Friday, November 27, 2009


I adjust the values, and add finishing details. The foreground is further enriched with color and texture. My main concern is to establish subtle changes in value and hue to create the spatial dimension relative to each of the subjects in the picture.

Monday, November 23, 2009


I pull the foreground forward with a unifying wash, and add texture, being careful not to let the foreground upstage the bird. I add shadow to the branch and crabapple stems.

Friday, November 20, 2009


In the foreground, I add texture, color, darker accents and foliage. Using the brush I draw additional details on the bird, and increase color tones on the crabapple branch. I'm working all over the picture at once, so I can see how things are shaping up relative to one another.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


I wasn't sure that I wanted a background wash initially. Adding it during the wet-in-wet stage would have been easier. However, it's not too late to put it in. I wait until the paint is completely dry, then moisten the paper and apply the color. The wash gives depth to the painting, and soft contrast to the main elements.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Working from light to dark, I begin adding color. I want to see what the color balance looks like.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I decide on the placement of the chicken in the middle ground, and the crabapples in the foreground. I sketch lightly with a soft pencil. Then I paint a very pale wash of yellow ocher over the sketch.

Monday, November 16, 2009


I'm working out my composition and values. These sketches are about 1.5" x 2.5" each. I'm interested in seeing how the tones look in various places. Do I want the bird darker in the foreground? Or do I want the bird in the middle ground? What's most important - the bird, the crabapples or the foreground? Where do I want my light effect? How much negative space do I want relative to the subject?

Sunday, November 15, 2009


This is the beginning of an idea I have for a picture. The trick is to take a very cute subject, and not have it look too "cutesy". The definition of cute is "affected or mincingly pretty or clever; precious" - I don't want that. Fortunately, I'm working from life and that should go a long way to give the picture credibility. The truth is, everything around here is just too darn cute!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Quail Belgian Bearded d'Anver

This is Baby, my little house chicken. She's tiny, and would be picked on by the flock, so she sleeps in the house with me. During the day she runs around outside with the others, feasting on veggies, worms, bugs, fruit, and all sorts of tasty treats. Quail refers to the patterning of her feathers, and Bearded refers to the fluffy feathers on her chin and cheeks. The breed is a true bantam breed, and has no counterpart in the heavy breeds. Characteristically, they are very friendly and gentle. At times they resemble little owls.

Johnny Jump-ups

Viola tricolor, or Heartsease are still blooming in my garden! So cheerful. It was the juice from heartsease that Oberon and Puck used - "on sleeping eyelids laid, will make man or woman madly dote upon the next live creature it sees". It's certainly an easy flower to dote upon! It symbolizes "thought" (from the French "pensée") in the language of flowers.

Friday, November 13, 2009


There is a large crabapple tree on the north side of the property. In the fall, on a sunny blue day, the orange crabapples silhouette against the sky. The contrast is extraordinary.