Sunday, February 23, 2014

New WIP - Eastern Kingbird

"The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky,
from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider's web."
                                                                                                                ~ Pablo Picasso

5"x7" work in progress of an Eastern kingbird.

Started a new little painting this weekend. I'm a big fan of limited palettes, and the blues, grays and whites of this scene really appeal to me, especially after all the bright colors in the flamingo painting I'm (still) working on. 

Detail showing sun on feet and barbed wire.

This piece is also turning out to be a great exercise in values and temperature. Of course I don't use any pure white (even though the camera makes it look like I did). Titanium white mixed with a little yellow ochre and/or cadmium yellow light gives a nice sunlit effect for my brightest, warmest whites. Ultramarine blue, burnt umber and Payne's gray make a great dark, without resorting to pure black (I don't even own a tube of black paint). Then the mid-tones are all sorts of purpley-grays and brownish-grays - mostly warm in temperature because of all the reflected light. You can see some of the purplish tones in the detail shot of the bird's underbelly.

My next task will be to get the values right on the clouds and the sky. I've never painted a piece where the sky was so dominant. In my mind, I see the sky as going on forever. I hope I can somehow capture that feeling in paint, without competing with the bird. I wanted to wait to hone the sky until I had the bird's values pretty well set.

I might be cheerfully babbling on about color and value, but my old companion Self-doubt has been keeping me company a lot lately. I was on such a roll before the holidays, and then what with travel and family and festivities, I ended up not painting for about a month. Ever since I got back into the studio in mid-January, I've been struggling. It's as if I took years off, rather than just 30 days.

Then we had Chinese take-out the other night and this appeared in my fortune cookie:

 Does this mean there's hope for me yet?


Murr Brewster said...

Thanks for leaving crumbs to your place. I love limited palettes too, and the whole issue of confidence fascinates me even while it's whipping me around. Just had an agent ask for my manuscript and I was high for days until she rejected it, and then I couldn't get anything done for days. What is that? Paint on!

Gabrielle said...

Hi Murr, thanks for dropping by! I'm a little late, but congratulations on your book. It goes without saying that the writing is side-splittingly good, but the illustrations are wonderful, too! You are multi-talented, no matter what that agent thinks.

Confidence is a funny thing. I don't have any wise words about it. Perhaps the people who invented chocolate (or beer) were just creative types trying to deal with confidence issues too.

Diane Hoeptner (hep-ner) said...

This Eastern Kingbird is a delight, Gabrielle!! Really nice job on the lyrical sky, twisted wire and bird itself. Wonderful!

Gabrielle said...

Thanks for visiting, Diane. Hopefully I can hang onto that lyrical sky quality as I finish the piece.

I've been really enjoying your owl series and looking forward to seeing what you do next.