a bit strange going back to the birds. I’ve been doing so many tightly composed city and landscape scenes that a single bird on the page feels like something is missing. That’s not to say that it’s easier though. Getting the pose right and tying the body to the plain(ish) background still take quite a bit of thought.

He came out rather handsomely though I think.

Edit: Forgot an intermediate photo.

This was after the drawing and the first wash being careful to brush through the outlines to create some fuzziness in the edges and to tie the bird to the white background.

Chinese Golden Pheasant

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Chinese golden pheasant. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 11”x14”

Why not do a bird I thought. It’s been quite a while since I’ve done a bird and they’re so much easier than complicated city scenes. Well I was wrong on the last part. This gave me all sorts of trouble but a lot of it came together at the end.

Southwick’s Macaws

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Two Macaws. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 11”x14”

Two Macaws
250.00
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This is the first chance I’ve had to paint something from our trip to Southwick’s Zoo. You see these wonderful macaws when entering the zoo. They are magnificent and posed obligingly for photos.

Robin

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Robin. Michele Clamp. Watercolor 14”x11”

After the stress of completing and submitting a show piece with only hours to go I relaxed with a robin. Actually it was quite stressful. Birds like robins with oval bodies and stumpy beaks can be tricky to paint with character. Half way through it was almost a bust but managed to salvage something in the end.

Magpie

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Magpie. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 11”x14”

Something sleek with dramatic darks and whites. I’m finding it less satisfying to paint small these days. I’m feeling the need for larger areas with broader brushstrokes and interesting color variations. But this small one is pretty good nonetheless.


Owl Perching in the Wind

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Owl perching in the wind. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 11”x14”

Today somehow was owl day. I wanted to try something a little different and see if I could introduce a background successfully. I wanted to put color in but have a lot of interest in the largely uniform grass region. I think I’m pretty happy. The owl itself came out well and the whole thing has a liveliness and sense of the windy day it was. The gloved arm is James - we were in England and had a great time flying owls at Leeds Castle.

Hawk in Flight

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Hawk. Michele Clamp. Watercolor 16”x20”

Not sure whether this one is quite done yet but I’m getting painting blindness. Time to leave it on the easel for tomorrow to see if more needs to be done. Many thanks to Jonathan Eisen (phylogenomics) for the photo taken at Yolo Bypass.