When we lived in Maine there were probably more “atmospheric” days than not – with gray skies and heavy fog out at sea. This scene reminded me of those times, the air cold with a moist dense fog and seagulls air dancing at the shoreline for food ~ a typical great day at the beach.
Air Dancing Gulls, a graphite drawing (9×12) was done on Strathmore Bristol Vellum (the smooth side) paper using 4H, 2H, HB, 2B, 6B and loose graphite powder. To manage the foggy atmosphere a tortilium was mainly used (in application and blending), rather than a sharp-pointed pencil – the tortilium keeps things a little fuzzy which gives a misty appearance. Pencils were used for the foreground and the gulls.
The challenge was to keep the background dressed in a heavy fog, but light enough to show-off the middle-ground waves with thick foam, and then to work the values light and dark enough allowing the seagulls to take center stage. If you look into the distance both left and right you just might see a couple of gulls off on their own – they were used to draw the viewer’s eyes into the fog.
Between the gulls dancing and squawking, and the rushing waves – well it’s a scene to get lost in, thanks for stopping by ~ click onto the image for a larger view.
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You are the value queen! So well done!
Thanks so much Elena!!
such lovely movement of the seagulls…you are very gifted!
Thank you Johannis for your lovely comment!
This is brilliant, Mary! You’ve totally brought it to life. I have to echo Madhu (never a bad person to echo 🙂 ) It’s like a photograph. 🙂
Thanks so much Jo, you are very kind. There is something very magical about fog-filled seascapes and this scene worked out beautifully in graphite. Seagulls are fascinating creatures to watch, kind of float on the bands of wind.
That is a fantastic piece of art Mary! It’s got the feel of a vintage photograph.
Thank you Madhu, that’s what I thought once the piece was. I think the vintage part comes from the fogginess of the scene both in the background and the middle-ground waves. Glad you enjoyed the drawing.
Sensational, Mary! This is the first time I came across one of your graphite drawings. You have to have a lot of patience, skill and draughtsmanship to pull a drawing like this off!
Great to hear from you Tom. This was an exciting piece to draw using graphite – it took a bit of time to consider how to get the look with graphite, but once I got a feel for technique the piece came together. Really appreciate your reaction and generous feedback – I really enjoyed working the scene.
Oh I really like this one! What a great touch the gulls add to your already beautiful ocean scenes.
Great sense of movement… the birds add such an added wonderful dimension to your work. Terrific!
Thanks Rita – I loved working on this seascape. The whole atmosphere reminded me of typical coastal scenes found in Maine, especially the gulls dancing around diving for their food. Thank you for your encouragement with this drawing.
I love their dance and those waves are stunning! Beautiful, once again.
Thank you Isabel – I’m always surprised at how well the pencil responds to drawing the sea. It was a great scene to develop ~ thanks again!
Seagulls, fog, sea wow this is so beautiful, so atmospheric, so special…
Hi Robert, thank you – I really enjoyed your description of the scene. Thank you so much!
Wow the seagulls are so very lifelike. Totally fantastic.
Thanks Elizabeth – I’ve not drawn very many seagulls and was a bit timid, so really appreciate your feedback!
Wow, Mary, I am really impressed. You bring the sea to me here, and I am grateful.
Thanks Jet, really appreciate it!
Thank you so much!
You are welcome!
Totally awesome as always. My sentiments exactly on all the previous comments!
Thanks Rhonda – really appreciate your encouragement and nice thoughts.
Lovely atmosphere you have created that I can imagine Maine has to offer, with her wild seas and sea gulls!
Hi Anna, thank you so much – Maine is indeed a very special place!
Beautiful atmosphere set up by the fog Mary, which is really hard to translate onto a sheet of paper, not for you. You handling some difficult challenges with such elegance and determination, that is most inspiring indeed! Love how you managed to build up the scene, soft and somewhat obscure the background, more definition for the middle ground which is perfectly executed (when it comes to waves it is your forte medium) and some real definition and contrasting of the seagulls, the stars of this piece. I especially love the walking seagull, he is such a character, made me smile, somehow he managed to take over the lead and make me wonder what is he up to, he seems to be in rush for something…hm just wondering what that would be… some delicious crab perhaps… 🙂 Fantastic work Mary!
Thank you so much Eva. This was a scene where initially I wasn’t going to include any seagulls once the water was completed – I had such a connection with the ocean in this one. But the gulls brought some life into the scene that gave it some interesting elements. Ah like the walking gull? He reminded me of the ones I’d find on the beach in Maine always on the lookout for their next snack. Thanks again and hope you have a wonderful day!
Thank you Mary, wish you as well a great…it’s evening right now so a great evening then! 🙂
hi Mary… I am out and about tonight and wanted to say hello. I’ve been offline for the most part of the past 6 months. This is another wonderful drawing and I am always so stunned at how beautiful your work is. I have no idea how you do it and when I see how many pencils you use when I’ve never really noticed what “B” mine is, well, I guess I have lots to learn about the art. I hope you are doing well!
