Friday, January 31, 2014

Three Birds. Many Lessons.

Snowy Junco 8x10 oil on cotton canvas panel
One of my goals in early Jan was to start the year off by participating in Leslie Saeta’s painting challenge. But due to travel and other conflicts this month it was not to be. A big kudos though to all of you who did participate—I greatly missed the camaraderie and look forward to the next one. 

My return to the easel was challenging--For most of the month I had “polar vortex” bronchitis that just wouldn’t budge. The reality of being a “dedicated” artist is that you may sometimes paint in less than ideal conditions. When this happens, or you have limited time, I recommend keeping everything as simple as possible. 

Cheery Chickadee 8x8 oil on Raymar linen panel
Bird no. 1: Cheerful Chickadee
For me this meant a small (8x8 square), limited palette, and enjoyable subject matter. This cheerful chickadee is not bad for a quick study but I can tell I’m not 100%. (That’s a nice way of saying I was coughing so violently that the brush was hard to hold on to at times.) That being said I believe every painting provides us with valuable self-instruction.

Rosy Robin 8x10 oil on Ampersand Gesso panel
Bird no 2: High Key Robin
Moving on the next day for my robin painting, I chose a slightly larger (8x10 Ampersand gesso board) and somewhat more complicated high key value structure. You just don’t have the bold value contrast that can hold a painting together. So again with my robin painting a perfectly respectable study but I think I can improve on the composition, shape interest, edgework, etc.

Bird no. 3: Snowy Junco
In today's post you can see the junco has (in my opinion) more interesting shapes and paint quality ans well as better color harmony. It’s not a perfect bird painting by any means but I think it’s going in the right direction.  Best of all, I feel much better and am not starting February cold--no pun intended. Happy winter painting everyone!

P.S. I'm usually painting during foot ball season but but this Sunday as a proud Denverite I have to say Go Broncos!

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