Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Work in Progress - Hummingbird and Trumpet Vine

A few weeks back I started a new acrylic painting of a rufous hummingbird perched in a trumpet vine. I really liked the combination of oranges and greens in the flowers and the bird and the way the dappled sunlight illuminated everything and made it glow. I chose to keep the background very vague so that as I add detail it should create a lot of depth to the painting. With the background finished I transferred my drawing and got started. 
In this next stage I have just blocked in the basic colors and shapes. It's very rough, but it gives me an idea of how things will really look and I will make adjustments as I paint. 
Now things are really starting to take shape! I have completed the flowers and leaves building them up gradually. The leaves in the lower right corner were bothering me so at this point I have painted them out. One of the nice things about acrylic is that you can make lots of changes and adjustments as you go because they dry so quickly. In a matter of minutes I could paint new leaves back in if I wanted, but for now I'm leaving them out until I decide what I want to do with that corner. In my reference sketch it looked okay, but somehow it didn't when I started to paint it.
The male Rufous hummingbird is now pretty much complete. I can see there will be a few adjustments on him, but not too many. I love the way the sun catches the metallic iridescence on his gorget and that's what drew me to paint him as he zipped around my yard guarding the feeders. Now the painting is in what I call my "sit and look" stage. I have completed the main components, but I'm still not happy with that lower right corner. It seems to need something....perhaps more flowers or leaves going in a different direction. I will be going through my trumpet vine reference again for additional inspiration and if need be will head out to take more reference photos. What I'm thinking at this point is that it may need one more small clump of flowers. Three spots of orange may make it more balanced.

Guess it's time to head back to the studio and see what other ideas I can come up with. Check back soon and see what happens!