Sunday, August 02, 2009

Painting 19 - Flamingo

I really like this one. It is not at all what I started out to do but I love how it ended up. This was going to be an exercise in careful planning. I was going to have a background, the bird was going to be highly detailed. For once I had every step of the painting planned out ahead of time. But when I put down my first wash of color on the flamingo's neck and saw how it interacted with the paper, I suddenly knew I needed to paint loose with no background and that I needed to not fuss with the painting but just let it be as it was. After 18 paintings, I think I am finally beginning to understand the unique properties of watercolor and how not to fight that but use it to the painting's advantage. This is a very exciting step for me.

I believe my reference photos for this were taken many years ago at either the zoo in Seattle or the zoo in Philadelphia. I don't remember which. But I do remember spending a lot of time watching them preening and fluffing and doing their flamingo thing. Such great, beautiful, awkward birds! Their feathers are not naturally pink - the color comes from carotenoids contained in the algae and little crustaceans that they eat. When the birds live in captivity, such as in a zoo, they need a special diet to keep their coloring or their feathers will become white.


Kelly said...

Lovely! He's definitely pretty in pink!

Maree said...

Really like this one Gabrielle. And it's that intuitive feeling of going with the flow that ensures success.

Laure Ferlita said...

Outstanding work! Wow!! Awesome job.

Hearing the voice of the muse, now, are we?! Most excellent news!

Now, paint the next one using what you've learned from this one - SUSPENDING judgement.

Connie Williams, California, USA said...

Hi Gabrielle, Nice work! I'm working on the masking film blog for you.....have to paint and take a few photos along the way to illustrate, but should have it up in a couple of weeks. If not, give me another nudge! I love it!

Krista Meister said...

Love how you planned it out, yet still took a creative turn when necessary!

(Sorry, Gabrielle, it's taken me a long time to get caught up on blogs and didn't realize I'd neglected yours)