Thursday, April 20, 2017

Almost There


This painting is almost there. I am going to let it sit for a while. Taking a step back will give me a chance to assess the details which will give it that extra something and finish the piece.

With an upcoming gallery show on Martha's Vineyard, my next oil painting will be a departure. Stay tuned.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Pheasants

Since my last post I couldn't help playing around a little with the grasses. There is still more to do but I am ready to move on to the birds.


For me, painting pheasants is a balancing act. There needs to be enough detail so they read as pheasants, but I am not interested in doing a scientific illustration depicting each feather. Often a perfect rendering can leave birds feeling static and this is a painting designed with movement.
Once the feathers are painted, I may even soften their edges by dragging the wet tips into the background.

The red for their heads is a challenge. Cadmium red, cadmium orange, rose madder, and cadmium yellow mixtures are a start.
For the iridescence of their necks I am using several colors which rarely make it to my palette (cobalt violet, cobalt turquoise blue, chromium oxide green) along with ultramarine blue and cerulean blue  To fully accomplish the effect I may need to glaze on some brilliant color once this layer is dry.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Grasses

With my background blocked in, I work alla prima on the grasses. Alla Prima is Italian for "first attempt." For painting purposes, it defines the method of applying wet paint on top of wet paint rather than waiting for each layer to dry.
I find this method gives me a sense of freedom along with the ease of blending each stroke. My brushes are wiped with a paper towel often so a fresh clean stroke of paint can be applied, avoiding a muddy look.
Not all of the grass will be done this way. Once the birds are painted, I will go back into the grasses and add finishing touches. Some parts of the grasses (the darkest areas) may already be dry.


Saturday, April 8, 2017

New Painting in progress

This next piece is not from my Florida trip but is one I have wanted to do for a while.
After drawing in my subject I start blocking in the background.



Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Florida reference trip

When I have the opportunity to spend time with animals in their natural habitat, I take it. There is no substitute.
I just returned from a trip to Florida and the main species I wanted to see there was the Roseate spoonbill. Knowing one of the best spots is Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island, that was my first stop. It has been 15 years since I have been to Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge and this trip certainly exceeded my expectations!
Below is one of the more than 600 reference photos I took of Roseate spoonbills. The other 1400 reference photos are of various wading birds, herons, cranes, and two baby alligators.

Monday, March 20, 2017

American Oystercatcher

American Oystercatcher
12" X 9"
Original Oil

Painting water is such fun. It has so many different moods that it is easy not to repeat oneself.

One of my favorite spots in late May is the barrier beach on the southeast shore of Martha's Vineyard. Nesting birds fill the beach. In one particular place on the inside shore, I can almost always spot oystercatchers. Each year I look forward to seeing them.