Saturday, February 25, 2017

Three for the Show

Black-crowned night heron-14" x 18" acrylic and casein

As the month of February is coming to a close I am assessing my accomplishments for the first two months of the year. So far I am on track for creating three new pieces of art a month to go towards my total of thirty for my October show. 

This first piece is a black-crowned night heron. I have been trying to get decent photos of this bird for a number of years, but they like to tuck themselves in to a tangle of trees at a nearby pond making it difficult to get good photos even with a telephoto lens. However, a few weeks ago I found this one at a different pond and relatively in the open. It seems its favorite pond had frozen over and so it had to move to find food. Lucky for me this new pond had less dense cover and I actually got several usable photos. Even with the great reference I had some challenges painting this one. I had an idea in mind, but the painting just seemed to want to be something other than that so I finally stopped fighting it and came up with this. My husband seems to think it needs a bit of tweaking and I am considering his suggestions as he is almost always right on with those. So though I'm calling it done I'm reserving the right to revisit it in the future.
Savannah Sparrow-8" x 10" acrylic

 This next piece is a Savannah sparrow. While on an outing with some of my bird watching friends we came across this bird feeding in a patch of curly dock and thistle. I loved the way the colors of the plants and background reflected the colors in the bird and how the angle of the light made everything glow.While the heron had challenges this one came together quickly and the colors just make me smile.
Peregrine and Phalarope - 5" x 7" acrylic
This last painting was an accident, an experiment and a concept painting all rolled into one. While working out some problems with blending colors in the background of the heron painting I grabbed a small board, some of the paint I was using and a blending medium to see if that would help. That was the experiment part. The accident part was that my experiment created something that looked like clouds, so I thought maybe I could use it in some way for another painting. I've been toying with the idea of painting a peregrine falcon in pursuit of some shorebirds after witnessing that event last fall. This is, in a way, a study for that future painting.

Well, that's it for February! We'll see what new creations March inspires!

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Yearlings

The Yearlings - mule deer - 11" x 14" acrylic
While pondering what subjects I'm going to paint for my upcoming show I came across some photos of young mule deer that I had taken some time ago. It was late autumn in the photos, but the yearlings were already decked out for winter with their woolly ears and coats. Not sure if I was friend or foe they stared at me curiously. I enjoyed our encounter and thought it might be fun to paint them in a scene that better matched the thick coats they wore as they learned to survive in snow covered canyons. 

I chose some poses and made cut-outs to play with composition and placement of the deer. When I was satisfied I made my sketch. I was only lacking one thing....a good background. I had not paid much attention to background or habitat when I took the photos, concentrating on the deer instead. I attempted to just "wing it" on the background, but that quickly took a bad turn and I almost ditched the whole concept. Finally, I decided to just paint the deer first and hoped the background would somehow just "speak" to me. Thankfully, it did. 

"The Yearlings" is available through my Daily Paintworks gallery.


Saturday, February 4, 2017

Great Blue

Great Blue - 9 x 14 acrylic

The month of January ticked by rather quickly and I spent the majority of those days in the studio working on paintings for my show. I really don't mind too much as the unusually cold and snowy winter weather we've been experiencing has not made it very pleasant to be outside. I do escape on a daily basis for my walks and have had a few exciting days enjoying birds and wildlife as they cope with the winter weather as well. But those are stories (and possibly paintings) for another day. Today I'm sharing a painting that I completed a few weeks ago.

Seems that I can never get enough of painting great blue herons. They are elegant and intriguing birds surrounded by myth and legend. In Native American cultures they are symbols of wisdom and patience. Watch any great blue for very long and you can definitely see where the "patience" part comes in as they stand motionless for what seems like hours. They also symbolize self-determination and independence. 

Though usually fairly wary at the approach of humans, this one stayed on it's perch and eyed me cautiously as I took photos for reference. I was a little cautious myself of getting too close as I have watched them go from this pose to spearing a fish in the blink of an eye. Connecting with that beak is not something I wanted to do. Thankfully, this one was only interested in staring me down with that penetrating yellow eye. I thanked it kindly when I left.

Though this was created for my show it is available for purchase through my Daily Paintworks gallery.