Saturday, January 8, 2011

Painting Fresh

Backyard Bird
16 x 12

This painting has the freshness and spontaneity of a plein air work, but it was done from a photo. I took the picture on a frosty morning when the sparrows were perched like ornaments in the shrubs, waiting for me to fill the feeder.

I aimed to get the right shape, colour, and value immediately, with no underpainting. This isn't usually the way that I work, but each subject calls for its own approach and this direct approach worked well here.  There is some layering on the bird which allows me to describe it's subtle luminosity.  It also helps me to make the bird the centre of interest despite the fact that he is a dull gray; the snow piled on a fence in the background and the shrub branches actually held more colour than the bird.  By layering and using impasto, the bird could be made to compete with his surroundings.

I gave this as a gift to my bird-loving mother.  She was pleased.  What more can a painter hope for?


Audrey Bunt said...

This is very cute. I love the contrast of the red branches with his pale green underbelly. Very nicely done.

Ingrid Christensen said...

Thanks, Audrey!
It's absolutely freezing here today, so I don't think another frosty scene is in order. I'm going to paint something warm in the studio today.
What are you working on?