Sunday, April 04, 2010

Expecting Tree Swallows


Any day now the tree swallows should be back. My painting for today was inspired by my anticipation of that event. The return of the tree swallows, even more than the return of the osprey, convinces me that Spring really is just around the corner. The background of this painting feels more like summer though; hot, dry fields under a strong sun. I'm not quite ready for that yet!

I had the weekend to myself this week and planned it out so that all of the "have to" stuff got done yesterday, allowing me to spend the entire day today painting. I started out making a huge color mixing chart with my acrylics, painting delicious colors and playing with color wheels. Then I tried to paint an image that has been on my mind for weeks - a very monochromatic scene of snow and ice with dried cattails and Canada geese. A lovely scene in my head but a disappointment on paper. So I decided that before the frustration made me quit painting forever, it might be prudent to just take a break from painting and after a therapeutic piece of chocolate (Trader Joe's Pound Plus dark chocolate, if you're interested), I switched gears and worked on a baby quilt I'm making for a friend. She had her baby in October, so I'm a little behind schedule, but it will be lovely when it is done. And nights here stay cool/cold through May anyway.

After the break, I felt like I might be able to convince myself to give painting another go and I was surfing through my reference photos trying to figure out what to paint next and this image jumped out at me. The texture of the wooden nest box interested me, and I thought perhaps the blue of the swallows might make an interesting accent color against the yellow-brown earth colors in the background. That part didn't work out as well as I had hoped - the birds just weren't big enough for the blue to make an impact - but overall I am pleased with the painting, thank goodness! Our nearest Trader Joe's is 500 miles away, so if I keep painting disasters, I'm going to run out of chocolate!

3 comments:

Maree said...

Luckily THIS is not one of your disasters! Just love the gorgeous little swallows on the nest box and the background gives nice depth to this sketch.

Laure Ferlita said...

Nice contrasts in this piece! The small size of the birds encourages another look.

Heather said...

I love Tree Swallows and I love this painting! We had a pair of Tree Swallows use our nest box once years ago, but we only see Eastern Bluebirds now; not that there's anything wrong with that - not at all!. I just miss seeing the sleek form of a flying swallow.