I'm posting another painting here that was completed (and sold) some time ago. The main reason for posting these older works is that I am still struggling with a painting that I have been working on for a week or so. Not sure why that is but for some reason it is taking forever! I am though, happier with the work that I did to the painting yesterday so hopefully it will be finished this week.
Back to the Snake Eagle above - I found this bird at a raptor rehabilitation and breeding center some time ago and was enamored by it's unusual shape and markings. This study focuses mostly on the head and the 'hood' around the nape - almost like a cobra I thought. It's subtle patterning to the breast which slowly became darker banding on the lower breast and belly was particularly fascinating to me as an artist. Sunlight helped model the bird with highlights and a few shadows. The size of this watercolor is 15" X 11".
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Like the Serval on my last post, this painting was done some time ago but I hadn't had the chance to show it as it had quickly sold. The small study was done after a visit to my local zoo. I have seen African elephants in the wild from the time when I lived there but for some reason have never gotten around to doing any paintings of them. I think what drew me to this subject was the somewhat gentler look of this female with the lighter patterns under her trunk. There was also something almost spiritual about this particular elephant that until today I still can't put my finger on but demanded of me that I paint her. After the usual sketches had been made in my sketch book etc, I decided to crop the final image and focus on just the head. A careful pencil drawing on stretched hot-pressed watercolor paper was laid in then a background wash of yellow ochre with a touch of burnt sienna greyed slightly with left over paint. The elephant was then slowly brought to life using many thin washes of color being careful to keep the lightest areas by painting around them. Most interesting was finishing the wrinkles and creases of the skin especially around the eye. Size is 7 1/2" X 11".
Monday, May 24, 2010
I painted this smallish serval study a while ago and as a reminder to finish off the unfinished one I have in my studio, I'm posting a pic of it here in the hopes that it will inspire me to get back to that one. Although I don't paint a lot of animal subjects, this study was done on gessoed board using thin washes of oil similar to how I would do a watercolor. I do love these small cats with their large ears, long legs and beautiful body markings and hope to do more, perhaps in a larger setting. Size of this one is 14" X 11".
Monday, May 17, 2010
Staying with the Desert for the moment, this small study was completed soon after returning back to my studio. Since I was painting mostly from memory, I adjusted the colors of the sky and deeper tones of the landscape as I went along. One would think that you would only see clear blue skies in the region being so dry with a limited annual rainfall but actually there are even occasional storms and our visit was just after an unusual amount of rain had fallen. For the most part, the ground was carpeted with small desert flowers most of them in bloom. Clouds tended to form in the cooler mornings but were slowly burnt off by the mid-day sun later in the day. The slight glare in the upper left of the painting is a reflection from the wet paint. This oil is 9" X 12".
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Occasionally a painting comes back to the studio perhaps on its way to another gallery and this often gives me a chance to take another look at the work to see if I can make any improvements - such was the case with this one. Painted in a somewhat high key, I kept the colors light and bright just as I remembered them to be. The main focus is on the bushes and trees in the middleground and initially I had more foreground showing but felt that this was somewhat distracting. Since this didn't do much for the composition, I cut about two inches off the bottom and felt an immediate improvement. The sky as I remembered at that time was mostly clear and the clouds that I had put in initially were I felt a little weak so I made them a bit more obvious (although this is not so clear in the photo here). I also worked on the bushes slightly cleaning them up and adding a little more contrast to the shadowed side. And that was about it - no major reworking necessary! For me the pleasure in looking at paintings like this comes from the memories they evoke of travelling to SoCal and Arizona. The trip had a lasting impression on me and I'm sure I'll be painting more landscapes from the area. Morning light is an oil on canvas, size 7" X 14".
Monday, May 3, 2010
After a long and very cold winter here in the Mid-Atlantic region, personally I'll be happy if I don't see any more snow for awhile. However, I wanted to post this painting I did awhile ago in case there are some out there who wouldn't mind seeing a little more of the white stuff. This scene is just a few minutes from my home looking across some of the open fields of the reserve. The sunset that evening was just glorious and was the initial inspiration for the work. I wish though that I had used just a little more color in the snow but other that that, I'm happy with the result. I'm planning on working on a few more 'big sky' paintings in the coming months and have spent a frustrating time these past few weeks working on various studies but without much success so far. All this work has helped in many ways though and has served to remind me to stick to the basics and paint what I know. Hopefully I'll have some new landscapes soon. This oil is 16" X 20".