Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Flight Path in progress



I'm about a third into this painting of a puffin coming in for landing.  I was of two minds about showing it at this stage, as it really is the ugly duckling stage, with colours blocked in and nothing refined.  However, people keep telling me that they like to see how a piece progresses and the stages that it passes through to reach the swan stage, so here it is, raw and uncensored on the easel.

It does make me a cringe a little to see it at this unfinished stage and I know this stage is often the undoing of less experienced artists who see the raw state and can't push it aside to see the finished piece in their head.  Or who get bored once the initial blocks of colour are in and the detail work and colour choices become more important. However, we've all been there too and know the only way to the other side is through the dark tunnel.

Puffins, while so cute, are not graceful birds.  They beat their little wings frantically trying to stay up in the air and landings are a lot less elegant. They're known locally as 'sea potatoes', their round little oblong bodies and stocky frame making it always a wonder they can fly at all.  When I go on whale watching tours, the boats go to the breeding grounds of the puffins and you can see them in their hundreds on the sea and on the island that is littered with the burrows they nest in.

This little fellow is on the flight path, wheels down, ready to hit land or water.  I like the awkwardness of the moment and the glow of colour in the feet against the sky.  This is in oil on 24 x 30" gallery canvas.

10 comments:

onvector said...

amazing duck

Nancy Van Blaricom said...

I always appreciate seeing work in the progressive stages. When I first started out I though that the finished work was how they were done. No progressive to it. Just put the paint down and it is finished. This lets people know that the painting is built ....

What an amazing pose... its going to be amazing. Its going to be a nice size too.

Sue Pownall said...

I like this unusual view of a puffin, so much nicer than rows standing on a cliff.

You are right about the ugly stage, it is difficult to push through, but I'm sure this puffin will turn into a swan in your hands.

Jeanette said...

Not quite a duck onvector, but close :)

I think many like seeing how other artists construct paintings. There's something magical about how an image appears, hazy at first, then pushes forward into clarity.

Sue, I really wanted something less traditional than the usual pose of a cute puffin on a rock. I think this fits the bill. Pushing through the ugly stage is a challenge for every artist I think.

Lisa Le Quelenec said...

Fits the 'bill' eh? lol.. He certainly is a little cracker. I hadn't heard of them being called sea potatoes before, surprising in Jersey. I really like the space surrounding him.

Teresa Mallen said...

I don't think this piece is at an ugly stage at all - the potential shines through. Capturing the 'in for landing' moment is wonderful. I too like the space surrounding him. Looking forward to seeing this progress...

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

i love puffins :D so cute and yeah they do sort of look like potatoes :p

really like seeing stages of a painting, its always interesting to see how other artists work

Gary L. Everest said...

Hi Jeanette,
I love this! I don't know how you could consider this anything but wonderful--even at this stage.
What a fantastic little bird.
Looking forward to seeing what you do with it.
Sincerely,
Gary.

Jeanette said...

Thanks Lisa, I do love puffins,they're very appealing birds and to see them in quantity in their natural setting is so good.

I toyed with the idea of putting some land or water below the bird, but decided against it. The feeling of suspension in the air is what I wanted to achieve.

Teresa, I become more content when the painting is at about the halfway point. Prior to that, its a bit choppy, but it is part of the process, good or bad. Yes, the space is necessary to make this painting work I think.

Jennifer, yep, oblong bodies and watching them work so hard to stay in the air is a bit like seeing potatoes fly. :)

Hi Gary, oh the little bird has appeal, but the early stages of painting are a little harsh on the eye. He's gaining form however, so should become more appealing I hope!

Pam Johnson Brickell said...

Love your placement of this little tater. You so feel the 'coming-in-for-a-landing' scenario.