Friday, February 24, 2012
I've literally snatched time this week to work on the puffin painting. A few minutes in the early morning, a few more in the evening. I hope to have more time this weekend to put in some serious painting and make inroads into this piece and maybe get the drawing underway for the next piece.
I want to keep the painting a bit looser instead of the tight control that I had in the gannet in the Vertigo painting a few months back. Its always a fine line with which way to go. I love high realism detail but also love loose impressionistic pieces too. The looser pieces feel truer to me somehow and I like the paint to point the direction.
I'm working on adding more shape to the bird and getting the subtle changes in colour of the the body and wings just right. Too much yellow in the body right now, but I'll get there. Of course night time and artificial lights, yada yada yada. You know the rest. Tomorrow a better image under natural light I hope.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
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.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Because I second guess myself all the time, the more I looked at the original whelk shell done in oil, the more I felt it needed adjusting. The benefit a few days and a bit of distance as it sits on a shelf across the studio are often useful in provided sober second thought.
So this is the adjusted shell. More colour, less colour, more shadow, less shadow. Its an age old dance in the art of creating art
Monday, February 20, 2012
I couldn't resist another version of the whelk shell hat I painted this weekend, but this time in watercolour.
I haven't used watercolours for awhile and enjoy how the colour merge under the right conditions. Its always a surprise when they do as I hope they will. And its always a surprise when they do what I don't expect.
This is about 3 x 6 on 9 x 12 watercolour pad from my newly cleared out stash. Everytime I clear out cupboards I find little gems tucked away that I have forgetten that I had. I should have a Stash & Swap Week where artists can find homes for things they no longer want and get new things they'd like to experiment with. It might work if people don't mind paying for postage, that's always the killer, unless they are local. Its my dream to stumble upon a garage sale or flea market that has a heaping table full of artist quality supplies going for a song. I did say it was a dream...
Sunday, February 19, 2012
I like testing my ability to work small sometimes and I have three tiny canvas panels that I want to use. A sea creature theme seems to be emerging for them. First the jellyfish and now this whelk shell. Any suggestions for number three?
I cannot resist beaches and everything that I find on them. Photographing little shells and the colour contained in them is something I enjoy. We so often think of exotic shells when we consider seashells. Big colourful conch or abalone shells are traditional fodder for painting and they are beautiful.
On the shores of the north Atlantic the shells are more traditionally whelks or mussels and they can rival any tropical shell for colour and form. I collected quite a few large whelk shells from St. Mary's beach and stained them with watercolour, creating beautiful ornaments out of them. I still have one little bag of three left if anyone's interested in them. And a few more in a Coastal Steamer box.
Meanwhile, this 3 x 5" oil painting is the second of a mini series of mini paintings