Friday, April 15, 2011

Can you hear me now?

Tundra Call
15.5" X 23"
Original Oil

Along the deserted Denali Highway in Alaska, we spotted a large flock of ptarmigan. Trying to gently sneak up on them for a few closer shots without disturbing them, I turned around to see one adult had run up to me and started squawking! I do believe the little ones hadn't encountered humans. Watching the flock was so much fun and their feathers were just beginning to turn white for winter.

I have wanted to paint this piece for a couple years and it has been in progress for over a year. At many of my shows, I paint. I bring a piece in progress in a specially made box for the wet painting. It has a 1/4" lip and can hold a painting up to 16" X 23". One dimension has to be either 16 or 23 to rest on the lip. For travel, the painting is placed in upside down.

For my March show in Tulsa in 2010 (yes, more than a year ago), I brought along the painting with only the heads of the two ptarmigan painted. And, I forgot my reference. Any other time, no problem. I could at least work on some of it. But, since this was my first time painting ptarmigan, I really needed my reference photos for all the feather detail. So I didn't paint. The painting went back into the painting box. It wasn't until January and I was trying to figure out what I would bring to my show in Reno to paint when it occurred to me that I had this one started. It came with me and I completed the two birds and roughed in a tiny bit of the background during the show. Once home, I played with a little of the background, then put it back in its box for the trip to Tulsa this year.

Thanks to some really good background suggestions from Bruce Miller (a very talented artist at the show who graciously made a few comments), a day of painting once I returned home and the piece was done.

Maybe I should have titled it Can You Hear Me Now? since the painting has been trying to get my attention for so long!

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