I'm back in the U.S. for a couple of months. While here, I'm going through things I left in storage....which includes a stack of unfinished paintings, plein air pieces that never made it to galleries and studies. I'm putting aside pieces that will work for my little oil study project....so stay tuned for the next two months!
Now that I live on the coast and in a yachting community, I'm painting more boats and seabirds. This piece is called, 'Dropping the Sail'. It was inspired by a tall ship in Bay of Islands called the R. Tucker Thompson. The bird is a red-billed gull. The painting will be exhibited in a show titled 'Passages' at the Horton Hayes Fine Art Gallery in Charleston, South Carolina in early November.
When I'm in the work mode, I find it much easier to work on a series; all the same size and theme. So - more road studies! As with the previous three, I may do larger studio pieces when I'm back in the U.S., using these as inspiration. They're all 7" x 7" oil on gessoed panels.
In a few months, I'll be heading back to the U.S. to resupply galleries and do a few shows, but most of the time, I'll be painting. In preparation, I'm working on studies, some of which will become larger studio paintings.
These little studies are inspired by my trips to Ace Basin in South Carolina.
Painting a red fox in sumac, makes me appreciate that a red fox really isn't red at all. This 12" x 9" oil is fresh off the easel though I've been working on it, on and off, for a month or more. It is easier for me to work on dry paint rather than painting alla prima. The first day, I do the underpainting then let it dry. The next time I work on it, I'll block in the basic color and light. Once that is dry, then I start on the detail which may take a couple of sessions.
It has been a while since I've posted here. I've been having work done on my house but now I'm back in the studio. It's early autumn here in New Zealand. We had a gorgeous summer and as the beach is just a mile or two away, it is very hard to resist the call of the water when I should be working. But my busy season approaches, so I must get busy!
Today's little oil study is a Great Blue Heron. My goal in doing this current batch of oil studies is to get better at softening edges. So much for soft edges on this piece! It fought me all the way - so I left the edges harder than I wanted and spent way too much time on it. I do these quick studies in order to progress as a painter and sometimes it doesn't come as easily as I want it to. Though I'm happy with the final piece as a painting - it's not the soft-edged study I had envisioned.
A Spotted Towhee is today's little oil study. This bird used to be known as Rufous-sided Towhee but for some reason, the name has been changed.
I'm hoping to do a dozen (or more) pieces in the next week or two for my oil study project so I can mail them before heading back to New Zealand in late November. With this batch, I'm working on edges. Get a group of artists together and we can spend a lot of time talking about edges...or the lack of edges. The idea is to suggest an edge without painting a hard line. Birds are the perfect subject matter for this exercise.
I love these little guys - their beep-beep-beep calls make me think of aliens (from another planet) for some strange reason. Just as I put the last brush stroke on this piece, I heard one calling outside. It's a sign! When in New Zealand, I miss the N.American birds most of all; hummingbirds, nuthatches, chickadees and ravens.