A few weeks ago I spotted a deep purple bottle of nail polish. The color struck me as something lovely, and I filed it away in my brain for future processing. Days later when I was brainstorming what to paint next, I pulled that deep purple color out of my mental filing cabinet and pulled the lever on my mental slot machine: Spinning, spinning, spinning… purple elderberries… spinning, spinning… a yellow Cedar Waxwing belly… spinning, spinning… waxy green leaves… ding, ding, ding! It’s a match! And that’s how a painting is born. One color leads to another color, leads to subject matter, leads to a painting. In this case, a Cedar Waxwing. But first, let me show you how incredibly unattractive a painting can look in its beginning stages:
This is the stage where someone invariably comes to visit, views your newest work in progress, and leaves with a very low opinion of your painting skills. I'm only showing this stage because I know this story ends happy. I wanted the colors and patterns inside the berries and leaves to be abstract, so I started with a loose and abstract under painting. That’s what you see above. Once I was happy with the variety in the under painting, I began to carve out the shapes of the berries and leaves with a toned white paint:
Many, many layers later, and after a more rendered approach to the bird itself, I have my final product:
"Cedar Waxwing and Elderberries" Acrylic on Lanaquarelle hot press paper.
Here is the final outcome of my Elf Owl painting:
And a side-by-side with the natural history print that inspired it:
I'm happy to have given the black background a try, but it was more of a challenge than I expected. I don't think I'll be giving it another go any time soon! Thanks for following along with this one!