~ Glen Loates
I sketch on site as much as possible. I bring rough sketches back to the studio along with branches, plants, and whatever else I might need to finish a painting. Plants are dug up and placed in containers along with the dried leaves or mosses that accompany them.
When I have finished painting from this material, I return them to my garden or the location from where they were collected. Also, when on site in the field or zoological park, I will sketch ideas, render them very quickly, make color notes, and take photographs for reference. I work on one painting at a time.
I find music relaxes me while I work. Usually, I listen to classical compositions or movie scores. Depending on my mood, this music stimulates my imagination and satisfies my creative visualizations. For instance, when painting the battle between the giant squid and sperm whale, I played the score from the movie, The Deep, and symphony La Mere over and over again.
Over the years, there are two watercolors I've done that appeal to me the most: "Blue Jays at My Feeder" and "Canada Lynx."
I have great affection for the blue jay. When I was nine, it was the first bird I ever tried to sketch. With the completion of "Blue Jays at My Feeder," I can finally say I have done them justice. My friend, John Wilson, made and installed the feeder in my backyard years ago. These beautiful members of the jay family have been my neighbors ever since!
My other favorite painting, "Canada Lynx," depicts an elusive wild cat of the northern forests. The name "lynx" is derived from the Greek word, which means, "to see," and gives rise to the common expression "lynx-eyed." I chose to portray the lynx having just missed catching a ruffled-grouse. The twigs, bows, and branches snapped and cracked as the cat lost its balance. Rather than painting the whole grouse into the composition, I decided to paint only the feathers, giving the viewer evidence of the grouse having been there.