September 7, 2012 @ 3:40 PM

This is part 3 of explaining my thoughts and techniques during the creation of this painting, "Ethereal".

Click here for part one and two or they are listed on the right

Well, I avoided painting in the bird for about a week. I was just not excited about it because I had no idea how to approach it. I finally bit the bullet (that's what it felt like!) and had a go at it today. I have just got the basics down using grays and even some 'mud' (dirty neutrals or grays you can get when too many colors are mixed and which comes in useful sometimes).

As I continuted the bird at different times I saw different colors: yellows, then greens, then blue grays and it was hard to define, just like everything else with this piece so far. I just took it one step at a time, building each step on the last one instead of planning fair ahead.

I am thinking that when I have got the 'components' painted (the background, the roots, the leaves, the bird) then I can try to unite the whole painting with brushwork and edges. Hard to explain that to a non-painter. It would be a process where I try to ignore the 'components' and treat the painting as an abstract composition.

I've been avoiding again for a few days but today I got down to it. I added some more bird reflections in the water, detailed the bird's beak and face, laid in some more dark shadows in the root reflections and then started in on adding to the background.

I did not want to paint all over the background, just make it more 'finished'. In the process I saw that I needed some texture so I laid the paint in thick in some places but I did not cover it completely so some of the bottom layer could show through. The new layer is a little lighter than the first one was. The result is an interesting background instead of a dead area with the bird stuck on it. Every part of a painting needs to count.

 To finish up I wanted to put in some dabs, flicks and dashes! I used a palette knife to add texture and dabs to the bird, leaves and red root highlights. In the leaf area I made some random dashed, smudges, flicks etc. that suggest twigs, leaves and whatever else you would see in a mass of leaves. I think I have achieved what I wanted with the painting which is a mood with ethereal qualities.

"Ethereal" oil 24" x 36"