A wonderful surprise this morning to see you Linda – I think of you often and hope you are well. I know the rains will make your crops, grapes and flowers/roses flush this year. Thank you for your thoughtful response to this drawing and your beautiful compliment. I truly enjoy working with graphite it’s a relaxing form of creating (will be moving on shortly though to charcoal). You are so funny – your art work is magical, creations that I wouldn’t have a clue how to paint/let alone manipulate watercolor to build such wonderful paintings. If only ………
This one is truly magical, Mary. Just beautiful.
Thank you Audrey for your thoughtful comment!
i echo Cynthia’s comments and will just add that your work, Miss Mary, never disappoints..
Hi Uncle John, thank you always for being present and generous with your reactions to my work. I’m glad you enjoyed the sea! Hope you have a wonderful week ~
You captured the action of the waves and the birds very well. Very different from the calm seascapes I see around here. It is almost like a photograph – I mean that as a compliment but am not sure how an artist would take it! And I can feel/see the grey day. Looks like one of our Jan. days.
So wonderful Coastal – thank you so much for the feedback and compliment. It means a lot to read your response to the scene!
Very beautiful Mary.
Thank you Nicodemas!
A scene very much alive with sounds, Mary! Love it.
Thank you Ann-Christine, awesome that the drawing brings forward ocean sounds for you to enjoy!
Always a pleasure seeing your work 🙂
Thank you Alok – much appreciated!
What a fabulous scene, Mary. I can almost here the crashing of those wild waves and the squawking of the gulls. 🙂
Sorry, ‘hear’. 😳
Not a problem!!
Thanks Sylvia – love your reaction to the drawing. Feeding time can always get a little noisy at the shore!!
Beautiful work, Mary! 🙂
Thank you Jackie – much appreciated!!
Beautiful drawing, Mary. You captured such a wonderful feeling with this sketch. And the soft background really sets off the sea gulls.
Great to see you Janell – thanks so much for your thoughts on this piece.
You’ve captured their dance so beautifully, my dear Mary! 🙂
Thanks you so much Marina – those gulls, they know how to dance effortlessly. Hope you have a beautiful week!
I love the gull walking on the beach. He looks preoccupied, as though he’s on his way to a meeting.
What an awesome comment- just loved it! Thanks so much, yeah he is kind of strutting to his own beat ~
Well, you certainly met the challenge of dealing with the heavy fog, Mary. Excellent!
Thanks so much Jill – the fog was interesting to develop, how much is too much, when to stop so the scene doesn’t get too dark. But always with those moody days in mind along the Maine coast. Thanks again ~
I love this drawing so much, I lost words…
Love your reaction Amy – thanks very much!
You know an artist is masterful if she can draw fog! This one could be used by an art teacher, Mary, to illustrate many principles…..about values, foreground-middleground-background, the dynamism of diagonals, etc. A wonderful work!
Hi Cynthia, you’ve made my day with your very generous feedback and compliment. Is it possible to put into words a proper thank you? There was a lot of planning, before and during, which to be honest I couldn’t have done the drawing without considering the vision, tools, techniques and technical principles as you mentioned. If I drew this again there would be several changes, one for sure – notice the farthest seagull on the left, the little guy is leading the viewer right out of the drawing. I’d changed his direction for sure. The only reason why it wasn’t changed after the fact is too much dark graphite to take down w/o causing a tear in the paper. It was a great scene to work out with graphite, thank you again for your continuing support and encouragement it means a lot to me.
Phenomenal! I did get lost in the image…. perhaps even a bit wet! ⭐
Oh Resa – I love that you have gotten lost at sea (BUT only in this drawing, lol)! Thanks so much ~
Thank you Fiona for your enthusiastic response!
How do you do it? Where is your magic wand? Can I borrow it? This reminds me of one of those old B&W photos of Ocean City from the old days. Really wonderful, Mary!
Ah Laura, thank you – the graphite and pencils were really talking to me with this one! I know exactly what you mean about an old photograph, the final scene reminded me of that and especially the middle ground. Thanks really appreciate it!
The atmosphere is wonderful! It is indeed a scene to get lost in.
Thank you – days like this at the beach are shrouded by the mysteries of the sea.
Beautiful work….and indeed you have captured the atmosphere of Maine….a place i have spent much time. Wonderful. Janet.
Hi Janet, thank you so much. Don’t you just love Maine – for me it was an amazing place to live always inspired whether at the sea or in the mountains. I was very lucky to have had the chance to live there.
I love Maine….and particularly some of the wild Islands off the coast….I spent quite a bit of time on Isle-au-Haut and would love to go back there…..J.
It’s waiting for you – but only in the summertime, too cold otherwise.
Hi Janet, I forgot to say that many times during this drawing I got those endorphin rushes that just kept right on coming. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does – that’s why I love to create. You’ve written about this and know you totally get it!
Wonderful portrayal of frolicking
Thank you so much Derrick!
Thank you Holly – great to see you. Have a wonderful week ahead ~
thank you for the stunning art Mary, I so look forward to seeing your projects and finished works!
Thank you Holly, gives me hope that I’ll still see you around. Love your art and writings ~
Thanks so much Mary, I need a little break, I can’t stay away from penning my dribble…lol.
🙂 and I totally understand my friend.