Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Another Killdeer Watercolor

It's probably accurate to say that I've never done a watercolor that I'm completely happy with. Or perhaps I'm happy with it, I can think of one such sold piece, but it's more of a study than a full painting. I really don't have the temperament or training for watercolor. My years of painting in acrylic and oil taught me that nothing is ever set in stone. I could always replace one color or tone with another.

That's not the case with watercolor. You have to save some of the paper,  letting it show through completely or at least trasnparently, so that the painting retains a sense of light. Light to me is watercolor's greatest appeal. If you do too much covering over, as if it were an acrylic or oil, you soon end up with a muddy mess.

Knowing this it then becomes easy to be too careful, to plan so much that there is no sense of life at the end, almost likely a carefully colored in paint-by-number painting.

All of which just goes to say that I'm eternally seeking success in watercolor. Sometimes I think I  ought to first just be seeking a direction and worry about it being successful later on. I say this because I sometimes seem to veer between styles.

In any case above you see another experiment in watercolor: two Killdeer on a sand/rock bar in the wetlands pond at Morris Arboretum. When I was looking at the photo today I actually thought about using it as the source of a linocut and decided to try a monochrome watercolor to that purpose. But I got carried away and it's no longer a monochrome.

But I do like the scene, especially the almost handle-like tails of the Killdeer. I  always enjoy discovering them on the sandbar, often needing to use my binoculars to see that there are actually birds there among all the  muddy rocks.

The cold light of tomorrow may show me how much work is left to be done here. With the change of time there's no longer adequate natural light to see this, even at 4:30 in the afternoon. So partially I'm posting it in order to see it in another light. The next morning and I inevitably made some changes. The newest and most likely finished version is now at top.
Whether I continue working on it, consider it done, or abandon it I am happy  to have been able to explore the composition  of birds barely visible in their surroundings. They're always a pleasure to find in real life. I hope that will also hold true in a print or painting.

No comments: