Saturday, November 6, 2021

Larger than Life

 Rarely do wildlife artists paint their creatures larger than life. It wouldn't be very easy for me to paint a giraffe larger than life size even though I have a cathedral ceiling in my studio. I'd be on a ladder for the head and on my knees for the hooves.

I debated on these two pieces whether to paint them larger than life size. In the end I opted to paint them slightly less than two times their actual size. These are hummingbirds I see at my house from April to September.

Summer Jewels - Male Calliope     8" X 12"     Original Oil

The flower is one which grows naturally on our property and hummingbirds seem to love its nectar. To achieve the iridescent feathers on the calliope's throat, I painted the highlighted area titanium white. Once dry, I glazed it (using Liquin) with very thin layers of Michael Harding Crimson Lake, Richeson Quinacridone Red, and Daniel Smith Pearlescent Shimmer. I made sure the mixture did not touch the deeper shadow reds. The effect worked and is evident even after varnishing.


 Summer Jewels - Female Calliope    8" X 12"   Original Oil 

The challenge on this piece was to create the brilliance of the blossoms. I'm not sure how many combinations I tried until finally happy with this result. 


So why larger than life? We often see hummingbirds so fleetingly, never getting a chance to see the detail on their feathers and even less so the movements of their wings with the naked eye.  

Now, don't hold your breath for a larger than life giraffe! 

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