Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Carolina Wren in three different styles...for the challenge

Painting #72, Carolina Wren in Carmel
9x12 Acrylic Paper, Acrylic

I love the rich, carmel tones in this painting, and it's total luck that they are there because I almost tossed this painting (and if you look layer by layer, underneath you'll find two other completed paintings). The first time it had a bright green summer background and the bird was realistic, but with all the browns and golds outside the bright green didn't feel right, so I scraped most of it off and painted it again, this time making the bird more impressionistic and bringing in darker greens, but I wasn't keen on it either and thought about tossing it, but an idea popped into my head, so I scraped the painting again and rubbed what was left on the canvas paper smooth. A blurred image of a bird barely visible in a sea of green remained. I then used autumn colors and painted by feel, adding in all the darks and caramels with just a few paint strokes. If you look closely, you can see the deep greens showing through here and there. The bird went from a realistic rendering to one with almost no detail at all.

Painting #73, Carolina Wren in Leather
9x12 Acrylic Paper, Acrylic

I can't remember what lies under this painting, but there's a lot of it...whatever it is. The first time I painted this little Carolina Wren, it was realistic. It was a perfectly good finished painting. It was night, and Matty was working on his homework in the kitchen, and I was across from him painting. I started with a paintbrush dipped in Burnt Umber and created the bird with a sketchy outline...then added in more and more detail. We both liked the painting, so I set it aside to dry. The next morning all the paints were still out on the island, and I thought it needed "a little something." So while Matty ate his breakfast, I started squeezing out paint....and smearing it in with a palette knife. That poor little bird had five or six lives with the palette knife as I slowly figured out how to use it. It's super fun, and I'll definitely use one again. By the time this little fellow emerged, I was late for work and had paint on my cheek...and neck...and hairline...and didn't know it until my friend gave me the crazy eye trying to figure out "what is that on your cheek?" In life, this painting looks like it's been carved from leather. The scan doesn't really show that, though.

Painting #74, Carolina Wren in Watercolor
9x12 Arches Rough Watercolor Paper, Watercolor

I drew and painted this little fellow over a period of three 15- to 20-minute stints sitting in my car as I waited to pick Matty up from school. I'd just crawl over to the passenger seat and pull out the ref photo and watercolor block and start sketching and painting. Water brushes come with their own water supply, so they make it easy. Can you tell I used the same photo ref for this painting and the previous painting #73? Same bird...different feel.

37 comments:

Roy said...

I must admit that I like watercolour best Kelly, but the acrylic is good in another way. All three are great really, but I am biased ref watercolour.

Chris said...

The first one is my favorite, but I love them all ;-)

Wanda..... said...

Love the watercolor, but I'm partial, I feel like I'm looking at a portrait of the one that hangs out on my front porch! Carolina Wrens are my favorite little bird.

Lois Evensen said...

The water color is my favorite, too. Lovely blog.

Best,
Lois - also in Cincy :)

Out on the prairie said...

I like the action in the first, but when you toss them, put them over the fence to me.All are nice, I like to have a model to sketch or paint,I don't do well from ideas past.

ShySongbird said...

They are all lovely Kelly and you are very clever to have mastered both techniques!

Love the last post too, the photos are stunning and baby 'big mouth' at the end is so funny :)

Kerri said...

You are sooooo talented! I LOVE them all!

forgetmenot said...

Lovely paintings! I loved your story about how you chose the name Red and the Peanut--so sweet and sentimental.

Bob Bushell said...

Beautiful pictures of the Carolina Wren in watercolours.

Pam Johnson Brickell said...

I love these! So free like their song. Great save!!

Elaine said...

Another good series of paintings! If you hadn't painted over that first one, you would have had one more painting towards your challenge.....

Margaret Bednar said...

I am truly in awe of the first posted painting. Goes to tell you what loosing the inhibitions can do - that sense of "what do I have to loose". Teaches everyone to not give up and experiment. Just WOW

Hilke Breder said...

There is so much of the Carolina Wren - expression and spirit - in the first painting! I absolutely love it.

Carol Mattingly said...

My fav is the last one. Carol

Birding is Fun! said...

Carolina Wrens are new to me in the last couple of months. They sure can sound like car alarms and their volume matches the number of decibles too. I think they are cool!

forestal said...

wonderful artwork on the wrens, each has it's own beauty.

Sue said...

Just beautiful, Kelly. I like them all-but do like the watercolor the best. I wish I had a tenth of your talent!

jyothisethu said...

all the three paintings are beautiful...
the richness of the first one captured my mind...

congrats...

Andy Wilson said...

Not only do you take excellent photos but your painting are outstanding too!

Montanagirl said...

They're all so good, but if I had to pick, I'd take the last one! Nice work.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

The third one is my favorite---but I don't know much about painting... I seem to like things which look more like a photograph... Guess that's not very creative... ha ha
Hugs,
Betsy

woodpecker said...

I really like them all, each one in a different way. It demonstrates perfectly how a subject can be treated in so many ways by a talented artist.

Mary said...

I really like that first one! Such a great little bird and you have captured its essence in all of these.

Garden Lily said...

I love #72. Again, you have captured the essence of this little bird - this time a cheery one amidst a more dreary background. It is great from a distance, as well as closeup. Bravo!

Rural Rambler said...

My favorite is the watercolor. I love watercolor. I also love Wrens. But the face draws me on the first picture!

JKoenig said...

I liked the watercolor, but there is also something about the first one--maybe it is joyful look on the wren's face because you can tell he is singing his heart out. That one really seems more alive!

Angela said...

Love Your Birds......

Ken. said...

Hi Kelly.
3 really good paintings of th Wren. It is the artists impression of it's subject that makes them what they are.I honestly couldn't pick a favourite.

Chris Petrak said...

I especially like the heavy palette of the first painting - and it captures the rich color of the bird, much like a late afternoon, golden sunlight CAWR that I saw when in Cape May - also vigorously singing.

Gaina said...

I love the watercolour as I have great respect for anyone who can control that medium, but I have to say the energy of the first two just grabs me :D

forgetmenot said...

Glad you liked the heron photo. He was in the right place at the right time. I think if I pursue this hobby, new camera equipment just might be in my future. I hope I become more creative and "better" as I go along. Know I'll enjoy your blog often.

Elizabeth Seaver said...

I love the surfaces and color of your palette knife paintings. They are fresh.

I admire the fact that you just grab painting time when you can. Mommies have to do that!

Jayne said...

I love that you are fearless in experimenting with what just seems to feel right to you! I love the first two in that they just "go" with the look and coloration of the wren. Amazing... your talent is amazing Kelly.

Vickie said...

I must tell you that that first acrylic made me say "WOW"! I've only had one other artist cause that reaction in me with a similar combination of abstract strokes with realistic qualities in nature (Robert Tino's bears.)

All that effort led you to a real treasure in your talent. The glow of light, the bold-stroked feathers, the understated realism, capture the essence of "Carolina wren" and its truly stunning.

Margaret Bednar said...

I commented earlier, but I really want to echo Vickie's response above. I would love to see more of the impressionistic/abstract bird (1st painting). Just an exciting piece.

Kelly said...

...thank you so much! I was a little hesitant to post these. The last one has a bit of a googley eye, but I think that's part of the challenge. Getting the pieces out without going back to fix problems. I hope I have some time tonight to experiment again with the paints. I love those carmel colors. Thanks again for the very, very nice comments.

Sarah Knight said...

Gorgeous paintings!