Monday, August 01, 2011

Daily Painting Practice- Bird Studies

Gold finches are attacking my sunflowers!
This is just the type of scene I want to capture and paint. I  love  birds and have always been a bird watcher. So now I want to paint them.  But how do  I start? This sketch is an idea but  I need to practice, practice  practice.

I started doing bird sketches at night  from  photos  I found on the web. I think this is a great way of getting familiar with their anatomy, form and detail. Rather than just sitting there watching the TV, I can keep busy sketching.
The next step was to start watching the birds outside and taking my  own photos for reference. I set up  our feeder outside the kitchen window and waited. At first, about 90 percent of the birds at my feeder were  house finches.  But eventually  we started attracting  cardinals, blue jays, nut hatches, chickadees and  morning doves. You can see the light sketch of an idea for a daily painting in the middle of the  sketchbook page above.

Just like my new approach to creating compositions with individual flowers,  it is my  goal to create compositions for these birds by  using multiple references not just copying a photo.
I found I need to keep thinking of form while painting these little guys to prevent things from going flat.
 I  appreciate artists who detail every feather but I  really want to  try to paint the personality I see in individual birds.

Early Birds
oil on panel

Here's my first study. One day I saw young house finches sitting near the feeder still wanting their mom to feed them even though they were completely capable feeding themselves. They really put on an act every time she came near.


Cheryl Pass said...

Lovely....It's so great to see you back at it! We have goldfinches here that are so bright they look like wild canaries. We, too, love our backyard birds...and they are wonderful to paint.

Glad you are back here. And that was a very sensible observation..100 degree heat is not good on the body! Better have you painting than fainting!

Darren Maurer said...

I really like this painting! On a side note....did you know blue jays are the jerks of the bird world?

Dean H. said...

Love this painting, Peter!
I'm a bird watcher/painter too.
Thanks for the progress shots!