Bare Trees and the power of birds

Everyone who knows me knows I'm a westerner. I used to have a horse and wear boots with spurs, even. In addition to horseback riding, I got very accustomed to what I affectionately call the long view. Here in North Carolina, unless you're looking at the ocean or in the mountains at an overlook, there aren't that many long views! It bugs me sometimes, but then I begin looking for a long view where I am. Here's a sample. The sky is wintery, the trees are bare, sleeping in hope of spring. The last of a weak day is lingering on the branches, and the birds are singing to the evening. The power of the birds is in their ability to keep on keeping on. I love it. Company I 12x9 watercolor on 100% cotton paper Interested parties may contact me here:

Magpie, Part Deaux

Started the second painting. It is, as is the first, painted on a sheet of 9x12 Yupo (polypropylene). It's totally 100% archival, will last for eons! You can see it's quite messy looking and only very slightly resembles a bird of any kind, much less a gorgeous Magpie! I have faith, though. Stay tuned!  (I am LOVING the blues!) watercolor on 100% cotton paper Interested parties may contact me here:

Yellowstone National Park and the Magpie, Stage 3

There's a lot of finish work in this piece.  Part of the challenge of this painting is that it's on plastic paper.  What does that mean, exactly?  It means there's nothing but the pigment film to hold the paint in place.  Very similar to the film that oil paints make when the oil oxidized from them and the pigment molecules interlink to create a solid surface. With watercolor paints, the additional manipulations and glazes need to be done with a VERY LIGHT HAND.  Kind of like touching a newborn baby's head.  Scary stuff. Actually, this is version 6.  Lots of resolving of little things like twigs, and the foreground.  The bushes needed to be more recognizable, and I provided more detail in the feathers of the Magpie.  What a magnificent fellow!  

Yellowstone National Park and the Magpie, Stage 2

As you can see, I've manipulated the background a little bit, add more definition and color to the post, and best of all, started laying color into the Magpie's feathers.  The challenge here is to keep the intensity of the colors under control (but there's always time to tone things down) while letting the brilliance of sage and Indian tea shine through. Even though it's January, and pretty darn chilly, the flower spikes are still in place, and lend a wonderful warmth to the image.  I'm pretty happy about how this is shaping up!  

Yellowstone National Park and the Magpie, Stage 1

Some years ago I visited Yellowstone National Park with a friend.  It was January.  We sat in the river in a hot spring and basically enjoyed 104 degree water in the midst of 26 degree air.  Back in the parking lot, I photographed a magpie enjoying the sunshine. I've cherished those photos all this time and finally I decided it was time to put the Magpie onto paper.  Only it's not paper!  It's Yupo.  Yupo is polypropylene, and the paint doesn't penetrate it but sits on the surface.  The result is an even more striking painting for luminescence and transparency. My readers seem to like my progression photographs, so I have decided to show another painting that is in progress. In this iteration you can see how I've begun to lay down the background color and start to push it around.  Looks a bit shall we say, bright, doesn't it?  I have faith that things will settle out in the end.