I’ve begun a new bird & teacup piece. This time a Purple Finch (the only red bird I’ve shot) with a Coalport teacup paired with some vintage redwork embroidery, calico and red and white striped tulips. I start, as always with a loose, painting directly on the prepared board.
I really should have worked the background first but I decided to block in my reds instead.
Eager to see some tulip action I painted these in loosely as well, letting the pigment pull through the brush strokes.
I was eager to see the finch too .
I worked on the teacup next, as it supports both the flowers and bird, I wanted to make sure they felt well integrated.
Dobbing in the foreground to feel where the shadows would fall.
Filling in the vintage linen embroidery backdrop I experimented with a crosshatched look.
Dropping the crosshatching, I tried more definition and a brighter backdrop.
Wanting a deeper shadow I try blocking in dome darks but the grays are all still too wet.
I end up wiping it off down to the initial sketch with a rag dampened with mineral spirits.
I begin to apply the darks in a more controlled way – a muddy mess is a nightmare!
More to come….
Finished! I’ve messed around with little details until the painting told me I was done.
Lately I’ve gone from painting dead birds to live ones!
My teacup birds, while quite whimsical in concept, are a really about putting some life into the still life genre. I love the layers of artifice that go into these pieces, There’s the teacup artist’s interpretation of a flower and then my re-interpretation of that as well as my careful observation of the real flowers in their corresponding teacup that I’ve arranged in the low afternoon sun that comes streaming in my studio windows.
Then I coax a bird to land on my vignette while I snap a picture. Yes, I wish. I must rely on my growing collection of photos that I take myself as well as some other photo references which I combine with my own work and obscure beyond any point of possible copyright infringement. I need to invest in some more feeders – but I’m not beyond stalking the neighbor’s feeders. I find mornings are best! Although I’ve paused while writing this to take shots of junkos with my telephoto out here on the patio with my feet up on the fire pit and my laptop on my lap! Now if that humming bird will just come back for my pommegranate blossoms – no such luck!
Here are some of my better birding moments, not all teacup appropriate, but you never know…
Spotted Towhee – Los Gatos
Purple House Finch – Carpinteria
Oregon Junko – Los Gatos
Lesser Goldfinch (male) – Los Gatos
Lesser Goldfinch (female) – Los Gatos
Anna’s Hummingbird – Los Gatos
Steller’s Jay – Los Gatos
Starling- Santa Cruz
Seagulls – San Francisco
Sulphur Crested Cockatoo – Santa Barbara
Black Swan – Santa Barbara
Peacock – Cupertino
Albino Peacock – Ayelsford
Flamingo – Oakland