Thursday, March 20, 2014

Painting Bluebirds and Purple Finches- a work in progress

Work continues on the set of 6 bird paintings-

My progress is very slow with these bird  paintings, not because I paint every feather and polish the detail, but because I pause a lot and try to capture an attitude in the birds and give each their own personality.
Progress follows the  one step forward and  1/2 step back method.
I like how an expression of thought can be conjured by a few brush strokes and painting a single eye.

I need to warm up the shadow in the grass and work on the main bird, but I am enjoying how this this one is shaping up. It will be fun to come up with names for these.
These purple finches are a bit tricky. I want to keep the brush work loose and my edges varied but also keep the color fresh and not pasty looking.

I am posting these photos of the purple finches to show you some of the little steps in the process rather than jumping farther ahead to a near finished piece.( click on the photo and you will be able to toggle the photos back and forth to see the little changes)  It gives you some idea of the  back and forth method I spoke of earlier. 

I deliberately started with more intense and darker reds than I will end up with. This is an experiment to see if it is better to have the color underneath and gray it down as opposed to trying to build up the intensity. We'll see if it works.
I am watching the character of that top bird at the same time I am figuring out the background design. Then I am working back from the head to the tail looking at  larger shapes and thinking of the light hitting the form.
I don't think about feathers and details. It's more about answering questions: What should the overall design  be? How do small color shapes interact with their neighboring shapes, and does the bird's attitude show up?  Lots of questions as I try and keep the paintings moving forward.

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