Today's oil study is a cardinal. I've had a hard time working on my larger gallery paintings the last couple of weeks and decided it is because I've not been doing these morning oil studies. I've done a couple of studies this week and the larger pieces are starting to come a little easier. Who knows why artists go through these spells? I tell my students that you've got to work through it....if your brain thinks it can get away with 'not being in the mood to paint', it will pull this trick more often to get out of the studio.
Tomorrow's oil study may be a female peacock - we'll see!
I've been working on paintings for Art for the Sangres, a one evening show (September 24th) in Westcliffe, Colorado, and having a really difficult time getting back into the swing of things. I've been really unhappy with what I've been painting after being on a roll for months. So what is the difference?
The only difference is that I've not been doing my morning 75 for $75 oil studies. The studies seem to loosen me up and make me a better painter for the rest of the day. I really hadn't stopped doing the studies - it just seems that other things were taking priority for the past two weeks. So now I'm back to doing a little study first thing in the morning....hoping it'll make the bigger studio pieces come a little easier.
I realized this morning that I've never painted a crow before - so this is the first. As I was painting the study, I was reminded of the fish crows that I hear while painting on location in South Carolina. They call back and forth to each other and sound exactly like they're having a conversation.
Crow #1: uh - oh, uh - oh!
Crow #2: huh?
Crow #1: uh - oh!
Crow #2: Oh!
The other night I watched a fabulous documentary, 'A Murder of Crows' (Netflix) about these highly intelligent birds. It's a fascinating film that I really enjoyed.
I did this little piece as a study for bigger moose paintings - and because several people asked for mooses. Hmm- what is plural for moose? Mooses? Meeses? Or just moose? I've scanned the image instead of photographing it and still can't get an entirely accurate image of it. The body of the moose is more even - less blotchy than it appears here.
I've never painted a scissor-tailed flycatcher before because by the time you put the entire length of tail into the painting, there was never much room left for the bird. But I've learned by doing these 75 for $75 oil studies that it's OK to leave part of the tail out. This piece was fun to do - I like the background color. I've almost finished a second piece so stay tuned - I'll post it below the flycatcher in just a bit.
5" x 7" oil study on board, unframed
$75 plus $6 shipping within the U.S. SOLD
My second piece is a swan. This is to make up for not lifting a brush all weekend. I had more important things to do with (my grandkids)
Actually, I'm catching up with the daily studies I didn't post between August 1st and 4th when I was relocating from Colorado back to Arizona.
This study is completely different than anything I've posted for the 75/75 project - and I really like it.
It may become a larger painting at some point. It's simple but says what I wanted to say about the nice shape of a dark raven against a light sky. If you're not a birder, a simple way of telling the difference between a raven and a crow (in flight) is that a raven has a pie-shaped tail, but a crow's tail is straighter.
Scroll down past this post to see the bluebird I painted and posted earlier today.
I often work in a watercolor sketchbook when traveling. I've tried different watercolor sketchbooks over the years and couldn't find one with decent paper so I resorted to making my own. I've learned there are some major advantages to this - mainly that if I wait until I get back from my trip before having the paper bound into a book, I can leave out the paintings I didn't finish or I didn't like! I can also arrange the pages in the order I like.
I'm teaching a workshop in New Zealand next February. I've posted instructions for my students on how to make a watercolor sketchbook on my workshop blog. If you're interested, check out "Making a Watercolor Journal" post at http://paintnewzealand.blogspot.com/
I think this is the first Bullock's Oriole I've ever painted. I have seen them on occasion in my apple trees but more commonly, I see the hooded oriole. The Bullock's Oriole range is primarily the western half of the U.S. from Canada all the way south into Mexico. I didn't intentionally do the circular brush strokes around the bird nor did I intentionally use complementary colors, but I like both.
This could be a Red-naped or a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. The main difference between the two is that the Red-naped has a little red patch on the back of his neck. But I haven't painted enough detail is this little guy to show the species.
I have three big apple trees and every winter the sapsuckers enjoy the last of the apples left on the tree. This year my trees are groaning with the weight of the apples so I'll have lots of sapsuckers this winter and possibly a bear or two in the fall. A half-grown black bear wandered through the neighborhood a few weeks ago, possibly doing a reconnaissance?
When I first bought my house 34 years ago, I had lots of broad-tailed hummingbirds, black-chinned and rufous hummingbirds. Then the Anna's hummers arrived - now not only do they outnumber the broad-tailed hummingbirds, but they often stay all winter. I wondered what they ate in the winter but then read that they're known to follow the sapsuckers, using tree sap as a winter food source.
My house is for sale, so perhaps this autumn/winter someone else will be enjoying the apples, sapsuckers and bears.