In my part of the world, we’ve been getting lots and lots of rain. It’s nice weather if you’re a duck, but I’m getting a bit tired of it! But here’s a little duckling that would cheer anyone up, even on a cold rainy day. We could have had some of these in our yard if I had let the Mallard pair swimming in the water on top of our pool tarp stick around. I wasn’t too sad to see them go however, as our dog Maggie probably wouldn’t have played nicely with the little hatchlings!
I had nothing but problems with this painting. When I first worked on it, the background got away from me and got too dark. Then I had trouble with the little fish in his mouth. I worked on that silly fish for days. Also, I worked on it up on an easel, but when I took it down, I realized the support was warped.
I got good feedback on it however, and decided to try and un-warp it and enter it into a show. It wasn’t accepted, and when I went to pick it up, I realized that the new medium I tried for adhering the collage paper had turned milky! And the supports went back to their original warpedness. Grrr. That was enough of that. It was banished to the closet to serve hard time in the dark.
The thing was, it kept whispering to me, usually late at night when I was trying to sleep. So about six months later, I got it back out. My first step was to take the canvas off the old support and put it on a new one. I only gouged one finger getting the staples out! Then got rid of that darn fish and closed the heron’s beak. With a cry of “No Mercy!” (in my head), I slapped white gesso all over the background, leaving a bit of the orange around the edges of the heron, thinking I might use some of that later.
It stayed like that for a day or two, while I stewed and asked myself, “What the heck do I do now?” But I asked some of my wonderful friends their opinions, and that gave me a kickstart. (Thanks Lauren and Tom! And you too, Char. I had asked you a while ago.)
I added some washy colour around the heron, and some reeds. The bottom needed a bit more darks, so added a few. I found patterns in the paper that I used on the bird and accentuated them and placed some similar ones throughout the painting. Finally, I played around with some coloured pencils and oil pastels to add some pops of colour and texture.
I think I’m done now, and it sure has changed! For the better, I think. Now I just have to come up with a title…
The Final Painting:
Here is another experiment with mixed media. I wanted to get a deep rich green for the background of this little marsh wren, but wasn’t getting the effects I desired with watercolour. Instead of using acrylics this time to enhance the background, I went for coloured pencil. I found I couldn’t stop myself and added them to the bird also! So this little guy isn’t as loose as I had wanted him to be, but I think he’s cute anyway. You can find him in my Etsy shop HERE, or leave a comment below if you are interested in purchasing this little fellow.
According to Lifescience.com, “A group of ravens is called an “unkindness” or “conspiracy,” which seems fitting, since ravens are traditionally considered creepy; in fact, seeing many of them in one place can induce Hitchcockian “The Birds”-like flashbacks in even the least ornithophobic (those people with a fear of birds).”
I, however, find ravens and crows fascinating because they are so smart, and also beautiful with their glossy black feathers and large size.
I’ve been experimenting with mixed media quite a bit in my bird series. I did these two trouble-makers with a mix of acrylics, colored pencils, and soft pastels. Here are Heckle and Jeckle!
I also had a chance to try out some water soluble graphite with help from my friend Tom, who kindly let me use them for this guy:
This is another painting that started out its life as a watercolour, then morphed into a mixed media piece! I do like the way it ended up.
We really enjoy watching the Blue Jays that come to our yard, especially when we put out peanuts. They are very smart and pick each one up, weighing them to see which one is the heaviest, then fly off with their prize. As the peanut supply goes down, they get less picky, and it is a race between them and the squirrels to see who gets the most!
This fellow is checking out some sunflower seeds.
I chose this bird because he is such a cutie! I’ve never actually seen one, although they apparently migrate through our neck of the woods.
You can find out more about this little warbler HERE.
I’m a quarter of the way through my 100 birds series!
When you hear the song of a Red-winged Blackbird, you know you’re in the country, probably near some wetlands. These handsome birds are a favorite of mine. They sometimes come to our feeders along with cowbirds in the summer.
Here is the song of the Red-Winged Blackbird from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Click here
I’m behind on my Watercolor Wednesdays, so I thought I’d post one on a Saturday! This is a quick little painting that I did yesterday afternoon. He got me out of a bit of a painting block, so I’m grateful for that!
This little songster is a Western Meadowlark. I’ve never seen one, but according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, our area in Southwestern Ontario is part of their breeding grounds.
For more information on this lovely bird, and to hear its song CLICK HERE.
Since I was kind of happy with the way my robin turned out after I made it into a mixed media piece, I decided to do a couple that were intentionally mixed media! For these, I painted the background of a couple of 5 X 7″ pieces of watercolor paper red, and drew out the chicken and rooster. I did a pretty rough painting with acrylics and then got out my colored pencils, oil pastels and soft pastels.
I really like how they ended up! It was fun experimenting with all the different tools I had on hand to see what I like and what I don’t. I ended up varnishing them, which was a bit of a mistake because I lost some of the soft pastel, even though I had used a special fixative. But a friend reminded me that I don’t need to varnish if I’m going to put it in a frame under glass! D’oh! I knew that, but had a senior moment, I guess!
Anyway, I love the attitude of that rooster, and the slightly startled look on the hen’s face.
It won’t be long until the little goldfinches at our feeder start to get their yellow feathers back. It seems to happen overnight, and is a sure sign that spring is here to stay.
This little painting started out as a bigger one. He was sitting on the top of a drooping sunflower, but do you think I could get that sunflower right? Nope. I did like the bird though, so out came the scissors! Now it is ACEO sized, 2.5 X 3.5 inches. Someday, I might try that sunflower again.