Sunday, May 3, 2009

Birds

This is one of the images that came to me on that walk a few weeks ago, ideas for which I wrote on the back of my figure drawing ticket. This idea has been in my head a while, but it came back louder on that walk. It's simple, but it wasn't easy to paint and get what I wanted. I'm pretty happy with this.

19x19 watercolor. It's softer and a little more pink/violet in real life. Branches were all left white, then painted dark, leaving the highlights where I wanted them. Painting between the branches and leaving the soft influence of the glowing birds was the hard part, but it also led to the irregularities I like in this kind of painting. Some parts of this got seven or more layers of pigment, before I reached the color or value I wanted. The birds were assembled from dozens of photos, to get the different poses. I drew them all in a few hours a week ago. They're trickier than they look, too - we read so much into the figures, and the smallest mistakes on contour or angles make them look pretty terrible. I probably drew twice this many, but had to erase a lot and keep adding more until I got the number and movement I wanted.

Maybe tomorrow I can start on one of the other images from that walk. I did this one as a warm-up for the one I REALLY want to do. I might be ready to tackle that one next...

15 comments:

susan said...

That's a dazzling, effortless looking image which I had to enlarge immediately. The whole piece sings.

Glad I came by before getting ready for bed. Did you know the best meditation is the walking one?

Michelle said...

It sings indeed. Lovely!

linda said...

this is my favorite right now, perhaps of everything i have seen but there is also, as always, a reason it speaks one word one day and another, another day....so this dawn, these birds are like doves from heaven.

linda said...

i wished i could see the nuances of color you mention but i see only blues, it is not big enough on my tiny screen(may try mark's)...perhaps someday your gift will be freed up enough that you will post giant ones to explore each line and wash of color, i would love to see the pink. it would be like the dawn....

i am a bird lover, they are like small gifts always building, always dropping gifts from their very life force, it's astonishing -so when i saw these, i knew they were perfectly drawn and studied and watched before pencil ever met the page...stunning.

giggles said...

Very cool!!!

So much in life is simple...but not easy.... You've accomplished making your work look easy. Bravo! (Years and years of work....I know....)

Lisa said...

I love this. I love the shapes your trees typically make and take. I absolutely love this painting!

Cheryl@MandalaOasis said...

Oh..this is heavenly, Steve! This weaves a story in my mind. Some of the bird silhouettes have an etherical look to me...my imagination says they've just soared back into "our" sky from a parallel universe..with much to tell us. wow! Oh! I found your blog through Leah's "Creative Every Day". Nice to meet you!

~Cheryl

Steve Emery said...

Susan - many thanks. I wonder if an even better meditation would be the flying one...

Linda - I'm glad you liked the larger image... and I'm pleased you like this painting so much, and that it gave you a lift.

Giggles - Thanks!

Lisa - Thanks! Yes, my trees all look familiar and feel familiar to me... I look at trees so much - I have as long as I can remember. They're important in some of my earliest childhood memories.

Cheryl - Thanks very much! And welcome to my blog. I have to come pay you a visit.

Steve Emery said...

Ooops - I didn't mean to miss you, Michelle. Thanks! To me this one is completely silent except for the sound of bird feathers, but I know what you mean, I think.

Lille Diane said...

Your work and writing is beautiful... beautiful sounds trite. I will work on finding a "bigger" word to describe what I see and feel when I look at what you are doing and have done. I, too, have napkins, torn off pieces of envelopes, snippets on the back of someone's business card or receipt. Hey when the idea comes to you...you just gotta write it down! Thanks for inspiring me. BTW my cat is an orange and white tabby named Opie Taylor. He looks like he posed for you in some of your paintings.... Hmmmmm. Now I know where he goes at night....

Steve Emery said...

Lille Diane - We had wondered where our male cat got his different habits... So unlike his sister. Spending his days in a different house would explain a lot.

Leah said...

Oh my goodness, I love, love, love this, Steve!! Might be my favorite piece of yours ever.

Genie Sea said...

Steve! This is ethereal magic on canvas! I want this on my ceiling so I can gaze at it in the morning when I wake up and at night before I drift to sleep. Did I say I love it? The colors, the lighting, the composition are marvelous!

Annie B said...

Steve, this is a beautiful piece. Doesn't look "worked" at all; looks like it just flowed from your brush. The glow is wonderful.

René Wing said...

Oh mY, this is so beautiful to me... this looks like what I wish I could paint, if I could get to it, within me and without. It seems like a whole sea would have to be crossed and you have gotten there.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I've enjoyed meeting you, here and there.