Thursday, February 28, 2013

Something New - Northern Shovelers

Northern Shovelers at Brigantine. Watercolor by Ken Januski
It's a wonder what a deadline will do. I've always had mixed feelings about whether such pressures helped or hindered artists. When I was younger and more romantic about the nature of art I leaned toward the former - a real artist needs total freedom. As I got older and in fact not too much out of my youth I began to disagree with this and see that the most freedom and innovation comes when working against a constraint - deadline, patron or whatever.

Still it's one thing to know it in theory and another to actually experience it. As I've prepared for various shows, particularly over the last few years, I've found that the pressure to get something done has often prompted me to try something new. For me this time around that means working from photos, both in the last Cape May Warbler watercolor and in this Northern Shovelers watercolor.

With ducks in particular it's so easy to get hypnotized by the complex patterns in the feathers. But I've tried to avoid that here and just get a sense of the ducks and their beautiful black heads and long bills. When I did the sketch for this it almost looked like a mistake. Those bills were just TOO long. But that's the way they are. I think they look large in the actual painting but not monstrously so.

There's a good chance this painting is done. I have a tendency to overwork watercolor so I'm tempted to just leave it as it is. If I get it framed in time it should be in the Members Show at the Manayunk Roxborough Art Center, which opens this Sunday.

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