It’s been almost 5 weeks since my fall, and I’me feeling much better. I can walk almost normally, and am able to sit at my desk and drawing table again. So – back to work! I had the idea for a new painting quite awhile ago, and have now finished with all the research and rough sketches. The subject is birds. Specifically, very colorful birds from all over the world. To start with, I created a very long list of possible species to include. This took lots of time searching online for images and names, then organizing my findings into alphabetized categories. I ran across several birds that I’d never heard of. Pretty frustrating to find amazing images but no identification! Eventually, though, I was able to identify every bird that caught my eye. I know I won’t include everything on the list in the painting, but it serves as a good resource. The next step was finding several images of each species (about 80) and creating printed collages as refererence materials. The collages serve as color and shape guides for the different birds, but I won’t copy any image as is. Step three was sketching. Lots and lots of sketching. I did dozens of sketches of many of the birds, just to get used to them. Then more sketches were needed to try and figure out the composition. This was the hardest part, really. I just finished a rough sketch of the entire piece tonight, which was a huge relief. Now I’ll be able to start light drawings on the actual watercolor paper. I know I will change and refine the composition and individual birds as I go along, but that’s part of the fun. Whew!