Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Sunlight and Shadows - American Kestrel

Sunlight and Shadows - American Kestrel - 8" x 12" acrylic

In the early light of day the little falcon sits motionless atop a mullein stalk. It's sharp eyes scan the tall grass below for a sign of movement that may indicate breakfast is about to be served. Will it be vole, mouse or grasshopper today? 

A few days ago I posted this piece as a work in progress, a study of lights and darks. When I started the piece I had an idea of what I wanted the finished piece to look like which was to be emphasis on the bird and mullein stalk in a wide value range and a very soft, indistinct background. I had envisioned it almost as an exclamation point.
Enter my husband.
" I love the bird and stalk. What are you doing with the background?" he asks.
"Nothing", I reply, "It's finished."
"You need to do something with the background", he says, very matter-of-factly, and walks away.
My husband......I love him.

As you may recall this was the piece before I had finished the mullein stalk. In my grumbling about his criticism of my art I forgot to photograph the "finished" piece so you'll have to use your imagination. So....
I took a piece of mylar film and placed it over my painting. Then I took my acrylic paint and played with some possibilities with the background. By doing this I wasn't going to ruin what I thought was a good painting. I showed it to my husband a time or two and each time he'd say "It's getting better" and I'd go back and keep trying.Then I had to do something I hate to do. I had to admit he was right! Again!
The finished piece is much stronger and I like it much better. The background still remains soft and diffused, but it now has value changes just like the bird. By adding the small weeds to the foreground the painting has more depth.
I'm smiling, my husband is smiling.
All is well. 

(This piece as well as many others are available through my Daily Paintworks website.)